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Old 10-13-2007, 10:08 AM   #1
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More Questions - Viva Italia

I'm booking the Viva Italia trip for September 11, 2008 on DVC points. While I am sitting here waiting for Member Services to open, I thought I would jump on the boards to ask a few questions about ABD and traveling to Italy. Here goes:

1. Since you end up in Venice, what did you do about air flight? We are using DVC points and will probably need to book our own. Should we take a train back to Rome or would it be cheaper to just fly out from Venice? What about renting a car and driving to Rome? Any thoughts? Do you need an international driver's license?

2. What did you do about trip insurance? Did anyone buy theirs on their own? If there are any DVC members out there that used points, how did you handle the insurance?

3. How much extra did you spend besides the flight? How much do you think is needed in cash? Did you convert it before leaving? We like to charge about everything we can, but I am wondering if this will still give us a good exchange rate.

4. Any suggestions on learning Italian?

I'm sure I will think of a million more. But thanks for the start.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva View Post
I'm booking the Viva Italia trip for September 11, 2008 on DVC points. While I am sitting here waiting for Member Services to open, I thought I would jump on the boards to ask a few questions about ABD and traveling to Italy. Here goes:

1. Since you end up in Venice, what did you do about air flight? We are using DVC points and will probably need to book our own. Should we take a train back to Rome or would it be cheaper to just fly out from Venice? What about renting a car and driving to Rome? Any thoughts? Do you need an international driver's license?

2. What did you do about trip insurance? Did anyone buy theirs on their own? If there are any DVC members out there that used points, how did you handle the insurance?

3. How much extra did you spend besides the flight? How much do you think is needed in cash? Did you convert it before leaving? We like to charge about everything we can, but I am wondering if this will still give us a good exchange rate.

4. Any suggestions on learning Italian?

I'm sure I will think of a million more. But thanks for the start.
We're looking at Viva Italia and would use points for some. You book the trip and insurance through DVC, then they give the reservations to ABD.

I looked at flight options on Orbitz and Expedia. You can put in the dates and cities you are interested in and see the rates and various flight options. You can even book on their website! (Venice airport code is VCE, Rome's is FCO.) We would use some Delta miles too, and Delta has the same feature on their website. I was surprised to learn that in our situation it only cost $100 more per paid fare to arrive in Rome leave from Venice. That is actually a better option for us, because we were going to spend more getting back to Rome.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:50 AM   #3
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We're looking at Viva Italia and would use points for some. You book the trip and insurance through DVC, then they give the reservations to ABD.

I looked at flight options on Orbitz and Expedia. You can put in the dates and cities you are interested in and see the rates and various flight options. You can even book on their website! (Venice airport code is VCE, Rome's is FCO.) We would use some Delta miles too, and Delta has the same feature on their website. I was surprised to learn that in our situation it only cost $100 more per paid fare to arrive in Rome leave from Venice. That is actually a better option for us, because we were going to spend more getting back to Rome.
If you purchase the insurance through DVC, does it include all the same coverage you would get through ABD? I am just concerned that it just covers the points for $5 each like the insurance DVC normally sells for a trip to WDW. Does it include medical and flight coverage? I guess I will probably need to call them to get all the facts on this.

I'll have to wait a bit to check flights. Expedia doesn't have our dates available to check yet. It is good to know that it might only be an extra $100 to fly out of Venice.

Thanks for the quick response! I'm calling MS as I type.
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:46 PM   #4
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Yikes! Early booking is filled for the Viva Italia on September 11th. I will have to talk with DH to see if it is ok to switch to the 14th. I even asked about a number of other adult only trips. Most of the value season ones do not have anymore early booking available. I will have to be quicker next time.
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Old 10-14-2007, 01:56 PM   #5
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We went on the trip 30 September 2007. It is best to search for flights on a Monday or Tuesday. Try to avoid the weekend, as they anticipate more people trying to leave or just have the time to look. We flew into Rome and left Venice. I had to call the airlines directly, because flying in was not a problem, leaving they only had a 20 hour flight and that was just not going to do. I ended up having us stay one extra night in Venice and saved about 2,000 on my flight. I worked with AAA and I was able to get the Disney rate on the hotel. It was just added to my balance for the whole trip @ 400.00 US dollars. Considering that it is about 800 Euro a night, I thought that was a good deal.
The airport in Venice was also much easier to navigate. It is much smaller. We left via Rome in 2006 and it is a goliath.
Also, watch the exchange rate. We had already purchased all of our Euro's before we went. The dollar lost a lot of strength when we were in Italy. I had originally bought mine at 1.25 per Euro, it went to 1.46 per Euro when we were there. The merchants in Italy prefer Cash, not Credit. They may have the sticker on the window, but they will say that it is broken. Bring the Cash, don't depend on using a credit card.
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:18 PM   #6
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Our Angel, thanks for the info. I guess Italy is quite a bit different than Germany. We never had any trouble using our Visa card in most of the stores and larger restaurants. Of course the smaller places sometimes didn't take it at all. A lot depended also on the size of city or town you were in. We will be sure to exchange some money before we leave and then take travelers checks to exchange as needed.

