๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 10 Tips: Venice, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!

But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! ๐ŸŽ‰ Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

Tip #1: Get lost!

When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!

Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!

Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.

These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!

My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!

The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.

For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around โ‚ฌ40-54, if I remember correctly.

Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!

Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! ๐Ÿ˜ However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.

It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!

The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.

Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!

We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!

Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!

Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!

This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!

We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!

Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.

March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!

If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.

This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!

Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.

Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜‚

It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally โ‚ฌ89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!

Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.

I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.

There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.

It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.

Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.

Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.

If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.

Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.

One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!

Those are all my tips for Venice! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ•

Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

March 14th: Landed in Venice

*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.

March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica

*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!

March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal

We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚ We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. ๐Ÿง

March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier

We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!

Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!

And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!

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A+

A Musing

I was never an A+ student. I was always one of those kids that people thought was a “straight A” student because…I don’t know. I had both my parents? I wasn’t ever really acting out and I was shy? I don’t know, but it still makes me laugh.

I was a B and C student, average, at best. I never really “succeeded” in school, but from a young age, I remember just not caring. The only reason I found myself wanting to be “better” was because I didn’t want to disappoint someone else.

I was more creatively inclined. I was in band and loved music. I was great at English and Creative Writing, but I sucked at math. There came a time though, when I was in high school that I started to realize…how pointless and dumb some aspects of school were. I liked learning things, but I thought life was a better teacher. Experiences were a better teacher. And I should want to be better for myself, not for everyone else. I needed to break apart from the huge, people-pleasing streak I have in me and start doing things…just for myself.

It’s taken a while to get to this point in my life. Did I get a college degree? No. But am I happy? Yes. I can truly say that I have a job that I love. I am self-employed and own my own petsitting business and not a day feels like work to me.

I guess I just wanted to write an inspirational post today because I thought someone else out there might need to hear it.

Don’t ever feel like you have to live up to a single letter on a page or report card. Don’t ever do something if your heart isn’t in it. And don’t try to better yourself just because you think that will make someone else happy–you have to want it too.

It hasn’t been but in the last 5-6 years that I have started making deliberate choices for myself and I’ve gotta say, it feels good.

Success is measured, often times, by people who believe the letters they are assigned on a piece of paper, the people who fall in line and do as they’re told.

Even though I got B’s and C’s and sevvvvvveral D’s and F’s, I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t let it define me.

I know some might say that I didn’t have “work ethic”, but I do. I just genuinely hated algebra. ๐Ÿ˜‚

If there’s any advice I can give, having been on this earth for 27 years, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff. College doesn’t define you either. Do what you think you were meant to do. The rest will fall into place. โœŒ๐Ÿป

See the World ๐ŸŒŽ

Life, Travel

I think everyone should see the world, while they’re relatively young. I wouldn’t say I’m “young”—I know people who are younger than me who have been many more places, but that is not the point. When you want to see the world, it isn’t a race, it’s a journey.

Over the last few days, we have made so much progress on our trip planning to Italy. ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น It makes me so happy! We’ve figured out places to stay in Venice, Rome, Florence and Lucca. We only have 3 more days to figure out and then the really, really fun things begin—searching and booking tours! โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿคฉ

It is finally starting to feel real to me, that I will soon be walking around Italy, soaking up the history and sights, tasting gelato and pasta, seeing monuments, watching people go by on Vespas and venturing down wandering, winding streets. ๐Ÿ˜

It’s amazing to be able to look back and say, We made this happen. We never gave up.
In
s on how I’ve been packing for this trip (mostly, I’ve been hoarding tiny toiletries and picking out my favorite clothing from my closet…not an easy task) and maybe some other practical tips. Once we’ve gone and come back, I’ll definitely write some travel guides on the individual cities we went to! ๐ŸŒŽ

I can tell you this though—we have a lot in mind that we want to see! Since Venice is the first city we’re going to, we’ll mostly wander and take in the sights and we definitely want to tour Murano and Burano.

In Lucca, we also want to go and see Cinque Terre and Pisa. We want to see the Duomo, Pitti Palace and The Statue of David in Florence. In Rome, we’ll see the Colosseum, of course, The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and more…and on the Amalfi Coast, we’ll check out the beaches and Pompeii, a place that always fascinated me as a kid when I read about it in school.

