So as many of you guys know, Filipa and I, ventured off on an epic trip to Italy this past fall. Funny thing, the most asked question of this trip, was how the heck did we afford it?
Now I’m not going to lie, this was a rather expensive trip and my credit is still burning a hole in my pocket. But we did want to share a bunch of tips and tricks that we learned along the way that may make your trip the beautiful country a little less daunting.
You rocks ready to get your socks rocked. Here we go…
This is your biggest money saver. Finding the best and worst times to travel to any country could mean the difference between Times Square on New Years Eve and Bali during rainy season. Italy is a bit different, it’s a pretty climate diverse country, meaning there isn’t exactly one time of year that is perfect. But we found that if you are willing to grab an extra layer of clothing then October/November is an awesome time to go. Since a lot of people aren’t traveling during this time, attractions have less lines, beaches are quieter, and cities are plain beautiful.
Next thing on the list that can make or break the bank is where you lay your head at night. Although, you may find that hotels are way more conveniently located and provide awesome amenities and services, we opted for AirBnb’s. What! Eww! How could you?! Yes, we have heard some crazy horror stories about nightmare AirBnb’s, but luckily we have never experienced this *touch wood*. One of the great things we love about their service is the filter process. You are able to select exactly where you want to be, bedrooms, beds, and PRICE. We also loved the fact that you feel way more at home, like a proper local.
Italy isn’t really that big a place. I mean there are so many modes of transportation, but which are the cheapest or most convenient. My one piece of advice here is make sure you fly into a major hub. I wouldn’t want to start my trip at the small secluded town and try to get international flights straight there. It will cost you a fortune. Find a major hub, like Milan or Rome and then plan from there. We opted to start our trip off in Milan (in the north) and end in Rome (in the south). It made it so much easier to figure out the places we wanted to visit. We also chose to pick up a car after we explored Milan, we’re both suckers for a great road trip. If you could think of nothing worse then driving around a country where you don’t speak the language then trains are an awesome alternative. You may not be able to get completely lost in beautiful towns along the way but in terms of cost they are better value between larger cities.
Food, food, and more food! It’s what Italy is all about. Man, did I gain an extra inch or two on my waist line. There is so much of it, and everywhere. But the key is to find food that isn’t going to break the bank. We found that Italians don’t necessarily eat the tradition Western breakfast. So their morning meal consists of a quick croissant and a coffee on the way to work. If you’re looking for that avocado toast, you may have a search a little harder. Google is your friend. We chose to follow the UGG boots and all the girls named Samantha to the nearest spot that serves Eggs Benedict and crazy coffee concoctions, not to mention something with matcha. So don’t do this! We found that in Italy and some other European cities they charge a sitting fee. Yep, you heard that right a fee to sit. I was pretty upset at the beginning but I guess it’s their way and who am I to judge. So for breakfast, stand at the bar, snack, and go to avoid an extra 2-3 Euros per person. Last tip, for dinners, pizzas are super cheap and if you don’t having a few days of pizza straight you will save quite a lot.
Now let’s get real, we’ve traveled a long way to get here and we want to see everything. But man are landmarks and attractions expensive. We opted to make a list of all the places we wanted to see and then research the prices online. This will keep you in line with your budget and sometimes you can save money by booking your tickets online. Also, if you spontaneously want to check something out, you’re aware of the prices and won’t get conned by the many scalpers and tour guides making their rounds. Be smart, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
If you guys have any questions or comments about our trip, let us know below in the comments or send us a quick note.