cost for trip to Italy

I am planning a tour of Italy for my family for as long as 3 weeks. But I need to know what's the average cost per day per person? Air fare sounds like $1,500 @person round trip from Seattle.

Posted by Jerry
La Crescenta, California, USA
356 posts

How much gelato do you plan on eating? Kidding aside, you will need to give us a little more help; how many in your family, when are you planning on traveling--high season is mid-May through mid-September, are you planning on staying in one location, are you intending to visit any of the museums, etc? This just for starters....

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10882 posts

From the lack of information you have given it is impossible to answer. How big is the family? Two star or ice star hotels for apartments? How much internal travel? For two of us on a low key travel we spent $200 to 300/day. Maybe you should start around $500/day.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Ha,ha-yes lots of gelato-Vivoli's! We are two adults and two teenage girls(swimmers w/good appetites). A friend recommended 3-4 days in Rome, and we'd like to spend about the same in Florence, visit Siena,Tuscany area,and possibly Cinque terra as well as the Dolomites.I realize it's a lot of ground to cover so I'm trying to get an idea of cost-whether we can afford to see everything. I have a month off, but i don't believe it's doable.Suggestions?

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Oh, yes we plan to go late June to late July. Museums occasionaly,the Vatican a must. I'd like to keep the lodging under $100@night.

Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
6808 posts

Tim, we often get this kind of question and we understand its importance to you. Unfortunately, it's difficult for us to give even average costs that are relevant to your trip, because every trip and traveler are different. But the good news is that Rick Steves has given relatively detailed average cost info in his book, Europe Through the Back Door. While the 2011 edition of this book can be bought at the usual places, I think you may even be able to "search inside the book" of the 2010 or 2009 edition of this book (now and for free) - using Google Book Search or the Amazon website. In these searches, you'd be looking for the "Your Budget" section of the book. Because Rick's average costs exclude airfare, the average costs given in the 2011 edition are, actually, not that different from the average costs given in the 2010 or even the 2009 editions (I suppose because of fluctuating exchange rates, since Rick's costs are given, somewhat counter-intuitively, in dollars and not euros). Again, Rick's costs would be average costs but not including airfare, which of course has changed significantly from 2009.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

"$100 a night" for lodging seems wildly unrealistic to me - $100 per person, well, your family of 4 could stay quite comfortably on $400 a night. But a $100 per night total? Fugedaboudit. Unless you have friends/family you can stay with. I'm guessing you're going to need two rooms (or an inexpensive "quad" if you can find them - which will not be easy). If you mostly stay in hostels (often the least expensive option), you might be able to keep your total cost per night down close to that, but honestly that will be quite a challenge (you may not easily find hostels that work for you), and there are potentially significant trade-offs with staying in hostels (how much of a tradeoff depends on your tastes and the specific place). If you want to stay in "nice" places (like those in Rick's books), and need room for 4, I would probably plan $300 a night and up - I'm sure others will chime in here. You'll do better than that in some places, but not in all of them. Also, you'll want to secure your accommodations ASAP - the nicest places (those listed in Rick's books, for example) and the best bargains, all book up far in advance. He who hesitates may or may not be lost, but he usually ends up sleeping someplace he's not enthusiastic about and often pays more for it than he would have expected.

Posted by Mike
Poulsbo, WA, US
210 posts

You can find lots of info online as to the costs of lodging which will represent a large portion of your trip after airfare. I think if you are willing to trade a bit, you can keep some costs down. For example, in Rome, I eat out of the Termini grocery every night... Usually a salad (pretty good quality) a fresh piece of bread and we split a bottle of wine.. it can be done for 6-9 Euro a person and is very satisfying. You can hit near your budget of $100 in Rome but you wont be staying in high class joints. I checked the place I have stayed twice (Hotel Cervia Rome) and for 4 nights for 4 people mid April 2011, the price was 342 euro which comes out to about $125 a night for 4 people. This is for advanced book.. no breakfast etc. Its not fancy, no bells, no whistles, bath down the hall etc. You can do Florence and quite a few other places for less... but.. the key is planning in advance and getting the places reserved. I'd check out a couple of the hostels in a few of the other cities also, there are nice options I have stayed at in Assisi, Ravenna, Florence and Manarola. I've not stayed at one in Rome.

