How to Save During Your Vacation in Italy
June 1, 2015
How much do you really save during your vacations? As financially savvy individuals, we like to think that we save when we travel, but most of us do not. There isn't a silver-bullet kind of answer to this question, sadly! You need to work on cutting down your costs from multiple angles to make your vacation a truly stress-free affair.
Prepare for Long Distance Calls
You will likely need to communicate with people inside and outside of Italy during your stay. Saving money begins with planning! Get a long-distance SIM card so that you can continue to use your phone throughout the country. These SIM cards lets you operate your phone at a low cost without giving up the convenience of your existing contacts, data networks, or settings. SIM cards turn outgoing calls into "incoming calls" on the network so that your carrier doesn't automatically charge you a ridiculous amount of money to speak to friends and family. Long distance calling cards are inconvenient and can be easily lost. Burner phones can be lost as well, which doesn't do much for your wallet. Alternatively, your relatives can call an Italian number on your end for less than 1¢ per minute. You want to keep in touch with your family to update them on everything that you've seen, and you want to touch base with your friends to let them know when you'll be back. Perhaps you want to keep in touch with someone looking after your pet or your home while you're away. Emergencies do happen, and email simply isn't as fast or reliable. Wi-Fi networks in hotels and public establishments don't provide a very high quality of service; sometimes emails might sit in your drafts folder for days because a free network couldn't send your mail when you wanted. It's well worth the hassle to save you the time and money that you need. For reference, burner phones in Italy usually cost around €30, with €10 in talk time included. That's the equivalent of $40 CAD, and the burner phone won't even be of use to you once you're finished with it! You can pay a lower amount to get a prepaid international SIM card that will work anywhere with all of your preferences, accounts, contacts, and apps on your existing phone. Simply put, it's the smart way to travel.
Coordinate the Trip Early to Cut Expenses
Save money on tickets long before you begin your travels. Clear your cookies in your Internet browser before visiting the site from which you plan to purchase your tickets. Some airlines have been suspected of increasing the ticket prices for repeat visitors. Clearing your cookies is not guaranteed to work, but it's a precaution that you can take to guard against shady pricing strategies. They like to attract fresh customers with lower prices, so you might as well look like a
fresh customer to such a website!
Pick the right time to go to Italy and choose the underrated locations. May and June feature some of the highest hotel prices that you'll see all year because they fall right in the middle of tourist season. Mainstream tourists pay for the weather, so you may wish to trade some of that heat for lower prices. August, on the other hand, is a double-edged sword; prices might be lower, but the weather will be incredibly muggy. Many resident Italians also take their own vacations in August - particularly in the last half of the month. Many family-owned shops temporarily close down, so you'll need to be very careful in choosing your destinations within the country.
Plan your tourist attractions
Plan on travelling the roads forgotten by most tourists! Visit the underrated locations to avoid the influx of other tourists. Don't just go to The Coliseum, St. Peter's Basilica, or the Florence Cathedral. Visit San Gimigiano for its beautiful medieval architecture or take a one-hour train ride out of Rome to visit the Orvieto Cathedral. There are plenty of places off the beaten path. One final tip: do not swim in Venice's water. The canals are also a part of the city's ancient
sewage system, and you don't want to flush your vacation down the toilet.