Italy on $5 a day

Jun 20th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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I always do an initial budget of $300CAD/day for two of us to get an idea of trip costs, and it always ends up being very accurate. This amount includes everything but airfare. We don't rent cars, but use public transportation. We stay in small B&B type places. We eat well, but not at extravagant places, just local moderate restaurants, and usually have lunch at very casual street stops or cafeterias. We go to almost all the main attractions and museums - but hardly buy anything in the way of gifts etc.

For a week in a big city, we probably couldn't make this amount work, but it always works out on average, since we tend to mix more expensive stops with cheaper ones. You could definitely travel for less than we do by avoiding sleeping in big cities, staying at hostels, and eating our lunch type meals for dinner. But I would say that without cutting out admission costs, you couldn't go much lower than $100US per person per day based on double occupancy!
saltymuffin is offline  
Jun 20th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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My wife and I managed to enjoy a (short) week in France and Spain just last May, sticking to 50 euros per day (per person) for all meals and lodging. Two of those nights were in logis-de-france with half board; one night was spent traveling by train from Biarritz back to Paris, one was chosen from the casas rurales mentioned in the Pais Vasco guide on and only one night was in a hotel "proper" (San Sebastian). Our most expensive meal, eaten out, was about 32 euros per person, in Biarritz.

So, budget travel can still be very enjoyable and comfortable.

Best wishes,


p.s. We spent about $475, all in, for transportation to and from Europe... and another $400+ for car and train. It would not be possible to stay at many of the places we chose without a car.

rex is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 07:09 AM
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I'll stick with my estimate of about $90 to $100 a day in most of Europe if you share a modest hotel room (private bath but few other luxuries) and eat very modestly. In that range, I'd budget about $50 per day for half of a shared hotel room (hopefully including breakfast), $30 for dinner, and the rest for lunch, snacks, and drinks through the day. But with many museums in Europe now costing more than 10 euros, you can see how expensive a typical day can be once you add in all the extra expenses like museums and transportation, not to mention shopping.

Arthur Frommer's Europe from $5 a Day was published almost 50 years ago, so you can see that prices have climbed a lot since then.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Sounds like (staying in hotel rooms) $100/day is about the minimum. With that amount of money per day, my breakdown would be a bit different than Doug Stallings. I too would spend $50/day for half a room including breakfast, but only spend an average of $20/day on dinner and $10 on lunch and snacks (I would get some better meals, by eating cheap a few days). That leaves $20/day for site seeing and getting around town. Obviously this amount doesn't include travel between cities. . . or any room for shopping. This budget would be almost impossible in London. But if you are visiting several places, including some cheaper ones, it should still work out on average.
saltymuffin is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 08:51 AM
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Sure you can do Italy on $5 a day if you only eat gelato and a brioche and don't sleep anywhere! I consider myself a budget traveler and my range for meals/activities is usually $40-$50/day, plus lodging ($100 and under per night), giving me an approx. $150 +/- total per day. If only prices were low, low, low but that is an unheard of anomaly in today's Europe! Still doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for the place....
Huitres is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 01:57 PM
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tcmazz1 spends too much time at garage sales looking through the used book bins.

Assuming that it was 1955 or so when Arthur Frommer published his 5-Dollars-A-Day book (I'm not exactly sure), the minimum wage in the US was 75 cents an hour, a loaf of bread cost 18 cents, a postage stamp was 3 cents, and you could buy an average new car for less than 2 grand.

Can we get real?

WallyKringen is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 03:23 PM
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anamaria is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 03:41 PM
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Ummm...where in Italy? Last month my travelling companion and I stayed at a very pleasant agriturismo in rural Sardinia where we had half-board (room with bath, breakfast, and huge dinner with home-grown ingredients) for 43 Euros each. Don't try that in Venice.
KT is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 03:43 PM
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I'm in the $50 + $100 range as Huitres mentions. That's $50 for meals, wine, admissions, local transportation, postcards, plus either $50 or the whole $100/day depending on whether I am sharing a room with a companion or traveling solo. My trips are always in cities.
suze is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 05:13 PM
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We're planning a Budget-level 34 days in France and Spain this September-October. The only big city we'll visit will be Paris (although we start and end there, it will be our 4th or 5th visit to Paris and we'll only be there 3 nights at the end.) We MIGHT spend about 5 nights in Barcelona, but as we are expecting to travel and stay places we've wanted to spend more time in (e.g, Dordogne, Provence) and we will be exploring Basque regions of both France and Spain, we may not ever make it to Barcelona.
(We've learned that there is no such thing as the "trip of a lifetime." Our lifetime IS travel!) Anyway, our budget thus far is looking like it will be about $165 per day (my spreadsheet translates costs into dollars for me) and we are most likely to stay at 2 star hotels or B&Bs or agritouristic type accomodations. Some places we're hoping to do half-board, but as we're driving ourselves we'll need to factor in gas/diesel, tolls, etc.

It will be fun to see how this plays out. I'm pretty confident we'll be just fine. I'll report back to my favorite sites like this with what the trip ends up costing "per day"
LadyOLeisure is offline  
Jun 21st, 2006, 06:36 PM
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All of which brings me to a question I recently asked my wife: "If someone gave you $100 every Monday morning for an entire year with instructions that you had to spend it all on anything you would not normally spend it on -- you know, just blow it on treats -- what would you say?"

