Italy is a top destination on many tourists’ wishlists, and it’s understandable given its rich culture of art and history, and delicious cuisine. An Italian vacation does not have to break your bank account, in fact, if you plan properly, traveling to Italy on a budget can be as much fun.
The tips below will enable you to minimize your travel expenses while still taking the trip of a lifetime, even if you believe your budget prohibits you from taking that dream vacation to Italy.
1. Considering Shoulder Seasons and Reserving Early
It should come as no surprise that summer is known to be Italy’s busiest travel season. If you’re traveling during summer, make sure you book your accommodations early on. You may want to explore weeknight options for better value.
Visit in the fall and spring for cheaper deals (and fewer tourists!) And if you want to save more than half on flights, accommodations, and recreational activities, choose wintertime for the best deals. Additionally, Christmas in Italy is a joy, at this time of year, Rome is exceptionally lovely and never gets too chilly.
However, there are some benefits to visiting Italy’s major cities during the sweltering month of August. Numerous Italians take vacations, so although there might still be a lot of tourists in Florence, Rome, and Venice, it’s possible that the crowds will be a little thinner as well as hotel prices may drop.
2. Getting Out of the Town
There is more to visiting Italy than just the major cities. Consider traveling to cheap cities in Italy for better deals. Cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice is known to be expensive for tourists. Consider visiting the budget-friendly Calabria region, the middle Umbria region, or perhaps an “agriturismo” farm visit if you want to travel further south.
Look for less expensive adjacent towns where you might get a hotel if you’re still looking for cheap options in the main cities. Take a cheap commuter train into the downtown area after breakfast. For instance, consider making reservations in Pisa rather than Florence. Try making reservations in Mestre or Padova rather than Venice. You might discover that you like smaller cities more!
3. Choosing Accommodation Wisely
One of the most expensive types of lodging in Italy is large chain hotels. These well-known brands typically cost a lot of money and offer a lot of benefits.
Fortunately for travelers on a tight budget, Italy is brimming with inexpensive inns and pensioni (family-run inns) that not only have reasonable rates but also a ton of charm and personality. To receive the greatest offers, use these specialty family-run pensions, hotels, and even places of worship like convents.
Before booking, make sure to confirm the hotel’s location. If a bed and breakfast or hotel is located too far from the attractions, you can find that it offers a wonderful deal but that you may end up exceeding your budget on cab fare.
4. Booking the Train Tickets
Do you plan to travel between Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence, and Naples on the fast Trenitalia train? Without using a third-party train agency, purchase your train tickets right now and save money. You may easily reserve your own tickets on the Trenitalia website, just as the locals do.
The cheaper the seats are the earlier you reserve! By making your reservations directly with the railway, you can also benefit from exclusive deals that you may not find by using an intermediary, such as the “Venice 2 for 1” train fare offer. Before you depart, don’t forget to print the ticket.
5. Walking Around
You’ll be moving around a lot on foot. That’s fantastic because the majority of Italy’s best treasures are found in the medieval city centers’ cobblestone streets. You’ll stomp your way there. And it is not just the well-known attractions; your favorite and also most romantic destinations are likely to be those you accidentally discovered down a side street or in an alley (perhaps while lost).
In addition to helping you burn off all those spaghetti dishes, walking might save you money on commuting costs. Explore side streets, go to non-touristy, neighborhood stores off the main drag, so you can find some fantastic and probably less expensive discoveries.
6. Taking Benefits of Free Museum Days
The majority of the most significant tourist destinations and museums in Italy provide free admission on specific days of the week or at regular intervals at least once every month.
If you do some study before your trip, you might be able to time it so that you take advantage of some of the free days. Because admission fees at some museums have recently reached $20, offering free days is a great way to attract new visitors.
7. Saving Food Expenses
When you are on a budget make sure you are spending consciously, especially on food.
For many, the food in Italy is one of its main draws. Italian cuisine is legendary, and there are way too many restaurants and cafes in Italy that you can visit without going overboard with your spending limit. You’d be astonished at the incredible meals you can get, even at the supermarket.
Leaving the very populated tourist places is the greatest method to avoid paying too much for food. In Rome, a restaurant with a sight of the Colosseum will be much more expensive than one a few blocks away.
Beware of coperto charges, which are additional fees for dining in a restaurant. Even though it normally only costs a few euros for each person, if you have a large group, the cost can quickly add up. The coperto fee is typically indicated on menus, but if you’re unsure, ask.
For a few Euros, you can always stop by a bakery, or forno, for pastries, a slice of focaccia, or some pizza. This may be the simplest and least expensive method for feeding the kids while you’re traveling.
Drinking tap water when eating out in Italy is another cost-effective strategy. If you’re a tourist, you’ll typically get free bottles of water, but if you feel comfortable with drinking tap water, go for it.
Eating Big Lunches to Save on Dinner
Do you want to hear a great little tip for saving money in Italy? Eat your larger meals first thing in the morning. The majority of Italian restaurants offer dinner-size quantities during the lunch hour for far less money than you would pay for them throughout the evening. And for dinner, you may eat lighter by packing a picnic or just purchasing a delectable panini.
However, know that there are always inexpensive options available for you, regardless of what hour of the day you chose to eat. Just make intelligent choices and, if at all possible, stay away from the main tourist area where restaurant owners will gladly charge you twice as much for a heated-up bowl of microwaved pasta. Hunt down local food places and make an effort to spot the jewels.
Shopping Fresh Goods
The indoor and outdoor markets in Italy are renowned for their abundance of exceptionally fresh vegetables, hand-made salami, aged cheeses, and homemade bread. Shopping in these Mercato all Aperto (open-air markets) is a tradition in Rome.
You can save a good fortune on meals by shopping locally and then having a picnic rather than constantly eating out. For your pocketbook, bakeries, supermarkets, and delis are great culinary destinations. Additionally, you’ll need to stop at the wine store to select your preferred bottle or even load up your own using tap wine as they usually do in Florence.
8. Learning a Few Italian Words and Getting a Guidebook
No matter where you travel in Europe, knowing even a few words of the native language will take you a long way. Don’t be afraid when you go out; speaking Italian is enjoyable (plus you get to use all those hand gestures!). After learning the fundamentals, just dive in!
Speaking of streets, it’s a good idea to bring a guidebook with you rather than a guide to cut off some expenses. You might think of just using your mobile. But, when you are attempting to locate that historic ruin and your batteries run out, you can’t rely on being able to use your data or connect to Wi-Fi. It will be helpful to have a paper map like the old times and some travel guidelines with you.
It might be a good idea to write down your expenses before making travel arrangements to Italy. Booking your travel, lodging, activities, and even deciding where and what to eat will be easier for you if you know exactly how much money you have to spend.
The wonderful thing about visiting Italy is that you do not have to go in style to see how lovely and authentic it is. When you are on a budget, by maintaining the above-mentioned tips you can enjoy your time here without spending lavishly while having a great experience and a memorable tour.