Updated: Jul 24
Are you planning your Italian sojourn?
If yes, then you’ve come to the perfect place.
In this and the next few articles I am going to tell you all about how to perfectly plan and execute your Italy travel plan.
I’ll even tell you about some travel hacks, small but important stuff which nobody tells you.
Let’s go chronologically (If you follow Indian politics you’ll know how important chronology is 😛).
In this first article I’ll start with the planning process and touch upon the Visa process.
1. How early should I start planning? – According to me you should start planning at least 7 months before your intended travel date. Now, before you cut me out as a typical Indian dad who packs the bags at 5 AM for a 3PM flight, please hear me out.
Firstly, Visa appointments are extremely difficult to get for an Italy Visa. (It depends on where you live though, for Kolkata it’s relatively easy but for Mumbai usually you won’t find a date before 2-3 months, check the relevant VFS global website for this. VFS is the only authorized company which manages the Visa applications for Italy (and most other countries too).
Secondly, if you’re booking Airbnbs (which I definitely recommend; hotels are super-duper costly in Italy), the good ones get sold out pretty early. (I’ll share Airbnb recommendations and tips in a subsequent article).
2. What’s the best time to visit Italy? – May to September. The proper summer in Italy is from June to August. So obviously that’s the most touristy period. And peak tourist season means a lot of people and higher prices. May and September are the transition months and I would recommend them for a little better weather (not scorching hot) and less people (you can actually see the monuments and not just a sea of heads). But bear in mind that weather is a little whimsical in Italy (we had to face some rainfall during our May visit).
3. How difficult is the Visa application process? – For a first timer, it is quite overwhelming. You need to book your flights beforehand, have all the stays figured out, travel within the country should also be figured out, you need to get relevant travel insurance, need to maintain proper account balance in your account and get it vetted by the bank too (phew!)
4. Do I need to hire a travel agent for Italy Visa? – This would depend from person to person. Personally, I did it myself and it saved me some dough, but as I said before, it’s quite a strenuous task. If you don’t feel confident, you can always hire an agent. And if you need some informal advice regarding the process, you can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. How long does it take for the Visa approval process and what’s the validity? – When you have an appointment date with VFS and submit your documents properly, your Visa will reach you within 15 days (again, there might be some variation on case-to-case basis, but this is the standard). The Schengen Visa (don’t know why I always pronounce it as Schezwan :P ) is valid for 6 months from the date on which you receive it (this is for tourist Visa obviously). As a rule, all Schengen Visas are multiple entry Visas, so you can visit other European countries in the same Visa during the 6 months’ time frame.
Ok, so we’re done with the technical and hard stuff here. The rest should be a breezy journey (🤞). In the next article I’ll talk about how much the flight tickets cost and some hacks to minimise it!