Tuesday, March 16

How to do Venice on a budget!

Last year, Craig and I went to Venice for two days just before we left London. It was an amazing experience and even more amazing is the fact that we did it with only 30 euros to spend between us! There were no glam gondola rides for us but there was plenty of gelato! If you ever fancy going on the cheap, this is how we did it.

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Book Smart
You can bag some super travel deals overseas! Lastminute.com always have great getaways although for Venice, I just picked a hotel that I found via Tripadvisor. I LOVE Tripadvisor. You can browse thousands of hotels and read real reviews with real photographs by real people. Brilliant.

Hotel
I can’t remember the hotel we stayed in except for the fact that it was salmon pink - the walls, the cupboards, everything! It was situated just outside of Venice so we commuted into the city daily by a 20-minute bus ride. It’s not quite the same as waking up to a view of Rialto Bridget but next time, eh!

Flight
Those lucky Europeans and their cheap airfares! We flew easyJet, who are like the British version of Mango. It’s way cheaper to fly during the week but you know that already;)

Go Off-Peak
We went in April when it’s warmer and cheaper. There were still loads of tourists so I can only imagine July must be crazy. Plus, I’ve heard the canals tend to pong a bit in the summer.

Take an umbrella and a raincoat
It rained solidly on our first day in Venice so even though I looked a bit naff, I was glad I’d bought my trusty raincoat and brolley. (Still, not as naff as wearing a bright yellow poncho around Eurodisney but that's another story) The following day was wonderfully warm, however.

Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously.
Just a reminder that there are no cars in Venice so a-walking you will go. After your first lap round the city, you’ll be super chuffed you packed your flats! Chances of falling into a canal are greatly increased when heels meet cobblestone.

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Eat and drink off the beaten path
This is a toughie because you’ll want to check out the touristy spots but if you can, amble through the alleyways and nip into a local bar where the food and drinks are cheaper than say, oh, the cafĂ© next to St Mark’s Square. To be honest, we lived on pizza slices, gelato and croissants that we’d stuffed in our pockets from the breakfast buffet. Tacky but thrifty!

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Get your map but then get lost
I mean that in the nicest way, of course. Before you go, get yourself a map and circle the landmarks. You’ll probably want to spend the first day checking out sights like St Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge but once you’ve ticked those off, don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten path. You’ll have a wonderful time crossing canals, passing locals on bicycles and exploring abandoned courtyards. The city is small and you'll find your way back to the thoroughfare, I promise.

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Brace yourself for the touristy stuff
As picturesque as Venice is, the city exists primarily for tourists these days. There were more Venetian masks and Murano glass than I ever imagined!

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Don’t sit in St Mark’s Square! (Take it from the plonker who did)
I didn’t see the signs and I never read the guidebook but apparently you do NOT sit in St Mark’s Square. Stand by all means but do not sit. We spent a leisurely ten minutes basking in the sun before the Italian police gave us a good telling off. Foreign faux pas, just one of the joys of traveling, eh!

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What does stuff cost?
Well, Venice caters for celebrity weddings as well as couples with only 30 euros between them. A 15-minute gondola ride costs about 60 euros. That’s nearly R700! Puts things in perspective a bit. If you can spare the dosh, try find a gondolier who’ll steer you down quieter canals unless you want your picture taken by 500 tourists leering over you from the bridge above. A cappuccino on the main walkway will set you back about seven euros. Resist it! Find a quaint little bistro off the beaten path instead. I can’t even tell you what beers and a meal will cost you because we didn’t have any, haha! We stretched our cash by eating 2-euro pizza slices washed down with bottled water. So chic!

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What’s it really like?
AMAZING! I felt like I’d stepped into a James Bond movie. I wanted to cry I was so happy! We saw women banging rugs out of blue shuttered windows, local kids kicking around a soccer ball, handsome gondoliers in stripy tops and glistening Jean Paul Gaultier window displays. The local supermarket is stocked to the brim with pasta and canned tomatoes and bands play big, brassy notes outside restaurants. We didn’t ride in water taxis or eat spaghetti by moonlight but it still felt like we’d escaped into a postcard for two magical days. Everyone is so happy in Venice and if you don’t mind the crowds, you will have a fantastic time!

If you've been to Venice, I'd love to hear about YOUR experience! Please feel free to tell me in a comment below. Or if you're planning a trip and there's anything you'd like to know about what to pack or whatever, ask away;)

11 comments:

Amanda said...

Luffly! Oh & you look super cute in your raincoat :)

Lauren said...

Thanks Mands;) Good old Woolies raincoat it is.

Chelsea Nicole. said...

you look adorable, and i visited venice for a few days on a senior class trip and i totally agree with the 'using a map, but then get lost!' idea. i found so many beautiful little shops,restaurants, and old buildings that way.

xxoo

JoJo said...

30 Euros between you?? thats amazing!
you're making me get the travel itch again! (is that even a term, 'travel itch'??)
gorgeous photos!

dinkum design said...

The stuff memories are made of.

Lauren said...

Hey Chelsea. Ah, that's wonderful that your school did such a cool trip! Yup JoJo, 30 Euros, sounds ridiculous hey, haha. That didn't include the flight or hotel of course but yeah 30 euros for two days for two is probably like two people splitting R100 in SA for 2 days. Madness. x

Being Brazen said...

I sooooooooo want to go to Venice! I must go one day before it is under water

Retro Chick said...

Oooh, excellent tips!

I've never been to Venice, it's on my list, but I have done Paris on a budget!

Tanya said...

Loved your Venice blog! Great advice for doing the trip on a budget. Very cute ;)

Windsoul said...

Yeey I feel like going right now,and you know what? I think I will go.
Tnx. Love :)

Lauren said...

My pleasure, thanks so much for your lovely words ladies. I hope you all get to go and have a wonderful time. x