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Italy - Solo and on a super tight budget.

Italy - Solo and on a super tight budget.

May 19th, 2008, 02:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Italy - Solo and on a super tight budget.

I am planning on visiting Italy later this year.

I am pariculary interested in Rome and the Amalfi Coast. I wouldn't mind going to Venice and Florence also. Many years ago I had visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa and Assisi.

I usually travel solo, but I'm not sure if this tim i'm better off taking a tour, especially when I compare costs.

I have looked at some of the budget tour companies, mainly Cosmos and Trafalgar Cost Saver.

It seems with a single supplement I can travel on these tours for about $200 per day.

I am debating if this will be cheaper than making the arrangements by myself.

I have looked at hotels and B and b's and i am having a tought time finding something less than EUR100, or $150, per night.

Am I better off booking a tour, I am on a very tight budget and I while I do not want to rough it, or share accomodation (ie, not pay the single supplement), I am looking for the cheapest option to get around.

Any suggestions.
partyon is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Those cheap tours rarely have central hotels. If you had non-central accommodation, you could go a lot cheaper too, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

Usually the stated tour cost doesn't include everything, but why not post the tour, price, and itinerary so people can comment on whether it's possible to match?
WillTravel is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Cosmos does a great Rome-Sorrento-Capri 10 day tour, (8 on the ground). The cost for a single would be about $190. a day. The hotel in Rome is just outside the city south wall. The one in Sorrento is right on the main street downtown, and the one on Capri is in a fantastic position up at Anacapri (what a view!) Breakfast every morning and 3 dinners. The tour actually goes UP il Vesuvio and then an included tour of Pompeii. There is an included Amalfi drive tour and a city tour of Rome. Great deal for a budget traveler.
TravMimi is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 03:07 PM
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WillTravel, you are right, the tours do not include centrally located hotels and there are some optionals that I would have to pay extra for.

I am not concerned about centrally locted hotels if I am on a tour. I do require the hotel to be clean and comfortable.

I haven't choosen an exact tour yet. Initally I started planning and I tried to choose accomodation, only to be shocked by the prices (it has been a long time since I was in Italy). So, given what my accomadation costs could be, I am debating if i should choose a tour instead.

I can travel for a maximum of 16 days, and I do not want to spend more than $3000 for land only arrangements. This would be the budget for transport, sightseeing and accomodation. Meals and shopping, etc, would be extra and not included in the budget.

I know $3000 isn't much, but I simply cannot afford anything else.

partyon is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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TravMimi, have you taken Cosmos' Rome, Sorrento and Capri tour.
partyon is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Partyon - I have taken that tour twice. Once solo, then some friends wanted to do it the next year and invited me along. I take tours and travel on my own. At certain times one method works better than the other, but that tour was a deal that was hard to pass up.
TravMimi is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 03:43 PM
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you might be able to find small apartments in a city or cities that would be better value than the B&B's you are looking at. That way you can also save money on meals.
We used realrome.com in Rome and liked the agency a lot. It lists some studios that are quite reasonable
Vttraveler is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Have you looked to see what those tours really include. Often most of the meals are on your own - at extra cost - and frequently many of the things yu want to see are on "optional" extra cost excursions.

Read the brochure word for word to see what is included and what isn't.

Also agree- you will probably be in not great hotels at the end of hell and gone and don't expect much from the meals they do provide.
nytraveler is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Take a look at Rick Steves tours. Italy is his favorite country, and you might find what you are looking for.
grapes is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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Maybe I'm missing something here but a budget of $3,000 for 16 days, not including airfare, meals, or shopping is pretty good if you ask me.

Pick 3 destinations max. and stay 5 nights each minimum. Rent apartments and buy groceries. Sightseee till your heart's content. Avoid long prison terms because you didn't strangle anyone to death on a tour bus.
Apres_Londee is offline  
May 19th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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Rick Steves tours have gotten surprisingly expensive in recent years, since the days my husband and I travelled with them B&B-style for $1800 for 22 days. For 2008, 14 days Village Italy, $3900; 11 days Heart of Italy, $3000; Italy in 17 Days, $4600; 10 Days Venice, Florence & Rome, $3000.

