Our Costs For 2 Weeks in Italy not including souvenirs totaled $3794.98 or £2855.36 Euros.
Not bad for 14 days touring Italy. The exchange rate fluctuated from 1.29-1.33. Most of the time the rate was 1.33. Cash is the preferred method of payment in Italy. This was hard to get used to as in the states we use our credit card all the time. How else am I going to get points for free airfare.
TIP: Make sure you have small bills as sometimes they cannot break a 20.
HOTEL We stayed a total of 14 nights in different hotels throughout Italy. Most of the time we paid cash for our stay, as the hotels offered a discount. In Cinque Terre we had no choice, they would only accept cash. We booked all rooms ahead of time and just sent a confirmation email the day before we arrived.
TOTAL HOTEL COSTS $1607.92 Euros £1214.10
AIR We booked one way tickets using frequent flyer miles on United but used a partner airline, TAP (which we never heard of but really enjoyed the flight) flying into Milan and AA (US Airway) flying back from Rome.
I tried booking these tickets myself, but could not find any seats so I opted to use Award Magic to book our tickets. With the fee from Award Magic and our airline fees, it costs $460.60 for two tickets. One way tickets average $2500+ per person out of Baltimore/Washington DC area. If you are flying in and out of the same airport it would be much cheaper around $1200-$1500 per person. Using frequent flyer miles to travel to Europe is a huge savings. These prices are reflective at the time I booked my travel for August/September 2014 time frame.
TOTAL AIR COSTS $460.60 Euros £346.32
TRAINS, TAXI, METRO, BUS, FERRIES We purchased the following tickets several months in advance, which saved us money. The rates are higher the closer to the departure date.
The following are the prices we paid for 2 tickets.
Milan to Riomaggiore £42 Euros
Riomaggiore to Florence £38 Euros
Florence to Naples £58 Euros
Naples to Rome £58 Euros
The remainder of our tickets were purchased the same day. The total costs for all the trains, taxi, metro, bus and ferries including the above costs were:
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS $842.90 Euros £630.60
The costs of a car rental, insurance, parking fees, and gas would have been much higher.
TIP: Have cash to pay for bus tickets, taxi and ferries. All our ferry rides only accepted cash.
TOUR The only tour we took was in Lake Como, with Bellagio Water Taxi which required cash. Are you starting to see that cash is essential in Italy. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ATM machines around.
TOTAL TOUR COSTS $132.99 Euros £100
FOOD Most of the places we stayed included breakfast, which was a huge savings. Our food costs were kept down by going to the grocery store and only eating out one meal a day. The majority of the time we had our main meal during the day, which is much cheaper than eating out at night. They eat much later than we are used to eating, so we found it convenient eating in our room in the evening if we were hungry and then going out for gelato. We had gelato every day and some days twice a day.
We purchased wine every day, as wine is much cheaper in Italy than the states. We found it was cheaper to get a bottle of wine with our meals, instead of drinking by the glass. You could purchase local wine throughout Italy in the stores with no problem.
If you are a big eater or like fancy restaurants, than your expenses would be much higher than ours. We prefer to eat where the locals eat or where they recommend, instead of fancy restaurants that the tourist go to.
TOTAL FOOD COSTS $616.67 Euros £463.66
CELL PHONE We purchased a SIM card before we left the states and ended up getting more minutes on the card, as we used all the minutes calling back to the states. We had no problem getting additional minutes on the card. We had issues with a credit card, which did not have an international number to call. This involved calling a U.S. phone number which used up our minutes quickly $$$$.
TIP: Make sure you have an international number for all credit cards in order to avoid the expensive costs when you are put on hold.
Having a cell phone was critical in our travels, especially if you are checking the train schedule, and bin/Platform number for the train. We were able to check and send emails, and surf the web using our data package. Internet was not as fast as in the states, and spotty in some locations.
TOTAL CELL PHONE COSTS $133.90 Euros £100.68
It is possible to take a two week vacation in Italy and not cost a fortune, if you are willing to do advance planning. Using frequent flyer miles and credit card points saved us a fortune. We could have easily spent several thousand dollars on one way airline tickets alone.
Be prepared to walk a great deal. I wear a fit bit and during our two weeks we walked over 128 miles. If you plan on going to any of these places, the best way to see Italy is by walking. If you are not a walker make sure you condition yourself before the start of the trip. Wear comfortable flat shoes and carry water and snacks.
We saw a lot during our two weeks in Italy. The only thing we would change was to stay in Anacapri for 3 nights and Positano for 3 nights instead of Anacapri for 2 nights and Positano for 4 nights (because I really liked the island of Capri). For us the amount of time we stayed in the rest of the places was just right. Now it is time to plan our next trip to Europe.