Ahhh…Rome! The very mention of the word conjures up images of scarf-adorning women on Vespas and handsome chisel-jawed men chasing after them. It’s a single girls dream. It’s also a dream for most of the rest of us too. The thing is, since it’s considered one of the major tourist meccas of the world, taking a trip to Rome on a budget is not exactly that easy. Especially on a flight attendant’s salary. However, the trick is remembering that many of the things in Rome that people pay top Euro for won’t really enhance your vacation experience all that much. It’s perfectly easy to enjoy the best that the city has to offer even with limited resources. But you have to be careful.
A Note on Roman Scams
The decline of the Roman Empire was a long, long time ago, but the decline of Roman decency is still very much a reality in the form of scams, shysters, and other skullduggery designed to separate you from your hard earned moola. I’m not sure how much you, dear reader, make — I rarely take time to compare bank accounts — but I do like to hold onto what is rightfully mine. The best way to do that do in Rome is to carry around as little cash as possible. One needs to be wary around train stations, the Colosseum, the Parthenon and other tourist traps — the pickpockets here, both Gypsy and otherwise, are notorious. Thankfully, major credit cards are accepted just about everywhere, so if you don’t already have one, open a bank account online and apply for a credit card. Just don’t go overboard with the shopping.
When to take your Roman Holiday
If you want to take a tour of Rome on a budget, get ready to pack some winter clothing, because prices usually come down and bargains spring up during Winter and early Spring. If you are intent on visiting Rome in time for the Christmas Eve Mass at Vatican Square, you should make it a point to book airfare and arrangements as early as you can in order to avoid the exorbitant rates, if possible, you should make arrangements as early as March.
Eat like a Roman Gladiator, Spend like a Roman Slave
Enjoying the culinary treats in Rome on a budget means that you have to scout out some of the trattorias in the neighborhood. A trattoria is basically one of those small places where the owner is also the chef. Not only will they be warm enough to come out of the kitchen in their apron just to ask you if you’re satisfied with your meal, the places are also reasonably priced. Additionally, it should also allow you to experience how the average Italian enjoys his or her meal.
Traveling Around (Chariot optional)
Rome has a fairly small and decently priced subway system called the Termini. Do not be intimidated your first time, as it’s not as complex as the Paris Metro nor London’s Underground. What’s even better for your pockets is the fact that many of the top ancient sites can be seen on foot, if you manage to find accommodations or hubs that are nearby. The Vatican is also an on-foot affair. If you want to tour outside the urban area and can’t afford a rental car, you can opt for cabs, which are easily available even late at night.
Vatican City is a given, but another one that you should never forget to include in your itinerary is the Catacombs. It is a fascinating and humbling place even if you’re not a Christian. Rome is also a shopping and style mecca, but if you’re trying to save on cash, make sure you have enough willpower to resist. Be content with window shopping.
There are a lot of budget hotels surrounding the Termini, but unfortunately, there’s a certain level of crime that make a lot of visitors uncomfortable. If you don’t want to risk it, you can book in a convent, which more often provides large, clean rooms with the best vacuums from the Vacuum Sealer Research and good service that is on par with a hotel, for a fraction of the price.
At the end of the day, one should never let limited financial resources block the possibility of visiting and enjoying one of the holiest and most beautiful places in the world. If you know what you are doing and have the willpower, a tour of Rome on a budget is certainly feasible.