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Budget Vacation in Rome Italy

These Rome articles provide some unique ideas on how to vacation in Rome Italy on a tight budget...

(Also see my section on the Top 10 free Rome tourist attractions.)

Top 10 Money saving tips to enjoy a budget vacation in Rome Italy: Despite rising exchange rates a trip to Rome needn't break the bank. Follow these fail-safe tips and conserve those precious Euros....

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-- Budget Vacation in Rome Italy --

Once upon a time there was a wonderful currency called the lira. It made millionaires out of paupers and assured a cheap and cheerful stay in the Eternal City. Then came along the Euro and evil exchange rates and suddenly Rome became comparable to London and New York in terms of prices.

However, there do remain some traces of the 'old' Rome and if you know how, you can have a great value stay in one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.

1) Hallowed be thy Euro
Rome is brimming with churches which secretly house stunning works by world-famous artists. From Michelangelo and Bernini at St Peter's Basilica to Caravaggio and Raphael at Santa Maria del Popolo, churches offer a great way to get yourself some free culture.

2) Timing is everything
Try to coincide with Rome's cultural week (in 2009 it's 18-26 April) and you can visit any state run monument or museum for free! Alas, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel don't count but if you head there early on the last Sunday of the month you can wander completely gratis (but prepare yourself for some spectacular crowds).

3) When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie......
If you're searching for a good value lunch option look no further than one of the city's many 'pizza al taglio' shops. Huge trays of pizza with a wide array of toppings sold by weight. Pick out your favourites, head to a nearby bench or park and enjoy a cheap and tasty al fresco lunch.

4) Get outta town
If you want a break from the tourist crowds hop on a train and take a trip to one of the enticing areas outside the city. In just 30 minutes you could be taking a stroll by the beach in Ostia or sampling the local wine in Frascati. Tlittle towns of Lazio will give you a great value glimpse of the real Italy.

5) Take a hike
Just walking around the city is a great way to get a sense of Rome. Many monuments such as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps cost nothing and are always open. Who knows which other secrets you might stumble across while getting lost in the back streets? (remember to take a map though!)

6) When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Hotels in Rome are notoriously expensive and often not the most economic option for groups or families. Why get a real tast of the lifestyle and rent an apartment? (RomanLife adds: RomanLife has a great range of vacation rentals throughout central Rome).

7) Sample the local produce
Italy is famous for its food so take on a DIY attitude and go grocery shopping! Head to a fruit and vegetable and stock up on interesting salads and succulent fruits. Then find the nearest 'alimentari' or supermarket and pick out some local meats and cheeses. After all that effort you'll definitely deserve a gelato for dessert.

8) Aperitivo baby!
A relatively new social event, the 'aperitivo' can be found in many of the capital's bars and pubs around 6-7pm. Order a drink (usually 6-10) and help yourself to the wonderous selection of nibbles laid out on the bar. A kind of Italian tapas which if done well can save you the cost of dinner.

9) Water, water, everywhere.....
There is a water fountain on every street corner which is perfectly safe to drink and lovely and cold. Simply buying one bottle and then filling up at the fountains is a fantastic way to save those precious coins.

10) Wander the alleyways
We all know how lovely it is to have pizza overlooking the Colosseum or gnocchi by the light of Piazza Navona but how much lovelier it is to find that quaint traditional backstreet trattoria where the wine comes in jugs and mamma's kneading pasta in the kitchen. Few places like this still exist in Rome but the best way to get a great dinner at a great price is to wander off the beaten path. Tourist attractions do indeed attract tourists and you'll pay through the nose for a sub-standard meal. Walk a few blocks and follow your instincts instead of opting for the obvious.

By Kate Zagorski

-- Budget Vacation in Rome Italy --

How to Enjoy a Budget Vacation in Rome Italy?: Rome is an expensive city for weekend breaks. But the insiders know how to enjoy the city on a tight budget....

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-- Budget vacation in Rome Italy --

Rome is one of the most popular city breaks in the world. It's right up there with Paris, New York and Barcelona. With its popularity a problematic side-effect has appeared, inflated prices. Everything from hotel rooms to pizzas are more expensive in Rome than in similar Italian cities. If you want to enjoy Rome without breaking the bank you need some inside tips.

Don't do everything
Don't try to do Rome in 2 days. There's so much to see, but do you really want to spend all your holiday standing in long lines and paying hefty entrance fees? Select a few things you absolutely want to see and stick with it. You'll enjoy it more and pay less.

Budget drinking in Rome
If you want cheap drinks in Rome you are best advised to walk at least 500 metres away from any tourist attractions. Restaurants and bars who are lucky to be located nearby big attractions always make you pay through the nose for your drinks.

Where to eat cheap?
If you really want a cheap meal you should look no further than the many pizza joints who serve up slices of pizzas for a few euros. Pick your pizza, pay and consume it while you go. If you prefer to sit down to have your meal you must be prepared to pay at least 10 euros for a lunch with drinks.

Inexpensive sleep
Rome has a reputation of being very expensive when it comes to accommodation. In the summer months the prices go through the roof for hotel accommodation. Travel to Rome in the winter (November - March) for slightly more managable hotel costs, or select one of the many hostels which offers beds in dorms for around 20 for the night.