You can do a lot better on your own, depending on when you travel. If you're going end of September-October, you will need advance hotel reservations hardly anywhere. Just get off the train and circle the station. Within a few blocks in any of the older towns you will almost always find a Hotel Posta or something similar, with reasonable rooms for reasonable prices, prices ordinary Italians will pay.

If you'd be more comfortable with advance reservations, check out http://www.venere.com/ You'll find accommodations for almost any budget, and reviews from people who have stayed there. Pay close attention to the reviews that read as if they are posted by people like yourself. Lots of people have lots of complaints about things that may not be important to you. Look for the details about the important things, such as cleanliness, location, safety, etc. In Naples I have stayed several times in a small pensione on the 6th floor of an office building overlooking the port, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering a to-die-for view of the sun rising behind Vesuvius. On the island of Procida, in the Bay of Naples, I have stayed in a lovely room in the center of a lush garden, where breakfast is served on a bluff overlooking the sea, shaded by olive trees, reached by walking through a small grove of orange trees. You can have a small tray of nuts and limoncello brought to you there in the evening if you want to watch the moon rise over the harbor. I have stayed in similarly comfortable places in the center of Sorrento, Amalfi, Rome, Florence and the island of Lido in the Venice Lagoon. In each case, I paid less than $100 per night, usually quite a bit less.

I've just returned from 11 days in Rome, Viterbo, Orvieto, Lago di Bolsena and Porto Santo Stefano (Orbetello), and spent under $1000 for hotels.
julia1 is offline  
May 20th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I'm still debating what to do.

I usually travel by myself independently. Maybe I'm being lazy, but I'm thinking that on a tour I won't have to take my baggage to and from train stations (i have read horror stories about stolen baggage). And my sightseeing plans will be made for me.

Honestly I never thought of a tour until I started pricing hotels. When I started looking at prices i was shocked.

Julia1, could you please let me know where you stayed in Rome.


partyon is offline  
May 20th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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I'm not an expert on Italy or the Amalfi Coast, but in your case I think the tour is a good option. Friend & I went to the Amalfi Coast about 5 years ago and we DIY. It was fun but a lot of work/stress to make sure we didn't miss the bus, had the right schedule etc. Also, the SITA buses can get very crowded and it was a challenge for us to ride the bus w/our luggage.

Therefore, I think the tour is good as you don't need to worry about transport, and it sounds like the hotel choices are at acceptable locations and the price is right for you.
yk is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 07:33 AM
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well, unfortunately the cosmos tour is full, and I have read terrible reviews about trafalgar tours, so I'm back to square 1.
partyon is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 07:55 AM
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I've done a lot of solo traveling in Italy and elsewhere, and to me part of the fun is talking to people along the way and also taking the inevitable wrong turn into something surprising and interesting--often with good food. I think the chances of either of those things happening are greatly lessened on a tour.
sera is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Do Italy on your own rather than with a tour. Check the Let's Go guidebook for budget accommodations or the Santa Suzanna church web site for convent housing.

I used initaly.com for an apartment rental a few years ago and was pleased with this agency. The apartment was very close to the Campo dei Fiori.

I can recommend Hotel City in Sorrento as a very clean, recently renovated budget hotel. It's right near the train station (but was quiet). The buses to the Amalfi coast leave from the train station and the main square in Sorrento is just a few blocks away.
adrienne is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 09:29 AM
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"Amalfi Coast" and "super tight budget" are not two phrases one frequently hears in the same sentence. Your best option for finding most economical accommadations would be in Sorrento. Also, have you looked on the Lonely Planet's Thorntree forum? Many of the posters on their site tend towards an economical budget.
JBX is offline  

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