Friday, 17 May 2013

How expensive Rome really is?

During preparations for our recent trip to Rome, I was constantly wondering how expensive this world famous city really is. From various blogs I mostly got the impression I might be going on one of those terribly expensive adventures.

Fortunately, as I have soon discovered, everything was not so bad. From transport expenses, accommodation, entrance fees, food and drinks to everything else, the same story repeated all over again. In the end it all comes down to investing a little time, doing at least some research, following basic rules of travelling and using some common sense. If you are prepared to keep these things in mind, you are on the right way to getting good value for your money. Rome is no different.

Since accommodation can easily prove to be one of the most expensive things on such a trip, I spent quite some time trying to get the most affordable option. Since M. and I usually do not expect many things from places we are staying at, I soon narrowed our options to a few hostels. Accommodation for us is basically a place where we sleep. We usually do not need much more than that and we try to save our budget for things that mean more to us.
However, there are a few things we find essential when it comes to choosing accommodation:

  • it has to be in a good location (or at least near some affordable public transport options) so we do not waste valuable time sitting on some public transport,
  • it has to be super clean (fresh linen and a spotless bathroom are essential),
  • the place has to have free WiFi or at least some kind of internet access.

I was lucky to find an affordable centrally located accommodation that offered all things mentioned. Four Seasons Hostel Rome provided everything listed above for a very reasonable price. Since it had been opened only for about a month it was obviously in a very good condition.
The only two things we have missed were a kitchen, where we could cook something ourselves and a hangout room. There actually is a small lounge area/reception room available, but since hardly anyone hung out there, it obviously lacks something (a bar would probably make all the difference).

Apart from those two minor things I can only say good things about the place. Staff was always ready to help us out and offer valuable advice. We would easily go back any time.

Since Four Seasons Hostel Rome is located just next to Termini train station we hardly used public transportation. We mostly walked around the city and loved every step of it.

Another thing I was pretty skeptical about were admission costs to many attractions on our list. I knew what to expect at a few major sights (like the Colosseum and Vatican Museums) but was not sure about all the rest. It all turned out better than I expected - most attractions had free admission or a very reasonable one.
Also if you take your time to really take in the couple attractions mentioned above, you will probably run out of time to see anything else. I have got a feeling one could spend years wandering around Vatican Museums and still not see everything - the place is huge and stuffed with numerous priceless artifacts.

When it comes to food and drinks it is usually also worth doing at least some research in advance - for instance Tripadvisor can be a useful tool for avoiding the worst kind of tourist traps.

While in Rome we ate well and usually for a very affordable price. If you look around a bit you can find a good pizza or a hand-made pasta first course for under 5 EUR.
On the other hand, if you are not careful, you might also end up paying 16 EUR for a cone of ice-cream. More about that in one of the following posts.


Mandy 20 May 2013 at 09:25  

Great advice Marko! I agree with you on your requirements for accommodation. When we went to Sarajevo, it was the first time I stayed in a hostel and it was really good (Markale Guesthouse). I also just need clean sheets, a good location and wifi but I also need my own bathroom! No sharing for me - I did that in university!

I'm not sure about TripAdvisor and restaurants. I've decided it is better to ask locals where they would eat and go there!

Travel-PB 20 May 2013 at 11:47  

Thanks Mandy! I totally get your point.
There are however more and more hostels out there offering double rooms with ensuite bathrooms - always worth comparing prices with other places, though.

I also prefer local advice over Tripadvisor. :) In my case I just wanted to point out it can protect you from the most obvious tourist traps. I can usually sense them a mile ago but an inexperienced traveler can definitely benefit from such a tool.

Mandy 20 May 2013 at 12:07  

Absolutely! Most hostels have private bedrooms now, often with a en suite bathroom. Markale was lovely. We had a spacious double bedroom with out own shower etc. I was agreeing with you!!

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