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May be a hard question to answer, but dont bite me!

May be a hard question to answer, but dont bite me!

Apr 4th, 2005, 02:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 25
May be a hard question to answer, but dont bite me!

I hate saving for a Europe trip without a dollar amount goal in mind.
I want to go to Italy!!
Rome and Sorrento are top on my list.
We are a family of 4. Dont need 4* hotels or fancy meals just a nice clean place to sleep.I can live with Pizza and coffee. I just want to walk and walk and take in the scene and repeat over and over "I'm in Italy"(paperbag,Do you love me?)
How much is a trip to Italy? Ballpark?
All I can figure out is a flight to Italy from NY is about $650 per person in October.

If you dont mind sharing what you spend on your vacations. Thanks
Michelem4 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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Go to www.slowtrav.com and under the Italy planning section--which is great--find my budget article. You will need to interpolte for 4 people, but should help. Using apts. may be a big help in the cities.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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For 12 nights in Italy this coming May (Sorrento,Positano, Monterosso, and Rome) my husband and I will spend approximately $4800. We planned the trip before the dollar really dove but decided to stick with our plans and just save more to pay for it!
Our breakdown is as follows (in US dollars):
Italy (1€ = $1.34)

Airfare $1,343.20
Train overnight private room $158.06
Other Trains $153.08
Circumvesuviana trains $17.96
Buses/Trains to get to Paestum $22.70
Taxis $33.50
SITA Bus Fares $21.44

Hotels $1,299.80
Meals $810.70
Cinque Terre Card $34.84
Monterosso Beach Fees $46.90
Campania ArteCard - 3 Day $67.00
Herculaneum and Pompeii $38.86
Archaeology Museum $29.48
Naples Churches $20.10
Paestum sight and museum $36.85
Pompeii Private Guide (?) $140.70
Boat Tour of Amalfi Coast $201.00
Rome - Palatine Hill $21.44
Rome - Capitol Hill Museum $21.44
Shopping, Misc. costs $268.00

TOTAL $4,787.05

Less prepaid plane $(1,343.20)
Less prepaid overnight train $(158.06)
Less cash in hand $(131.72)
TOTAL to pay $3,285.79

Our hotels range from 125€ to 165€ for double rooms and include breakfast. We eat a snack on the go for lunch and then spend 50€ on a nice dinner. I found out what our trains will cost using www.trenitalia.com and guidebooks and websites let me know the cost of admission to the major sights. We aren't huge shoppers - just a couple bottles of good wine and olive oil.

Hope this helps. It can certainly be done on less money, or you can certainly spend a great deal more than we do!
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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P.S. We bought our plane tickets ($670 each, approximately) last summer BEFORE fuel prices skyrocketed. Fares like this are definitely hard to find, so perhaps count on spending more on airfare.
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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Last P.S.!! ;-)

The "Less:..." means that we have already paid for these items. Or in the case of the cash, we have this many euros left over from our last trip.
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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Michele, To answer we need to know at the very least:

1) How many days are you planning to stay total? How modest are you willing to go with accomodations? Would a family room in a hostel be OK, for instance?

2) Are we budgeting for only 2 cities (Rome and Sorrento) or more?

#1 matters for lodging costs & #2 for transportation costs
suze is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:07 PM
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we just got back from paris, the cost is about the same, but we go CHEAP!
Two adults and 16 & 18 year old girls, thier rooms 35 E ours 50 E (we wanted a toilet IN the room) Airfare $250 plus tax each.
Train from airport to hotel = 7.40 E each All day Metro passes 5E each per day Meals from sit downs at 8E to 40 E each and grocery store picnics CHEAP 2E each cheese and wine are cheap! like 1E /lb for great cheeses 1E for loaf of bread and 1 - 5 E for bottle of wine. we found Museum Rodin for 1E Louvre is free for 18 year olds and only a few bucks for us after 3PM. Good luck!
marnew is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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TexasAggie: You are SO organized. Impressive but scary: I could never measure up. Basically depart with credit cards and spend whatever it costs -- though we are quite moderate.

BTW: we probably spend less on accommodation, more on dinners.

For a family of 4: I would always recommend renting an apartment, if feasible. Way cheaper, IMO.

Reported recently on our large and comfortable 1 bedroom apartment in Rome: 110 E per night. Fabulous.

And guess what: Last night I rented The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di biciclette) and, in one of the final scenes, spotted the square where we stayed. How cool is that??!!
tedgale is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Hi tedgale,
LOL! I am a tax accountant... hence the obsession.
Enjoyed your last trip report very much!
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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marnew, what hotel in Paris did you choose?

Michelem4, decide what accommodation you'll be happy with for your family and how much that will cost. You could find something for as low as 100E if determined, but you might prefer something more like 250E.

I would then budget about 15 Euros per day per person to cover either attractions or entertainment. Because you are traveling with kids, you won't get as many attractions done, but you may need some other diversions, so that seems reasonable to me.

If you stay at a hostel with a kitchen, or stay in an apartment, you can really cut your food costs down. Figure out how much you would spend at home for food for that period, and double it. (It won't necessarily cost double, but this will give you a bit of a cushion and allow treats like gelato and what not.)

Then figure out what your transporation costs on the ground will be.

Figure out costs like laundry. (Minimal, but you might have a bunch of minimal expenses.)

The fewer places you go, the less stress you'll have, and you may find it more enjoyable, particularly when traveling with children.

I put a fairly thorough listing of costs in my trip report if you want to look there. I went to many relatively expensive attractions and took guided walks and tours, which upped my budget somewhat - but that's why I went to Italy in the first place in large part.

