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I need your help: Can you do Rome on the cheap or am I just dreaming?

I need your help: Can you do Rome on the cheap or am I just dreaming?

Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 113
I need your help: Can you do Rome on the cheap or am I just dreaming?

Ok this is an impromptu trip and I was hoping that I could afford to go to Rome but I need your help as to whether itís feasible or not.

Airfare: we can get FF tickets from the East coast to/from Rome

Hotel: I have a 3 free night certificate at the Cavalieri and we got a good rate at the Hilton Garden Inn @ the airport.

Now I have only about $900 for food and tours for two staying 7days/6nights. When I look at the tours for the Vatican, day tours of Rome and the Amalfi coast, the prices are so high that they exceed my budget. Also I know that food prices will be high as well. I am getting a little disillusioned about taking this trip as Iím afraid I will not be able to afford it.

Can you do tours on your own? I really wanted a private tour guide so we would not have to stand in long lines. I donít have to eat in expensive restaurants but I wanted at least one good meal which will probably be around $200 without alcohol. Also how much money do I need for transportation to/from the attractions? I just want to do the "must see" highlights of Rome.

Should I just wait until I can save up more money and take the trip in late September? I have to use my certificate before July 2007 so if we went in September then I think I will have an issue with getting a good rate for the hotels.

need2travelasap is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:20 AM
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With free airfare and three nights' free lodging, I think you can do it fairly easily on about $128/day for food and tours. Splurging on a $200 dinner might be a stretch, though, and personal tour guides, too. But personally, I could enjoy Rome without those extras.

You can get a confirmed time to tour the Vatican Museums for very little extra expense by faxing the Vatican directly. (Search this site for lots of info. how to do this.) Then you can enter St. Peter's Basilica from the Sistene Chapel, and it's free. You avoid two lines this way.

You can get around Rome on the subway and buses for cheap. And great inexpensive restaurants are everywhere in Rome. Two restaurant suggestions from my trip report last May:

"Later, for dinner, we headed back toward a restaurant where my daughter had eaten earlier that semester. Itís very casual and good, called the Maccheroni Ristorante at Piazza delle Coppelle, 44, phone 06 68307895. Itís very popular with locals and gets very busy. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is lively and interesting. About 47 EUR for two, with one-half liter of house wine.

. . . We had reservations to meet my daughterís friend for dinner at 9:00. He had studied in Rome that semester and recommended his favorite restaurant in the neighborhood where heíd lived, called Il Matriciano, on Via dei Gracchi, 49- 61. (Reservations advisedóphone 063213040, or 063212327) Itís perfect for a more special dinner, but certainly not over-the-top. For three people dining, we paid just 103 EUR, which included a liter of house wine. We shared two appetizers, and two of us had veal dishes, one had just spaghetti. We each enjoyed coffee and dessert. It is a very, very friendly and pleasant place. We completely enjoyed it."

I'm not familiar with going to the Amalfi Coast, but it could bust your budget. There's so much to do in Rome for a week, I think you'd be happy there.

I say go for it!
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 9
Buy a Rick Steves travel book for Rome. Your hotel stay will be the most expensive item and Steves finds cheap out of the way places that are acceptable. When I go to Italy, I never take any tours, although my friends depend on them. Rome is very easy with a travel book on hand. Buy the weekly entertainment magazine. Got to go.
illanrob is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
The $900 is just under 700 Euros. I agree you can do the trip on that, but private tour guides and expensive dinners are out of the question. You'd also have to be sure to link up with your hotel shuttle, as taxis would be an unwanted expense also.

With all the museums and audioguides and non-private tours that I paid for in Rome, it was easy to spend 40-60 Euros per day for me alone just on that part of the trip. It was really worth it, but you can see that with the two of you, it might not leave much for food. You could skimp on this part of the trip if you wanted to focus more on free stuff.
WillTravel is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
The food in Rome was wonderful without spending a fortune, and we stumbled across many romantic places without even trying! I would skip a super expensive dinner.
As for transportation around Rome, the best way to see the city is to walk! And the buses arent too bad either.
steviegene is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,320
Hi N,

>Can you do Rome on the cheap ...?

Of course.

Why are you staying at the airport?
How much are you paying?

>I have only about $900 for food and tours for two staying 7days/6nights.

Forget the tours.

You have about 115E/day for M&IE (Meals and Incidental Expenses).

A bare-bones budget per person is:

A coffee and cornetto or panino is about 2.5E.

Pizza or salad or sandwich for lunch with beverage is about 6E.

Dinner is about 25E.

That leaves you about 35E pd for incidentals.

ira is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 215
Skip the tours, but read a few guidebooks.
Wine is cheap and you do not need to go to fancy restaurants to eat - all the food is excellent!
The city is easy to walk, but the metro and buses are easy and cheap to use.
kbrennan is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
I'd skip the tours and buy a good guide book. Even Rick Steves' Rome book has good walking tours of most of the major sites.
missypie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 17,549
The Cavalieri is located a bit out of the center but my understanding is the hotel provides a free shuttle service. I would not let the locaytion deter me especially if you have three free nights there.

I would agree about getting a decent guidebook and forgetting organized tours which seem higher priced than you want/(or need) to pay. You can certainly do many of the main sights/sites on your own; some are within walking distance of one another; you could save some money by taking the bus and/or using the Metro.

You do not have to spend a fortune on food as Ira has indicated..depends on where and what you choose to eat. I suspect some prices are higher in known "tourist" sections such as around the Navona, the Spanish Steps, Trevi fountain, etc.

The sights/sites are STILL THERE whether you got there to se them on the cheap or not. Enjoy Rome.
Dukey is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 113
Wow thanks for the timely replies, I think that I will definately go for it!!!! I will get the "Rick Steves" book along with the other suggestions.

Again, thanks, I'll give a trip report when we return.
need2travelasap is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
A couple of "on the cheap" pointers. We were told that because they were thin, everyone needed to order his or her own pizza. We did that the first night and only our eat-like-a-horse 15 year old finished his. You can split a pizza-esp. if you want gelato afterwards. Also, house wine is almost always less expensive than soft drinks.
missypie is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 10:06 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 19
When we went to Rome three years ago, there were college students offering free group tours in front of the Colloseum. They were trying to whet your appetite for future tours of the Vatican and Forum, etc that they DID charge for. We took a tour of the Colloseum that day and a tour of the Forum the next day that lasted two hours for $15.00 each. We were so impressed that we also took a tour of the Vatican that was $25.00 each. We felt like we got a great deal for a really good tour. My husband had read about these tours online and we thought we'd try it since there was nothing to lose.
GregW is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
We just returned from 10 days in Rome. For food, I budgeted 10e for breakfast, 15e for lunch and 30e for dinner each. We never spent that much on breakfast (cafe and pastry while standing at the bar is about 2.5e) and we sometimes didn't spend that much at lunch either. A few times we went over that amount for dinner but not always, so it actually left us with a bit more money to play with for other things. We also used that food budget for a coffee or glass of wine during the day as well. Remember that it costs a lot more to sit down with your drink than to stand at the bar and drink it.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
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