Whether you choose to stay in a popular city or the Italian countryside, expenses can add up quickly and make staying on budget a challenge. Nat and Tim from A Cook Not Mad share some of their tried and true tips to keep costs low and stay on budget while travelling in Italy.
Sometimes called Italy’s version of happy hour, it usually starts around 6 pm and lasts for an hour or two. For Italians, it’s a time to relax after work and have a drink with family & friends before heading out to dinner. For travellers it’s a time to partake in an Italian ritual. In most bars, during aperitivo, you can order a drink and you will either get snacks brought to the table or notice a spread on the bar, you pay for the drink but the snacks are free. After a long day of sightseeing, if you consider that dinner is another two to three hours away, those nibbles are always a welcomed sight.
2. Rent an Apartment
Accommodations can carry a steep price and are usually your biggest expense when traveling. By renting an apartment you can easily cut this cost in half and have all the comforts of home at your disposal. There are many websites, such as Air BnB, VRBO and homeaway, that offer apartment listings that fit all budgets. Also, the longer you rent the lower the cost per day so renting an apartment as a base from where you can take day trips is also a good and economical idea.
3. Short and Long Term Car Rentals
Renting a car has many advantages, two of them being flexibility and the ability to visit small towns and villages that are not on the main train routes. Consider renting a car for your whole trip or even a few days to get to those harder to reach places. There’s a plethora of car rental companies our there but with a reputation for great service and prices as low as $9/day we always go with Auto Europe.
4. Dine In
Italy is known for its wonderful food but you don’t need to eat at restaurants every night to experience this country’s culinary delights. If you follow tip #2 and rent an apartment you can easily cook for yourself and save money. Italy has countless family owned food businesses like butcher shops, alimentari (also known as grocery shop) and of course there are many local markets selling fresh, in season produce at a fraction of the cost you would pay back home. It takes a bit more effort than going to a big box store but with all these wonderful ingredients there’s no reason not to eat fresh and delicious food every day. You can also feel good about supporting small, independent and local businesses.
5. Use a Travel Agent
In a time when anyone can organize their own trip via the internet, this might sound like a surprising tip. But booking through a travel agent still has it’s perks, one being that travel agents have the time, and secondly, they know how to find the best priced flights. At Flight Centre, if you find a cheaper flight departing from Canada, they will beat that price or your flight is free. Not only that, but you can easily search and find a travel agent that has actually been to Italy and can offer some extra insider tips (ie- how to beat line ups, what hotels/places to avoid, and where to find the best gelato.
These are only five simple tips that show you there’s no need to break the bank to enjoy all that Italy has to offer. By following these tips ourselves we have been able to have a good time without the fear of going over budget. We hope that you can make some of these suggestions work for you and allow you to save money while travelling in Italy.
Have you already put some of these tips into action? How did they work for you? Leave a comment below!