I can’t wait to do this. ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นโค๏ธ

I’ve been wanting to do something like this as long as I can remember, I just didn’t know how. My mom actually got her passport for the first time for this trip and she is 50.

I am so glad we’re doing this. You have to prioritize what you want out of life. Prioritize isn’t as fun of a word as “Dream”, but it’s so true. Get out there and do what you want TODAY. Make steps towards something and do it. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

| P i c k i n g in C l i n t o n |

Life, thrifting

ย  Today was a fun day. Iโ€™ve been a little emotional amidst all the #metoo stories showing up on social media today, plus sharing my own personal stories of abuse.

It was nice to getaway for a few hours and hang out with my husband, Tim. โค๏ธ


We went to Clinton, Tennessee to look through all the antique stores and also eat at The Apple Blossom Cafe there, which has great food. ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ—


Clinton is such a pretty place. ๐ŸŒน

Tim and I wore our matching leather jackets today. Weโ€™re that couple. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿค— #sorrynotsorry



Iโ€™m going back to petsitting and business mode now, but it was nice to go have some fun for a little while! Iโ€™m looking forward to getting a break this weekend. Weโ€™re also having a cool, Financial Peace Class reunion at our church.

Tim and I took the class back earlier this year, itโ€™s Dave Ramseyโ€™s famous class. I am so excited to share our story with everyone there! That class helped us to save up for our upcoming trip to Italy! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

When it gets closer to the time that we leave, I will definitely do a post on packing for a European trip. I need to research what the weather is going to be like there in March. ๐Ÿค”

Iโ€™m also excited because we have some video gadgets we got for this trip so we can try our hand at some vlogging in conjunction to blogging! ๐Ÿ“ฝ๐ŸŽ‰

I love editing video. Itโ€™s been something Iโ€™ve liked doing since I was a kid and my dad gave me his huge, old, shoulder mounting JVC Camera. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I used to run around the front yard with that thing, making skits with other kids in our neighborhood! Makes me crack up now!

So, I may start practing making some vlogs. If I make any, you all will be the first to know! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

How We Saved For Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น (And How You Can Too!)

being thrifty, Travel

ย  Hey, guys! I have the most exciting news EVER to share with you all!

I’m. Going. To Italy!!! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น ๐ŸŽ‰

Last night, I found the deal of a lifetime on airline tickets and took the plunge. I literally stopped everything I was doing, ran to my grandparents’ house and called everyone together for a conference because I hadn’t seen prices this low since February. Not only is my grandfather Poppy going to go, but my parents are too! This is amazing and something I’ve only dreamed about for so long. When I woke up this morning, I had to remind myself it was all real! I can’t wait! We’ll be going this next year! โœˆ๏ธ๐ŸŒŽ

*Sidenote: If you want to find great deals on tickets, look today before they go back up. The tickets I found were under $1,000 roundtrip, which is absolutely unheard of. Use Skyscanner also, they are great and cross compare every other site so you know you’re getting the very best deal possible. โœ”๏ธ*

Now, I always strive to be upfront with my readers, so I want to share with you how we saved up for this trip. It sounds like a really hard thing to do, but really it just took some perseverance and delayed gratification. Here are my top tips for how to save up for yourย next trip!

1. Spend less on the things that don’t matter so you can spend more on the things that DO matter.

This sounds like it should be common sense, but it is hard to put into practice, at first. A lot of times, I will find myself wanting to buy new clothes, go to an expensive restaurant or just buy something I really don’t need. A thing I started doing a few years ago was stopping for 5 minutes or so and just thinking about what it was I wanted, really long and hard. If it was clothes, I would carry them around as I shopped and ask myself, Is this something I can really see myself getting a lot of wear out of? What are some outfit combinations I could come up with, using this item? Is it something I can wear during different seasons? Can I wait and find this somewhere cheaper?

Usually, I found that after 5 minutes, the loud voice inside me screaming, “I WANT THIS!” would dull and I would realize that wasn’t really what I wanted most in the world. What I wanted was to travel the world.

So, try this sometimes, when you feel like you really, really want something and you may surprise yourself. If you still want whatever it is, you should get it.

2. Thrift, coupon, do whatever it takes.

I have bought clothes secondhand about 90% of the time over the last few years, or gone to places like Marshall’s, Ross or places that have great deals on clothes. I use coupons when we go out to eat, but only if it’s a good deal and something we would have gotten anyway. (Hint: Those $5 off when you spend $30 coupons are not worth your time. ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™„) Sometimes, Tim and I have split meals also to cut costs.

