Italy and Germany on a budget

Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:16 AM
  #1  
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Italy and Germany on a budget

I would like to start this report by thanking all the Fodorites who posted information and answered questions that I used to plan my trip. Your valuable input ensured that I had a wonderful time on my holiday.

When planning the trip, I had a slightly different dilemma to most of the people I had seen in Fodors. I was faced with having more than a month available to travel, but only about 2 weeks worth of money to spend. So I made the decision to try and budget the trip so I could optimize my time, without missing too many of the comforts that a greater budget allows. It took quite a few hours of planning, but I was able to spend a whole month in Italy, Austria and Germany and only spend a total of around 2000 Euros (excluding airfares).

I am not sure if this is interesting information to other Fodorites on a tight budget, but if people would like, I can write and tell you about how I spent my money, rather than describing the wonderful places I visited (which are well-described on other posts).
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:23 AM
  #2  
 
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Yes, Chris, I would like to know how you managed your money, especially that I am thinking of going to Italy next summer, and I know that costs are high there.

So I want to know how can I get on with less money.
gabrieltraian is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:38 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Chriss,I stayed at mostly B.B. and saved over 3000 euros .Every place we stayed was clean and some were extremly nice.The great people here helped,and also tripadvisor was another invaluable tool good luck and you can have a ball if you shop around for prices just do your homework and don't be afraid to ask the experienced travelers on this site.My suggestion ways to save take trains , a good way to get from place to place, always stand up when eating in Italy,sitting doubles the costs,of course dinners were different they were for me to be totally enjoyed.The bed and breakfast stays, chopped easily over 100 euros a night.Have fun
miaspapa is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:42 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I'm just curious as to whether you ate meals out or got food from the supermarkets for meals. To me, using the grocery store overseas is one of the best ways to save money, and I never even feel like I'm missing out on the culture's food because I'm trying so many different meats, cheeses, etc. Oh, and yes, I'm interested in hearing how you spent your money!
saraallison11 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:43 AM
  #5  
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I am going to break this report in to small "chunks" as I find it easier to read like that. So first of all here is my itinerary...

My trip was divided in to two halves - I spent the first 2 weeks with one friend in Italy, and then the next 2 weeks with another friend in Austria and Germany. Each of the places we stayed provided bed & breakfast. My itinerary was:

1. Flew to Milan, overnight Milan at Hotel Berna (59 Euros for a single room)

2. Train to Venice, 3 nights in Venice at Ca’ del Dose (32.50 Euros per person per night)

3. Collected a rental car (from Autoeurope) in Venice and drove to:

3a. Conegliano (Veneto), 2 nights at Hotel Canon d'Oro (38.50 Euros per person per night)
3b. Bressanone, 1 night at Youth Hostel Bressanone (29 Euros per person in single rooms)
3c. Lake Garda, 3 nights at Hotel Sironella in Pai, just north of Torri del Benaco (41.50 Euros per person per night, half board)
3d. Lake Iseo, 1 night at B&B Giardino sul Lago in Lovere (28 Euros per person per night)
3e. Lake Como, 3 nights at Hotel La Sorgente in Menaggio (37.50 Euros per person per night)

4. Dropped the car off at Milan Malpensa airport and took a bus in to Milan, 1 night at Hotel Gonzaga (35 Euros per person per night). (Said goodbye to first friend.)

5. Flew to Bratislava and caught a bus to a friend’s place in Vienna. I stayed with my friend for 2 nights.

6. Drove in my friend’s car to Innsbruck, with 1 night spent on the way at Hallstatt (36 Euros per person per night)

7. 2 nights in Innsbruck at another friend’s house

8. Drove to Oberammagau in my friend’s car, with a stop at Linderhof castle, 2 nights Pension Neu (24 Euros per person per night)

9. Bus to Fussen, with the afternoon spent at Neuschwanstein. Then collected a rental car (from Autoeurope) and drove to:

9a. Starnberg, 2 nights at Gasthof zum Bruekenwirt (33 Euros per person per night)
9b. Rothenberg, 2 nights at Haus Karin B&B (23 Euros per person per night)
9c. Wurzburg, 1 night at Hotel-Pension Spehnkuch (26 Euros per person per night)
9d. Frankfurt to catch flight home.
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:59 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Thanks for posting those prices! I can confirm that those are pretty much standard and common. In addition many Pensionen are better than hotels, with very nice rooms.
logos999 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:02 AM
  #7  
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Although none of the accommodation we stayed in was 5-star, every place was clean and comfortable. In fact, I like staying in B&Bs and Pensions as I enjoy talking to the owners about their town and getting “insider advice” on places to visit and places to eat. We met some wonderful, interesting people and I find this as much a part of the holiday as the actual sightseeing. If anyone wants more details on any of the places we stayed, I am happy to pass on web site and email addresses.

Every place we stayed offered breakfast, most of them the European breakfast of bread, cheese, etc. In the smaller places we stayed, we asked if we could take the breakfast “leftovers” for our lunch (usually quite a lot as I am not a big breakfast eater). On each occasion, the person we dealt with was happy to pack the food in aluminium foil or plastic wrap for us (and several people stated that they were pleased we wanted it as they hated throwing good food away each day.)

Although I packed light for the trip, some of the most valuable items I took along were a thermos flask, tea bags, coffee bags and mugs. Each morning we asked for the thermos to be filled with hot water, and then for lunch each day we had a picnic. If we hadn’t already packed lunch, we either shopped for bread, meat, cheese, fruit etc. or bought ready-made sandwiches or bakery products. We found this saved us a lot of money - and allowed us to have our lunch in some really beautiful places.

