A trip to Italy is synonymous with expensive. After all, the flights can be pricey and several authentic meals in an Italian restaurant can kill your budget.
However, there are several ways that you can cut the costs of your vacation and still have a great time:
Off the Beaten Path
"If you're visiting the main cities (Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan), see the main sites then go to the non-tourist areas to eat," said Laney Sachs, owner of Ortensia Blu Italian Adventures in Stamford, Connecticut. "You'll pay less for a meal, coffee or wine."
Sachs also suggests asking the shopkeepers where they have lunch or dinner: "Also, visit smaller cities and towns. Fewer tourists usually means less expensive hotels, restaurants and shops."
Jared Buker of Lincoln Gap Travel (Nexion) in Lincoln, Vermont, also said you should stay in smaller towns rather than the big tourist cities: "For example, Pitigliano is an amazing city that is not on the radar of most tourists, and the streets are usually quite empty but no less enchanting than the streets in the more famous cities."
He advises looking for a place to stay in an agriturismo, which is on a farm or ranch: "For example, I love to stay midway between Florence and Siena in the Chianti region of Tuscany. You will enjoy views of vineyards and experience small-town charm, eat homemade food, enjoy some peace and quiet, yet be within an easy drive to the larger cities while not paying city prices for lodging."
Buker urges tourists to avoid staying near St. Mark's Square in Venice: "The outer areas of Venice proper are wonderfully peaceful, yet it is always a fairly easy (and scenic) walk to St. Mark's. Prices tend to be a bit better as well."
Experience it All
Getting a behind-the-scenes tour of Rome's Colosseum and walking in the footsteps of gladiators or taking a family cooking class led by an authentic pizzaiolo will be money well spent since those moments will last a lifetime.
"You can save money and also support local neighborhood shops by venturing off the beaten path. By eating lunch at a market or getting goodies for a picnic lunch at a local food vendor, your funds will support the local economy and help you consolidate money for meaningful experiences," said Carraffa.
Instead of eating dinner at a formal restaurant, head to a neighborhood bar for a nice aperitivo where you can enjoy a buffet and a cocktail for around €10.
"The same rules apply for accommodations," Carraffa said. "Small family-owned bed and breakfasts (or if you have a car, charming farmhouses just outside the city limits) are more authentic and typically less expensive than the chain hotels located near tourist spots."
By learning and implementing these money-saving tips, you can use your vacation money wisely and get the best bang for your buck.
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