Step By Step Guide: How to Travel To Europe – Rome, Italy
Learning how to travel to Europe is pretty straightforward. Flight. Hotel. Food. Simple right?
Learning how to travel to Europe cheap is an art form that separates travelers who see the world and travelers who visit only a few places in their lifetime.
Rome is the capital city of Italy, known for its rich culture, history, and wealth of world famous landmarks to explore. It also happens to be one of the cities in Europe where your US dollars quite a bit of purchasing. This is my third post in this series and while some of the information may seem repetitive, based on the positive feedback received, I’m going to stick to the format established by our Madrid Travel Guide.
In order to make the budget feasible, you must travel with at least one buddy. Whether it’s your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, best-friend, or random stranger (not advisable), splitting your major costs in half is where the magic happens.
Since we’re going to be booking our flights and lodging from here in the states. There’s no need to worry about the conversion rate until you’re actually overseas.
Starting Balance: $1,256.00 USD
Your overseas flight is where your entire budget can be swallowed up pretty quickly if not done correctly. Kayak is a free tool that allows you to search and compare flights from basically every airline in one place. Speaking traveler to traveler: I’ve never been able to beat their pricing.
I want to show you that as long as you’re flexible with your dates, these are not one-in-a-million finds. You should be able to get your round-trip flight for around $500 with baggage included. That being said, I’m going to search for a future flight on the day that I’m writing this article to show you that it’s possible:
TIP#1: Always click the “+” icon and select nearby airports in your area, Fort Lauderdale International Airport is about 45 minutes from my home in West Palm Beach which is slightly closer than Miami. The key is to select ALL airports within driving distance to throw a wider net for low fares.
TIP#2: Always set flexible departure on the date calendar to “+/- 3 days”. It’ll increase your odds of snagging those ultra-low fares. FLEXIBILITY = SAVINGS.
TIP#3: Use those green dots on your departure and return date on the calendar. This is Kayak throwing you smoke signals to flights that are the lowest of the low. You might have to make several date searches but flights for around $500 are not rare. Give the page a minute to fully load as the lowest fares usually appear last. These flights are much more common than you think. I was able to find pricing in the $500’s pretty quickly and after about 10 minutes of searching (making sure baggage is included), I found this great deal at $579.00 with baggage included after taxes and fees.
Total Flight Cost After Taxes: $579.00 USD
Airbnb didn’t become the fastest growing alternative lodging service without good cause. Airbnb is my go-to site for every single one of my trips domestically and internationally. The concept is quite simple: locals with vacation/extra homes rent out their places for a fraction of the cost of hotels in the area. They make money and you save money. This allows you get an amazing location right in the city center, the luxury of an entire home to yourself, and did I mention that it’s ridiculously inexpensive?
$532 / 2 people = $266.00 USD per person.
That comes out to $44.33 per night for a private apartment within walking distance of the Pantheon & Trevi Fountain, with a washer/dryer combo, complete kitchen, and wifi all included. I’ve yet to see a hotel that can beat that. Lodging is pretty inexpensive here so you should stick around the $60-$70 range. If you grab anything for less just make sure to verify the reviews.
TIP#1: Check the reviews on the property that you are searching. The reviews are all verified through Airbnb from people who have actually stayed at that location. Finding the right mix of quality and value is key to making sure you enjoy your stay. This location has a perfect 5 star ranking with 97 verified glowing reviews. That’s about as good as it gets.
TIP#3: Generally, I’ll throw the dice on a “New” listing like this as every place needs to get a start and you can get great bargains as new listings build their reputations with low initial pricing. I recommend staying away from ultra-low priced listings in great areas that have been around for awhile with no reviews and do not have “New Listing” status as these are a big red flag for potential issues. Just use common sense when you see all listings in an area in the $300’s and a random listing at $82. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
BONUS: Feel free to comment with your listing link below and I’ll be more than happy to give it a quick look let you know if I see anything fishy on a low-priced deal. I want to make sure all my readers are not only budget conscious but more importantly SAFE.
TIP#4: Use the map data on the listing’s page. Try to centrally locate yourself to the area that you’ll be spending the most time in. All in all, Rome is known for being very pedestrian friendly so you have a little more flexibility here than in other cities.
Total Lodging Cost Per Person: $266.00 USD
Congratulations! We’ve finally touched down in Rome and are officially ready to vacation. Let’s pull off the band-aid and convert our hard earned dollars to euros as we’ll be purchasing in this currency for the remainder of our trip.