She beamed, said it would be wonderful, and she would enjoy having that extra $100 so very much.

So that settled it. We're staying home here and spending the money in America. Europe? Nuts.
USNR is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:06 AM
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Well, over Christmas week in 2006 DW and I spent 10 days in Italy. 6 in Rome, 2 in Paestum, 1 driving to Milan.

The entire cost of the trip, including hotels, airfare, food, admissions, tips was a touch over $3,500.

So, that comes to about $150 per day per person. Remove the $1200 we paid for airfare, bringing the "incountry" total to $1800 or $90 per person per day.

Last Christmas, we had 7 of us in Rome for 8 days. We spent about $9,000, including airfare and apartments. That is $160 per person per day. Removing airfare (we got some fantastic deals), cost would be about $100 per person per day.

That would be considered one of Rome's high seasons. Last trip we stayed in the Navonna area.

Yes, we made lots of picnic lunches, but went everywhere.

To the flip side, last summer, 4 of us went to London, Ireland and SW England for 10 days. We spent $14,000. Now, much of that can be attributed to having to deal with 83 year old MIL and special needs.

daveesl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:36 AM
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I find Italy to be more expensive than Greece (which I find to be the cheapest country I've visited so far). In terms of food, lodging, public transport and sights, it's about $100 CAD a day for me. I love looking for deals and with things like the Roma Pass (free public transport for certain number of days and limit on free admission to sights), sharing an apartment room (Beehive has wonderful self-serve apartments) and just eating in hole in the walls... it all works.

If you take advantage of Italy's Culture Week, you'll see your budget go down because that's when all the state run museums, galleries and archaelogical sites give free admission for approx. two weeks. The dates changes from year to year and in 2007, it was in mid-May. I just happened to be in Italy at that time...
pointofnoreturn is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:41 AM
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For our trip (4 weeks) this year I hoped to get away with €50 pppd after flights & hotels but spent more like €75.

With flights and accommodation (sharing a double room) the whole trip cost c.€158 pppd (makes it sound a bit of a bargain, doesn't it ? ) Our flights cost c.€200 each so that only knocks c€7 off the overall total pppd. But the remaining average €151 pppd must have varied a lot depending on where we were; for instance our hotels varied between €80 and €225 per night for 2.

We could have spent less but not while having a nice time, eating real food and having a drink or ice cream whenever we wanted to. We had a nice time.

Quite a bit depends on the exchange rate too, if you have to talk in dollars - no idea what our spending in euros would have been in dollars at the time we went (June/July).
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:46 AM
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Oops, my addition was wrong on the first trip. Removing the airfare, the in country cost was about $2,300 or $115 per person per day for 10 days on the first trip.

Geez, I'm getting old, I can't subtract anymore.

daveesl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Let's see -

Our 3 weeks in France this past May broke down to about $140 pppd, at least for lodging and food. We shared apartments/house with another couple in Paris (one week), Isle sur la Sorge in Provence (one week), and St. Jean Cap Ferrat on the Cote d'Azur (one week). Our airfare was business class FF miles, but with taxes and fees about $180 pp as I recall. Our rental car (2 weeks) was $900 (plus $200 gas and tolls), shared by 2 couples (so about another $20 pppd).

Of course, we DID manage to splurge occasionally, and DW (and I) did do SOME shopping (Provence was particularly enticing), so the bill added up to more. Was it worth it - hell yeah!

knoxvillecouple is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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This whole discussion highlights the definite tilt of the Fodor's Europe Forum towards Italy and France and Spain, almost totally ignoring the glories of Greece, which I happily and frugally enjoy--outside of Athens--on 60-65€ a day. That's when sharing a double with a travel companion; going solo bumps it up a bit.

So carry on with your Parisian meals and your private Vatican tours, while I sit on a hilltop, leaning on a toppled column, picnicking on olives and cheese while gazing down at the wine-dark sea.

travelerjan is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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When I first moved to Rome, it was mandolins, Chianti bottles with straw baskets, and $5 a day. Now, Italy is one of the most expensive countries, or rather, the cities are expensive, the countryside not so. Even in the cities you can picnic and eat very well right from the grocery store, and apartments and B&B's can bring down your lodging price. In the countryside, no question what with agriturismo places absolutely everywhere and great fun, and mom and pop restaurants, festivals, or open markets for fabulous food. As far as sites, the Vatican is free on the last Sunday of the month, 80% of Rome's sites are buildings and churches, therefore no cost, and the places shown in don't cost anything. I feel sorry for USRN who prefers to stay at home and spend $100 on nothings rather than have experiences that last a lifetime. Enjoy.
italiannotebook is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:46 AM
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Ah Jan, what a nice picture you are painting.

Yes, we need to hear about other places. Yours seems to be running about $90 US per day, not too shabby.
daveesl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Returned from a 23 day trip Oct 15th with 2 other persons sharing the room. We went to Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Italy. Spent $4405 which includes airfare, travel insurance, $207 in gifts/souvenirs, train travel, lodging, foo/water,entrance fees, taxis, metros - everything.

We always go for this length of time and we usually spend about $3500-$4000 and stay in more expensive b&bs or hotels, but the dollar was not doing as well this trip so it was a bit more.
bratsandbeer is offline  

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