We ordered a taxi for 4:30AM and he was actually there 10 minutes early. The hotel had picked up our bags the night before and brought them downstairs, so we wouldn’t have to bring them down 4 flights of stairs. We kept only what we needed for the night, brought it down with us and packed it in the suitcases. Since we would be leaving too early for breakfast, the hotel packed us a breakfast for our early departure. The clerk took us to the taxi and the driver put our bags in. It was cold and we stayed inside, although it would have been great to stand in the front to see Venice in the early morning. The boat ride was a perfect end to a perfect vacation. The trip took about 20-25 minutes and we were dropped off at a dock. We walked for what seemed forever to get to the check-in desk. We had checked in the night before, which ended up saving us from a huge line at the airport. We showed our boarding passes on the phone and went to another counter clerk to drop our bags, then went through security and to the gate. We boarded for the 6:50AM flight and were delayed leaving, but knew we had a long layover. Frankfurt airport has passport controls all over the airport, so you don’t wait in the long lines that you wait in at Atlanta and most other airports, which is very nice. The fog was terrible in Frankfurt and our plane was delayed 45 minutes taking off, probably because of the fog. It was good to get home to Atlanta. I have Global Entry and we used the Mobile Pass for Shannon. We found it best to go ahead and get my Global Entry pass first, then go to the line for Mobile Pass and then let them have my receipt and scan in the Mobile Pass.
Things I learned – It is best to order train tickets ahead of time, if possible, as it seems that certain times sell out fast. Not sure the extra money for first class is worth it. The My Taxi app is great or one of those apps, but look for a taxi stand first. Getting a European SIM card was a good idea to use apps like Yelp and Around Me to find the closest areas for restaurants, particularly in touristy areas. Probably best to get a hotel that is not too close to a tourist attraction, as fighting our way through a crowd at the end of the day is not fun. Having a hotel at the end of a long trip makes sense, as they usually supply a pretty good breakfast. I don’t think there is a need to order water every time you go to a restaurant. It makes people mad to pay 5-6 euros for tap water or bottled water and if you are drinking something else anyway, there is no need to order water. Just keep a bottle of water with you all the times. Find a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee and try to use it exclusively. For the Vatican and Coloseum, the “skip the line” ticket is probably worth it, but probably not much of anything else.