Rome for students (or anyone else who wants to travel on a budget and get the best experience)
I’ve always dreamed of visiting Rome, and since I’ve started working in a museum, even more. And when I found out that Ryanair flies to Rome from Trieste (less than 2 hours away from Ljubljana), I had to book the tickets. Me and my boyfriend found a cozy room in a guesthouse with a shared bathroom and kitchen near the main station, close to the center of the city and the main attractions.
We were there for a week, which was definitely enough to see everything we wanted to see and if I wouldn’t catch a cold at the end of the trip, we would probably visit a park or some other place outside of Rome, Tivoli and Hadrian’s villa were on my day-trip wish list. But on the bright side, we had more time to explore the city, which isn’t a bad thing, right?:)
Rome, just like any other beautiful and popular city, can be expensive. Even the places on AirBnb (where I usually find the cheapest prices) are expensive. So we had to find some ways to save money where we could. There are a lot of possibilities – and these are my top tips!
- Find a place with a kitchen and near the center. Some places even include breakfast (and they usually not more expensive than the ones that don’t)
Guesthouse Paradisio, the place we were staying at, had a cute and clean small kitchen with a fridge, stove and a microwave. We decided to find a place like that is because we didn’t want to eat in a restaurant every day, plus even the fast food options aren’t cheap. We wanted to eat healthy and enough. And I’ve heard that the meals in restaurants are pretty small – even if I would feel full, my boyfriend probably wouldn’t if I look at the meals we make at home and how we split them. The food in the stores is great and affordable especially if you don’t buy near the main attractions and if you go to the local stores: Pam Local, Carrefour Express and Coop. 500 g of wholewheat organic pasta for a little more than 1 € and add some Pesto Genovese sauce for 2 € … and here you go: dinner for two for two nights for 3 € :).
The only guilty pleasure we bought was gelato. But when in Rome, you have to try gelato :D. And usually, the scoops are huge, so it was a great snack during the hot days.
- Don’t travel in the summer
Rome is a hot city and in September, while it was raining all the time in Slovenia, I could wear summer dresses every day during my trip. If you travel in the summer, you’ll find Rome extremely crowded and hot. There are still tourists in autumn and springs, but in comparison to summer, the city feels a lot less crowded.
- Reserve the tickets before and look at all the options you have.
If you study art history, educational sciences and some other courses, you can get 50% off or sometimes you only have to pay for the reservations. And you can visit some places for free on certain days of the month. We visited Vatican museums on the last Sunday of the month because there is no entrance fee on that day. I’ve heard a lot of warnings that it is really crowded on that days, but we decided to take a risk, and it was worth it. It was crowded, but not in the extremes – it was as crowded as the Colosseum (and that one is not for free). So if you have the chance to save some money like this, I would definitely recommend it. Check out this site!
- Walk around the city.
Most of the attractions are in the heart of the city and if you plan your trip, you can easily walk around all of the sights. And if the weather is nice, that is probably the best way to spend a day. I didn’t take the metro even once while I was in Rome, and I still felt like I could see all of the attractions in 4 days.
- Don’t focus only on the monumental attractions
Rome is full of gorgeous parks, beautiful buildings and just walking around town can be a great experience. It’s one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to, full of pastel buildings and colorful streets. We went to a park and rented a small boat (for few euros), walked around an orange garden…there are a lot of beautiful things in this city and if you only focus on the main attractions, you could be disappointed, as they are a bit commercialized, crowded and everybody is trying to sell you something. Of course, I recommend you to see all of the great historical monuments, but take some time to walk around less crowded and touristic parts. I’m sure you will love Rome even more.