Reading travel guides prepared me that my visit to Venice was unlikely to be cheap. I am not particularly thrifty by nature, spending money comes easy to me. But I am not working, and I am hoping to cram as many amazing destinations and experiences in to my year off as possible, so I needed to start my trip as I intend to go on and spend wisely.
First, I prepared myself before even stepping foot on the plane by making use of a couple of handy apps.
- Trail Wallet – a budgeting app that lets you set your budget and track your spending by trip and by category. I could just note everything down, but having the app just makes it easier and more fun.
- Download offline areas on Google maps – not only do I need to think about the cash I am spending here in Italy, but also the money that is leaving my bank account back in the UK. It is very easy to get lost in Venice and Google maps can be sooo helpful when you are trying to find a museum before last entry, but have walked back and forth across the same canal several times. Save money on your data usage by downloading a map of Venice under ‘Offline Areas’ before you leave (or when you have a wifi connection).
If you are staying on the main island of Venice you will likely be able to walk most days and won’t need to spend money on the Vaporetto. However, you will need to buy and validate a ticket if you want to visit, Murano, Burano, Torcello or Lido. However, if you are trying to save money by choosing accommodation away from the main island of Venice, your best bet is to buy a travel pass that lasts for the duration of your stay. You can buy these online or at a ticket booth once you have arrived. If you are under the age of 29 you can purchase a Rolling Venice card, which will allow you to buy a three day travel pass for €22 instead of €40.
Food and Water
Instead of forking out one to two Euros every time you get thirsty, carry a bottle with you and fill up at the local water fountains.
Eating out can be expensive, so save your pennies for a couple of special meals and get the rest of your food from the supermarket. My holiday money saving favourite is to buy bread and salami and eat sandwiches for lunch, I also like carry fruit and nuts around with me. There’s a great little spot for eating your supermarket lunch at the foot of the Rialto bridge.
If you are going to eat out at a restaurant, be aware that a cover charge and service charge will be added to your bill. The cover charge is normally two to three Euros. The service charge is normally 12.5%, but I received one bill with a service charge of 20%.
I stayed at Generator Hostel on Guidecca Island, which is one vaporetto stop away from San Marco square. Generator is a great hostel chain, but I would highly recommend forking out extra money to stay in a smaller dorm. The 16 bed dorm with shared bathroom is not worth the money saving.
Museums and Attractions
Check out the museums and attractions you want to visit beforehand and calculate if you can save money by purchasing the Venezia Unica pass. I purchased the pass online and have to stay I regretted it. I spent a lot of my time in Venice trying to fit in more museum and church visits to try and get “value for money”, but a lot of the museums weren’t very impressive. Definitely only buy it if you are really keen on visiting the attractions it includes.