Budget – Northern Italy
Oh Italy. You lure me in with your ancient ruins, your seductive language, and your mouth-watering food. I come to you like like a child to a lollypop. But then you hit me on the head with said lollypop (or maybe a pizza?) because you are SO expensive. Although I think I faired decently at $71/day on average with much travelling – it still made my wallet cry as I enjoyed that gelato and pasta! So how did I spend these $71 per day?
Accommodation – $141.07
As expected, the majority (33% to go into percentages) went to my accommodation. I stayed in hostels in both Milan and Venice. Both were in fantastic locations. But they varied greatly in their amenities and customer service. At Zebra Hostel in Milan the staff was incredible, they had a great kitchen, 10 minute walk to the Duomo, and funky common area. But terribly they had no AC or fans – and in a room of thirty beds where the evenings don’t cool down – we opened the windows begging for a breeze but instead got mosquitoes. Compare this to Ostello Venezia in Venice where the customer service was horrendous, and there was no kitchen, and the bathrooms/showers were unisex (with no shower doors – only flimsy curtains). But on the bonus – the view was INCREDIBLE and it was in a perfect location only one vaporetto stop from San Marco square. And well – for Venice – at 25 euro a night is a fantastic price. So I averaged out at $23.51 per day
Food – $93.33
Let me admit – my good budget is incredibly low because I worked really hard to keep it down. I bought most meals at the grocery store and only allowed myself to eat out once while in Milan for an incredible lunch of vegetable risotto and chocolate tiramisu dessert. I kept walking by all restaurants and gawking at the prices listed - appetizers for 18€? Not on this budget travellers dime! Also, Milan’s Zebra Hostel offered a free breakfast – so that helped for one meal! So with all of my market fruits (I have an addiction to cherries!) and sandwiches of bread/cheese/turkey. I did splurge on one thing – My gelato a day habit! I managed to keep my food budget to an ultimate low at an average per day of $15.56!
Transport – $128.27
This was another huge expense – but an expected one. I travelled by train as its the most efficient and most environmentally friendly way for me to travel (If I had the time I’d ride a bike – but alas – I was short on time as usual). The trains are also incredibly comfortable and provided tables with electrical outlets so I worked during my train rides to save myself from having to take time away from sight-seeing at a later time! I bought 2 train trips – round trip to Cinque Terre from Milan and a one way from Milan to Venice. Had I been more on the ball and purchased my tickets 1 week in advance I could of saved about 15€ – but I didn’t know I would go to Cinque Terre until the last minute. Totally worth the price! And Since I flew into Italy with Ryan Air – I actually landed in Bergamo – 1hr North of Milan so had to hop the €5 bus to the city. But I met some great Aussies on the ride! Daily Average: $21.38
Sight-Seeing/Tours/Entrance – $52
At only $52 dollars spent on Sight-Seeing/Tours/Entrances – I saved good money here. A lot of sights in Italy are actually free of charge. But my money was spent well. I climbed to the top of the Duomo for €7 (€11 to take the elevator!), €10 on the Cinque Terre card with train travel (Although I didn’t actually use the train until the end – as I opted to take the boat instead for a different angle of the region), and finally €22 in Venice on the 72 hr unlimited Vaporetto travel + Rolling Venice Card. Funny this about this is – if you simply buy the 72hr card you pay €45, and the Rolling Venice card alone is €18 – so I don’t know how they combined the two for the extremely affordable price of €22. I actually did not use the Rolling Venice card as I only entered ONE place – the San Giorgio Church – and it did not have a participating discount. But the vaporetto card I used endlessly! I could travel at my whim and not worry about it costing me €6.50 PER TRIP! (Outrageous I know!) Daily Average: $8.67
Souvenirs – $5.07
There wasn’t anything I wanted from Italy other than my typical Postcards. I already have 2 carnival masks I purchased last time I was in Italy – and I certainly don’t need any glass or lace to lug around in my backpack. And I am not really a huge fan of leather. So postcards suit me just fine. Daily Average: $0.84
Internet & Misc. – $7.33
I am a fool who left her travel towel at home because it was stinky. So while in Milan – in lieu of me being stinky I had to forfeit over €5 for a towel from the Zebra Hostel. But turns out it was worth the price. I have not found a hostel yet that provides towels – so mine has come in extremely handy. And it doesn’t smell! Daily Average: $1.22
Grand Total: $427.07 Daily Average $71.18
So I went above my budget backpackers budget of $50/day – but hey – I was in Italy. A country KNOWN for its high price tags – and even more so – I spent 3 days in Venice! It may be my eyes best friend but it is my wallets worst! So I spent money mostly on my transport. Others will spend less if they travel slower than I did and don’t book train tickets last minute to save those few extra bucks. But all in all – I think my average of $71 per day is a reasonable price to pay for the incredible experience I had in Italy. But Italy has a tendency to leave its visitors wanting more….and gosh do I ever!