An American Family in Europe (Part 4) A Tiff Guest Post

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With our flights and hotels already paid for, my next goal was not to break the bank once we actually arrived.  Meals, tours, and local transportation wasn’t included in our first four days and I wanted to keep our spending conservative (while still seeing and doing what we wanted to do).

First, we planned on getting bus tickets from the airport to the main train/bus/metro station in Rome (Termini).  This cost us 12 Euros ($16) for two tickets since we had the kids on our laps and didn’t have to buy seats for them (with older/bigger children you’ll have to buy them a seat).  Once there we purchased two 3-day metro/bus passes for us (kids under 10 are free) for 33 Euros ($43).   It was a bit of a fiasco getting to the hotel since we didn’t take the best route (we figured it out the next day), but finally, we got to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza at St Peter’s (but not really, there’s bus transportation that takes you to St Peter’s).

The hotel was really good, especially by Rome standards.  We were able to connect all our reservations so we didn’t have to constantly check in and out of the hotel, and since we were platinum status we were able to request an upgrade which I think was the balcony in our room (everything else was what our room was supposed to have).  We had two queen-size beds, the balcony, free wireless internet, and a full bathroom with a bathtub/shower!

We opted to do the metro/bus pass for three days, then a one-day pass, then a one-time pass.  We figured out later that cost came to the same as a one-week pass ($31 each), but since we weren’t sure how well public transportation was going to work out for us it was not a catastrophic decision since the cost was the same and it only took a little extra time to buy the extra passes later.

The hotel had a scheduled bus that took people to St Peter’s Square and back for 1 Euro each, but the local bus stop that went to St Peter’s as well as near other metro stops was right outside the hotel so that made more sense for us.

IMG_0023Since we didn’t get to the hotel and settled until the mid-afternoon, we opted to go to the Spanish Steps first and try to meet up for one of Rome’s local free tours (New Rome Free Tour).  We did some of these with a different company in Berlin and we really enjoyed them.  Traditionally you tip after these tours, how much depending on how good the tour was.  We ended up paying 40 Euros ($52) and also received some great restaurant tips.  So many that no matter where we were at the end of the day we ended up going back to that area of town every night for dinner since we had more restaurant options.  Dinner that night cost us about 50 Euros ($65).  We also found a local grocery store and bought some fruit, yogurt and juice for the kids for breakfast as well as some local wine to take back to our hotel (20 Euros or $26).  We bought a souvenir wine bottle opener then got back to our room and realized that the hotel had already provided one.

Day 2 we went to the Coliseum and Forum, the thing that made us mad was they charged us full price for the kids since we weren’t a part of the EU, 48 Euros total ($62, grrr).  Food cost for the day came in around 60 Euros ($78).  The next day we fared better with the Vatican Museum (kids were free, only 30 Euros for us ($39), food total 65 Euros ($85).   Our last full day we went mostly to cathedrals which are free to get into, we spent about 10 Euros ($13) on little books and souvenirs then again, about 65 Euros for food for the day ($85).  In Rome, there’s usually an additional tax per person at the hotel that you pay when you leave.  This cost us 24 Euros ($31).  With that, assuming an additional $36 of incidental costs I may have forgotten we’re up to $650 in four days.  Eek.


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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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  1. Pingback: An American Family in Europe (Conclusion)

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