Italy is a gorgeous country that I hope to visit every year for the rest of my life. You might wonder, “Fuse, why don’t you visit other countries?” Well, there is so much to explore in Italy, and I love the culture, food, language, and landscape so much that it keeps me coming back for more and more. One of the other reasons I keep coming back to Italy is how affordable it is to visit. Yes, really. When I compare flights, even within the US, I am baffled, and I think, “Oh, I can go to Italy for that much, so why travel domestically?” Keep reading for my top tips on how to save money for a trip to Italy.
Best Time To Travel to Italy Cheap
The first step in saving money for a trip to Italy is to choose the low season. You will pay a lot more if traveling during the Holy Week or the summer, so the best time to travel to Italy is in the fall. I live in South Florida, and I’m easily cold, so I try and travel in October, or at the latest, early November. The more north you go in Italy, the colder it is, so also keep that in mind. If I’m traveling further south, then I feel more comfortable going into November. Now, the cost savings from choosing the low season will blow your mind. You can save up to 50% off your flights to Italy just by choosing these months vs. the summer months. We are in July right now, and if I wanted to go now, the flight would easily be around $900. But if I wait until fall, I can find flights under $600.
How to find cheap flights to Italy
The best place to find cheap flights to Italy is definitely Google Flights. If you have flexibility in which days of the fall months you can go, that is even better. That way, you can really compare and see which flight would be best for your budget.
You will also want to compare airports. For example, I live near Fort Lauderdale, but there are usually better flight deals leaving from the Miami airport. I then calculate the time and cost of getting to the Miami airport to see if it’s worth it. Many times, it is. We prefer direct flights when possible, and I will gladly even drive to Miami for a direct flight.
Direct flights will allow me to be better rested when I arrive. But some people don’t mind connections, especially if it means saving big bucks, so that is up to you to decide.
Another way to find cheap flights is to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights. I love receiving flight deals from them to Rome. Sometimes they find mistake fares and also give you a heads up on super awesome deals. Many of these deals are through Google Flights, but receiving summarized flight deals allows you to search for flights easily.
How much should I save for a trip to Italy?
I have planned very last-minute trips to Italy because we already had the experience of how much money we would spend. We consider ourselves mid-budget travelers, as we tend to save money on hotel and flights but splurge on food and wine experiences. So, here is how we budget for a trip to Italy for two people.
Flights – On average, they will be $600 each, so that’s $1,200.
Daily Food/Wine budget – $100 a day (we go over this sometimes)
Hotel/Accommodations – $120 average a night
10 days in italy on a budget
So, if we are going for nine days, this puts us at around $3,100 for a trip for 2 people, including flights. What’s missing from this budget is activities. We don’t do a lot of paid tours. Usually, we only do one or two, but we do have to also add in transportation costs. This can include fast train rides, local buses, metro, or even car rental.
So, let me round up and say it will cost $3,500. First, I will save money for the flights, then I will put money aside for the rest. My husband and I also love to split some costs. Sometimes I cover the food portion, and he covers the flights and hotel.
Budgeting For a Family Trip to Italy
We took our kids to Italy for spring break, and this is how we budgeted the family trip vs. a couples trip. We planned about $300 a day for a family of five for food and drinks. Many days we didn’t spend this much, and some days we went a bit over. We also preferred staying at apartments vs. hotels. Our average accommodations budget was around $225 a day. For the flights, we still managed to keep them around $600, even during spring break, although this time we did have a connecting flight.
For more tips, check out my blog post on How To Visit Italy On Your Own.
Affordable Accommodations in Italy
There are even more ways to save on all the above categories. You can create a much tighter budget and stay at places like hostels or visit smaller towns. For example, once, we stayed in Chianciano Terme, and it was only 56 euros a night, including breakfast. The hotel had an amazing view of Tuscany, and breakfast was delicious. So, one tip to save money on your trip to Italy is to book a hotel stay that includes breakfast. Second, find smaller family-owned hotels. The third is to really dive deep when shopping around for the best deals and spend the time. If you want help finding the best accommodations, I do offer this as a service, and you can sign up here. Also, don’t forget I have a free Italy Guide.
I lI love using booking.com, Expedia, VRBO or even Airbnb. I love saving wishlists so I can come back and compare. One hack I always try is to check the bundle deals on Expedia and Booking.com. I check for a bundle flight deal and hotel for the first 2 nights. You want to make sure you click on the button that says “I only need accommodations for part of this trip.” I’ve been able to find amazing flight and hotel deals this way.
