How Much Does a Tour of Italy Cost?
Episode 2: Finding the Right Priced Italian Tour (not independent travel)
This is the great question for solos, couples and families as they are planning a trip to the beloved country of Italy. Let's cut to the quick chase and then expand on our findings a bit:
1. What type of tour do you want to experience?
Are you the type that doesn't care about your accommodation as long as it's safe and clean? Do you care if it's in the heart of the historic center or on the outskirts of town? Do you want sightseeing tours everyday or every other day or only in the mornings? Do you want private touring, small group touring, or traditional big group tours? How do you want to travel throughout the country? Are you okay with handling your own bags on trains and taxis? Do you want someone to carry your bags or have them transported separately?
2. What type of budget are you really after?
We all want great deals. No matter if we're traveling on a shoestring or if we're looking for 7-Star hotel properties (yeah, the only one I know of is in the Middle East), a savings on travel is always a nice thing to experience.
So here's a rough calculation based on average daily cost of organized SMALL GROUP (up to 20 travelers) tour itineraries with sights, land transportation included. This is not pricing for independent traveling.:
Budget/Econo: Meaning 3 Star hotels (still in the historic centers), but you manage your own bags (continental breakfast generally included). Transportation between cities is via train (or private car wherever absolutely necessary) and transfers to and from the train stations are paid by you by cash when needed. AND Sightseeing Tours are included in small group tours: $388 per person per night (notice we say "night" and not day — because the accommodation is where your cost comes from).
Mid-Range/Classic: This means 3 to 4 Star hotels located in the historic centers with the same inclusions as Budget/Econo except your bags are moved for the most part for you: $622 per person per night.
Higher-End/Deluxe: This means 4 to 5 Star hotels located in the historic centers with the same inclusions as Classic except your hotels feature grand lobbies on average, and large rooms with full breakfast included: $720 per person per night.
There are even more expensive hotels in Italy that would drive this price per day per person higher, but we'll stick with these for now.
Taking into consideration there are multiple variables that drive tour pricing, these 3 categories represent averages based on small group tours of no more than 20 travelers.
What about Independent or Self-Guided traveling in Italy?
There's no doubt you can save money by going it alone or 'mostly alone.' Your average Budget/Econo cost per night per person drops to around $75 but includes only accommodation and perhaps a free walking tour here or there if you're lucky. What you save in overall cost you may end up losing in valuable time searching for the entrance to that amazing Uffizi Gallery Tour, or the mile long line to get into the Vatican. There are ways around this and professional Trip Planners, like the ones at Now Journey, are available to help you. Mid-Range/Classic runs about $157 per night per person and Higher-end/Deluxe runs about $250 per night per person, give or take.
Italy is not an inexpensive country. Having worked in trip planning to Italy for several years I find myself anticipating hotels in other countries (and states) to cost around the same dollar point — but then I'm pleasantly surprised when that wonderful beach hotel in Hawaii is "only $350" per night. The point here is Italy can be done on the cheap (with sacrifices); it can be done mid-range where a traveler strategically collaborates with a professional trip planner or it can be done in higher-end to ultra luxury. It just depends on what you're looking for!
Above all, go to Italy. No matter how you travel through Italy, you will fall in love like we have with this amazing destination.