Hack: Traveling the Amalfi Coast as a Family (Without Going Crazy!)
Let me start by saying this: I love all my family so much. But we often argue on vacations. Yes, we are all adults here. But since my brother and I moved out (and honestly, even before that because who am I kidding), family vacations can quickly become deep-seated arguments if we’re not careful.
It’s the last the leg of the trip. The food is different here, the transport is difficult, and the family seems impossible right about now. This is the least amount of sleep you’ve gotten in two months. You’re on vacation but feel like you need another one just for recovery.
It happens to the best of us. All the positive thinking and Instagram-worthy views in the world can’t account for the last few days of a family vacation. Add the not pictured: narrow streets overcrowded with tourists to the mix and it’ll certainly feel like you’ve reached the breaking point.
That being said, our recent trip to the Amalfi Coast went off without a hitch— which is pretty substantial when you consider the number of cities where it did not go off without a hitch. I have compiled a few of the most essential tips for traveling the Amalfi Coast, as I see best fit for a family vacation without tantrums. I won’t be able to solve any family drama here— I’m no Dr. Phil— but removing extra-stressful traveling factors always puts my family in a better mood!
Here are some of my best pieces of advice after a successful trip to the Amalfi Coast with my family:
1) Location, Location, Location
If a little bit of extra travel time (taxi, walking, etc.) is no big thing, try a home rental company for more lodging options at a better price point for families. In our travels to Amalfi, we opted for a rental apartment in Sorrento, which had the added bonus of host recommendations. Staying in Sorrento as opposed to Amalfi allowed for less stairs and smaller crowds, with a new downtown area to explore. Sorrento also happens to have better public transport options including a train station (the Circumvesuviana). The Amalfi Coast, it bears noting, has no train station, complicating travel plans.
Due to the nature of the Amalfi Coast, staying on the coast is not only pricey, but isolating—trips to the surrounding area (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples) become very expensive headaches with the transportation, distance and time.
Of course, for a quaint, higher-end option, a villa provides a serene setting, authentic recommendations and personal attention. Choosing a villa, apartment or hotel in Sorrento will most likely be a higher quality experience for a lower price than a place on the Amalfi Coast.
2) Make a Bucket List
And then leave some things for next time.
You don’t need to spend hours researching or even clearly define a plan for your family vacation to the Amalfi Coast (we certainly didn’t), but it helps to have a general idea of the places worth seeing.
My brother wanted so badly to kick back, relax and swim in Amalfi. Of course, there is only so much time in a day, and with so many crevices to discover along the coast, we had to cut this—much to his dismay.
On the other hand, we had every intention to visit Pompeii. Now, I am not discounting Pompeii here—definitely go see it if you like that—but keep mind this is a dusty, vast archeological site, likely with scorching temperatures (if it’s a summer day) and no shade. If going to Pompeii is a checklist item and not a we-love-archeology-and-want-to-be-here item, prepare for some tired eyes, some complaining and most likely some snapping. My family made the happy choice of staying in Sorrento instead; we enjoyed a family dinner and stroll, completely argument free. You can’t beat that.
Nonetheless, think about what appeals to your family before hitting the Coast—and make the vacation work around that.
3) Hire Some Helping Hands
Hire a private driver. If you can, you really should. Like, really should.
The narrow Amalfi streets coupled with the summer heat can be overwhelming (and irritating). Hiring a driving company, known locally as an NCC, takes away the stress of public transportation, crowds, lack of AC and lack of direction. Not to mention, the taxis in town are insanely overpriced; so if a public bus winding down SS163 on the way back feels uninspiring, bear in mind that a taxi will end up costing a fair amount of money.
For our family, the trip to the Amalfi Coast was actually the least stressful part of the trip, largely because of this route. All we had to was walk downstairs to meet the driver, and he was ready to show us Amalfi. No muss, no fuss, no embarrassing family spats in the middle of Italy.
A note: We adjusted quickly to the Italian lifestyle and left a few travel days open; if you can do this without stressing to the max, I highly recommend it! Some of the best places we found were through recommendations once we landed in Italy.
4) Hire A Private Chef
What’s better than trying find a gourmet restaurant? Hiring a gourmet chef.
Guaranteed mouth-watering food, a secluded villa and a beautiful view of the Amalfi Coast make for an authentic, indulgent Italian culinary experience. Take away the travelling pains by investing in private chef services. It’s hard to be tense with a chef catering to your family’s needs. When in Rome…
5) Enjoy the Views!
Lastly, this may be a silly, but very real tip if your family is anything like mine: enjoy the moment! You are in the Amalfi coast! This is a once in a lifetime experience so to all my family travelers—the youngest, the oldest, mom, dad—put aside the annoyances and use these helpful tips to make your vacation to the Amalfi Coast your favorite part of Italy.
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