Whether you are in Rome for a short weekend or for a longer city trip, there is never enough time to see everything you want to see, so here are some tips that may help you save time navigating the city. There are also some recommendations that may help you save money in Rome.
Top 7 Rome Tips for Saving Money in Rome
Rome Tip 1: Think before you Buy the Roma Pass
The Roma Pass sounds like a good way to save money in the Eternal City (3 days of public transportation in Rome, 2 museums for free and discounts on other attractions and special events), but when your vacation in Rome lasts only 3 days you might actually lose money, especially since the price of the pass has gone up to 30 Euros. (The same story holds up for the Omnia Card and the Rome City Pass.)
Rome Tip 2: Buy the Colosseum ticket at the Palatine Hill.
If there is a reason for the fact that at the Colosseum it is not clearly indicated that the ticket is actually a three-in-one for the Colosseum itself, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, we haven’t found it yet. You can make good use of this though, by buying your ticket at the Palatine Hill, where the lines are shortest, and then walk straight to, and through, the turnstiles at the Colosseum while smugly waving at the people who have been queuing for hours.
Rome Tip 3: Book the Vatican Museums Online
Speaking of queues, the ones at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are the longest ones in Rome, so it is highly recommended to book these attractions online. Do not use a commercial website for this, but avail yourself of the official website of the Vatican itself. This will cost you 4 Euros per person extra, but might save you a two hour wait. So ask yourself if you would accept a job that would pay 2 Euros per hour. (The advice your Rome guidebook gives you, to go early in order to avoid the queues, is followed by many people and causes early queues.)
Rome Tip 4: Taxi drivers at the airports cannot be trusted.
This is of course not always true. Many taxi drivers at the airports of Ciampino and Fiumicino cannot be trusted. Unfortunately those are the ones that you will meet first. Remember that the fixed rate of a taxi ride from Ciampino to the center of Rome is 32 Euros. Remember that the fixed rate of a taxi ride from Fiumicino to the center of Rome is 50 Euros. Remember that these rates apply regardless of the time of day, the day of the year, holiday or not, and however many passengers you are. Now if you still allow yourself to be bluffed out of your money, you can only blame yourself!
Rome Tip 5: Rome water is drinkable
More than two thousand years ago the Romans invented the aqueducts, and you really think you need to buy bottled water? The water in Rome, whether from the tap in your Rome hotel or from the little fountain in the street outside your bed and breakfast, is drinkable. Therefore, buy one bottle of water, one only, and keep filling it up whenever you pass one of these “longnoses” as the Romans call them. Buy that bottle at a supermarket instead of at one of the overpriced stalls near the tourist attractions.
Rome Tip 6: The “Gladiators” at the Colosseum want money for pictures taken.
Really? I guess nobody works for free, but to pay 20 Euros or sometimes even more for a picture of a guy with a wooden sword, a picture taken with your own camera, is a bit excessive. Moreover, the thugs dressing up like gladiators tend to become rather unfriendly and even threatening when they don’t get what they want, so it is best to avoid them like the plague.
Rome Tip 7: Make photo-copies of your passports and credit cards.
And mail them to yourself before you set out on your holiday. The reason for this is simple. In case you get pick-pocketed, a not uncommon experience in Rome as most people know, you will be able to block your cards quicker (it is a good idea to also make sure to have the necessary phone numbers handy) and to get a new passport without the people at the Embassy having to first find out who you actually are. What to do in case of theft!