The Experts: Ally Esposito
Updated: May 25, 2020
In my second semester of school in Florence, I got assigned a different apartment with new roommates from the summer program. Our apartment held 8 girls, and Ally was one of them! She had studied in Florence before, so it was nice to have someone around that knew all of the cool places to go to that I hadn't visited yet. Ally is ridiculously social, she could make friends with strangers in a matter of minutes. She also managed to fit what seemed like months worth of adorable outfits in a couple of suitcases but was an expert shopper so she usually wore new stuff anyway. There was one night that I didn't feel like going out (Ally never had those nights) and she talked me into going with her so she wouldn't be alone with strangers. That night ended up being one of the most memorable nights of my life... we befriended some Italians who drove us through the hills of Tuscany at 4 in the morning and I distinctly remember looking out the window and when the song "Tiny Dancer" came on the radio. It was the most surreal, perfect moment, and that song is forever associated with it. In hindsight, we probably shouldn't have trusted strangers like that... but here we are. Although I haven't seen Ally since our time in Florence together, I still live vicariously through her social media as she's jumped from Georgia, to Chicago, and now Australia! She's got some great tips for traveling, so please enjoy our Q/A below:
Q: Tell me about your background in travel and what you are currently doing
A: My parents absolutely loved to travel and would take my brothers and me on trips every year when we were younger. We started traveling internationally as we got into middle school and I remember absolutely loving it. Ever since my first trip to Europe, I developed a travel bug and knew I wanted to visit as many countries and experience as many cultures as possible. I am currently living abroad in Sydney, Australia.
Q: How many countries have you been to?
A: I have been to 21 countries.
Q: What are your top 5 favorite places you have been to?
A: -Florence, Italy
-Whitsunday Islands, Australia
-Queenstown, New Zealand
-Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Q: What are your top pieces of advice for traveling?
A: My advice would be to always stay open-minded and to have knowledge and respect for the culture of the country you’re visiting. Before I travel, I always like to do my research as well. I like to have some things that are must-sees and dos, but have a lot of flexibility so you’re not tied down to a set schedule. My favorite memories are always things that are unexpected. Also: save up your money!! Having to say no to something all of your travel companions are doing because you didn’t save enough is always the worst feeling.
Q: What are your travel essentials?
A: -Versatile clothing + layers. You never know what unexpected weather might bring so have layering options. You don’t want to jam-pack your suitcase with clothing so bring items you can mix & match and it leaves room for anything you might pick up along the way!
-Comfy, stylish sneakers! I love my white high-top converse because they go with everything and are super comfortable for all-day walking.
-Bag that is hard to break into. I’ve learned the hard way with getting things stolen out of my bag in Europe. Bring a cute crossbody or backpack with a key so you can keep your important, personal items close by and not worth about being pickpocketed.
-Medicine. Never forget your prescriptions because most countries do not have the same medicine as the United States. Also, bring things like Dramamine for boat rides or hay fever pills if you get attacked by bugs.
-Other random must-haves for me: portable charger, face moisturizer with SPF, bug spray, flip flops, travel pillow, reusable filtered water bottle, camera, cheap sunglasses, denim jacket, bathing suit, extra undies!!
Q: Worst travel experience?
A: I haven’t had any absolutely terrible travel experiences but I have had some hiccups. I’ve had Airbnb’s with mold, hostels with spiders, lost luggage, Uber drivers taking wrong routes, lost friends, stolen iPhones, missed flights, etc etc. My last piece of advice: try not to travel hungover because there is nothing worse than traveling with a massive headache, dehydration and no sleep - that is when I seem to have the worse travel experiences.
Check out her instagram here and her blog below!