“I would love to help, but …”

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It is easy to mistake the role of a travel writer, like me, with that of a tour guide/trip planner. However, in my case, I offer more than museum tickets prices and open hours. My suggestions and opinions for itineraries through Italy are open to everyone.

It is important to realize that I may not be able to handle certain aspects of your trip as a tour guide.

Many of the questions I receive from readers are beyond my scope. I truly want to help. It is not helpful to explain why I won’t cover a topic repeatedly. This takes away time that I could have spent writing articles or books. Not to mention the fact there are many other services or people who can handle specific travel tasks very well. It’s not worth trying to recreate the wheel. I want my energy and time to be focused on what I do best.

That’s how I believe I can best help you.

I want to tell you a little bit about why I chose to leave out some very important parts of a trip and point you to resources that can help. I hope you all get my point. Please let me know if I have missed anything.

Why I don’t recommend hotels

I don’t reside in Italy and it would be very difficult to keep up with all the changes in lodging across the country. Aside from that, every person’s definition of “good” hotels is different. I would not presume to know which one is best for each traveler.

Instead, I offer you:

Instead of giving tips based upon places I stayed years back (or which I have only heard about but never visited), I will do things like:

I like to provide you with the tools that you need to find the right lodging for you and your budget. I have never met an outstanding hotel or B&B, but I can help you find it.

Why I don’t recommend restaurants

The restaurant scene is more volatile than the accommodation landscape. It seems like there are more established favorites in Italian cities than there are in the US, but there are also exceptional newcomers popping up all of the time. I don’t live where I can keep up.

The amount of emphasis that different travelers place upon food can vary widely. Although I would rather spend money on great food than on shopping sprees, my definition of “splurgeing” doesn’t apply to all travelers. Some people wouldn’t even consider crossing the street to get a “great meal”, let alone across the globe. It’s impossible for me to keep up with all the dining options and still be sane.

Instead, I offer you:

Instead of sending you to a place I once visited that may not be available (or be as good) as it was then, I’ll send you to: I will do the following:

Based on the information you have gained from these pages about Italian cuisine, I want you choose a restaurant that appeals to you.

Why I don’t do trip planning

I am a writer. I am not a tour guide. I have never been a tour guide.

I know friends who are great at trip planning. I admire them for their efforts. But…

Instead, I offer you:

When I am asked to help someone choose between cities A,B,and C, narrow down their choices for an itinerary or choose between different train tracks, or other details that are really important for a trip, I share what I have written about how you can plan an Italy itinerary.

Although I may make suggestions from time to time, I prefer that you take control of your trip. If you leave the decision-making up to others, you won’t be able to do it with 100% passion.

Have I lost you?

There is no one travel guide that’s right for everyone. These things are essential and I know that I will lose some readers if I don’t provide them. That’s okay – I’m not a travel agent or trip planner.

If you are a bit of an amateur and like to research, but just need some insight into Italian culture, then look no further. As I have said, I am your travel cheerleader and resourceful. You will have an amazing time in Italy. I hope you can travel confidently and spend less time confused as you’ve learned valuable tips before.

If I can help your achieve this, then I have done my job. You also have.

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6 Responses to “I’d love help, but …”””

  • FrancCAR says:

    It’s good for you to limit what you write and what requests are too excessive from people who don’t really want to explore. But it is important that you have all the details. That’s where the fun is!

    I hope this doesn’t lead to negative backlash. Although it is a little negative, the message is very well said. I’m reasonably fluent in Italian and have visited Italy 20 times for business, family visits, or hiking tours/hiking. However, I don’t like it when friends ask me to plan the trip, or act as an interpreter or guide. While my language skills are sufficient for me and my spouse, I don’t want to be held responsible for the quirks of others.

    • Jess has the following:

      Thank you for affirming! I didn’t intend to make this negative. I was trying my best to do something that I should have done earlier – clearly define the boundaries of what I do or don’t do. It’s a joy to help people plan trips to Italy. This is the same advice that I would give to my friends. While I won’t help them plan their trip, I will assist them in finding all the information they need.

  • You haven’t lost my mind at all, Your site and books are full of great information, including explanations and tips. This is for DIY travelers and anyone who wants to learn more about Italy. Many trip planners charge fees for certain services, and they have relationships with restaurants, hotels, etc. so that they can make money off their specific advice.

    • Jess has the following:

      Karen, thank you for your kind words! Karen, I have affiliate links and advertising. I am not just doing this for fun. But I make sure it is clear when the links are to affiliates. It doesn’t cost any more for the customer to book a train or tour through my links than to book directly.

  • Lindaj says:

    We appreciate all of your assistance.

    I found your information very helpful and have used it as a resource ….