Thanks also for the flight information. I am having a tough time trying to decide whether to have ABD book it for me. It sounds like they will take care of the changes and extra costs if the flights need to be rescheduled due to ABD making changes to the trip dates, but only if you book with them. Has anyone found that to be true? But I am also afraid that they will schedule the worst times and connections. I know that DCL has a tendency to do that. Maybe I should just book myself and add a Flight Protection Policy with Travel Guard.

If anyone is interested, I did get my insurance for the trip when I booked. If you book through DVC, it is a bit of a hassle. You have to call Travel Guard within 24 hours to insure your points. It cost $196.73 to insure 764 points. I also took out medical insurance. You have to do this on a separate policy. The cost was $3.65 per person per day. If I want to insure the flights, I have to call their retail department at a different number after I purchase them.

Thanks for any help or advice.
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Old 10-14-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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No advice here, I'm watching this closely myself...
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Old 10-14-2007, 06:04 PM   #8
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Oh, another word of warning to those that are looking to book for next year. If you are intending to use the early booking discount, I wouldn't wait too long. A number of dates and trips for next fall no longer have early booking available. I have no idea what spring and summer look like. I felt a bit put off because the DVC chart said 6 months to book with early booking. That is only partly true. Once they reach a certain number booked, the early booking discount goes away.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:56 PM   #9
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The only time we ever had any trouble using a credit card in Italy was when buying somethjing inexpensive.

You will want to have euros in your pocket for things like bottled water or the great magnet you find in a small store.

I would reccommend finding which of your credit cards offers the best protection when traveling (for example...replacing a lost card quickly). I would also find out which one offers the best protection when buying thing overseas. You might want to purchase things that will necessitate shipping it home and you will want the credit card company to protect you should the item not arrive.

We shipped several things and had no trouble at all and we used Amex throughout Italy without incident.

A final tip would be to notify all of the companies you think you might be using that you will be traveling and where. We traveled with folks that had their card declined and it was because they hadnt notified the right folks.

My final piece of advice would be to do your homework and book your own airfare.

Also, where you might try to make a tight connection in the US....leave ample time when traveling back from Italy...especially if you are considering Alitalia.

Kevin
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:01 PM   #10
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I agree with Disney Kevin.
Most of my major purchases were shipped and used the credit card. Small items i used cash. Hi Kevin! I really enjoyed this trip!
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:47 PM   #11
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It looks as if we are going on the same trip to Italy. I was able to book the 9/14 trip with the early booking discount. I too purchased the insurance from Travelguard for my points, but I believe I will be using another company to cover my airfare and medical costs. It is called Travelex-Insurance. They seem to have better coverage than Travelguard. I also used them in the past and I did not have any issues. Hope this helps!
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Old 11-24-2007, 02:21 PM   #12
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The only direct flight that we saw from Venice to the US was a Delta flight to Atlanta. But there were many flights to all the bigger airports in Europe. A train to Rome would have to take at least 3 to 4 hours.

The only time you will need cash on the Viva Italia trip is to "haggling" with the merchants in Florence. They prefer cash and you will get better deals. You will also need cash to tip the ABD guides.

Everyone speaks English. The only Italian you will need is for courtesy.

Besides DVC insurance, we also bought trip insurance through the airline.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:35 AM   #13
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It looks as if we are going on the same trip to Italy. I was able to book the 9/14 trip with the early booking discount. I too purchased the insurance from Travelguard for my points, but I believe I will be using another company to cover my airfare and medical costs. It is called Travelex-Insurance. They seem to have better coverage than Travelguard. I also used them in the past and I did not have any issues. Hope this helps!
Glad to see a DIS member is going on the same trip and a DVC member to boot! Who is going with you? Are you bringing any children? Did you pay for everyone with points? Thanks for the insurance heads up. I used Travelguard for the points and basic trip insurance. I also purchased medical through them. I'm not sure if I will use them to insure the flight. I may look around for that.

Only 9 1/2 months to go!
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:56 PM   #14
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My mother and I are on the trip together. I did use points to purchase the trip. I have an addiction to DVC points. The prospect of this trip actually helped me to decide to purchase more points. I LOVE DVC!!
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Old 11-29-2007, 07:34 AM   #15
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My mother and I are on the trip together. I did use points to purchase the trip. I have an addiction to DVC points. The prospect of this trip actually helped me to decide to purchase more points. I LOVE DVC!!
Same here! I was dying to buy an add on at AKV. But it was tough to justify having so many points, when it is just DH and me. We do take extended family, grown daughters, and grandkids off and on. But it was still hard to justify 150 more points. Then DH saw ABD and that sealed the deal. We plan to take an ABD trip every two or three years using points. Mix that with DCL and WDW, and I think that will satify our vacation needs for a long time.
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