I do not plan all my trips in the same way. The destination and my budget are two instrumental factors affecting how I plan each one. I have had super glamorous vacation, travelling in business class, staying in lux hotels, but I’ve also travelled on budget tickets and have spent my nights in Erasmus student halls, on a broken couch that used to be thrown away in the garbage. Without sheets on, mind you! (see Couchsurfing). Believe me, this is not even the worst I’ve experienced. Based on my last, brief outing in Rome, I decided to share a couple of secrets regarding the planning of this specific trip.
You will find out that it’s not so hard to plan a trip on your own, as long as you are aware of some secrets! So come and borrow some of these ideas so you can also plan your own vacation.
FIRST STEP – TICKETS
Let’s take things in turn. I knew that I’d be in Athens for business for about a week. Hence, I decided to take advantage of my free days and make a short trip somewhere nearby. I was on a limited budget, since I had just returned from a quite expensive transatlantic trip. So I used my secret weapon, in order to find a cheap destination. Hello Skyscanner!
It may be the most well-known fact but I need to make a short reference to this particular site, since I have trusted it to book tickets many a time. In the future, I aim to devote an exclusive article on this website, hence I will now be brief. I will only say that the site affords you the opportunity, after stating the departure airport or city, to choose out of a list with the cheapest destinations for your chosen dates.
Let’s take my case for instance! My trip would begin from Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens. Skyscanner informed me about the cheapest destinations for my chosen dates by showing me a list on my computer screen. The cheapest destination was Salonica, Cyprus followed and then there was … Rome! Surely there were other options, but pricing took a hike after the fourth given option. So, after checking the flights timetable and ensured there would be no conflicts with my Athens-Larnaca flights, I bought the tickets for a mere 70 euro.
SECOND STEP – ACCOMMODATION
After booking the tickets, we needed to find a place to stay. Rome is not home to the cheapest hotels in the world; rather the opposite. So, I would either book a room far away from the city centre or use my second weapon: Airbnb! Couchsurfing was not an option for me in this trip since I wouldn’t be travelling alone.
Instead of hotel rooms, Airbnb provides you with the chance to rent a room at someone’s house or even rent an entire house. It is one of the best known and trustworthy sites globally and has my full trust. You can really make accommodation plans anywhere and rent anything you’d like, from an estate with pool and golf course to a tree house and an igloo! So I got an apartment next to the Colosseum which cost half the amount I’d pay had I booked a nice hotel in the same area. What I’m always looking for, when I rent houses is to have good Wi-Fi access, good reviews (especially regarding cleanliness) and, if possible, a terrace with a view! Giovanni’s house then was the ideal choice!
THIRD STEP – TRANSFER FROM AND TO THE AIRPORT + COMMUTING IN THE CITY
I always take care of my transfer to and from the airport before I step my foot in the city. In these last few years, I’ve been avoiding all the trouble with subways and buses where possible, I opt for other means like UBER, local private transfer companies or taxis. For this trip then, I employed the latter.
From Rome’s CIAMPINO to the city centre, the taxi costs 30 euro. There is a fixed tariff for this trip. Going back to the airport though, because we were departing from FIUMICINO which is further away from the city, we booked a private transfer company which cost a lot less than what a taxi would have cost. At 10 am then, a NCC ROMA LA CAPITALE Mercedes parked outside our apartment and Antonello, a well-dressed chauffeur, gave us a VIP transfer to the airport.
Commuting in the city now, we used buses, the sub, and our feet! We had the choice of the tourist red HOP ON- HOP OFF buses as well as of horse cartridges but we opted against these. Especially carriages charge 150 euro for a 30 minute drive. We did manage to lower this to 70 by bargaining and using a little bit of our female persuasion, but coming to think that 70 euro was the cost of our air tickets, you wouldn’t spend that on a half-hour romance ride.
FOURTH STEP – TOURS
Did you think that was it? There’s a fourth step my friends! Especially when we are talking Rome! If this is your first time and you wouldn’t like to miss a single sightseeing (which is kind of impossible!) then I’d suggest this. Book your sightseeings early using the web (up to two weeks in advance). There are such long queues that it’d serve you well to just pay a little bit more and book ‘skip the line’ tickets which ensure instant access to the various sites, without having to wait for three hours queuing. This is something I did not do this time, given it was my fifth time visiting Rome. I did use Viator in the past though, which offers group and private tours! I strongly suggest you purchase skip the line tickets for the Colosseum and mostly for the Vatican. You can thank me later!
So, there you have it. We booked tickets via Skyscanner, rented an apartment next to the Colosseum via AirBnB, arranged for transport to and from our accommodation using NCC ROMA and ensured we saw the main attractions using Viator!
We are ready! Wasn’t so hard, was it?
Until next time! xoxo
Here you can see the PHOTO ALBUM from my last trip to Rome! Enjoy!