Ken Sand writes for A Rome travel guide for people with a very limited budget. In the guide you can also read about the cheapest restaurants in Rome.

-- Budget Vacation in Rome Italy --

Six Secrets to Budget Travel in Italy: A vacation to Italy is a dream for many Americans but with the weak U.S. dollar it can be expensive. Allow me to share my six secrets to budget travel I learned during my November 2007 vacation in Italy in hopes your trip won't be as expensive ...

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-- Budget vacation in Rome Italy --

Don't Let the Weak U.S. Dollar Spoil the Trip of a Lifetime
A vacation to Italy is a dream for many Americans. Despite a weak U.S. dollar against the euro, Italy continues to be a popular destination for U.S. travelers. I'm sharing six secrets to budget travel learned during my November 2007 vacation in Italy in hopes your trip won't be as expensive.

Secret #1 to Budget Travel in Italy: Gate 1 Travel Vacation Packages

A friend and I decided to travel to Italy over Thanksgiving. My friend selected the cities to visit, Florence, Rome and Venice. I was tasked at securing travel arrangements and activities. Being a traveler and not a sightseer, I looked for a travel package with little structure.

After researching, I chose Gate 1 Travel because they offered the best price. I secured the $700 per person land package called "8 Day Venice, Florence & Rome by Rail." The Italy vacation package included two nights in each city in single accommodations and rail transportation from Venice to Florence and Florence to Rome.

Flights were booked through Gate 1 Travel. My flight into Venice and out of Rome cost $966.
Gate 1 Travel is a decent travel company to book budget travel to Italy, especially for the first-time traveler to Europe. Their customer service leading up to and during my trip was outstanding.

Secret #2 to Budget Travel in Italy: Where We Saved Money
Purchasing Rick Steves' 2018 Italy Guidebook was the best money spent. The book offered helpful budget travel tips on where to eat, what to do and what to see.

We ate primarily from bars and pizza shops and always took our meal away. Sitting down at a table can almost double the meal's cost. Included in the hotel stay was complimentary breakfast so we only had to purchase lunch, dinner and snacks.

Public transportation is easily accessible in Italy. We primarily used public buses, vaporetti (public water buses), trains and underground rail. For as little as two euros we were able to get from point A to point B. I highly recommend the vaporetto three-day travel card for 22 euros in Venice. It's a fabulous way to get around and see the city.

I'm fortunate to have a global network of friends. A gentleman I met on my trip to Afghanistan in March 2006 lives near Rome. He picked up my friend and me from the Rome train station, took us to our hotel followed by lunch and sightseeing. Not only was it terrific saving on our travel budget and receiving a tour by a local, it was wonderful seeing a friend in his native country.

I'm a traveler and not a sightseer. I'm all about the journey and not necessarily the sights. During the vacation in Italy, we walked daily taking in the Italian way of life. By far, this is the best (and cheapest) way to sightsee.

Minimum was spent seeing the tourist sights but we did see a lot on organized tours and wandering into museums and attractions on our own.

Secret #3 to Budget Travel in Italy: Souvenirs I Collected
It was tempting to purchase a pair of leather driving gloves as my souvenir. Minding my budget, I ended up spending about $300 in Italian souvenirs for myself and others. Cheap souvenirs included rosaries from the Vatican, a bottle of limoncello (lemon liqueur) and sweet Italian candy.

Secret #4 to Budget Travel in Italy: Where We Splurged
I'm a budget traveler but when it comes to traveling on a train, I want the best I can afford. On my vacation in Italy I decided I could afford the $38 upgrade to first class.

I made it a mission to eat yummy Italian gelato daily. I even admit to eating it twice on Thanksgiving. I have no shame. Prices ranged between two and three euros.

Secret #5 to Budget Travel in Italy: Mistakes Made
I hate calling these mistakes and would rather call them "detours" but either way these incidents cost time or money.

We should have paid the full amount for the Italy trip rather than just paying a deposit. Since the trip was not paid in full when the airlines implemented a fuel surcharge, we were each hit with an additional $20 fee.

I didn't research enough prior to the trip. While we saw and did so many things in the eight days, I feel we missed a great deal.

A spontaneous trip to Pisa was longer than necessary. When jumping on the bus in Florence, we didn't pay attention to the bus number. Although it was heading towards the Florence train station, it was going the opposite direction and we spent an unnecessary 90 minutes on the bus. Understanding the bus schedule would have prevented this.

Secret #6 to a Budget Vacation in Rome Italy: Bragging Rights
Budget travelers make sacrifices and many were made on this trip but, the best part about budget travel is creating experiences no one else will ever have. Bragging rights are priceless.

May these budget travel secrets for Italy help you plan an affordable, yet memorable experience of a lifetime.

Author's Note: During my visit to Italy, the U.S. dollar was at an all-time low against the Euro. The exchange rate was 1 Euro = 1.50 U.S. dollar.

Article by J.A.Huber

-- Budget vacation in Rome Italy --


Related pages

Helpful Rome hotel tips: what you should check before making your Rome hotel reservations.

What you need to know about apartments for your vacation in Rome Italy.

Map of central Rome hotels.

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