With its historic monuments, priceless artwork, and sunny weather, Rome is one of the world's premiere travel destinations. However, you don't have to be wealthy to plan a memorable visit.
There are plenty of ways to shave expenses off costs for flights, accommodations, and dining. If you're frugal, you can visit the Eternal City without emptying your bank account.
There are a variety of "travel hacks" you can use to make a trip to Rome less expensive. Here are five ways to save money:
- Stand when you take a coffee break. The Huffington Post notes that sitting at a table in a Roman café, which is called a “bar" in Italy, may increase the cost of your espresso. So do like the natives do and enjoy your caffeine while standing.
- Use the public transit system. It's tempting to hop into a taxi when traveling in a strange city, but public transit is a much better deal. Trip Advisor notes that Rome has an extensive underground railway system that extends throughout the entire city.
Check out these 8 ways to stay safe while taking public transportation in a foreign country.
- Skip the bottled water. Life in Italy notes that most restaurants charge you for water, which typically comes in bottles. It recommends that you instead follow the example of the natives and get your water from public fountains. They will be around every corner and are constantly running.
- Avoid pricey restaurants. Eating out in Rome can be pricey, especially near tourist destinations. You'll often find restaurants a block or two from these attractions that serve essentially the same fare at a lower price. The Huffington Post says bringing food to public squares is also a great way to save money. Check out the local grocery stores for fresh, low-cost food.
- Keep track of your cash. Rome, like many big cities, has its share of pickpockets, notes Quora. Having a purse or bag with a cross-body strap is ideal for this city. The harder it is for a thief or pickpocket to steal your bag or wallet, the more likely he is to ignore you.
The Roma Pass
If you plan to tour museums, you can save money with a Roma Pass. At a cost of 38.50 Euros, a 72-hour Roma Pass gives tourists free admission to two museums or archeological sites of their choice and free use of public transportation. It also provides discounts for certain events and exhibitions.
For 28 Euros, a 48-hour Roma Pass gives you free access to one museum or exhibition and free use of the public transportation system. More information is available online at the Roma Pass website.
Booking a cheap flight to Rome can be difficult, since airfares change quickly. The key is to do some research so you'll recognize a bargain when you see it and be ready to book your trip. USA Today notes that there are websites that allow you to set up airfare alerts by email. To improve your chances of finding the lowest fare, sign up with more than one website.
There are plenty of hotel reservation websites you can use to compare accommodations in Rome. Many use a star rating system to measure quality. USA Today suggests that you avoid flight, hotel, and transportation packages online. They may be expensive and involve hidden costs.
Try to strike a good balance between price and convenience when looking for accommodations. Cheaper hotels often are farther from main attractions. However, if you like to walk or use public transit, this could be your best bet.
For the adventurous traveler, Couchsurfing.com enables you to connect online with local residents who are willing to rent you a room in their home for a modest fee.
Another way to save money is to stay at a hostel, where guests typically rent bunk beds in dormitory settings. If privacy is important to you, this may not be appealing, but it's a great way to meet people from around the world while saving money.
For more on hostels, check out The Step-by-Step Guide to Hostels.
Enjoy Your Visit to Rome
No matter how you get there, where you eat, or which accommodations you choose, a visit to Rome is always special. Enjoy your time in the Eternal City.