Most of my travel advice is budget-friendly. While I don’t have any trust funds, I presume you do. However, that doesn’t stop us from going on occasional trips to Italy. We all would love to experience the luxurious experience but we don’t want the burden of paying the bill.
Italy is not an affordable country to visit, especially compared to other destinations in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. You want to ensure that every euro you spend is wisely when you travel. While I agree with that, I do not want to spend any extra euro on gelato. However, I believe there are some things that are completely worth it in Italy.
This is my totally-not-comprehensive and entirely-subjective list of what’s worth the splurge in Italy. You may have different mileage.
You can also check out my tips for creating a budget to travel Italy.
Stay Overnight in Venice
I will continue to defend the idea that day-trippers who hate Venice might like it if they spent the night there. Venice hotels are expensive. You’ll pay more for a 2-star hotel on the island than you would for a 3- or 4-star hotel anywhere else in Italy. You’re only paying for the privilege to stay on the islands, which is a tiny dot on the Italian maps.
Many hotels are located on the Venice island, which is a short boat ride away from the islands. They are also affordable, making them attractive to budget-minded travelers. However, if you stay on the mainland, you will miss out on Venice’s most peaceful, charming, and quiet times – which is when the day-trippers aren’t there.
Here’s my suggestion if you are really tight on money and wish to spend more time in Venice. Spend one night on the island – this is the luxury option. To save money, you can switch to a hotel in the mainland. You can also visit the islands during the day by choosing an apartment rental or hostel.
You can take a self-guided tour of cities, museums, and art galleries. The only thing you have to pay is the admission fee. You may not be able to experience an educational and memorable travel experience.
A guided tour gives you the opportunity to learn from someone who is an expert on a topic, such as Medieval history, Renaissance art, or Roman gladiatorial fighting. Good tour guides will adapt stories to their audience and add interesting facts. Guided tours allow you to make the most of your time and you will know what the key pieces are so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the Uffizi or Vatican Museums.
Guided tours are available to suit every budget, taste, and interest. To get an overview of a city, take a walking tour. To better understand art, if you are anything like me, a guided museum tour can help. You can take a food tour and taste the regional specialties, so you will know what to order at a restaurant. There are so many options.
These companies offer tours to Italy. These are affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission if you book with them. However, it does not cost you anything extra.
- Context Travel – Context Travel offers small group tours to or departing from Rome, Florence and Venice. Your docents will make you smarter and more entertaining.
- Walking in Italy – Walking in Italy is a small-group tour company that offers tours to Rome, Venice/Pisa and Pompeii/Amalfi. These tours are usually led by passionate native Italians.
- Viator – Viator offers a wide range of tickets and tours to all kinds of attractions in Italy. There is truly something for everyone.
Taxis when you have luggage
Let me tell you, this woman thought she should take two suitcases from Milan Airport to her apartment. She changed lines once and then carried the suitcases seven blocks. Taxis are worth the expense if you have luggage.
Although I am budget-conscious, I will still take a train to the city from the airport if it is far away (hello Rome or Milan), what happens after that? I need a taxi. I will do my part and use public transport later, maybe within an hour. I strongly believe that it is the best way to travel around Italy. After carrying heavy bags through cities at the start of my trip, I don’t want to feel any pain in my arms again.
Location, Location and Location
Experts in real estate will tell you that housing value is all about location. The same goes for hotels for tourists. The hotels in the center of all the activities and sights you desire will be more expensive than those on the outskirts. The majority of the time, however, it is worth the extra expense.
You can get away with not being at the center of everything if you spend a week in one place and travel extremely slowly. You won’t be wasting your vacation time if you are like most tourists who can get to each city within a matter of days. You are already there.
However, you will still find hotels that are affordable, even if you live in the historical center of a town or city. Find the right hotel for you in your budget by learning more about and what the stars mean on Italian hotels.
You may be a shopaholic, and in that case you will likely have to set aside some money for purchases in Italy. Although I don’t pay much attention to fashion, I do know that you will want to research the current trends in Italy before you make your purchase. Or, you can wait until you arrive to see what colors everyone is wearing.
Regardless, most goods can be purchased in Italy regardless of where you live. However, fake goods can sometimes be sold as real things if you aren’t there to buy it in person. Murano glass is a perfect example. It’s the beautiful stuff that’s made on an island in the Venetian lagoon. If you think it is too good to be true, it probably is. There are also fakes in Venice. You can still go to Murano’s glass-maker to buy directly. You could also buy handmade Burano lace.
Shopaholics may also wish to plan their trips around Italy’s official sales seasons, one in winter and one for summer, to stretch their shopping budget even further.
Experiences You’ve Dreamed About
Any attempt to be specific is lost here.
Although I don’t like the term “bucketlist”, there might be some good experiences in it for you. It doesn’t matter if someone else has a different list. It is possible to know exactly what your dreams are and there will not be any cost if you do not have the budget.
Perhaps it’s a ride on a gondola in Venice. Perhaps it’s dining in a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant. Perhaps it’s a private yacht ride around the Amalfi Coast. You’ll be fine spending on whatever it is that makes you go pitter pat and has done so for years. It’s almost always food. It might be tickets to a major soccer match in Italy for you. Only you will know your passion.
Which is your favorite luxury in Italy?