In this post, I will share some tips on how we have managed to save money on a trip to Rome, while still having a fun time. One of the main benefits of financial independence is that it will be possible to travel more and visit more places for longer periods of time. In the meantime, money can be saved by travelling smartly starting from the moment the trip is booked. The savings made can be used towards other trips or for investing.
It is advisable to book flights as soon as the travel dates are confirmed. Start by using a flight comparison service. We used the Skyscanner website to compare the various flights available around the dates that we were planning to visit Rome. It was useful to compare prices and flight times for a range of days in the week of travel to ensure that we got the best deal. Skyscanner makes this very easy by displaying all the options according to available airlines, schedules and costs.
We used Booking.com to find and book a a hotel for our stay in Rome. I recommend this site because it is user friendly, has a wide range of accommodation types in most locations and makes it easy to keep track of previous and existing bookings. We found an excellent boutique hotel located in a central location, close to most of the major attractions.
Rome Airport Transfer
We travelled from London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino airport. A cheap and convenient way to travel to between Fiumicino airport and Rome city centre (Termini train station) is by using the SIT bus. This cost us €6 each for a one-way trip on the way back. The most convenient way is to use the direct Leonardo express train (€14 a person per trip).
Visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum
The Colosseum and Forum were the sites that I enjoyed the most on the Rome trip. Both sites are definitely worth a visit and can be accessed with one ticket which can be used over two consecutive days. We visited the Colosseum on one afternoon and then the forum on the next day. Our tickets cost €12 for a standard and €7.50 for a reduced price. This was well worth it. The best place to buy the tickets is at the ticket booths of the Colosseum. Avoid the many touts trying to sell tickets at high prices.
Visit Vatican City
We had heard some stories about very long queues for entry into the the Vatican museums. To avoid this we headed straight to the museums and arrived after 3pm. There were no queues at all at this time, and there was no waiting. On top of the time savings, we saved money by not paying any “Skip the line” fees. There will probably be long lines there at other times.
Free attractions in Rome
Here is a list of the top free attractions that we enjoyed in Rome
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Villa Borghese gardens
- The Pantheon
- Il Vittoriano
- Numerous Church Buildings
It can be tricky to find good places to eat in Rome due to the wide range of eateries and many tourist traps. We used Tripadvisor to identify some nice places. A useful tip is to find places which have a lot of good reviews provided by locals. Another tip is to have breakfast included in the hotel booking as this can save time and money.
Shopping and Souvenirs
It may be tempting to buy souvenirs and food items in the shops scattered around the tourist streets, but we found that the best prices can be found in supermarkets. Supermarkets often stock similar food, wines and gift items at half the price or more when compare to tourist shops.
This trip was really interesting and educational. In future I will provide updates on how to enjoy visiting fantastic destinations without spending excessively.