I also found shopping in local supermarkets interesting in terms of what items they stocked and what was in other shoppers’ carts. Somehow I feel more a part of the local scene that way. (And I am completely envious of what was available to purchase. As you can probably tell from my screen-name, I live in Hong Kong and the range of groceries available in even the tiniest shop in Europe completely beats what’s stocked in my local supermarket!!)
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:20 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Thank you for posting all those details, Chris.

However, I would like to know how did you get a 32.50 euros at Ca' del Dose in Venice. I looked on their website and the low season fare is 50 euros.

There is a link to special offers, but they want you to e-mail them for that.
gabrieltraian is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:29 AM
  #9  
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Hi Gabriel,

The Ca' del Dose price I stated was per person, so the "per night" price was 65 Euros. This was being offered on their web site as an August Special for stays of at least 3 nights. We were lucky to get the last room available at that price. (And we were even luckier that we made friends with the couple staying in the room opposite, which had a lovely balcony, so we spent each evening on the balcony with them drinking wine. Thanks Ron and Nancy )

I must admit that, although the balcony room was more expensive, I would try and book it next time I go to Venice.
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:54 AM
  #10  
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For dinner each night, we generally asked at the place we were staying for a recommendation. While none of the restaurants we tried was 4-star, we ate very well and very "locally". Our average budget for dinner was around 12 to 15 Euros per person (a bit more in Venice, a bit less elsewhere). To ensure that we were able to try the various wonderful wines along the way without going over budget, we made it a habit to buy a bottle of wine each day from somewhere local to where we were staying. We then only had one glass of wine (or beer) with dinner, and returned to our accommodation to sit and enjoy our bottle of wine during the rest of the evening.

I must also note that, while in Italy, I followed the advice of people here and made sure I had at least one gelato a day. That was a compulsory part of my budget! As was trying a number of delicious cakes and pastries in Austria and Germany.
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Hi chriss_hk, you have started a great thread that will be informative for a lot of travellers!!

May I ask if you enjoyed Congliano and what you did there. Did you drink any of the Prosecco of Congeliano, was the hotel enjoyable and do you remember where you had your meals? I ask as Congeliano is my "home away from home" but not many people ever consider going there. So I am intersted in what your experiences were like. I have many friends in Congeliano so of course I always have a wonderful and relaxing time but I am curious how it is for a visitor. Best regards.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Hi LoveItaly. We really enjoyed Conegliano. It was such a delightful, beautiful town - and so quiet after our 4 days in Venice! We couldn’t believe there were so few tourists there! I would have liked to spend a couple more days in the region... maybe next time.

Hotel Canon d’Oro was clean and comfortable. The staff were friendly and helpful. The breakfast was good. There was free off-street parking. Perfect!!

We wandered through the streets and old buildings in town admiring the beautiful frescos. We then walked up to the castle and had a cup of coffee sitting overlooking the valley below. Then we wandered down back in to town, with every person we met greeting us and smiling.

The lovely lady in the Tourist Information provided us with maps for the Strada del Prosecco, so we drove from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene and stopped in a number of wineries to sample their products. Along the way we also visited the Molinetto della Croda, another beautiful "photo opportunity". For anyone interested, I have now discovered a web site with the details of these drives: http://www.coneglianovaldobbiadene.it/percorso1.asp

We ate at the same restaurant on both nights in town, as we loved the experience so much the first night. However I can’t remember its name!! (It might have been Al Salisa??) It was on the same street as the Canon d’Oro Hotel (Via XX Settembre, on the corner where the road turns down the hill in to town). The manager was a genial, charming host who happily helped translate and explain the menu for us.

Please tell your friends that I think they live in a really lovely place.
chriss_hk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 08:06 PM
  #13  
 
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Very interesting. Looking forward to more. Leaving for Germany on 10-10-06. Barb
BabsB is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 09:17 PM
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hello chriss_hk, I will tell all my of my friends how much you liked Congeliano and may I say I am so glad you did. And the Castle of Congeliano, yes the cafe there, having coffee while overlooking the plains of Veneto and looking to the Dolomites, beautiful!! I have an oil painting of the Castle of Congeliano given to me by one of my friends and also etchings that were beautifully framed, one of the piazza just down from the hotel, one of the block south of there where the Duomo is and one of the town with the Castle in the foreground, all drawn around the 1700's.

I am so happy that you enjoyed your time in Congeliano Chriss, it is a very special relaxing little city (population of 36,000) with such lovely people and the surrounding area is so lovely. Thanks for telling me about your time there. And the hotel, I have stayed there so many times, the two brothers and their wives that operate it are such wonderful people. I am glad that you had a pleasant visit. I hope that you will be able to return to Congliano at some time. And mostly I am so happy to read that you enjoyed this special little area of Veneto!
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 12:56 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Thank you Chris. We too, are going to Europe on a budget - we will spend five weeks in all, starting off with visiting friends in Austria for 10 days over Christmas. We then head to Venice, have managed to find nice accommodation for 66 euro for a double room in San Marco area (share bathroom with one other room). Then we head to Florence for four nights and found a hotel there for 270 double for the 4 nights, including breakfast. In Paris we found accommodation which looks nice for 52 euros a double. We will be travelling in January so I guess these are the low rates. Like you, we are thinking about taking along a thermos and perhaps even some packaged foods. As much as I'd love to stay in 5 star hotels, we just can't afford it - living in NZ, we need to get together $2 for every 1 euro, the exchange rate is hideous. We plan to buy groceries from local stores, pizza parlours etc. I also agree with you that B and B's are somewhat better than hotels. Thank you for positing the information.
amandab is offline  

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