Want to have an epic trip to Italy but a little low on cash? Fear not. It may not be the cheapest travel destination, but Italy is within most traveler’s budget. And a grand Italian adventure is definitely possible without sacrificing your life savings.
But like most European destinations, prices can go up significantly during peak seasons. That’s why careful planning is important to make sure you’re getting the best vacation possible out of every penny you spend. (Related: Top 5 Mediterranean Vacation Destinations)
How Much Does It Cost To Go To Italy?
There is no exact answer to this. It depends on a lot of factors such as who you’ll be traveling with, your itinerary, and what sort of accommodations you expect.
If you’re traveling alone and not picky about accommodations, you’ll obviously save more. One travel blogger estimated that backpacking around Italy for two weeks would cost around $1,600. While a luxurious vacation can set you back more than $4,000. Both estimates cover costs for accommodation, food, and transport.
Another travel site estimated a ten-day holiday in Italy to cost around $2,600. But this budget includes contingency costs for extra gelatos and paninis (because they’re just irresistible!).
Meanwhile, a family of four may spend an average of $1,000 per day. This includes costs for airfare, accommodations, tours, food, and travel insurance. (Related: Best Family Holiday Destinations That Won’t Break The Bank)
Where in Italy you’re planning to travel may also affect your budgetary needs. Accommodation costs in touristy areas such as Rome, Milan, and Pisa can be expensive. While off-the-beaten-path destinations offer more charming accommodations at lesser prices.
How to Save Money On Your Italian Trip
If you’re not prepared to shell off thousands of dollars, you can still enjoy Italy without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can save money on your next Italian trip.
A common dilemma among travelers is whether to sign-up for tour companies or create their own itinerary. Both options have their pros and cons.
More often than not, you’ll save a lot of money if you plan your own itinerary. Do your own research and ask locals. Read reviews and join travel forums. Most of the time, the most helpful insights come from fellow travelers.
If you’re traveling with children, following a DIY itinerary can be challenging. So signing up with tour companies might be more practical in this situation.
If you’re flying to Italy, there are many ways to save on plane fare. One, you can use apps like Skyscanner to get cheap tickets. Another is using the airline miles on your credit card. Not all credit companies offer such incentives though, so be sure to check with your bank first.
When you’re in Italy, transportation won’t be a problem even if you don’t have a car. The country has a very efficient public transport system. Italian railroads are extensive and a high-speed rail network connects major cities.
Public buses also ply the roads of small towns and cities. Taxis are also available outside most train and bus stations. Apps like Trenit! and Moovit also allows you to search for train and bus schedules. (Related: Top Travel Apps of 2020)
Exploring Italy on foot is also a great (and a lot healthier) option. Many tour operators offer guided walking tours around the country. Or you can just follow your instinct and go wherever your feet take you.
Most Italian cities offer a wide range of accommodation options. But, like most tourist destinations, the price usually spikes up during the peak season. Hotel rates drop during spring or fall and usually at its lowest in winter.
But if you’re planning to visit in the summer, there are still ways you can save money on accommodation. First, you need to book early and (as much as possible) avoid large chain hotels. Family-run guesthouses are not only much cheaper, but it also lets you experience genuine Italian culture.
Food and Beverage
Italy is known for its delicious foods. Hence, finding a nice place to eat out that won’t drain your pocket is pretty easy.
As with most places, local knowledge is a great help in finding the best places to eat out. And most locals are more than happy to point you to the best pizza, gelato or panini places.
Family-run deli shops, street carts, and sandwich shops are popular options. They’re cheap and sometimes offer centuries-old recipes. But if you’re looking for the cheapest meals, the outdoor market is your best option.
Some places in touristy charge extra just for sitting down. So, if you want to save money, just get a takeaway and find a spot to perch and eat.
As for beverages, a half-liter of bottled water can cost you up to €3 in Rome. But you can always bring your own water bottle and fill it up in any one of the water fountains dotting the city.
Cheap souvenirs aren’t hard to find in Italy. But, of course, souvenir shops in touristy areas charge a whole lot more than those on the city fringes.
Supermarkets and outdoor markets are a good source of local Italian food products if you’re not keen on going outside the city just to buy souvenirs. If you’re traveling to more rural areas, local markets also offer a wide range of unique and handcrafted souvenirs.