Visit Italy on a budget
1. Choose a budget airline
There are many ways to get to Italy these days – by cruise, by car, by train or by air. However, the cheapest by far is flying with a budget airline. Flybe travels directly from the UK to both Milan and Florence, for the price of a nice meal out at your local Italian restaurant. Save on luggage fees by packing light, and make your own sandwich for the plane journey.
2. Nab a discount hotelThere are a number of websites claiming to offer the best prices for hotels across the world, so if you do your research, you could really find a bargain. Booking.com and hotels.com showcase the best deals on the internet, while sites such as hotwire.com and laterooms.com can offer up to 70% off the regular cost of a luxury hotel room – the only catch is that you won’t know where you’re staying until after you have paid.
3. Go off the beaten track
Everyone goes to Venice or Rome – two of the most expensive cities in Europe, let alone Italy. Visit a city which has a slightly lower profile and you will immediately make a saving. For history and stunning scenery, consider Verona or Turin (both only around an hour’s drive outside of Milan), and for a chic coastal break, try Livorno (around an hour outside of Florence).
4. Eat like an ItalianItalians don’t go to fancy restaurants every night; they don’t drink an Aperol Spritz before each meal; and they don’t polish off a tiramisu a day. Italians eat even better than this. Ignore the fancy restaurants and eat al fresco during the day – grab a calzone or some fresh bread and cheese from the local deli and eat it in a park or on the beach, washed down with a bottle of Italian beer. Check out tripadvisor.com for tips on cheap places to eat in your neighbourhood and book your table ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
5. Cycle!Driving in Italy is a nightmare – in the cities, the traffic is very heavy, with Vespas appearing out of nowhere, while in the country the roads are so narrow and twisty that it is tough enough just getting one car from A to B, let alone two. Save on petrol and car hire fees by hiring a bicycle or a scooter instead, and take time to enjoy the scenery as you pootle along at your own speed. As an added bonus, you will really feel like you have earned your pizza and pasta dinner after a long day of cycling – and maybe a few scoops of ice cream too.