Early arrival to Rome, 7:30am!!!

Greetings forum fans: My husband & I will be arriving into Rome (from Florida, USA) at the ungodly hour of 7:30am-any tips on how to deal with jet lag? We are in Rome for 3 nights. Counting on hotel holding our bags until check-in-any tips on what we can do our first day-from say 9:30 am until hotel check-in that won't be too taxing? Our hotel is 10 minutes from Spanish steps. Thinking of Colosseum tours the next day & Vatican tour the day after. It is our first time in Rome/Italy Thanks

Posted by John
Van Nuys, CA, USA
255 posts

Since you are coming from FL the time difference is only 6 hours. If you wake up and go to bed an hour earlier for 3 nites, then 2 hours earlier for 3 nites, etc. then you can time shift 3 or 4 hours without too much trouble. At that point its just like a flight from the west to east coast of the USA; noticeable but not too big a deal. Or don't and just suck it up when you arrive. One other tip to get over jetlag is to get outside and don't wear sunglasses; light gives your body cues via your eyes that helps reset your internal clock, and sunglasses block the spectrum that does this. Our experience is that arrival goes pretty quickly in Rome. If you don't have checked bags you can be out of the airport in 10-15 minutes easy. We like to take the Leonardo train from the airport to downtown. Its easy to do and they depart 2x an hour; don't forget to validate your train ticket before boarding (you stamp it like a timecard, just watch and you'll see others doing it). If you don't have euros with you then you can pay with a US credit card at the booth upstairs by the tracks; usually not much of a line there. The vending machines selling tickets may not work with US credit cards since they aren't chip&pin. Lastly we like to map out the directions to the hotel in advance, especially given we're tired after the flight. With google maps you can print out walking directions from Roma Termini to your hotel (assuming your a RS type traveler and have just a single bag). Its only a mile, easily walkable, to the Spanish steps. Or you can take a taxi if that's easier.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

I was 30 at the time and didn't care if I slept Exactly. My motto then and even up until fairly recently has been 'Sleep when you're dead'. If medical Residents can work 36-hr. shifts, I can certainly push through a bit of jetlag. Gets harder as I age, but the will is still there.

Posted by Rose
922 posts

Ditch your baggage and head for the nearest caffè, down a couple shots of espresso and a cornetto to fuel your engines and Rome will be your oyster till Noon-ish, when it will be time to find a trattoria for lunch with wine. :) Personally, I wouldn't try to 'do' a big tourist site that first morning because the crowds and heat would wear me down quickly. I would spend the morning walking and getting a feeling for the city, wandering and discovering. I might go to the top of the Vittorio Emmanuele Monument for the fabulous view and because there's an elevator (for a fee). Rick describes in his Rome guidebook how to access the elevator, and we had a salad and pannini lunch at the pleasant restaurant there because it happened to be convenient and our feet were sore.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12706 posts

First, go directly to the hotel and check in. As you estimated, it will take close to two hours to clear immigration and take a taxi to hotel. We have almost always been able to get into the room unless it is peak travel time. Even if you cannot get into your room, they will store you luggage. From a jet lag standpoint, we will mostly walk around visiting various site as kind of a scouting mission to see what is available around the hotel but important to stay in the sun and moving. The Pantheon, fountain, and the S Steps would be good sites to visit as they are close together, near your hotel, outdoor sites, and quick hits. Avoid coffee. Have a light lunch, maybe with a little wine, and return to hotel around 2 or so. Room should be available. We do best if we take a nap of NO MORE than two hours from 2 to 4, 3 to 5. We generally wake up on our own after an hour and half or so but set an alarm. Freshen up and back on the street. Will have dinner around 7 or so. Some restaurants do not open till after 7. Then to bed around 9 or so. Pretty good shape the next day. We have tried the gut it out and stay awake all day. Doesn't work for us. Different approaches for different people. No one way is correct. It is what works for you.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
770 posts

I'm one who guts it out and does not take a nap. If I did, I would not be able to wake up in a couple hours. I do the walking around, find a small market to buy some fruit and water, etc. I plan a couple small sites that don't take much energy or "thinking". Then after light lunch and or light dinner ... I stay up until about 9:00PM and then turn in. This helps me fight the jet lag. My first day in Rome (I was staying near Termini area) I walked to the "wedding cake" monument (Victor Emmanuel Monument), took the elevator to the top and had wonderful views of all of Rome. This helped me orient to where I was in relation
to most of Rome.