There are definitely more expensive stays in Italy, so plan accordingly. Just think about what’s important to you when planning a trip.
More Ways to Save on Hotels in Italy
If If you’re looking to save even more on accommodations, then you can stay at a place further from the main attractions. In Rome, this would be near the Vatican or even Trastevere. In Florence, this would be closer to the train station. If visiting Tuscany, you can stay in smaller towns like Chianciano Terme, Montalcino or Montepulciano. If visiting the South, stay in Salerno or Sorrento, and do day trips to the more expensive regions like Positano, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast.
How to Save on Activities in Italy
If If you’ve read any of my other posts or checked out my Travel TikTok channel, you’ve seen that we are slow travelers. We don’t book many paid tours, as we’d rather explore independently. I love getting lost in the streets of Italy and just finding picturesque corners, amazing food, and of course, great wine. You can also book a free walking tour in most cities you visit. That’s a great way to get to know your destination, and even with tipping the tour guide, it will be much cheaper than a paid tour.
Another way to save on a trip to Italy is to do day trips vs. moving around from town to town. Again, you will want to compare the prices. Half-day trips can get pricey, but it may allow you to save time and money on accommodations. Overall, Italy has so many free activities you can save from exploring on your own.
The Cheapest Way to Travel in Italy
Italy is a very walkable country so that you can save a lot of money traveling throughout Italy on foot. Next, public transportation is pretty cheap and safe. “Purchase tickets at vending machines, subway station ticket booths, newspaper stands, and tobacco shops, called tabacchi, with blue signs marked with a T.” Source You can get multi-day tickets which can cost 7 euros a day for 24 hours, and it counts for the bus, subway or commuter train.
Max and I do invest in fast train tickets, as this helps maximize our time. We always comapre train vs. car rentals, and we consider the travel time, the tolls, the gas costs, and train fare. If you wish to drive in Italy, check out this blog post, The 411 of Driving in Italy.
How to Save on Food in Italy
The first step in saving food in Italy is to have daily food and drink budget. If you’re looking for where to tighten up the outgoing costs, then be really strict about this part of your budget. Look for affordable eats in every city you visit, and always order the house wine. 8 out of 10 times, the house wine will be fantastic and oh-so-cheap! Next is to save on breakfast by booking a hotel that comes with breakfast. Next, figure out on which meals you may splurge.
Max and I usually do the following: We have a light breakfast, so cappuccino and a croissant, or he gets a sandwich. Breakfast in Italy is not like the US. They eat more sweets and don’t eat a bountiful meal as you will find in the USA. Then we do a quick lunch, get a sandwich at a stand-up place, or even a snack. Here’s a pro travel tip: you can even save on coffee if you order it standing up vs. sitting down! One of my most viral TikTok’s shows exactly this. We were in Rome across from Zara, and the cappuccino price would have more than doubled if I sat down.
@fusetravels budget tip Italy #travelislife✈ #italy2022🇮🇹 #rometips #romeitaly🇮🇹 #italytraveltips ♬ Jiggle Jiggle – Duke & Jones & Louis Theroux
Next, get the app TheFork because you can get credits once you start using it for your restaurant reservations. According to Thrifty Traveler – It’s like OpenTable with a money-saving twist. If you reserve through TheFork at certain times – and we’re talking normal dinner times, not 4:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. – you’ll get 20% to as much as 50% off your bill.
Visit the local supermarket
My husband and I always pass by a local grocery shop, and we get a beer (it’s less than a dollar), Coke Zero, water, and sometimes a few snacks. We first make sure our hotel or B&B has a fridge. We got an Airbnb with a kitchen when we traveled with the kids. We purchased fruit and snacks. One night, they didn’t feel like going out, so we cooked them some beef. They loved it.
Other ways to save money in Italy
- Get the Roma Pass
- Bring euros from the US to save on transaction fees
- Avoid transaction fees with cards that don’t charge them
- Use the bank ATM and not the Euronet ATM
- Have a budget for souvenirs
- Buy wine at Duty-Free on the way back
- Use credit card points to book flights
- Use credit card points for hotel upgrades or free nights
How much should I save for a trip to Italy?
Overall, Italy can be a very affordable travel destination. We have also started a travel fund that we contribute to, just in case we get the last-minute urge to travel. Having a good idea of what the budget should be, helps a ton. I have given you a guide now, it’s time to plan according to what you and your travel partner will be willing to splurge or save on.