Posted by Mike
Poulsbo, WA, US
210 posts

I just checked the end of July and it comes out around $106 for a quad. Be sure and read terms and conditons. Its prepaid etc. I have stayed there twice and was happy with the value paid.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

We took our two daughters, aged 18 and 22, last summer in late June/early July. We are all athletic and love good food and gelato. I can be pretty specific on what we spent. Lodging for the 4 of us ranged from 120 euro a night for a 2-bedroom apartment in Lucca to 350 euro for 2 rooms in Milan. That one was a splurge. Take that off and most of our lodging was between 160 and 190 euro for the four of us, in apartments and B&B's; more if we stayed in hotels and occupied 2 rooms. I don't see any way to lodge 4 people for $100 a night unless you stay in hostels. Apartments are the best way to go, and I could have found more like our 120 euro gem in Lucca with a bit of looking. Breakfast was included with our lodging; lunch usually a picnic from the bakery and grocery (25 euro). Dinners averaged around 120 euro for 4 including a bottle of wine for my husband and I. We generally ordered 2-course meals: antipasti plus either primi piatti (pasta) OR secondi (meat or fish), not both. We ate well, didn't shop for budget options, but didn't go to high-end places either. Gelato budget was 10 euro per day. Sightseeing (museums) and activities are up to you. You can spend a lot on these, or very little. Travel (train fares) depend on how far you are ranging from your starting point, so they are difficult to average in. Overall it came to 300 to 400 euro per day for the 4 of us, depending on what we paid for our lodging. We had a wonderful time and it was worth every cent. P.S. you may be able to find airfare for a bit under that $1500 if you shop around.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

If your girls are swimmers, two things I can highly recommend are swimming in the Mediterranean in the deep-water areas between Manarola and Corniglia (Cinque Terre), and this agriturismo just outside Siena, with its 7 swimming pools, one of them a raceway about 100 meters long, with current. My husband (also a swimmer) did his laps in the big pool and I swam in the raceway and under the waterfall. It was delightful. http://www.mulinodiquercegrossa.it/ The 2-level family room for four was 140 euro per night. You pretty much need a car to get there.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Thanks for all of your replies. I traveled alone in the 70's and 80's while I was single and I slept in places that I wouldn't suggest to young travelers today! The costs are significantly higher,to say the least, and while I could suffice with a hostel bed, I doubt my wife could.I also sleep with a CPAP machine and will have to buy a converter to use it. After looking at Rick's book, it appears that I'll have to allow between 4-41/2 thou @person for a 3 week trip.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Would it be advisable to have a travel agent help out with the transportation? I think that there are different costs for some days of the week and I would like to arrive in Rome, leave from Milan.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Tim, yes the cost of airfare may differ by day. If you go on a fare-comparison site like Kayak.com, it will show you representative fares for a whole month on a calendar. Or you can input your dates as "flexible" and it will show a range of fares 3 days on either side of your date. This is a helpful tool in planning your dates of travel. If you want to consult with a travel agent, try Elizabeth Holmes here in Seattle. They have an excellent reputation. But----ask about the fees they charge before commiting to the service. Also be aware that any changes in your itinerary have to go through them. Once you buy your tickets through an agency, you cannot deal directly with the airline. At least that's what they told me when we needed a change.

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6716 posts

Tim, you don't need a travel agent to arrange an arrival in Rome and a departure from Milan. You can do this online with many airlines. Just the "multi-city" option. Or, you can call them and do this. We just locked in an arrival in Barcelona and a departure from Paris-CDG. Quite easy. In some cases, you may find the "open-jaw" arrangements to be a bit more expensive so do your homework. Still, it is far better to depart Milan than to return to Rome-FCO (assuming that you will end your journey in or near Milan).

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

I just checked Kayak, and found a RT fare of $1190 flying into Rome and out of Milan, a 3-week trip departing 6/23 and returning 7/14, both Thursdays, These are 13 to 14=hour flights TOTAL, which is very good. The overseas leg is on Condor to Frankfurt, changing there to Lufthansa. I forgot that Condor is going to start service from Seattle. I don't know anything about them, but this is an excellent fare.

