Budget!

Michael Maure
The International Core Curriculum Rome
Summer Semester 2016

Hi. My name is Michael and I have just returned from an amazingly eye opening experience – studying UNCC300 in Rome. Not only was this my first time overseas, it was my first time travelling alone! I am writing this piece to help you, a student or associate, who will be or is thinking about studying, and travelling overseas. I hope to help you with tips to budget your trip and make the most of the experiences you will have not only in Rome or Europe but tricks that will assist you across the globe.

 

So where do I start… Maybe I should be honest in this first part. Like I said, I was new to the travelling scene so I had a lot to learn, and that’s just what I did. First tip: try not to fall into any ‘tourist traps’ (being sold goods and services at an extremely increased price just for being a tourist). I fell into a major trap… I bought an overpriced sim card. So here comes the rest of tip one. Shop around for a sim card that is reasonably priced and do not purchase the first product you see. Especially considering you may be overseas for a lengthy period. I paid 4-5 times more than i should have when Vodafone (which i didn’t know) has a great 35 euro sim for Europe. Other traps you should be aware of are;

 

  1. Restaurants – some restaurants, especially in areas with high tourist volumes, will have ridiculously high prices for food that is not that great. Be brave, venture out into the side streets (as long as they are safe) and eat at places where you see local families You will not only save money but you taste the food like the locals do. When in Rome do what the romans do. I found pizza for under 3 euros, a lot better than the 12 euro pizza I had on my first night in Rome.

 

  1. Shops – Again, the shops are more expensive in the tourist areas.

 

The money saved here can be spent on other things – like gelato, gelato is very important. Now that tourist traps have been discussed, I should tell you a little about accommodation. The price for accommodation in Europe is strange. It can be very cheap or hugely expensive, there doesn’t seem to be a good middle price. I travelled after my course and being a student money can be tight. Here comes tip 3, when choosing accommodation keep an open mind. Try to book accommodation that is close to the city but not to close that you are paying through the roof. Don’t be afraid to walk or travel to attractions because you will save $$. There are a number of small hotels that offer affordable accommodation, so look out for those. If you are a sociable person maybe try a hostel. I used a combination of Airbnb and hostelworld.com over the duration of 10 nights averaging $50aud a night, for great accommodation in great locations.

 

Now that you have accommodation and food sorted, you may want to here about how to save on transport. This section will not look at the local bus and metro tickets, which are quite cheap, but I will touch on Intercity travel. Tip 4: BOOK EARLY. If you are travelling with Trenitalia plan early, and book your train tickets online early! I travelled only by trains and got intercity tickets from 9 euro by booking 2 months in advance, which a friend of mine paid 50 euro for when they booked the week before. That’s a huge saving. If flying by plane, there are a heap of budget airlines in Europe. Don’t be afraid to choose an option that will take longer to reach your destination if it is at a cheaper price, because at the end of the day, all roads lead to Rome.

 

Well that’s all I can tell you. Or maybe there is more. Ok here are some final tips to budget…

 

  1. Book and plan early.
  2. Look out for tours that operate at attractions, they can be cheap and informative, but also be careful not to be conned.
  3. Book attractions online to save time and money. You can also skip the line.
  4. DO not eat at any restaurant that has a ‘tourist menu’.

 

Now that you know that I traveled on a budget, I thought i would share some photos of the places I visited. Travelling on a budget does not mean you will not have a great time. I hope my photos will convince you that even on a budget you can have the time of your life and experience so many new things.