First and probably only trip to Italy

Jul 12th, 2011, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 212
I don't presume to know you're financial situation, but with research and planning, travel can be much more affordable than you might imagine. I try to take 2 big trips a year, trust me, my friends & coworkers all think I'm making much more than I do!

I focus on what the biggest expenses will be: Transportation, Lodging & Food

Airfare - In the high season, it can be more than twice as much as the offseason or shoulder season. My trips are generally in Feb/March or Nov/Dec. Airfare is at its cheapest. I've never encountered any weather that a jacket, gloves or an umbrella couldn't conquer. Do you have a credit card or debit card that earns frequent flyer miles or some sort of travel points? The miles might build slowly (depending on your spending), but a free flight is a free flight!

In Country Transportation - Stay put! (Well mostly) It's expensive to move around a lot at 60-100E for fast train trips between cities every 2 or 3 days. Make day trips on cheap local transportation. If you really want to split your trip among distant destinations be sure to investigate flying. I have saved significant money vs. trains using some of Europe's many low cost carriers. Rental cars (especially automatics) are expensive, so avoid if you can see your destinations via public transit w some ease. A well located hotel will save on this too, taxi rides, and even buses and metros can add up.

This is where much of my research time is spent. I have consistently found gems that are absolute bargains. I visit hundreds of websites, read thousands of reviews. I know what I need out of a lodging, location, safety, cleanliness & a decent sized bathroom. So I sift through websites and reviews for a place that will give me what I need for the lowest price. I disregard the amenities that aren't important to me (linens changed daily, a view, breakfast). I have yet to be let down in any choice. I will find myself walking past a hotel thinking, "that cost 50E more a night and looks no better (or worse) than mine".

Food - I must admit this is one area I do not intentionally skimp. I eat where my stomach leads me, relatively price insensitive. But luckily I have more beer taste than champagne taste! I often eat even more cheaply than I intend, because that's what sounds good. I love street food, not only is it cheap and tasty, but it makes me feel connected to a place. I feel the same way about grocery stores, delis or bakeries. They are a more fulfilling experience to me than a restaurant full of fellow tourists. It always works out for me that for every sit down restaurant meal I have I've eaten a few quick, delicious, inexpensive meals, so to me it all balances out.

I recently spent a spontaneous holiday weekend in downtown Chicago to celebrate my BF's birthday. Excluding airfare, I spent more in 3 days there than I did in 10 days in Turkey or Rome or Paris, etc.!
aimeekm is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,643
JuliaAgain, I'm not saying you're lying, I'm simply saying that you couldn't possibly have seen "all the major sites in each of those cities" on a tour like that....unless your definition of "all the major sites" is seriously skewed. For me, just for example in Rome, "all the major sites" would take at least a week. In Venice, probably 3 days. And so on...

You had an "overview." That's fine, if that's what you want. It's not "all the major sites" by any stretch.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 15th, 2011, 09:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 18
Thank you all so much for giving me you opinions and suggestions. I love to plan and travel and getting everyone's opinions and suggestions are just as much fun. I really appreciate all of your time that you took for my post and I will make use of all of them. Thanks again and happy and safe travels to all.
KonaKini is offline  

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