How I Spent A Week In Rome On $500

Spring Break is here, and we’re all scrambling to figure out how to maximize a week of freedom without breaking the bank.

While some of us may be planning to join our sorority sisses for the annual PCB trip and soak up some rays, there’s a good chance we’re also feeling a little ‘ehhh, not so much’ on the neon fanny packs. If only we could be sipping a glass of Chianti in Italy while we search for Paolo…

With less than $500, you can.

 

Um, Ok. Tell me More!

Let’s be real. We all want to let out our inner Lizzie McGuire. Here’s how my best friend and I pulled off a 7-day trip to Rome on a budget:

1. Two words: “Buddy Pass”

Most round-trip flights to Rome can cost hundreds of dollars. One way to avoid expensive airline prices is to connect with friends and family working in the airline industry and ask to use a buddy pass. This pass can knock down the price of a ticket, and on a good day even get you a seat in business class. Can you say “more champagne, please?” Praise hands for my BFF’s job as a United flight attendant!

Round-trip plane ticket

Average price: $845.00 USD

Our price: $150.00 USD

 

2.  To Airbnb or ‘nah’?

We booked our rooms a week in advance, and figured out that most Airbnb rooms were about the same cost as hotels around the city. We ended up trying out both– half the week was in an Airbnb and the other was spent in a hotel closer to the Vatican. Each night averaged around $50.00 USD, which we split between the two of us. Wi-Fi, AC, and free breakfast croissants were a must!

Hotel Reservation (7 days)

Average Price: $900.00 per person USD

Our Price: $150.00 per person USD

 

3. Let’s Talk about the Food

Of course, you can’t go to Rome without eating your way through it! I have Celiac disease, so I was a little worried at first that I might not be able to find food I could eat. So wrong. Italy is unbelievably Celiac-friendly! Between the GF pasta, gelato cones, and pastries, we were living the GF Italian dream. Dinner usually consisted of a cheese and charcuterie board, a pizza or pasta to split, dessert, and a bottle of wine. The average cost? Less than $40! Split two ways, we were talking around $20 per person for dinner. ‘Bon appetit!’ has never felt more fitting.

Meals (7 days)

Average Price: $400.00 per person USD

Our Price: $125.00 per person USD

 

4. Sightseeing in the “Eternal City”

Most of the popular sights are free, and they’re pretty easy to walk to. One of our favorite parts of the city was the water fountains on street corners where you could drink filtered H2O. We managed to walk about 30 miles total over the course of 7 days, and you best believe our FitBits were going crazy. We bought a ticket for was the Vatican City. For about $35.00 USD, we took a guided tour, saw St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. SO worth the money! While there were other opportunities to pay for guided tours and VIP access to sites around the city, we chose to explore on our own and save some cash…minus the pennies we threw in the Trevi Fountain. We couldn’t resist.

Sightseeing Costs

Average Price: $100.00 per person USD

Our Price: $35.02 per person USD

So, wave “ciao!” to the Florida beaches. It’s time to pack your bags, dust off your Lizzie McGuire CD, and jet set to Italia!

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