Traveling to Rome on a budget? Yes, it’s possible. Moreover, it’s a sure way to get to know the real city.
Last updated: September 19, 2023
10 Tips on How to Travel to Rome on a Budget
If high prices hold you back from visiting one of your bucket list destinations, then you’re not alone. For years I’d been postponing my visit to Rome, thinking that there was no way to travel to Italy on a budget. I convinced myself that I needed to save an impressive amount of money before traveling to Rome.
One day planning our European trip I, just out of curiosity, checked airfares from Vienna to Rome. Wow, it was more than affordable. A thorough research followed, and it opened a whole new window of possibilities.
Traveling to Rome on a budget was actually doable. This trip promised an unbiased look at the city, very similar to how locals see it. I was ready for it. If you are, too, check out these tips on how to travel to Rome on a budget.
10 TIPS ON HOW TO TRAVEL TO ROME ON A BUDGET
1. Travel during Low Season
This is probably one of the most popular tips on how to travel on a budget anywhere, including Rome. And yet, this is one of a few tips that often get neglected and overlooked.
The truth is, the low and shoulder seasons are indeed the best time to visit Rome when your budget is tight. First of all, airfares are significantly cheaper. Second, Rome offers you a variety of accommodations that otherwise would be out of your budget reach. So, for example, in January we stayed in the center of the city within a walking distance of all iconic attractions. And the best part is that we had to pay only a fraction of what it’d cost us in June or July.
2. Use Metro or Bus
The good thing about Rome is that the majority of its landmarks are located not far away from each other. It can still quite a walk. But it’s not impossible. Moreover, exploring Rome on foot has a positive effect on your budget. On top of that, it lets you see some parts of Rome that travel guides usually omit.
Using public transportation is another way to save money when visiting Rome. Riding a bus would be your best option to get as close as possible to your next destination. Metro covers a rather limited area. You may need to walk a bit farther after you get of the train.
As for me, I always stick to metro (subway). I feel like a fish in water with this type of transportation. Rome was not an exception. I could ride a metro train to get a bit closer to my next destination and walk from there without missing any opportunity to see Rome beyond its popular destinations.
3. Affordable Way to Get to and from Airport
In a big city like Rome, a ride to and from the airport can take a toll on your budget. I always recommend to research your options in advance.
In Rome, Leonardo Express Airport train is one of the most convenient ways to get to Rome Termini Station in the city center. The train runs every 15 minutes. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and costs about 14 Euros.
It’s still a lot compared to other European cities. However, next to the taxi price of about 50 Euros, the train ride looks like a bargain. On the other hand, if you travel in a group of three or four, you end up paying almost the same amount for a train and a taxi. In that case, a bit of luxury can help.
TIP: If you want to stretch your Rome budget for a bit longer, search for other travel deals on omit.com. This is where we found the most amazing trip from the city center back to the airport.
4. Don’t Buy Tour Tickets on the Streets
Even if you travel to Rome on a budget, you can’t afford not to shell out a bit and visit some of its iconic places. Thinks about the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican City (technically, it’s a separate country). But a visit to these places can have the biggest impact on your budget after you’ve dealt with airfares and accommodation.
To avoid tourist traps, never buy tickets from individual travel agents near the most popular attractions in Rome. Their prices usually include a whole bunch of commissions that cover services of travel agencies and their associates.
Instead, purchase your tickets from official websites or Viator (I use it all the time). Official tourist booth you can see all over Rome are your next best option.
5. Get Combo Ticket to Save Money when Visiting Rome
And yet, there’s even a better way to visit some major attractions of Rome on a tight budget. Instead of buying an individual ticket to see the Colosseum, get a combination ticket and save money.
The combo ticket includes admission to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill and Museum. Other great combo options to keep you on a budget in Rome are 48-hour Roma Pass and Vatican & Rome Card.
6. Haggle Sometimes
If you failed to buy your ticket to historic sites and other attractions in advance haggle while buying it from tour representatives on the streets. The price they offer is often higher than the real price. Don’t hesitate to ask for discount. If your first street ticket seller insists on his price, move on to the next seller. They all want your business, and sooner or later they’ll work with you.
TIP: Another quick tip here it to find something in common with your potential seller before making a deal. He will be more willing to lower the price.
7. Check out Free Attractions
Rome surprises with many free landmarks. Check out the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. All of them are free to visit and enjoy.
8. Visit the Vatican on a Budget when in Rome
Even the Vatican allows you to gaze at some of its treasures free of charge. The St. Peter’s Basilica and adjoining St. Peter’s Square keep their doors open for all visitors at no cost. On the last Sunday of the month, you can even visit the Vatican Museums without spending a dime.
9. Dine at Smaller Eateries
On top of higher food prices, high-end restaurants often includes “coperta” or tax for sitting down in the restaurant in the bill. The fee ranges somewhere from one to three Euros.
Smaller, family eateries, on the other hand, keep it simple and more affordable. You pay for what you ask for. No hidden fees attached. But even these smaller restaurants can make something special for you. Like my vegan pasta cooked specially for me at Milvio’s Family after simply asking if they had any vegan dishes…
10. Join Rome Free Walking Tours
Can you even ask for a better thing to do in Rome on a budget? In addition to seeing the city from a local’s point of view, you learn history and hear interesting stories about the city and its surroundings.
- A Budget Traveler’s Guide to Local Foods in Rome
- All You Need to Know before Going to Rome
- 10 Things not to Miss in Rome
- The Top 9 Historical Sites in Rome
- People in the Streets of Rome Photo Gallery