Posted by: AmbleAlong | December 12, 2011

Insider Travel Tip: Rule of Three

I am certain that many of you will recall the “Rule of Three” used in writing.  In it, the principle suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. I find the Rule of Three applies equally well to travel.

When planning to travel, especially if you are starting well in advance of a trip, it is easy to get caught up in trying to go everywhere and see everything.  (For example, should you attempt to fit in all museums in the Sixth Arrondissement in Paris in a single day, you would be talking about ten museums in less than a square mile of real estate!)  Also if you start making lists and then sublists to the original lists for your trip, you might already know what I mean. 

Another caveat is to try and see too many cities on your trip. Let’s say you have ten days for your European vacation.  The first and last days are likely taken up with air travel, so you are immediately down by 20% – just eight days remain.  You decide one city for every two days sounds good, so you look for four cities in one country that are of interest.  Let’s select Rome, Venice, Sorrento, and Florence, all in Italy. 

In theory, this makes a lot of sense.  In practice, this is in no way a workable scenario.  First of all, Rome is in the heart of Italy and with Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport being a primary airport, it is certainly perfect as the “base” from which to arrive and depart from on your Italian adventure.  The next issue gets at the crux of trying to pack too much in – all three of the other cities are different directions from Rome!

It works so much better to try and plan three things per day or three cities for the entire trip, so maybe we alter the grand plan and decide to fit in Florence, Rome, and the Vatican City.  This is a plan that can absolutely happen, and it will put you in northwest Italy for a few days with the remainder of your time in and around Rome! 

Our three things in each city could have some overlap, but let me make a few suggestions:

  • In Florence, I would offer the Uffizi Gallery and the Gallerie dell’Accademia as being first-rate museums that deserve a look, and a visit to the Ponte Vecchio (oldest bridge over the Arno River) has amazing shopping and an awesome vantage point. 
  • For Rome, the Roman Colosseum is impressive and a “must see”, Piazza Navona features tons of local art and activity, and the Trevi Fountain (where you can toss a coin over your shoulder and make a wish to return!) has charm. 
  • The Vatican City boasts the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica (step inside for real inspiration and if you are adventurous, climb the cupola), the Sistine Chapel (seeing this ceiling is like viewing no other work of art), and if you are there on the right day, take in an audience with the Pope on St. Peter’s Piazza (if it is not an audience day, the changing of the Swiss guards in the piazza is unique).

Hopefully you can see through this illustration how whittling down your list of cities and places to go will not make you feel cheated but rather create an enriched vacation.  You will get to see a lot of great things and also experience them.   Oh, and never forget your camera!

Happy traveling!




  1. I liked this post! A lot of people over schedule their vactions. I like to take three places I really want to see and then leave time for unexpected surprises. Along the way, it is possible to discover a place only the locals go which is much more relaxed and you get a better feel of how the country really is.

    Please keep the great tips coming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: