For the best part of 2 weeks I have been ignoring all of the work I have to do for exams, and as Ricky Martin once said “Livin’ la Vida Loca”
This mostly involved taking a trip to southern France and around Italy with my course pal, trying to soak in some European culture and educate ourselves (it didn’t really work).
We managed to budget it relatively well for around £300 we visited: Nice, Monaco, Turin, Milan, Rome, Florence, Bologna and Naples. What a bargain, shows if you plan it well it can be done cheaply!
We mainly cut costs by using air B and B instead of hotels and trying not to eat out for every meal, as service charges and alcohol can easily turn a €10 meal into €25. Student discount is also quite good around Europe- with there being a hefty discount for anything considered educational (even animal gardens/ formula 1 museums), so we managed to cut corners there, even Monaco had concessions!
As we were in Italy and therefore eating enough carbs to feed 8 people, we decided to walk as much as we could, we averaged 18km a day so hopefully that went some of the way to burning them off! Plus walking is free leaving extra money for bevs later. Alcohol was expensive in restaurants, but we located Carrefour (Basically a European Tesco) in every place we stayed, and a 500mL bottle of Peroni there was around 90 cents (in restaurants it would have been at least €5). It was a lovely little holiday, and we did so much including: Visiting Pompeii, Colosseum, The Vatican City (we saw the Pope too), Formula 1 track, Monaco Palace, Trevi fountain and watched Inter Milan play at San Siro!
We only went to the Vatican for an hour and somehow managed to see the Pope- so we really lucked out on that front!
I would definitely recommend visiting Florence- it was by far my most favourite place, it’s beautiful and has so much to offer, even though it can be very expensive! If you look for somewhere a bit away from the centre, the cost falls quickly- and public transport in Europe seems to be 100x better than in England!
One thing we quickly learnt about public transport is the fact you have to buy your ticket in advance at off licences- you can’t pay on the bus, and you must validate your ticket as failing to do so will incur a hefty fine.
Italy has so much to offer, and is often overlooked in favour of popular backpacking places like Thailand, Bali etc. however if you’re looking for a quick, cheap holiday full of culture I would definitely recommend it! Trains in Europe are extremely fast and cheap, so it’s easy to go from the North to the South of Italy in one trip- so it’s definitely one to consider if you only have a week off!