Theres a rumour going around that Italy is one of the most expensive places to travel to in Europe – here I am to prove that wrong. Anywhere is expensive to travel to only if you make it expensive. Remember that for the rest of your life. Here’s a quick guide on how I travelled 433km across the west coast of Italy in June 2018, stopping off at Rome, Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre and Genoa for just under £236 each and how you can follow in my footsteps!
First, you’ve got to get yourself to Italy. Flights to the land of La Dolce Vita could not get anymore affordable from locations all across the UK and Europe. Get yourself on SkyScanner and find those cheap flights. Need help? Check out my ultimate cheap flight guide.
My flight from Bristol to Rome cost me just £29 – to put that in perspective, thats two large Dominos pizzas that you could’ve spent travelling to the pizza capital of the world! Returning from Genoa to Bristol (and about 5kg heavier in pesto pasta) cost me just £19 – so just £48 return.
Flying with budget airlines is the key to being a successful low cost millennium traveller. Yes, there are no complementary food or drinks, no free hold luggage or extra leg room, but feel smug you spent less than £50 traveling to Italy and back.
You might be already thinking about buying an Interrail pass – because it’s been recommended, it’s cheap and it’s convenient, right? Wrong. You can save over £85 on your train fair between 4 Italian locations if you just book the trains yourself.
An Interrail pass, which allowed three days of ‘unlimited’ rail travel, will cost you £112 (€124) if you are 27 years and under. Although you have ‘unlimited’ trail travel, you still need to pre-book trains and seats, especially the high speed trains, so in no way is it more convenient to get one of these passes.
Trains around Italy are frequent, fast and (almost always) reliable. The 3hour high speed train to Pisa from Rome costs just £11.58, which being from the UK where a 10 minute train journey can cost about the same, really blew my mind! From Pisa, a day trip to the beautiful and historical Tuscany city of Lucca (around a half an hour train journey) costs just £3.23 return. Getting from Pisa to Cinque Terre, cost just £5.50 for the 2 hour train journey. To end the trip, I headed to the historical maritime city of Genoa, costing just £6.34 for the 1 hour 20 minutes train journey.
Resulting in a total of just £26.65 for all 4 rail journeys – thats a £85.35 saving for doing it yourself. The TrenItalia website has an English option so navigating your way through the site and booking your tickets couldn’t be easier! Once purchased, you can download the TrenItalia app and download the tickets onto your phone, making it easy and accessible to board the trains whilst you’re away!
You can really find a good deal on accommodation in Italy. However, it’s hard to find a hotel who can compete with the prices of AirBNBs. AirBNB has really hit off in Italy, with amazing places to stay from the hustling city of Rome to the rolling hills of Tuscany. Italians are very welcoming to their homes and whatever request I had, it seemed no trouble for them. I was offered breakfast and coffee every morning (thats already a saving on one meal for the day) and was recommended the best places to eat and visit whilst in their city.
My private room in an apartment in Rome cost just £18.22 per night. It was 10 minute walk form the Coliseum and the Roman Ruins and just 3 stops on the metro to the central train station. Whilst in Pisa, I stayed with a university student who created a chill and friendly atmosphere to stay the night. It cost just £17.32 for the night. My host even had a dog who got so excited to see you every time you came through the door. You don’t get that in a hotel.
Cinque Terre is known to be one of the most expensive places to visit in Italy, with the average hotel price of over £150 per night. However, In Cinque Terre, I snatched an amazing private room in a villa in the unbelievably beautiful Monterosso-al-mare village, for just £28.80 per night.
The total spending on accommodation was £158.39. Always remember when booking accommodation, this is the place you will spend the least amount of your time during your trip, so why spend the most money on it? Use AirBNB to find hundreds of Italian apartments with welcoming and friendly Italians to stay with. Remember to find the compromise between apartment location and price (ps, AirBNB didn’t sponsor me to write this, but if they’d like to, tell them to hit me up).
All you need to do now is plan what you want to do and add the spending money (i’d recommend around €200 – but you could definitely spend less depending on what you do/see). Check out my other Italian travel blogs to see what there is to do in each of these gorgeous Italian destinations.
Until next time, live your best life, low cost!
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