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1590 posts

Wow Lola--I wish I'd seen fares like that this time last year. If I had, I would have jumped, instead of waiting and getting caught up in the "2 to 4 months out" bad advice going around. I sure hope Tim sees this.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Thanks Lola, it looks like I've got some planning to do. There's quite a differance in the lay over times too!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

The flights I looked at (top of the list that came up at that price on Kayak) met all our criteria for a good flight to Europe. It departs Seattle around 6 pm, which gives you time for dinner and to settle in for the night. (We are among the lucky ones who are able to sleep on the plane). It goes directly to Europe without a stop in the US. Then there is a layover in Frankfurt that was long enough to allow plenty of tie to connect to the next flight, but not too much (1.5 to 2.5 hours). The total flight time of 13 to 14 hours is what I aim for (as opposed to something like 19 hours, which I wouldn't consider.) It's hard to do it in much less time than that unless you find a non-stop to your destination. That is possible for London or Paris from Seattle, but not for anyplace in Italy.

Posted by Michael 1
Phoenix, AZ, USA
1035 posts

If you can go in May or September you will find better weather, less crowds and prices much lower. With swimmers in the family Cinque Terra is a must. It is also a great place for a mid trip break. One other plus, you will probably spend quite a bit less on the CT days of your trip.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2207 posts

I think your $4000-$4500 per person estimate is a good working number. We spent just under $9000 for two of us in three weeks, one week car rental, trains the rest of the time. (Quote does not include airfare 'cuz we had FF points.) We splurged on one room in Milan and had 3 expensive guided tours. Cutting some of that, plus trying to find two bedroom apartments, will cut your cost PP a bit too. You can shave a bit off if you don't drink a lot of wine (we did), picnic more (we did not), etc. Look at Palazzo Olivia in room. Very reasonable prices for apartments in a great location.

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3289 posts

Nooo! Lola found the Mulino di Quercegrossa! The secret I've been trying to save until we can go back! We stayed there just when they were starting to build the swimming pools. We found it just by driving towards Siena on the S222. We ended up staying there for five nights, doing day trips around Tuscany. It had a great restaurant and a cafe/bar where we hung out every evening. We still talk about waking up to hearing the collar bells of sheep being herded by motorbike in the morning. I'd love to get back there. The pools look amazing. Of course, the room prices have gone up since we were there...

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

We just when for 16 days, flying into Milan and out of Venice. Our R/T ticket cost was $680 per person. We visited Milan ( 1 night), Florence (3), Siena (2), Assisi (2), Rome (4) and Venice (3). I also booked a lot of tickets for sites in advance, like Last Supper, Vatican, Borghese, Uffizzi, Accademia, Coloseum. So really by time I got there, I really did not feel like I was spending a lot of money. Totaling our hotel rooms was close to $1900. I brought a credit card with a 5k spending limit that I also used to take cash out with, along with the prospects of having about $3000 total in our bank accounts just in case Italy turned into an expensive endeavor. I spent a total of $3500 on our credit card and about $2300 from the bank account. We are budget travelers. Not quite staying in hostels, but make up the difference by going in the winter months. We stay in nice places that we would not be able to touch in the warmer months. So for 2 people traveling in the winter months in Italy for 16 nights: $1360 air, $1900 for accommodation, and $4000 spending cash/credit would sum up what we spent. it would have been cheaper if we weren't Christmas shopping in Venice, but we bought about 10 Venetian masks from 1 of the 2 authentic mask makers. I also feel that what we weren't buying in the day time or spending money on because we bought in advance, we would put towards a memorable meal. Our dinners would range from 50-80 euros; not everyday but we had a few good splurging meals. Not sure if my rant helps you but maybe you can see what other seasons can deliver in terms of cost. Edit: our total in spending cash also included transportation (train/bus) from city to city for 2 people.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Doug-no worries; it still hasn't been "discovered" yet. I heard about Il Mulino from someone who, like you, discovered it driving up the 222 highway. It was not full the night we stayed there, although the pools are used by locals during the day. I'm sue the prices have gone up from what you paid, but 140 euro isn't bad for a 1-bdr. apartment that sleeps four very comfortably. For those who are suggesting cutting costs by going in the off-season, keep in mind that this is a family with teenage kids. Most of us parents are unwilling and/or unable to take kids that age out of school for 3 weeks, so they are limited to summer travel. going in June/early July, as soon as the girls are out of school, is the best plan; it worked well for us as we found tourist season was not yet in full swing.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Lola, do you recall the name of the apartment you stayed in near Rome? How about near Siena?

