It’s true! Well…almost true. I mean $2500 for my 18 day trip (including air fare) is practically on a dime, right?! I knew it would be inexpensive because Amanda was showing us (my cousin, Carol and I) the ropes of traveling on the cheap, but I didn’t really know HOW inexpensive it would be. I didn’t have a budget, necessarily, but my goal was to spend as little money and have as much fun, as possible. So here’s a (loose) breakdown of how we did it…
1. We purchased our plane tickets in January, which is supposed to be one of the best times to buy. It was also just 4/5 weeks prior to our departure. I used the sky scanner app to watch ticket prices.
2. We used public transportation, including: trains, metros, taxi’s, city bus, mega bus, you name it…if it was available, we used it.
3. We walked everywhere we possibly could. I even forgot my tennis shoes and ended up having to buy a new pair from a street vendor (and yes, the shoes are included in my total.)
4. We dined in. Not always of course (I mean I did go to Italy to E-A-T!) but we did cook a few times.
5. We stayed in hostels instead of hotels. This is a HUGE savings. There are many options too, they’re not all large dorms. A big plus…the ones we stayed in had very nice (a couple were spa-like) bathrooms. The only bad hostel experience was the one night in Paris. The people were obnoxiously rude and very noisy.
6. We used airbnb and rented either a room or the whole apartment. I loved this option; we had fantastic hosts!
The first thing that Amanda did when we arrived in each location, was get a FREE map. We also utilized google maps. BTW…Did you know when you download a map/directions over wifi it continues to work when you are no longer connected and in airplane mode? (I didn’t know that.)
One of our biggest expenses was renting a car. We only had it for a couple of days, and I (thank GOD!) only had to drive it for about 10 minutes.
If I had it to do over what would I do differently?
1. Pack LESS!
2. Pack LESS!
3. Pack LESS!
4. Remember all of the city guide books I bought (and forgot.)
5. Remember walking shoes.
When you do a trip like we did and are constantly on the move, it is ESSENTIAL to pack light. Carol and I were exhausted from hauling all of our shit around! We were tempted (more than once) to dump it all…as in TRASH it! I’m sure we gave more than a few people a good laugh pulling, dragging and cussing our luggage! Amanda on the other hand already knew this; she carries everything she needs on her back.
While in Rome…do as
the Romans do Amanda does… including (but not limited to) washing your clothes in the sink. This really wasn’t a big deal to me or Carol. We did have a nice treat in Venice though… the hostel offered a laundry service, as they sometimes do, and we took full advantage of it.
So where exactly did we go? Well here’s the short list. We started in Naples and ended up in Venice. The last stop was Paris, for my birthday!
- Rome (including Vatican City)
Best food: hands down, Michele’s pizza in Naples. It’s the oldest pizzeria in the world, and we know why; it was FANTASTIC!
Best surprise: Trevi fountain. We had NO idea…we just didn’t.
Favorite city: AAAHHHHH…Venice.
Most beautiful: Amalfi. It was stunning!
Least favorite: The Vatican. Too many people (among other things.)
But really each place, each city we visited was special. They all had something special to offer and amaze.
What I realized on this trip is there is so much I can do without. I can wear the same pair of pants and even the same shirt, MORE than once or
three times twice (as long as I’m clean when I put them on and wear deodorant). Public transportation isn’t so bad, and hostels (or airbnb) are the way to go when traveling on a budget.
If you dream of traveling, travel. It’s doable and it’s affordable… with a little creativity. If you have any questions I’d love to answer them, just post them below in the comments section.