Remaining Balance: $411.00
Balance in Euros: €349.49
Now that we’re here, we’ll have to budget for a couple different things right off the bat. First order of business is getting to and from the airport. As you know, we’re flying into Leonardo Da Vinci/Fiumicino airport.
More Travel Time & Restrictive Times = Less Money: Train / Bus
Cost: €4 – €14 (One Way)
Travel Time: 40+ Min.
Cons: Available From 5:58 – 23:30
Option A Cost: €14 X 2 Trips = €28 Round Trip Per Person (Worst Case)
Less Travel Time = More Money: Taxi
Cost: €45 (One-Way) Depending on Airport
Travel Time: 45 Min.
Option B Cost: €90.00 / 2 People = €45.00 Round Trip Per Person
Ok, so using the train is actually highly recommended. Getting a ticket while you’re there is what I would recommend as pricing is generally the same. That being said, our return flight is pretty early so I’m going to go ahead and say that we’re taking the train to Rome and a taxi back.
Remember most cities have a set fare from the airport to its closest major city. In Rome, this amount is €45.00.
As a side note, for groups of 3 or more, taking a taxi is the more cost effective option period. Do the math you’ll see I’m right.
Now let’s talk about how you’re going to get around Rome. This is actually very short compared to our other trips.
Pack a good pair of sneakers. Everything is walkable. Seriously. There are public buses that are pretty reliable but by the time you go and buy a ticket and wait for the bus you could have walked to your destination.
Transportation Around Rome: €0.00
Total Per Person Transportation Cost: €36.50
Alright, let’s remember this is a $1256 dollar budget, not an excuse to max out your credit cards. This is where you have to make sure to stick to the budget and play it smart. You have a full kitchen at your disposal. We are absolutely going to use it. You and your traveling partner are each going to contribute €60 towards visiting your local market. That gives you €120 in food to last 6 days. You won’t eat every meal here but it’ll definitely be a majority of them. Do this the first day you arrive. This is your food insurance policy to make sure you don’t starve.
Total Per Person Home Food Contribution: €60.00
Restaurants & Spending
So we’ve officially taken care of every necessity to make sure you have a roof over your head, a way to get back home, and a decent assurance that you won’t starve. Therefore, you’ve earned the right to kick back and use what’s left over to eat out and buy yourself a souvenir or two. Just make sure you stick within the budget below to make sure it lasts for the rest of the trip.
Balance Remaining: €252.99
Total Restaurant / Bar / Spending Budget Per Day: €36.14
Rome Attraction And Museum Prices
Rome has a number of free things to do, but most of the paid attractions are fairly expensive. That being said, it’s also known for its long lines and hoards of tourists. My advice is to get up early to beat the crowds.
- Pantheon: Free
- Saint Peter’s Basilica: Free (€5 to climb stairs to dome)
- Colosseum & Roman Forum (also includes Palatine Hill): €12
- Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: €16
- Basilica of St. John Lateran: Free (Cloisters: €8)
- Capitoline Museum: €15
- Galleria Borghese: €11
- Walking tour: Free (but you should tip the guides) or €25-€40+ (for paid tours)
- Bike tour: €35-€45
Free Things To Do In Rome
It’s always best to try to plan at least one thing to do per day to make sure you don’t succumb to watching Netflix in your room. After all, the whole point is to explore and experience the rich history that the city has to offer. While I don’t advise paying hefty admissions fees for museums and tour groups, lonelyplanet.com has an excellent article on free things to do while traveling around Rome.
Cheap Eats In Rome – €15 Three Course Meal
Now that we’ve covered the essentials, I want to make sure that you guys aren’t daunted with your daily spending budget. While I recommend eating out every other day to turn your €36.14 into €72.28 (recommended for you drinkers out there – Robert). If you’re like me, you have to eat out at least once a day. Hostel World has a great list of top reviewed restaurants with pricing so low, you can afford to eat out twice a day at the restaurants/cafes on this list.
To Wrap It Up
We managed to get roundtrip flights to Rome for a little under $600.00, lodging in a fully equipped private apartment for less than $45.00 per night, accounted for all transportation, the loss of converting dollars to euros, and made sure that food was taken care of. After every aspect of the trip being taken into account, there is still over €36 euros left per day for spending, luxury dining, and drinking.
Next Week’s Travel Guide: How To Travel To Europe – Paris
Happy traveling everyone!
Whether you’d like to tell me about your next trip, have questions, or just want to let me know your thoughts, feel free to write me in the comment area below.
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