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Italy Travel Budget for 2006

Bob Little (Bob the Navigator)

Independent travel to Europe continues to become even more popular with American tourists, and it seems that Italy has become everyone's favorite destination. This phenomenon is certainly not difficult to understand for those of us who have learned to savor BELLA ITALIA. I have enjoyed thirteen trips to Italy over the past twenty years, and will be the first to admit that it does not seem to become less expensive. Call it supply and demand, but I have seen a cost escalation of perhaps 30% in the last four years.

During the past eight years I have been fortunate to have planned more than 150 personalized itineraries for independent travelers to southern Europe - most of them to Italy. Understandably, one of the first questions I get from a prospective client is about the projected costs. My quick answer is the obvious one, " that depends on you and your preferred travel style". As we delve deeper it becomes clear that the style choices of would-be independents can vary widely from youthful backpackers to luxury five star jet-setters. We will ignore these extremes for now and concentrate on the more mainstream middle ranges that we will label as 2, 3, and 4 star budgets.

Here are some assumptions for our hypothetical itinerary:

  • This is a 14-day (13 night) itinerary to Italy for a couple during the shoulder season months of April, May, September and October. These are the best months for travel to Italy.
  • Arrival into Milan or Venice and departure from Rome, or vice versa, with tourist class tickets (open jaw). Airfares have increased dramatically in the past year.
  • The 2-star budget assumes all rail travel. The rental cars options include insurance and mileage, and are for a eight day rental period. Car choices are compact/manual (3 star) and mid-size/auto (4 star). Prices quoted are from AutoEurope.
  • All prices assume an exchange rate of one euro=$1.22. I would add 10% to the accommodation prices if you plan to spend all of your time in the major art cities.
  • This budget was calculated based on an actual client itinerary for travel in April, 2006. The destinations included Venice, Florence, Tuscany, and Lake Como.

Now that we have our parameters set let's go ahead and plan our budget. Remember, this is for planning purposes only and is really controlled by you. You may decide to blow the budget on Murano glass, Florentine leather, or Bellagio silk - it is your money!

AIRFARE (2 PEOPLE) 1940 1940 1940
GAS (PETROL) N/A 140 180
TOLLS N/A 50 50
TOTAL TRANSPORT $2290 $2635 $3000
HOTELS & INNS (13 NIGHTS) 1500 2300 3350
FOOD AND DRINK 1050 1400 1900
TOURISM COSTS 300 300 500
MISC. EXTRAS 150 150 200
DAILY LIVING TOTALS $3150 $4300 $6150
TOTAL TRIP COSTS: $5440 $6935 $9150


Let me emphasize that these cost projections are merely estimates and will vary widely based on seasonal variations and desired destinations. The fact is that some couples may enjoy a great two-week adventure in Italy and spend less than $3500, while others may let an upscale tour company make the decisions for them and end up spending $10 to $12,000.

Is it worth it? You bet it is! Independent travel in Europe is not for everyone but it is my passion. After more than twenty creative sojourns, most of them since 1984, I cannot wait to begin planning my next adventure. That is precisely the reason that I enjoy doing it for others. It is like a crossword puzzle for me - so satisfying when it all comes together.

Bob the Navigator is a retired IBMer whose passion for European travel has evolved into a hobby and trip planning business - www.bobthenavigator.homestead.com (Slow Travel Classified Listing). See Bob's Slow Travel member page for a list of his articles.

For fun, check out Bob's past budgets: Budget 2005, Budget 2004.

© Bob Little, 2006

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