I'm trying for decide how much money I will need for my 12 day trip not including plane fare. We land n Venice and will go to Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Mileto.
Not an easy question to answer but you need to figure out what kind of accommodations you can afford: expensive, not so expensive, cheap, hostel. Budget in transportation (are you driving or taking trains), meals, souvenirs, admission fees. And go from there.
You'll need a rental car to get to Mileto, so factor that in as well.
It all comes down to how you travel. Nicer hotels ($$$ in RS books, or $ hotels). Eat out most meals, drink wine, or shop at the grocery store for more picnics.
Here's what we averaged per day with my comments on our travel style during our last trip to Italy. While we are not extravagant we don't pinch pennies either. But without much effort you could certainly do both the hotels and "Other" for less than we did.
- Total trip 14 days excluding airfare- $480/day
- Lodging-averaged $190/night ($$$ Rick Steves-will pay more for larger bed, larger room, balcony and view) (CT, Montalcino, Orvieto, Rome, Sorrento- to give you an idea of locations
- Travel- averaged $65/day (train and 4 day car rental)
- Other- $225/day (food, wine, tours, museums, gellato, Souvenirs, etc). Most meals were in restaurants and include beer, wine, or both. We probably splurged on half our dinners and ate at the some of the best restaurants in the towns we visited with at least 1 bottle of wine. (We are foodies and love wine)
Booking hotels ahead will help you to plan your budget. I find the listings in Rick's guidebooks to be pretty reliable in their descriptions, therefore I start by circling all the cheapest ones. Train tickets are relatively cheap; see regular fares on Rick's ticket cost maps or lock in advance-purchase discounts at www.trenitalia.com.
Here's a note from the intro to the book. Room and Board: You can thrive in Italy in 2014 on $125 a day per person for room and board (more in big cities). This allows $5 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, $25 for dinner, and $80 for lodging (based on two people splitting the cost of a $160 double room). Students and tightwads can enjoy Italy for as little as $65 a day ($35 for a bed, $30 for meals and snacks). Sightseeing and Entertainment: In big cities, figure about $15-22 per major sight (museums, Colosseum), $7-10 for minor ones (climbing church towers), and $30 for splurge experiences (such as walking tours and concerts). An overall average of $35 a day works for most people. Don’t skimp here. After all, this category is the driving force behind your trip--you came to sightsee, enjoy, and experience Italy.
Try $6000/two persons plus the cost of travel between cities. Budget $10,000 and you will be fine.
I can do a month in Italy for $8000 not including airfare. I average €100/night for a room (nice, not luxurious, B&Bs, apartments), €90-100 for food including wine for dinner, simple Italian-style breakfast or yogurt in the apartment if not a B&B. You should be good with $4000-4500 unless you like $300/day rooms.
Buy train tickets in advance for good discounts (high-speed trains only). Museums, etc., vary but prices are published so you can tally that up. Look at vaporetto passes in Venice and multi-day bus passes in Rome for convenience and economy. I always do a budget in a spreadsheet then track my progress so I know if we are over-spending. A day without restaurants can restore a budget quickly.
I always plan for a certain amount and then budget above that. Around $200 per day should suffice if you use moderate, yet comfortable hotels and don't go nuts on expensive restaurants and gelato. Your transportation choice will also affect your daily budget. Rental cars + gas will cost more than trains - at least with us they do - we love to drive around a lot and see as much as we can. Last summer I planned a budget that was much higher than what we actually spent so we had a nice amount left over when we got home. That feels far better than overspending and burning up your credit cards!
My previous trips to Italy left me with leftover funds to apply to the travel account for next time. One thing I like to do in the months of planning before travel, is to purchase many of the museum and tour tickets, and also rail...even rental car. But this only works if you plan an itinerary and plan to stick to it. I recommend purchasing good travel insurance to cover these expenses if you have to bail. If you want to be more spontaneous, that's fine too.
As for eating. I like to alter between inexpensive meals like pizza or pasta with appetizers, wine and maybe a nicer more expensive dinner every 3rd day or so. Budgeting for at least $200- per day for two people makes it a comfortable trip. We try to put it at about $350- per day after purchasing lodging and most of rail, etc and it's nice to have a buffer for low stress.
By the way, if you try to draw cash from an atm and it churns away and gives you nothing, take your card and go elsewhere. It's out of money, but it likely will deduct whatever amount you entered to withdraw so watch your bank account and verify this. I was trying to draw cash at Piazza dell Signoria in Florence one night and it happened to me. Months later, I see a deposit for a few hundred bucks into my checking account. Wondering what that was all about, I pasted the listed cryptic info on my bank statement into google web search and voila....google maps points to that atm at that bank at piazza della signoria. This is one of those little surprises I never hear about.
My friends say I travel frugally, which is true but I allow for some splurges (intentional or not). I have a budget of €120 per day, including everything but airfare. That's solo traveling, and it includes big cities and small towns. I find hotels for less than €100 per night easily except in Rome and Venice. I try to book places where breakfast is included, have a sot-down meal for lunch and/or dinner. I stop for a coffee or gelato at least once a day. My budget is museum-heavy. By going to smaller towns, I keep the average per day pretty stable, and I always have a credit card ready just in case.
I do book hotels and trains well ahead of time, and do a spreadsheet of expected expenses for lodging, meals, museums and sites, all transportation (look up train costs even if you don't buy tickets in advance). Then I pad it by about 10%.