Beating the Euro
It's easy to avoid the scam artists and pickpockets, but finding good value is a little trickier.
We asked travelers on Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (www.fodors.com) to reveal some of their insider know-how.
When in Rome, spend like a Roman!
Fodorites know that if you live like a local, you'll save like a local as well, and perhaps have a richer traveling experience to boot.
1. "If you aren't hungry and don't want pasta, skip to secondo—the second course. Rarely do Italians eat a primo e secondo when they go out." —glittergirl
2. "Bars always have two different prices: If you have your coffee at the counter, it's cheaper than when a waiter serves it at a table (servizio al tavolo)." —quokka
3. "For the art lover on a budget: Most of the art I saw in Rome is free. Where else can you see countless Caravaggios, two Michelangelos, and even more Berninis for the cost of the wear and tear on the soles of your shoes?" —amyb
4. "Instead of taking the Leonardo Express from Fiumicino to Termini, take the FR1 to whichever station is most convenient for you. The FR1 departs every 15 minutes (instead of every 30 minutes for the Express), costs only €5 (instead of €9.50 for the Express), and avoids the hullabaloo of Termini." —Therese
5. "The boat trip down the Tiber, from the bridge by Castel Sant'Angelo to Isola Tiberina, is only €1 (a great way to get from St. Peter's to Trastevere or the Forum)." —annhig
6. "One way to save on the expense of guided tours is to register online at Sound Guides (www.sound-guides.com) and download the various free self-guided tours to your iPod or MP3 player." —monicapileggi
7. "I eat at working-folks places, like the Goose, near the Vatican. Dinner (three courses) runs €20 with wine; if you leave hungry, it's your own fault." —JoanneH
8. "Visit wine fill-up shops in Italy; get table wine from the cask for €2–€3 a liter. In Rome we would get them filled at the Testaccio market. I will usually ask at the local bar where I go for my coffee." —susanna
9. "Go off-season—March or November have better air prices and also accommodations, particularly if you stay in apartments, which you can rent for much less off-season (and plan some meals in-house—make the noon meal your biggest of the day, then have a small dinner in the apartment)." —bobthenavigator
10. "Invest in the bus schedule/map—at any place they sell tickets. Cost is €4. It gives you all the routes, how long between buses, hours they run, where you hop on/off to transfer, etc." —JoanneH
11. "The smaller restaurants in Trastevere also offer better value for money than, say, the ones in the alleys near the Spanish Steps or any of the other tourist areas in central Rome.”—friendindelhi
12. "Order your coffee or drinks from the bar before you sit down. Take your coffee, whatever, with you to the table, then return the cup or glass afterwards. That way you'll be charged the much cheaper al banco price that the locals pay." —WiseOwl