food budget family of 5

Old Oct 12th, 2011, 10:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
food budget family of 5

I'm trying to get a handle on how much my family's trip to Italy will cost. My family consists of me, my husband, and three kids ages 8, 11, and 13. We will be in Italy for 2 weeks in June traveling to Rome, Florence (or Siena - haven't made a final decision yet) and Venice. About how much should we expect to spend on food? We'll be staying at hotels with breakfast included, so we'll be at restaurants for lunch and dinner. As for the type of restaurant, nothing too fancy but still good. I don't drink, so we'll save on wine. My husband does, but he'll just get a glass of the house wine - no bottles for us.
clareita is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<< I don't drink, so we'll save on wine >>

Your comment sounds like you think you'll save money if you don't drink wine. If you're planning on drinking soft drinks you'll spend more money than if you drank wine.

You can save money by getting pizza slices or panini at bars and either stand up at the counter or take the food away and find someplace to sit down and eat. It costs more to sit at a table and more yet to sit at a table outside.

You can also save money by renting an apartment rather than staying in hotels. You can buy food, snacks, drinks at supermarkets and eat more cheaply and just have a few nice dinners in restaurants.
adrienne is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wine is one of the bargains at Italian restaurants. When we go to casual trattorias, we just split a carafe of wine and get tap water which is often cheaper than ordering two soft drinks or mineral water which are likely to be in expensive bottles.

Also your trip report indicates you have been to some of these places 4 yrs ago, so you should be familiar with the range of dining options available. Add perhaps 30-40% to get the current price estimate.

Take out types are the cheapest.
greg is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lunch is easy. Think about 10 euross per person average.

Pizza is everywhere, far more than ten or fifteen years ago, and some of it is good. Stay away from the places that have cooked pizza in a case that they heat in a microwave. Look for some form of the words "forno" (oven) aand "legno" (wood-fired). It is thin crust pizza, and there are usually twenty or thirty selections, but usually not more than two ingredients, not stuff like double meat triple cheese veggie supreme.

Sandwiches, which go by a variety of names (you thought subs, grinders, and hoagies were confusing!) are everywhere and usually good, but again, they have far less meat than we are used to on a sandwich. If you sit down at an outdoor cafe and see someone eating something interesting, ask the waiter what they are having.

You can also go to a "tavola calda", a place with cooked hot dishes on display, sort of like a cafeteria, and order what you want to eat in or often take out.

Salads are often a very good deal for lunch and are usually substantial.

Drinks are expensive, except for wine. Your husband should indulge because his wine is likely to cost less than a coke. Try to kill your thirst before the meal with bottled water from a grocery and split a big bottle of water or two at lunch to get the food down. Plain tap water with ice is not generally served. You pay.

Dinner is harder because many places do not open until 7:30, late for a lot of Americans, especially kids. Unless you go for pizza and a salad again, not a bad idea, it will cost at least 20 euros per adult, maybe less for the kids but there is no tax or tip on top of that, so that is net.

Menus will list three courses and desserts, and most Italians would probably have two of those four. You can order pasta and dessert or salad. There are three kinds of salad, verde or just greens, mixed greens and vegetables, and composed salads, which add meat and are the expensive salads on the menu. You cold order a substantial appetizer like cozze or mussels and a salad, or you could have a salad and a main course. Most courses, except oddly enough pasta, are quite large. Pasta has a lot less sauce on it than in an American restaurant. Vegetables usually have to be ordered separately (contorni). If you order a steak, you get a steak. No potatoes, no broccoli.

Gelato is the best dessert of all, so I wouldn't spend a lot of time thinking about dessert in a restaurant or cafe.

This isn't the quick answer you were looking for, but it is the way things more or less were a couple of weeks ago when we were there.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 36,790
Likes: 0
Received 14 Likes on 11 Posts
You're typically paying a cover charge and a bread charge (per person which can be several euro each). Wine can be cheaper to drink than other things. Water is bottled and not free. For five people, you will at least need a couple of bottles every meal (it will be hot so everyone will be thirsty).

While walking around, everyone can carry a bottle of water and refill it at the hundreds of fountains you see. I
kybourbon is online now  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 94
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pizza is the way to go and kids love it. Mineral water or coca cola can cost more than the food, so be sure to ask what the price is before ordering. Food and wine are spectacular bargains in Italy.
Mikenmass is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<< As for the type of restaurant, nothing too fancy but still good. >>

That statement is meaningless. It's generally hard to find a bad meal in Italy.

I agree that the notion of "saving on wine" is misbegotten. Last time I was in Italy, I had to have my diet Coke every day during the day and that ritual became known as getting my $2 Coke (3000 lire then at 1500/dollar). This was in 1996. The house grape juice was usually far less.

Once upon a time, there were the tavola calda, the trattoria and the ristorante. For more information, see if this helps:
BigRuss is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,962
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would think that you should figure around 75E/adult and 35E/child per day. So around 250E a day, unless your kids eat like adults. Some days may cost more, some less.

Enjoy your trip!
zoecat is online now  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 01:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the suggestions. Let me clarify my comment about "saving" on wine. If my husband were traveling with someone who drank wine, he would want a bottle far more expensive than the water I will be drinking and the glass of house wine he will be drinking. Also, by nothing too fancy I meant not a Michelin starred restaurant or one most people would consider for a splurge meal - about 300 euros for 2 people.
clareita is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2011, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With 3 kids you need to be careful about soft drinks. They are very expensive versus the US and come in teeny little cans I think about 6 ounces. If your kids are used to large size soft drinks -or refillable cups - you need to get them used to drinking water instead. Otherwise you can easily spend $40 a day or more for soft drinks.

I find sandwich shops a better choice than pizza places - how much pizza can you eat? Just don;t over order - the sandwiches are much smaller than in the US (as are all portions) but may be enough for kids.

As for dinner - you can get meals at a host of price ranges - and except for Venice (where you have t be careful) we have found italian restaurants to be unfailingly good (assuming you avoid the ones right near tourist attractions, that have menus in 14 languages or with pictures). The latter are rourist traps and generally high prices and poor food.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 111
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
14 days x 5 people= 70 "man" days
Gelato fix 2x daily= 140 gelato fixes
2 scoops per fix = 280 gelato scoops
1 euro per scoop = 280 euros
Exchange rate assumption of 1.5= $420

Plus free breakfast
Plus free water

I think you can budget $450 total and be in good shape!

Seriously, though, I think you could budget 15 euro per person per meal and make it ok, particularly if the youngest eat lightly, you eat big at breakfast, eat cheap for lunch and you are somewhat creative/flexible. A safer "modest" budget is probably 25 euro per person. In each case, I'm assuming adults use up some of the younger childrens' budgets.
RoamEurope is offline  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 11,970
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Why are you short shrifting their Gelato fix down to only 2 per day?

It's a vacation after all - they should budget for the normal 3 or 4.
J62 is online now  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love the maths in roameuropes reply.
I am planning a trip and we are calculating it on:
Luckily neither of us needs to waste money on soft drink.
AAFFtravel is offline  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 265
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Go for the Tartufo, twice daily! Its a budget buster but soooo worth it!
Toucan is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Sep 26th, 2014 02:16 PM
Feb 11th, 2013 11:57 AM
Jul 26th, 2012 03:36 AM
May 21st, 2007 02:29 PM
Jan 11th, 2004 03:25 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -