September 2013

Post image for 25 Free Ways to Awesomize Your Trip to Italy

Looking for free things to do in Italy?

Here’s a list of 25 trip awesomizers that won’t cost you a dime.

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1. Drink out of a lion’s head: public fountains are everywhere.

2. Wake up at dawn and take photos. You’ll score good light and empty streets; it’s what the pros do.

3. Learn manners on your first day. Write simple Italian greetings on a sticky note and attach it to your wallet. Try please (per favore), thanks (grazie), and bye-bye (arrivederci or ciao).

4. Smile more + worry less (also essential for life in general).

5. Use a credit card with no “foreign transaction” fees. Typically credit cards charge an additional fee (around 2.5%) when you charge an item in a foreign currency — but you can avoid that scam and carry a card without the fee. For a list of great travel cards look here (if you’re American). For Canadians look here and here.

6.  Write down epiphanies (cause they fade).

7. Take a photo of every person you talk to in one day.

8. Visit an Italian festival (here’s a list). Sharing the energy of the Venice film festival or Carnivale won’t cost you anything more than extra planning.

9. Ask your hotel for a free room upgrade.

10. Ask your hotel if you can checkout late (but not at the same time you’ve asked for an upgrade).

11. Ask a local builder, “Where do you eat lunch?”  His suggestion won’t be in your guidebook.

12. Walk in the graveyards.

13. Visit a church.

14. Don’t read the menu, just asks the waiter to bring you her favourite meal.

15. Help a traveller who is lost or struggling; practising kindness releases serotonin in the brain (serotonin makes you feel good, and it’s what anti-depressants are designed to release).

16. Talk to strangers.

17. If travelling alone, sit with someone else who’s also travelling alone.  In Italy during the lunch rush this is commonplace.

18.  Walk up to the highest landmark: you’ll find a church or a villa up there with a crazy good view.

19. Complain less, especially when things aren’t going your way.

20. Download free travel apps. For speaking, for flying, for photo taking, for currency conversions, for organizing itineraries.

21. Score free museum visits (check individual museum websites). For example, the Vatican Museum is free the last Sunday of each month in the morning.

22. Flirt with your waiter

23. Talk to fellow travellers at breakfast and ask them about the favourite things they’ve done since arriving.

24. Go to free mass at the Pantheon in Rome on Saturdays at 5 p.m. or Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Or go on this free tour.

25.  Attend “Notte Bianca” – a special night that many Italian cities celebrate with shopping and museums open late and cultural events planned throughout the night. To find the schedule for the time and place you are travelling just Google “Notte Bianca [city] [year]”.

It’s your turn. Share YOUR favourite ways to awesomize your travels without breaking the bank in the comments below.

Love, Bianca

 

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Cheap amalfi Coast Accommodation

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Above: Amalfi Coast Splurge: Le Sirenuse, Positano. Two bedroom suite with balcony: 3,570.00 €/ night.

Below: Amalfi Coast Save: Hostel Brikette, Positano. Double room with balcony: 90.00 €/ night.

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Today I wanna get down and dirty and show you exactly how much you can save and how much you can splurge on hotels in Italy.

The range is pretty shocking actually — I’ve lost count of how many 1000 € a night hotels I’ve come across.

But I also know for a fact you can plan a two week vacation in Italy and never spend more than 100 € a night for two people.

In Italy expect to pay between 125 – 175 € for a low to mid range hotel in most tourist destinations and these prices climb dramatically in the major cities.

My example today shows you two accommodation options for Positano — a small town in the south of Italy on the Amalfi coast.

Both these digs are centrally located within Positano and they both have ocean views with private patios.

But one costs around 90 € a night and the other costs 3570 € a night.

Hostel Brikette is rocking the cheap Amalfi coast look: a double bed in a small room with a private sea view balcony. You can even score a 25 € dorm bed at Hostel Brikette.

Le Sirenuse is sporting the luxury Amalfi coast vibe: a two bedroom suite with a private sea view balcony. The cheapest room at Le Sirenuse is 350 € in low season.

Let’s check them out!

Amalfi Coast Save: Hostel Brikette.

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Amalfi Coast Splurge: Le Sirenuse.

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Now that you see how much you can save and splurge in the exact same small town in Italy, I hope you’ll be inspired to do a little digging for the gems.

Below I’ve listed some places to help you get started.

If you wanna splurge on accommodation look here: Tablet Hotels, Mr & Mrs Smith, Leading Hotels of the World, Design Hotels, Orient Express Hotels.

If you wanna save on accommodation look here: AirBnb, Agriturismi here and here, Cross Pollinate,  Alberghi Diffusi 

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We wanna hear you! Please comment:  When was the last time you saved or splurged when travelling — and was it worth it?

 

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scooter rental rome

scooter rental rome

A scooter rental in Rome is a thrilling idea.

It’s also a thrilling way to: a) lower your life expectancy and b) learn the most Italian swear words in under a minute.

But hey, when in Rome…right?

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To help you get around Rome here are seven solutions (pictures above).

1. An electric bicycle for easy riding. Rent here.

2. A vintage Fiat 500, cause it’s so darn fun. Rent here.

3. This lovely bike for two. Rent here.

4. A Piaggo 125cc scooter. Rent here.

5. A vintage Ape Calessino, the most unique ride of the bunch. Rent here.

6. A foldable city bike. Rent here.

7. A vintage Vespa for your Audrey Hepburn moment. Rent here.

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But wait, there’s more! Print out this Rome cycling map too.

Hey sweetie, have you ever rented a bike or scooter on your travels? If you were in Rome today, what would you be doing? Leave a comment and let us know!

With love, Bianca

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