Posted by Leslie
Lewiston, ID
99 posts

Tim,
We are also flying out of Seattle in September. have you looked at flying open-jawed? we are flying into Milan and out of Rome. I just checked prices today on Expedia. Granted we are doing end of Sept into Oct, but ticket was $862.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Hi Tim-we didn't actually stay anywhere near Rome; the apartment for 120 euro was in Lucca. It's Casa Olivieri and is very nice. There was another one available for $100 (yes, dollars, as it was owned by an American and she accepts checks in dollars) but I'd have to look back through my Tripadvisor files to find the name of that one. The place near Siena was the agriturismo Il Mulino di Quercegrossa I mentioned above. It wasn't a full-on apartment; it had a living/dining/kitchen room on the ground floor with twin beds, a small table, and a bare-bones kitchen; an upstairs bedroom with queen bed and very nice deck/terrace, and one bathroom between. The 140 a night for four of us included breakfast, so we didn't use the kitchen at all. It also included entry to the wonderful swimming pools7 or 8 of them depending on how you count the connecting areas. The pools were a real treat, although our girls chose to sun themselves rather than swim. My husband and I spend a good hour and a half swimming there, and he went back for lap swimming in the morning.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Hi Leslie, I'm not familiar with the "open Jawed" term, but we do plan to fly into Rome and come back from Milan. That's a great rate if it includes taxes and fees.

Posted by Leslie
Lewiston, ID
99 posts

Yep, expedia includes those in the displayed price. I'm hoping it stays that price for another month. That's when we all will have money to get them :)

Posted by steve
gaston, oregon, usa
842 posts

Tim, agis and apts are the way to go for a family of four. We use VRBO.com and Homelidays.com to find apts in the EU. Homeaway is a another great option CPAP. I use one too and carry it all over the world. Mine will run on both US and EU current. Turn yours over and see if it lists 120, and 220. If it does ,you are good to go. I don't take my humidifer...to much junk to take, and mine won't run on 220. Take along an externsion cord, and lots of plug adaptors, and a one -into- three plug. Most EU rooms have limited outlets, and they are full. You will have to plug in an adaptor to your US extension cord, plug it into the wall, then put the US one into three way plug on the end of the cord. You may need to plug an EU cord into your US 3 way, so make sure that you have an adaptoir for that also. (One of my adaptors will plug into both US and EU sockets.)
Get both Northern and Southern Italian EU adaptors....one has smaller size plugs than the other. CPAPS have to be pulled out of your carry on luggage and inspected each time you go on a plane. (much like a laptop) Usually you will be pulled aside. In the EU they sometimes do not know what one is, so I turn mine over and show them where it says "medical device". Do not pack it in your luggage....its too important an item to be lost. pS..this all sound like a "big deal"...don't worry. You can't make a mistake. One you do this you will be a "pro" traveling with a CPAP.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Does anyone know if you can dicker on the price of airfare once you decide on the flights available? Priceline aparantly forces you to buy the ticket before they'll tell you the flights once you choose to name your price.

Posted by Lisa
White Plains, NY, USA
491 posts

Who are you going to bargain with for airfaire? You can set up an online search for a low fair but I don't think I've seen one for open jaw flights. Expenses can vary so much depending on what type of accommodations, arts, entertainment, excursions and dining you choose. If I were looking to stay within a certain budget I would look to some type of pre organized trip.

Posted by Tim
Olympia, wa, USA
11 posts

Oh no! If I'm trying to stay on budget, the last thing I'd do is to sign up for a guided tour! I'd just like to know if the fairs are written in stone, or if you can haggle with Kayak,or Travelocity,etc...

Posted by Lisa
White Plains, NY, USA
491 posts

I didn't mean guided tour I did mean pre-organized so everything was planned and many costs were fixed before you went.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Tim, according to Kayak, there is still one flight at $1190 for your dates-departing June 27 and returning July 18, flying into Rome and out of Milan. It's the same Condor/Lufthansa combo I mentioned before, although there's a longer layover in Frankfurt so total flight time is 19 hours. According to Kayak, you can book this through Orbiz. Everything else for those dates is $1420 and up.