Travel Tip # 1 – Enjoy Italian Traditions – If you really want to experience Italy get involved in some of the local traditions. If you are there during the grape harvest, find a vineyard and offer to work for a day. You will learn exactly how the wine is made and you will also get to join the workers and family for their midday meal which is amazing. If you are in Italy in November find someone who is harvesting olives and offer your services. You can then make your own fresh olive oil.
Travel Tip # 2 – Save on Italy Air Fare – I have saved lots of money by traveling Aerlingus to Dublin and then taking a Ryanair flight to Rome I also like this because Aerlingus flies direct from LA or Chicago to Dublin. Sometimes when I get to Dublin I will spend a night there to get over the jet lag before proceeding to Rome. It’s also nice to see another European city. The city of Dublin is only a 20 minute bus ride from the airport.
Travel Tip # 3 – Italian Country Living – I love feeling like an Italian when I am in Italy and not a tourist so I spend most of my time out in the country with Italian speaking people. There are so many places to stay outside of the big cities and they are priced very reasonably, anywhere from 400-800 Euros per week. You just need to do some work on the internet to find them.
Travel Tip # 4 – Save on Italy Car Rentals – Rent a car outside the city and definitely not at the airport where they charge a fortune. I always rent my cars in Gavignano Sabino about 45 minutes outside of Rome. They rent used cars for about 250 Euros a week including tax and insurance. The cars are not the best, but they do fine for traveling around. The place I rent from is called Centro Riparazioni Autoveicoli 0765515744.
Travel Tip # 5 – Eat Local – I try to eat most my meals with the locals. Luckily I have met so many people that I have this opportunity whenever I go to Italy, but anyone can have the experience. Try to find out of the way small restaurants where the locals eat. Watch what the locals are eating and order the same thing. Ask the proprietor, what was made today and order it. Take your time and enjoy. Most Italians take 2-3 hours to eat. They relax and let their food digest.
Travel Tip # 6 – Italy Budget Travel Tip – When I am traveling to the bigger cities and I am on a budget, I stay in the local convents and monasteries. They are reasonably priced and extremely clean. The rooms for the most part are no frill, but very satisfactory.
Travel Tip # 7 – Save on Italian Meals – My family and I budget our money by eating one meal out a day. One day it will be lunch. Maybe the next day dinner. For the other meal we will buy charcuterie and cheese at a local deli and have a picnic or we may by pizza from a street vendor. We also love to go to the local farmers markets. Every day there is a farmers market in one town or another. You can always find terrific food here, from fresh cheese to porchetta sandwiches.
Travel Tip # 8 – Become A Regular – I try to become a regular at the local cafe and bar, that way they know you and when you arrive you really feel welcome. I always try to talk with the owners and the workers.
Travel Tip # 9 – Save on Your Cell Phone – Since we go to Italy a lot I bought an Italian cell phone. It cost me about 60 Euros. What I like about it is that I can call the States with it using my MCI calling card. The best part is that it doesn’t use the cell phone minutes to make the call. I don’t have to stand at a phone both trying call home and it’s much cheaper than using an international cell phone.
Travel Tip # 10 – Travel in Off Seasons – The best tip to save money when traveling to Italy is to travel at off times such as January, April and October. I love Italy in January. It’s cold, but wonderful. Every home or restaurant I visit has a big fire going in the fireplace and everyone hangs around the fire telling stories, drinking coffee and also cooking in the fireplace. It’s a magical feeling.
Italian Country Cooking School
Enjoy Life, Live Like an Italian