Ah Italy: the land of the Romans, Sicilians and Venetians. This is one European country history can never ignore. From the tales of the gladiators to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and Augustus Cesare. What of pasta and the rich, varied and flavored wine? Visit Italy and take a trip back in time while still enjoying the comforts of modern living. Best of all, it need not be expensive. If you need to travel to this country on a budget no worries. We have done the research for you so read on for 7 ways you can travel Italy on a budget.
1. Getting There For Less
If you are traveling from within Europe your options on getting there are by air, train or bus. Airline flights are generally cheaper during the week than weekends. The less luggage you carry by air the better as excess luggage charges can quickly take a big chunk out of your funds. Confirm the allowed hand luggage size for the airline you pick before the day of travel.
Plan to travel in spring or fall. Summertime is usually crowded with tourists. This can also save you quite some money when it comes to flight tickets.
Ask around from people that have been there or check budget airlines, bus and train routes for cheaper alternatives.
Clothing can be expensive so do come along with comfortable outfits suitable for the weather.
2. Moving Around Affordably
Getting around on a budget should not be too much of a problem. The Italian train network is extensive, modern and a good choice for long distance travel. Note that regional trains are much cheaper than high speed ones.
Metro trains and numerous buses can get you around major cities like Rome and numerous organized bus tours exist. The buses in particular are quite cheap and will allow for a leisurely and scenic ride from one location to the other. Just take your time and look for something you can afford.
You could also rent a bike for less than 20 Euros a day.
3. Choose to Walk & Explore
Not only is walking free it’s great for taking pictures and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere more. In cities like Venice, Florence and Rome many of the attractions are close together so walk from one location to the next.
4. Plan Your Movements Ahead
Planning each day will save you time and money. Get a map (online or at a book store) that will help you note the attractions that are close to you and the queue times. This will save you from going back and forth and also save you quite a bit in transport expenses.
5. Choose Frugal Accommodations
The major cities are a bit pricey so consider staying in the city suburbs and traveling in daily by train.
Singles can stay in hostel dorm rooms from about 25 Euros a night. Other options are self-catering vacation rentals and restored ancient farm houses (Agriturismo). A double room in a budget hotel can set you back between 70 – 130 Euros a night. Larger hotels are much more expensive. For larger families all inclusive packages could be more prudent but compare costs carefully.
6. Italian Cuisine on a Budget
You honestly can’t visit Italy without trying the food and drink.
Depending on how tight your budget is a meal may be your best friend during this trip. Restaurants typically charge a tax from the time you sit of about 3 Euros so read the menu while standing and be sure you can afford it before sitting! Confirm the price of bottled water before you drink.
Many restaurants will offer an affordable set menu at mid-day so this is your best opportunity to fill up for the day. You could also consider shopping at the local markets and cooking yourself if your accommodation allows for self-catering.
Wine can be very pricey, consider buying from small stores if you must indulge rather than having it served in a restaurant.
7. Seek Out Free Attractions
Interestingly, many of the attractions that have made Italy popular are free to visit or very cheap. Get creative and explore less known locations off the beaten track.
Some areas of interest include:
- Venice Carnival in February
- Museums (many of them have free admission days)
- The Spanish Steps in Rome
- The Coliseum
- The Rome Christmas Market
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa
- The Cinque Terre (5 coastal fishing villages with stunning scenery) on the Italian Riviera.
- The Piazza Michelangelo (Florence)
- The Vatican Museums
- Numerous Basilicas and so on
Keep these tips in mind and Ciao! Welcome to Italy.