We all like to take holidays and each of us goes away for his or her own reasons to the many corners of the world. Since I have been working in the travel industry, mainly here in Italy with a little of Portugal thrown in for the last 2.5 years I thought I would share some of my travel tips:
1) THE TOURIST TAN
Even though you may have translucent white skin, don't worry about packing suncream as there is nothing better then returning home looking like a bright red lobster to make your work colleagues jealous!
2) FITTING IN
Don't you love coming on holiday and trying to blend in with the locals? The Italian's are famous after all for their exquisite style, so (in particular if you go to a beach side resort like Taormina) make sure you pick up one of the 'mafia' hats. The white ones are particularly popular...that way you'll blend right -in...
3) ASK INTERESTING TOURIST QUESTIONS
Whilst we are on the topic of the mafia, feel free to ask locals you meet in Sicily - or in Italy - if they are members of the mafia. No really they won't get offended. If they push you out of their shop with a disgusted grunt it means they are just closing for lunch time!
4)TAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN
Money, traveller's cheques and credit cards - take them all and make sure you have them all on you at all times. It is dangerous to leave your personal belongs in the hotel safe. It is better to come and share your wealth with the local zingari or gypsies.
5) ALWAYS LEAVE A TIP
Don't worry about tipping the restaurant or hotel staff etc... who are legally allowed to work here as they only spend their hard earned cash to pay incredibly high rent.
Rather give all your spare change to the sweet, gold tooth gypsy children who you see playing 'chasy' with the tourists, the old men with missing legs who sit by the ATM cash points with photo's of how they once looked, the women in their colourful and dirty skirts who hang around the main train stations and tourist points, the young mothers on the train who screech at the top of their lungs about how poor they are whilst clutching a filth ridden baby with one arm and an old McDonalds cup with the other, the buskers who play the violin very poorly, the women who drug their children to make them look innocent, the young footless boy who goes around on the skateboard, the old women who has the bloody head, yes....them... Give all your spare money to them as this will make sure they stay in Italy for ever...and ever...and ever....they don't pay rent, but rather they set up illegal camps all over the place, so please - give all the money to them as you know life in Italy would not be the same if we did not have to keep a firm grip on our hand bags.