The Italian Job. Let’s consider the challenge of a holiday in Italy, without blowing the budget. It’s much easier than you might first think, and far less of a challenge. There are many ways to save cash on a glorious trip to Italy. Let’s explore the lovely thought of a budget trip to Italian shores – and perhaps we can sway you to book your own Italian job this year.
Tip 1 –Season’s greetings
We all know this one already, don’t we? Avoiding the school holidays and booking out of season is the best way to ensure a more economical deal. This applies particularly if you’re a lone traveller or a couple, or just travelling minus the kids. Take advantage of this simple rule and save before you start.
Tip 2 – Booking your seat
Your first stop to your Italian holiday will be to book a seat on a flight when you have decided what time you can take off. Sometimes, avoiding the ‘hub’ cities is the clever option, if you’re hiring a car anyway a few extra kilometres on the sunny side of Italy might mean a substantial saving. That said, many of the budget airline have some tempting online offers to the larger city airports – remember to keep an eye out for seasonal sales, 10 year anniversaries, special promotions and that sort of thing. Always remember to pack light – an ‘in cabin’ holdall should be all you require for a short break. Make your holiday wardrobe work for you, for example a big Pashmina works wonders as a beach wrap, a dress or a night-time cover up. I’ve even used mine as a picnic-lunch tablecloth!
Tip 3 – Somewhere to stay in Italy
Check online and see if you can grab an Italian break with a special built in discount. Villa owners will often offer special discounts to holidaymakers willing to take left-over weeks, or out of season dates. Ask when booking what special offers are available for 3 weeks instead of two, or 10 days instead of 7 – you might be pleasantly surprised. Book a really large place for the whole gang and everyone can chip in with the cost. You might end up with a luxury holiday home for a bargain price when the total cost is divided up.
Tip 4 – Don’t ride – Walk around instead
Booking an Italian city for a holiday with cultural sights and city delights? Then pack your comfy walking shoes and hoof it. All that delicious pasta requires walking off anyway, so eschew the costs of public transport and all of the taxi fares by seeing your chosen Italian city on foot. You’ll see more, feel at one with the locals, have fun asking directions, and it’s healthier by comparison.
Tip 5 – Eat at lunchtime and snack at night
A three course set meal during the day will cost a fraction of something similar or even identical from the menu once the sun has set on your Italian holiday. Stick to bar snacks during the evening – if you’re able for it after that wonderful and filling cheap lunch! Of course, self catering in an Italian holiday home is even cheaper – have some fun choosing in-season, colourful produce from the local market. It’s a fun way to practise your Italian!
Tip 6 – Seeing the sights with an All-In Card
Ask if there’s a ‘season ticket’ to see the sights and save a few cents. For example, in Rome, you can avail of the ROMAPASS which lasts for three days, and covers a multitude of sights for a set price. Only buy this if you’re going to use it well though – it might be a pretty intensive three days of shoe leather!
Tip 7- Show your age!
Don’t be shy about showing your age. Many museums and art galleries in Italy will offer a discount if you fall under the label of retired or student. So remember to bring along your passport and show it where necessary in order to avoid splashing your cash. Sometimes, just being an EU member can gain you free entry, so pack your passport, and show your age with pride.
Tip 8 – Relax freely
Some beaches in Italy – in fact many of them – can charge for you to get that all over tan. Many popular beaches have an entry fee – don’t be surprised to see some charging as much as €15 a head. That, you’ll agree, can be devastating for a family of four looking for a budget holiday. But, don’t despair; it’s still possible to enjoy the dolce vita by the sea free of charge. By law, all Italian coastal towns have to have at least one free beach, so search for the spaiggia libera, or Free Public Beach.
Another alternative, if you have the advantage of a car hire, is to search out National Parkland with coastal frontage – as it’s illegal to charge for that. The last option will also be far less crowded and likely to also be cleaner and unspoilt.
Tip 9 – Go off the beaten track
Head for the road less ravelled and stay away for the well known and much visited sights and sounds of Italy. Find your own inner idyll in the Italian countryside, eat locally and cheap in country restaurants and bars – see Italy for its inner charm, and the unspoilt perfection of the traditional interior. You won’t have to visit Rome for a true taste of Italy.
Tip 10 – Wine time
Make a point of visiting some of the excellent Italian wineries. The rolling vineyards of Tuscany are a must-see. See and learn how the grapes are cultivated, and created into world-renowned Italian wines. At the end of the tour, taste the various wines – and buy them at source cutting out the supermarket profit margin. Take a couple of bottles of your favourite label back to your self catering Italian holiday villa, and cook up a storm with a delicious bottle on the side.
And remember what they say in Italy “Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole ” – A meal without wine, is a day without sunshine.