So you are heading off to Italy- one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with picturesque countryside, unparalleled architecture and art, not to mention the food! But alas, it is also one of the most visited and unfortunately, things can get a little bit pricey. Get off the beaten path and indulge with 7 helpful tips to keep it cheap.
Gettin’ Around Town
Let me break it down for you: ride the train, bus or walk to get the bang for your buck. The rail system is a quick trip, it covers a lot more ground and it’s affordable for long distance travel. Buses are cheap and efficient and you will get a scenic trip from town to town. Also, always do your research before hand for deals and discounts and book ahead of time.
Best Beds Money Can Buy
Unless you’ve got the moola to book a pricey hotel, ditch that idea quick. Try an agriturismo, where for 30-50 euros you can get a unique feel for life in Italy. Bunk up in a beautiful farmhouse with breathtaking countryside views and enjoy home cooked meals.
Really keeping that budget on a tight leash? We all know about hostels- expect to pay anywhere from 20 to 40 euros per person. For super cheap status, one word: couch surfing.
Become a Sightseeing Champ
Think outside the box and get creative! You don’t need to book expensive tours, just get lost in the city, country, wherever you want to be! Another tip- don’t spend all your time in the most popular, tourist-laden cities. Explore lesser-known towns where accommodation and food will be cheaper, and the crowds will be at a minimum.
More Sightseeing Tips
Bring your I.D. everywhere- you never know what discounts are available. Churches are as ancient and beautiful as any ruin or museum exhibit and are usually FREE to visit. Don’t forget to walk as much as you can! It’s not only free, but it’s good for you!
Eat as the Italians Do
Overpaying for something as minute as a cup of coffee is annoying as hell. Stay away from eateries situated in the midst of high traffic touristy locations because unfortunately, some may prey upon the naive.
- Dine standing up because once you sit, the price may double with “sit down fees”.
- Look for menus behind the counter: “Banco” menu is for standing prices while “Tavolo” lists sitting prices.
- Ask for your bill to be itemized to avoid a random (jacked up) total price.
- Restaurants charge for bread and won’t tell you- Just send it back!
- Last but not least, buying a bottle of wine is way cheaper than drinking at the bar- not to mention, the wine quality can’t be beat.
When to Go
Peak tourist season runs from late May-July. Accommodation rates are lower in the “shoulder seasons” in spring and fall, but winter is the cheapest time to travel in Italy, with the exception of Christmas. April-June and September-October for is best for climate, but if you don’t mind the heat, August is your best bet with generally lower prices and less crowded sights.
Don’t Lose Your Stuff!
Outsmart pickpockets with a money belt that can hold important documents such as your passport, and make plenty of copies. It’s also a good idea to bring your own padlock just in case you decide to leave items in your temporary abode. Also, invest in a hardy backpack made for safe travel and don’t focus on bringing heaps of clothing. Carry along a small bag of powdered detergent for washing.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.