During our last trip to Italy, we got by just fine with the bare minimum Italian basics required to make small talk. A kind buongiorno to a shop owner, or a grazie to a waiter made us feel good.
Next time, however, we want to go with a little more Italiano in our back pocket. We made a pact that we would learn more before our next trip. As a result, we bought a language course and decided we would crush it.
We did our research, and chose Pimsleur. They offer compact, 30 minute lessons -- just long enough for us to complete a lesson before dinner, without losing our focus :) We've been happy so far after just a few lessons.
We have tried other language learning tools in the past, including Duolingo, but found the course wasn't exactly geared toward travelers. We could tell you about cats drinking milk in Italian, but I'm not sure that's a phrase I've ever reached for, especially while traveling.
Within our first lesson with Pimsleur, we were already learning phrases we may be able to use while in Italy, including greetings and asking for directions. Here's to our next adventure!