I also buy hygiene and toiletry stuff only when we need it, but we never run out. I’m one of those people who has to have a back up in case we run out. ๐Ÿ˜‚

3. Speaking of doing whatever it takes…

I bought toilet paper at an estate sale once, which might sound weird, but I bought it in May and didn’t have to get anymore until this month. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 32 rolls for $3, ya’ll. WORTH IT.

If you want to travel and take this huge trip you’ve got planned, sometimes you have to do things other people might look at and call crazy. I also have scaled back on the makeup I’ve worn this year. Since I petsit, I rarely see people anyway, so I started wearing less makeup, which meant buying less makeup, which also made my skin so much healthier. I saved so much money that way! ๐Ÿ’ฐ

I also just recently finally caved and bought some new tennis shoes. I needed them, so I could justify the purchase, but I went for several months with a hole in the sole of them and a chunk missing from the heel. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

This is what I mean by delayed gratification. In our world now, you’re told that you have to have everything you want, right then and there, which is not true. If you use willpower, and occasionally do some things other people think are funny, you can definitely have what you want, in time!

4. Drop the car payment.ย 

It seems like everyone and their mother has a car payment, but hear me out on this one.

Tim and I bought our cars used. I know some people can’t resist a shiny, new car, but that is usually anywhere from $100-$300 extra dollars a month that you could otherwise be saving. I bought my car 2 years ago, used. I had it paid off in exactly 1 year. So, for the last few years, we’ve just done routine maintenance on them, but have no car payment each month, which has helped TREMENDOUSLY.

But don’t just stop with the car payment! Take that cell phone bill and chop it in half. I was paying $120 at Verizon just for myself, so I switched to Sprint and now pay only $80. The more you do this and re-evaluate what you’re spending, even if it’s only by $20, the savings will add up each month! ๐ŸŽ‰

5. Re-evaluate your job.

ย This one is tricky, but something you should do. Maybe you work from home, so your costs are low, but maybe sometimes, you might have a long commute to a job you hate anyway and gas money eats into your paycheck. Sit back and be objective.

I had to do this almost a year ago and haven’t looked back since! I was working part time at a bakery, maybe 6 hours a day. ๐Ÿฐ I didn’t like it at all, but I noticed that my petsitting business was taking off like crazy. I did some figuring and realized, if I dropped the part time job at the bakery and went to petsitting fulltime, I could double or even triple what I was making for hardly any extra effort at all!

Sit back and think about these things before you jump, but sometimes, the answer that makes the most sense is right in front of you.

6. Resell items on Etsy, EBay, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

ย This takes a little more discipline, searching and work, but we have made usually on average, an extra $100 a month doing this. You don’t even have to go out and buy things to resell, first look through what you have. What do you not use anymore? Someone out there, most likely, is willing to pay for it and may even need it!

Old clothes, knick knacks, musical instruments, whatever it is, put it out there. We have really enjoyed the Etsyย platform. I go to a lot of estate sales in my free time between petsits, so I find things I think are cool, buy them for cheap, take pictures, and then list them! It’s that easy! Etsy gets your items viewed around the world. We have sent things as far as Norway and France! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ I love thinking about the new homes our things go to!

If online posting isn’t your thing, that’s no excuse—have a yard sale! Do whatever it takes. You also get a nice, clean, more organized house out of it! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

7. Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace.

ย  This is in no way a plug and I am deadย serious. It will cost you $100 up front, but taking his class helped us SO much. It helps you with budgeting, being accountable and just getting you motivated to get out of debt if you are in it, save money even if you aren’t and just handle your finances better.

We were doing great saving before, but I have to say, after taking his class, it kicked us into high gear.

I hope these tips have helped! ๐Ÿ˜„ I want you to know that this is possible for anyone. It has taken us years to get to this point, but you CAN do it. And I know saving and waiting can suck, but there is nothing like the feeling you have when you realize you’ve done something, with no help, by yourself and for yourself! โค๏ธโœŒ๐Ÿปโœˆ๏ธ

P.S. I might drop another post on tips for finding the best airline ticket prices, since I’ve been doing this kind of research for over a year. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Who would like to see a post on that?

Love you guys!