Budget travel in Rome: 6+ ways to save money

Is budget travel in Rome even possible? Heck yes! We have more than six ways for you to save money.

Here are several famous tourist sites where we stretched our money on a budget travel adventure in Rome.

  1. The Vatican Museums
  2. The Pope’s General Audience at St. Peter’s Square
  3. The Colosseum
  4. Best Picnic spot in Rome
  5. If you only see two churches…
  6. Bonus: more ways to stretch your money in Rome

Vatican Museums

We have three tips to get the most out of your time and money on this “must-see” site.

  • Buy tickets from the official source
  • Go with the self-guided audio tour
  • Schedule an early entry time to ‘skip the line’.

Buy tickets from the official source

Don’t buy your tickets from the guy on the street corner wearing a badge that reads “Official Tour Guide.” He tacks on his finder’s fee. The Vatican does not have ‘guides’ in the street.

Also, tour companies found in storefronts tack on their fees. You will pay more if you buy from anyone other than the official Vatican site.

Don’t buy tickets for a large tour group. You will be herded through the museums on a time limit.

I saw large tour groups rushed through the Sistine Chapel in 10 or 15 minutes, while I got to stand there marveling at the masterpiece for nearly 90 minutes.

Because we were not rushed, we also had the opportunity to pray with a priest from Nigeria who announced the offer at the top of the hour.

Think about that a second. You’re probably planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip of budget travel in Rome. Do you really want to be rushed by one of the greatest works of art — ever?

The official website to book your visit is here.

Go with the self-guided audio tour

We bought the self-guided audio tour through the Vatican’s site, and it was so worth it the few extra dollars for the audio explanations. We paid $36 each.

The ticket price included the ‘skip the line’ privilege.

Schedule an early entry time to ‘skip the line’

If you want to get through all of the Vatican Museums, go as early as you possibly can. Our entry was for 10:00 a.m. (spouse is not a morning person) and I feel like we rushed through some rooms to see all the art. We did not have time to wander the gardens.

Extra tip for self-guided audio tours booked with the Vatican: Go to the designated reservation line at your entry time. Exchange your reservation for tickets on the first floor. Go up the stairs to get your audio tour gear on the second floor. This path was not clearly marked and the first floor was loaded with large tour groups.

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Smart, Clever point of view for visiting a somehow complicated city like Rome. I wonder if, as happened some years ago, entrance to the Musei Vaticani is free on Wednesday afternoons

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