Here is a helpful list of travel resources to use for your Italy + France trip planning
Note: This page may contain affiliate links for which I’d receive a small commission. I only recommend services I know and trust and that I’ve used myself or for clients. Check back as I often update this page and add to the list.
MAPS + BOOKS
For city maps, I like MapEasy. They have tons of information including ATMS, restaurants and detailed descriptions of historic sites, museums etc. The paper is both water and tear proof, which is so important.
The Italian Touring Club maps for Italy are very detailed. The most popular regional maps are:
Google Maps is great for making custom maps, plotting routes, saving restaurant info, there is nothing better.
Italy: Instructions for Use is an excellent booklet chock full of info for Italy first-timers.
France: Instructions for Use has the same info for France.
Paris Plan per Arrondissement is invaluable for finding streets in the city.
I highly recommend private tours and guides – but in the event you wish to join a group tour with a reputable company or need a last minute booking, here are a few to consider:
Canal Barge Cruises is who I recommend for French Barge Cruises. Beth Hanson and I have partnered to bring you something special. If you mention me when you book a barge cruise, you’ll get one hour of free pre or post barge cruise travel planning with yours truly!
Kayak is my preferred site for airfare searches. I recommend setting up alerts, so fares and deals will come right to your inbox. Use the parameters to target specific airports, airlines, routes and when fares drop a certain dollar amount.
RailEurope Use this site to book high-speed rail tickets and rail passes for Italy and France if you live in North America. They have a very useful chat function and the agents are friendly and knowledgable.
Trenitalia for routes, timetables and rates for local or regional trains throughout Italy.
SNCF for routes, timetables and rates for local or regional trains throughout France.
There are millions of hotels, apartments villas. It’s impossible to make specific recommendations for properties (you can contact me for that), but you can check with these sites:
Venere.com is a comprehensive site for hotel search and bookings in Europe. I like the advanced search and filters, which helps you narrow down options by price, neighborhood, availability.
Monestary Stays offers a unique, bare bones way to stay in Italy. If you don’t mind curfews, this can be a clean, quiet, budget-friendly option.
AirBnB has thousands of rentals to choose from in both Italy and France.
VRBO I’ve had good luck with VRBO for my own trips, as well as for clients. You’re dealing directly with owners, so you can often find very good rates.
I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. I’ve used Insuremytrip.com with success. I especially like their excellent customer serivce and ability to compare many plans and companies to pick the best fit for your trip. They also offer a price matching guarantee.
DOCUMENT / PHOTO STORAGE / APPS
Dropbox. This is my favorite way to store important travel documents, maps, PDF’s. I use it for my travel business as well as for personal trips. I also upload photos from my smartphone during my trips to free up precious storage space on my phone. If you sign up via this link, we both get free bonus space!
Evernote. Another favorite for collecting clips, websites and travel notes and you can sync all of your devices.
XE.com is my favorite currency conversion program. Download the free app which is handy for on the go conversion and up to the minute rates.
It’s important to learn some of the local language when you travel. I recommend the following programs:
- Mango Languages. Great software program that has a three-pronged approach. I especially love that you can record your voice, play it back and compare it to the native speaker. Some local libraries often have a free version.
- Duolingo. A fun and free app for learning the basics.
- Google Translate is helpful for translating during your planning. Or download the free app for on the go needs. It also uses your camera to help translate images, which comes in handy for street signs and menus.
GENERAL TRAVEL PLANNING
Italian Tourism Board can be useful for general information on destinations and things to do Italy.
France Tourism Board can be useful for general information on destinations and things to do in France.
Alternatively, each city or region in France and Italy has its own tourist website that can be useful.