Posted by maggie
St Louis
406 posts

We've done it both ways, pushing through and staying up until 9 and taking a short nap. Both seem to work, though it's important to keep the nap short.
It also depends on if you get any sleep on the plane. Drop off your bags and spend the morning wandering from the Spanish Steps, to Trevi, on to the Pantheon Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and San Luigi Francesco then over to Piazza Navonna. If you're feeling decadent touristy splurge on an overpriced lunch in one of the cafe's along the piazza or else start ambling back toward your hotel and find an interesting place for lunch. Check in chillax for a bit, maybe a short nap, then hit the showers and hit the streets again. Maybe the Victor Emannual. You can take the number 8 tram from the Victor Emanual to Trasevere to find somewhere interesting for and early dinner. Maybe go to Santa Maria in Trastevere to see the wonderful artwork and mosaics swing by Blue Ice for a great gelato then head back to the hotel.

Posted by Steve
South Portland, ME, USA
76 posts

For us, we do well without taking a nap, but we're usually lights out by about 8:00PM. Our first day in a European city (this case, Rome) we line up attractions that don't close (piazzas, Spanish Steps, wander the streets) or that don't require reservations or waiting lines (Pantheon, Victor Emanuel monument). We have a big lunch with plenty of wine and a light dinner, and that all works pretty well for us. Enjoy your trip.

Posted by Robert
Tampa, FL, USA
636 posts

One thing i've learned from Rick is JetLag hates sunshine. Agree with everyone else above, get out and walk around to the sights like Spanish Steps, Trevi, Pantheon and the rest. if you have Rick's Book, you can do one of this Rome walks that goes to all those sights above.

Posted by Holly
Winter Springs, FL, United States
35 posts

Thanks guys! I can always count on this forum for great advice/tips. Unfortunately, I am not one that can sleep well on the plane(I am 50 yrs not college age lol). Any thoughts to taking a valium or ambien on the Atlanta-Rome flight?

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12706 posts

To effectively battle jet lag, you need a total plan. I didn't go into our jet lag routine detail in my earlier post because it is somewhat complicated but it works very well for us. Going from Denver we need to shift about 8 hours. We are in our late 60s, retired, so it works for us. You can sleep on the plane if you are tired enough. In summary, we time shift three to four hours during the two weeks prior to leaving. On day of departure we function on the time of the arrival city which means getting up around 3/4am Denver time, meals on European time, and arrive at airport early with sit down meal at one of the better airport restaurants. With a 7/8pm departure we are will past our European bed time. Thirty minutes after wheels up, we are settled in, ear plugs in, shoes off, eye shades on, (I do use an over-the-counter sleeping pill, wife does not) ignore all plane activity and sleep the best we can. We do participate in the wake up and light breakfast served prior to landing, fresh up the best we can in the hour prior to landing. Hit the ground running. Sometimes we are a little off the first day but by second day completely adjusted. PM if you have other questions.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
5687 posts

If you don't normally take ambien or something similar, this might not be the time to start. I go along with dropping your bags at the hotel, maybe your room might even be available. Find a cafe, have coffee or juice and a light breakfast, then just amble around your neighborhood. After lunch and a little rest, you can do more serious sightseeing. I think going to the top of the Vittorio Emmanuele monument is a great idea, and you can get a reasonably proced light lunch, with or without alcohol. Sun is good but shade and lots of water works better for me.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
813 posts

Any thoughts to taking a valium or ambien on the Atlanta-Rome flight? A big N-O. Bad idea. Do you want to screw yourself up even more? When you get there just down a strong doppio espresso (and another one a few hours later) and keep going. Caffeine isn't great in large quantities, but it's healthier/safer than sleeping pills. Try to sleep at a regular local time, although it may be early on the first night. Also, getting into the city at 7:30am is a good thing. You'll get there before the bustle of the streets and the sunlight. The excitement of a new city and the adrenaline will work in your favor in combating jetlag. When I went to Rome, I arrived in the early AM and walked all day in a daze - but it was still great...it felt like a dream. I ended up back at the hotel at 2:30am after a very late dinner, drinks, etc - yes, those were the days! I was 30 at the time and didn't care if I slept :-)

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
5412 posts

Avoid indoor dark environments or u Will crash. Light regulates your body internal clock. Therefore the first day devote it to outdoor sunny places (e.g. Colosseum, palatine, Forum, etc.). Have dinner early (which in Rome is likely not so early) and go to sleep early to get ready for the next day visiting.