Rome can be CRAZY expensive or it can be affordable to someone who lives off student loans – like ME!
1. Check out all the options for accommodations. I ended up booking with Airbnb, you can use this link: http://www.airbnb.com/c/marial27481 to be able to save $40 on your first booking through Airbnb! Hostels, many have private rooms in addition to the traditional dormitory style rooms, VRBO or regular hotels at expedia.com are great places to look. Shop around, like always I recommend booking as close to the main sites, because no one wants to spend an hour commuting each day when you could be sight seeing.
2. Eat AWAY from the hustle and bustle. We had a fantastic three course dinner for two with a bottle of wine for 25 euros TOTAL when we went off the beaten path in Rome. It was the best meal we had in Rome, and it was maybe 2 blocks away from the tourist trap restaurants. This was in contrast to the restaurant next to the Colosseum where everything was WAY overpriced, however we were exhausted from 6 hours of exploring the Forum and money and quality was sacrificed to be the “hangry”.
3. Buy in advance – you can buy tickets online in advance to most major sites saving you the foreign transaction fees. Also this saves you TIME, most tourist sites have a line for pre-bought tickets and a line to buy tickets. Guess which one is shorter?
4. Take the metro rather than a cab, though we ended up taking the metro only once to get to the Vatican. We walked the majority of our trip – it was easier to get to places and we were burning off our carb calories.
One of the MANY delicious pasta dishes
5. Take a train to Rome rather than flying into Rome. Milan was destined to be a huge hub for Air Italia, however after building the giant airport Air Italia moved their hub location. Now many flights to Milan can be $300 cheaper than to Rome. Fly into Milan and prebook a train to Rome for $20-$100 per person depending on the time and season.
6. Don’t buy the tour guides listed on Expedia – you don’t need them. Don’t be hustled around like cattle. Grab a tour book or download a free pdf online try this one (http://promptguides.com/rome/downloads/5-day_Rome_PromptGuide_v1.0.pdf) and EXPLORE!
Views of the Forum
7. Order wine with your meal, it is often cheaper than soda or juice and WATER IS NEVER FREE!
8. Speaking of water – grab a water bottle and fill up with water from the countless of public water fountains in the city, do as the Romans once did. The water is very clean and delicious and you can stay healthy and hydrated.
9. Save money and avoid pick pockets and people selling selfie sticks and bracelets, just don’t even start a conversation – they will leave with money in their pocket and you will be left a fool. And no, do not ask them for directions, there will be a price to pay for their knowledge.
10. Do not think that you have to eat at the fanciest restaurants. Two of our meals ended up being from a Queens Chips stand. Yes you are in Italy and it seems silly to be eating french fries – but do not knock them until you have tried them on a cold winter evening with the magic spicy sauce.