Rome has always been at the very top of our bucket list. My husband and I decided to treat ourselves in the New Year with a romantic break to Rome. My brother had visited Rome last year with his partner and was able to give us some valuable tips on how to get the most for our money.
It seems that January is the cheapest time of year to visit Rome. The price of flights and accommodation shoots up by at least a couple of hundred pounds at any other time of the year. I was also told that the weather is fairly warm in Rome in January and the city is relatively quiet in comparison to other times of the year. We also learnt that Tuesday was the cheapest time of the week to fly.
Package Deals vs Flights and Accommodation Separately
I quickly discovered it was significantly cheaper to book a city break which included both flights and accommodation in one package. This surprised me, I had always believed that booking these separately meant bigger savings. But booking our flights separately would have doubled the cost of the trip!
Online Travel Agents
As per usual, I did a tonne of internet research before I even contemplated booking the trip, using sites such Lastminute.com as a price guide. I was extremely surprised to find we could book a 2 night, 3 day stay in Rome, for 2, in a 4-star hotel with breakfast (including flights) for under £300! I couldn’t believe we could visit Rome with such a small budget!
Similar deals could be found on other sites such as Expedia.co.uk
Although I had found some fabulous deals online, I wanted to check the prices with a few travel agents. The prices online were amazing, however, I wanted to make sure I was getting the most for my money! I tried a few different travel agents, but in the end, we booked with Thomas Cook. I came prepared! After researching online, I had discovered the cheapest date in January to fly to Rome as well as the sort of accommodation I wanted. My requests were simple; we wanted a four-star hotel, in the centre of Rome. The only flight leaving Manchester on that date to Rome was a Ryan Air flight (so I was well aware of the flight times before I entered the store).
To my astonishment, after researching the trip online, I discovered that Ryan Air charges for all sorts of extras. In the end, the cost of these extras was almost higher than the cost of our actual flight! Ryan Air charged us a staggering £80 for one 20kg suitcase (return) and £4 per person to ensure we were seated together on the plane. We also had to arrange for transport from the airport to the hotel and visa versa. Booking with the travel agent, this would have added another £130.00 to our trip! Luckily, I was well prepared for this too! Taxis to and from the airport are significantly cheaper than booking transport through the travel agent, The average cost of a taxi to Rome city centre from Ciampino airport is 30 euros – for more information, see this handy guide to taxi fares in Rome.
There is also a ‘Rome City Tax’ charged by the hotel in Rome. Prices vary, however as a guide, we will pay 24 euros for our stay. For more information on the City tax in Rome, and the tax in other parts of Italy, see this useful guide.
Our Total Cost
So, by spending some time shopping around, we found it was slightly cheaper to book our Rome City break with a travel agent. Our total costs for 2 people, in a 4-star hotel, including breakfast in central Rome are:
So if you’re looking to book a city break, here are my tips:
- Do your research online first to check for prices.
- Check prices with your local travel agent, it’s not always cheaper to book online.
- Finally, be prepared for added extras, such as transport costs, city tax, and baggage charges.