My opinion is your trip is possible on 200E per day for 4 people for all expenses on the ground, and probably even less, but you'll enjoy it more if you go to 300E or more per day.
WillTravel is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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TexasAggie, the mathematics for your hotel rooms doesn't add up! You said you're going for 12 nights and that your hotels will cost anywhere from 125 to 165 euro per night. Yet, you only budgeted $1,299.00 for hotels, and that would come to only $108.25 per night (or about 85-90 euro).
HowardR is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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..when I was a student (my first trip to europe), I had a philosophy which I still hold. Spend as little as you can in a city for a room as you will not be in your room except to sleep. If you have very limited time, pay a little more to be central as an hour a day in getting to and from "downtown" makes no sence. re meals..I would have a quick cafe breakfast, picnic lunch, and try to find a great neighborhood restaurant for dinner at least every second night. Eating is part of the sightseeing..Often the cheap tourist 3 course all you can eat every night is more than this. Also occasionally splurge at lunch as your big meal and picnic summer as often luch is cheaper than dinner. Never splurge on money for museums or film/disc space for a camera.
travelbunny is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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HowardR is right. Something is wrong with your calculation!

If you presume that the average cost of your hotel is 145€ per night (125€ + 165/2) then your total cost will be:

145€ x 1.34 x 12 days = $2,331.60 (not $1,299.80)

Perhaps you should re-calculate your budget for your trip.
jet29 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:26 AM
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..an error in my post. never skimp on film or museum fees!
travelbunny is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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TexasAggie has some great ideas...and though he might be off a little, he is very THOROUGH. Am sure it is a help to someone traveling, just to pick and choose out of all the ideas and to get an overview.
Of course I am an A&M fan,,,gig em Aggies!!!
Michelem4: sounds like you will be a good TRAVELER (not tourist)..enjoying the walking and soaking up the culture. Your trip will be wonderful. WE spent 2 weeks in Sorrento a couple of years ago...good place for day trips! Your family will love Italy,,, are the children teenagers?, however I noticed October, so perhaps it is parents!) Four people does "ADD UP", but what a wonderful time together.You have received some good advice above...to you original question.
mari5 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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If you read my post, you'll see an overnight train.
One of our nights is overnight on the train in a private 2 bed compartment - that is listed separate.

There are 11 nights in hotels:
4 nights in La Tonnarella at 160€ per night - double with private sea view terrace and bathroom en suite
2 nights at Albergo California at 165€ per night - double with sea view balcony and private jacuzzi and bathroom en suite
1 night on the train
3 nights at Hotel Villa Steno for 125€ per night - repeat customer, double room with sea view terrace and bathroom ensuite
1 night - Hotel Oceania - double room with bathroom ensuite

Happy? ;-)

TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Yikes - sorry, forgot to point out that we had prepaid part of the room in Sorrento and that is why the dollar amount is lower (because we paid that back in October).
Also, the room at Hotel Oceania is 138€.

In any case, maybe the template (if not the exact calculations) will help Michelem4 in planning his/her trip in that he/she can see all the little costs that need to be approximated to come up with a realistic budget.

Happy trip planning!
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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TexasAggie, my point was not to pick on you, but rather to give the original poster a more accurate guideline.
(PS: For the sake of your own planning, as well, your recent comments still show your hotel costs far in excess of $1,299. Before deducting any downpayment for the Sorrento facility, your hotel costs come to 1,483 euro for 10 nights listed, based on the figures your supplied.)
HowardR is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Hi HowardR,
No problem, no offense taken I surely didn't list everything when I was putting down out the "yet to pay" list, such as the deposit in Sorrento and my parents picking up the Positano stay for our 1 yr. wedding anniversary gift. So no worries, I do have the "yet to pay" correct and won't have any unhappy surprises on the trip. Thanks for the concern though, it is nice to have people check these things to make sure you don't overlook them!
The real point was to provide a "template" of sorts, that anyone could copy and then put in their own amounts and get a real idea of what their trip would cost.
In any case, all of this did prompt me to update my own spreadsheet a couple weeks early (I had more or less dropped trip planning and trip budget updates since 3/15 due to the April 15th tax deadline) to see how much we really needed to leave in checking for the trip and put the extra into my IRA. So again, no worries, a good thing came of it
TexasAggie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 09:56 AM
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Though I admire Texas Aggie for thoroughness, I would never want to try to budget a trip to that level of detail. Reasons:
1. Things change.
2. Such a detailed budget would make me uneasy about deviating from it. That might make my trip less pleasant because I'd be worrying about blowing it.
3. Generalities will get you close to the number you need. ALWAYS add something for unexpected expenditures.

I must admit that I arrived at this approach after many trips to Europe, so I had the experience as a reference in my planning. With that in mind, my budget planning would be more general and would be broken down like this:

-Air fare and other fares to go from my home to the destination hotel. I just walk through all the steps.
-Hotel room costs.
-Food, whether eating out or just picnicking.
-Purchases, including souvenirs, impulse buys, gifts, and planned items.
-Local transportation once at the destination; taxis, rental car, train, bus, airfare, etc.
-Admission fees at major venues. Not all such fees can be anticipated, and they are not a large part of trip expense anyway.
-A 10 percent add-on as a contingency, or 5 percent if you have a lot of confidence in the plan. The percentage should not include hotel and airfare because these are well established once you make your reservations.

Since you and you alone know exactly what you will want to do, how you will eat and travel, and how or where you will sleep, you are the best one (IMO) to take these general categories I've listed and place numbers in them. Good luck.

Wayne is offline  

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