the countryside / by Melissa Heap

One of my big project for this year is to go through and curate all of my pictures from last year's study abroad - here are a few from on the road, my first day in Italy!  Italy has always been one of my dream destinations... the food, the wine, the gorgeous churches, the famous monuments, the wine... Wait - Did I say that already? :)

I decided it would be perfect timing to tour Italy before my semester started, and I am so glad I did - Italy did not disappoint.  This wasn't my first time abroad, but I felt like I should go with ease when choosing how I wanted to see the country (looking at train schedules for as long as I did can really make your head spin!)

I figured a tour would be the easiest way to see all the main sights, and after a bunch of research, I chose the 10-Night Italy Tour from to kick off my semester abroad.  When you're living abroad you become a bit of a professional traveler, and let me tell you - purchasing a tour is definitely something to consider when traveling alone.  

I wanted to let you all know why traveling on a tour is so nice! Check out my list below:  

  1. It gives you an easy way to see all of the sights on your list... Seriously - most tours are guided and include all the touristy places that you know you would want to see (and some that you don't!).  And can I emphasize easy?  For many of the churches and basilicas that you will want to see, there can be really long lines for entry.  If you take a tour, you have a personal guide that gets you quickly into the landmarks (so there's more time for pizza, am I right?).
  2. Food is included... Most tours include both breakfast and dinner (lunch is sometimes an optional extra - with excursions at special restaurants).  Sometimes you will want to venture out on your own to see what you can scrounge up on your own, but an all inclusive tour with a lunch option eases meal planning stress during your travel.
  3. You get to meet so many wonderful people!  Seriously I have never met better people than those I have met while traveling.  I got to travel with some lovely ladies from South Africa, got adopted for the trip by a couple from New Jersey (shout out to the Alexanders!), and partied with some seasoned Aussies (there's really no other way to party).

What do you guys think? Have you been on group tours before? Did I miss anything on my list?