How to Tour Italy on a Budget

How to Tour Italy on a Budget
Though Italy may be most well-known as a destination for those who love art, fashion, food, and history, this boot-shaped country also offers plenty of options for those who love the great outdoors. In addition to exploring the nooks and crannies of the country's varied cities by foot, recreation enthusiasts can take advantage of biking, hiking, mountaineering and skiing during a trip to Italy.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Airline ticket Hostelling International membership (optional) Rail pass (optional)
  • Passport
  • Airline ticket
  • Hostelling International membership (optional)
  • Rail pass (optional)
Step 1
Travel to Italy in the off-season. Spring and fall are excellent times to visit Italy --- the weather is cooler and the crowds are much lighter.
Step 2
Determine an itinerary for your trip. Commonly visited cities in Italy include Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, and Pisa. Major cities offer plenty of opportunities for walking. Cinque Terre is an ideal destination for those who like to hike. Tuscany offers excellent options for cycling tours.
Step 3
Do your research before buying airfare. Websites, such as Kayak.com or Yapta.com, allow you to check the airfares of multiple airlines at the same time. If you do not have your heart set on certain travel dates, you can also use these websites to check multiple months and days to determine when the airfare is the least expensive.
Step 4
Consider touring Italy by bicycle. For example, biking between towns in Tuscany can be a great way to see the countryside and help you save money at the same time. If you want to avoid long-distance bike rides between different regions in Italy, you can travel between cities by train; most regional trains allow you to travel with your bicycle. Many cities in Italy offer bicycle rentals if you prefer not to bring your own bike overseas.
Step 5
Purchasing a rail pass (specific to Italy, if your travel plans do not include other countries) may be a good idea if you travel to explore all corners of Italy. Eurail.com is an excellent resource for finding the right rail pass for you.
Step 6
Make use of Italy's many campgrounds for an even more budget-friendly lodging option during your travels through the country. Many major cities, including Rome and Florence, have campgrounds nearby. Most campgrounds feature restrooms including hot showers and laundry facilities.
Step 7
Consider becoming a member of Hostelling International (HI) if you plan to stay in hostels during your trip to Italy. Though ages tend to skew toward the college crowd, most hostels accept guests of all ages. Becoming a member of an organization such as HI allows you to take advantage of cheaper rates at associated hostels.
Step 8
Get your food from grocery stores to help save on dining costs. You can easily procure fresh produce, bread, cheese and snack items from a local grocery store. Another option is to make your biggest meal of the day your lunch. Many restaurants feature a lunch menu that is similar to their dinner options, but offered for a less expensive price. For breakfast, consider getting your cappuccino and pastry at the bar. Many cafes and restaurants charge more if you take a seat.
Step 9
Use public transportation when visiting cities instead of taking cabs. Buses and subway trains are a cost-effective method to get from one side of town to another. When using public transit, be sure to purchase tickets beforehand at a tobacco shop (small street-side shops) and validate your ticket once on the bus or tram. Serious fines can result if you are caught without a ticket or with a non-validated ticket.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you plan to explore Italy extensively, consider flying into one city and leaving from another. Doing so may actually be cheaper than flying into and out of the same city.
 
If you plan to explore Italy extensively, consider flying into one city and leaving from another. Doing so may actually be cheaper than flying into and out of the same city.
 
Avoid traveling to Italy in mid-August. August 15 marks "Ferragosto," a time when most Italians (including shopkeepers and restaurateurs) leave the big cities for the country's beaches and seaside towns.
 
Avoid traveling to Italy in mid-August. August 15 marks "Ferragosto," a time when most Italians (including shopkeepers and restaurateurs) leave the big cities for the country's beaches and seaside towns.

Article Written By Susan Berg

Based in northern Wisconsin, Susan Berg has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her work has been published in both print and online media, including the "Dayton Daily News" and BioZine. Berg earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.