As with so many cities, visiting Rome can be a costly affair.
Starting with accommodation… it is near impossible to find a decent hotel for less than £100 per night if you are looking for something nearish the town center. And in addition you will have to pay a city tax of 6 Euros per person per day for the duration of your stay (and this is not included in your hotel fee when booking).
But there are easy ways to save some money.
Carry a bottle around.
There are plenty of water fountains and water dispensers dotted around town, all with crisp cold drinking water. So no need to buy bottled water five times a day (this not only helps your purse but also the environment, think of all those discarded plastic bottles that end in land fill).
Near the coliseum we even found a water dispenser giving out still and sparkling water (hubby was in heaven after that and on the look out for another one with sparkling water for the rest of the trip).
Be an early bird.
I am not saying that you have to be up at the crack of dawn, but it certainly helps beating the crowds.
If like me you are used to getting up early, chances are you are up anyway. So rather than pottering around the hotel for ages, why not get out early and get ahead of the other tourists. This approach has served us well twice during our trip. First on Sunday morning where we managed to get into the Coliseum for free. It is actually free all day every first Sunday of the month, however the queue can be horrendous, so being there on time meant we were ahead of the crowds.
Second time lucky was getting into St. Peter’s Cathedral. Again this is free admission all day, but first time we came past it on Friday, the queue span once around St. Peter’s Square, so certainly not worth joining. Getting there early on Tuesday morning meant a wait time of about five minutes rather than hours (and this only because the elderly couple ahead of us couldn’t quite deal with the airport style security checks). I simply wasn’t prepared to wait for hours, so if getting there early hadn’t done the trick, I would have splashed out buying a ticket to skip the queue.
On both occasions going there early not only saved us standing in line for ages, it also meant that it is a lot less crowded inside, giving you a better chance of actually seeing something.
Check before you go.
It is worth checking the internet before you head to see the sights. As already mentioned above, the coliseum is free of charge every first Sunday of the month, but this is not the only place offering free entry. First Sunday of a month seems to be a popular one for various museums, but also last Sunday of the month was free at some of the sights. Not saying book your travel accordingly, but if it coincides, why not make the most of it.
Enjoy the view
Go up to the Villa Borghese gardens for stunning views over Rome. Totally for free.
There are also plenty of fun things to do up there, like people watching and riding a Segway, but at 10 Euros for 30 minutes (or 15 for a full hour) this doesn’t come cheap (the Segways, not the people watching obviously).
Over to you. Any more tips how not to break the bank when visiting Rome?