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Archive for the ‘Venice’ Category

Let’s Talk About Money

Posted by Heliocentrism on May 10, 2018

Tuesday, October 31st – November 1st, 2017

When we got to the train station at Venice, we checked google maps to see our options for getting to our accommodations. They were a 1 hour walk or a 15 minute boat ride. We looked to see the cost of the 15-minute boat ride. It was 8€ per person, so 16€ for the both of us. It only cost us 20€ (about 10€ each) to get to Venice from Bologna, a ride that took about 2 hours. We walked.

As we were walking, we saw a sign explaining the prices for gondola rides. It cost 80€ for a 1 hour ride which could be split between up to 6 people. The ride would cost 100€ if you wanted the gondolier to sing. I told Mark that we were probably the only tourists in Venice who would never set foot on any type of boat.

Mark and I aren’t rich people. We’re far from poor, but we aren’t rich. We don’t actually have a budget. But we do have a good sense of what we are willing to buy and how much we are willing to pay for it.

Even before this trip, we refused to pay for things that weren’t important to us. For example, we had pay-as-you-go phones. Neither Mark or I are phone people. I feel more comfortable communicating by text or email. But, because we had jobs, we needed phones. For the longest time we actually shared a phone, buying a second phone only when that became too inconvenient.

Our pre-paid phones were used mainly for people (our bosses) to call us. We would go months without putting money on the phone since incoming calls are free. We would only add minutes to our phones if we were planning to call several people for some reason. And, even then either Mark’s phone had minutes or mine did; never both.

On the other hand, we had the fastest internet we could find. To us the internet is very important. If the car needed a new widget for safety reasons, we would get the best widget. We’re not cheap, we just don’t like needlessly wasting money on things that we don’t care about.

Gummies are very important to me.

What we do on this trip depends on the balance of cost and convenience on one side and how important the thing is to us on the other. It was important for us to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so we went there. When we got there, there was a long line for the 18€ tickets to climb the steps to the top. Since we could see the tower for free, we stopped at that. The long line, the climb to the top, the high cost of tickets… none of that seemed worth it to us.

Many tourists might refuse to eat pizza at kebab shops in Italy. They might feel it’s not authentic enough. I don’t think that’s quite true. The pizza is authentic enough for the many Italians who eat there… Also, “authentic” restaurants that cater to travelers are a rip off. You can end up paying a lot in seating fees, service fees, and inflated prices for drinks and in the end your meal is not that much better than the food you get at a kebab shop.

Of course, Mark and I try out some of the nicer restaurants. But we do our research first. We find places without all the extra fees. Then we only eat in these types of places once in a while. We mostly try to cook at the apartment we’ve rented, buy from sandwich or kebab shops, or buy ready to eat meals from grocery stores. No, it’s not glamorous, but I do get tired of eating in restaurants and being taken advantaged of by people who prey on naive tourists.

We do a lot of walking. Sometimes, it’s because we want to save on transportation. But mostly, it’s an easy and cheap form of entertainment that helps you find things to make your trip better. That candy store a few photos above, we found it because we were walking to the basilica. The kebab shop (that had many types of interesting pizza toppings like pickled artichokes and brie) we found on a walk to a grocery store. We’ve found interesting parks, shops, restaurants, and museums all because we walked to a place instead of taking a bus. Also, it’s way easier to take photos on a walk than it is to get a bus driver to stop the bus and wait for you to snap some pictures.

We will stay almost anywhere so long as it is clean and convenient. I would rather stay in a nice clean hostel than a shabby hotel. (I prefer to rent an apartment, but that is only practical if we are in town for at least a week.) I know many people look down on sharing a room with strangers, but I don’t think it’s so bad. What I hate is staying in a dirty place with a moldy bathroom. Hosteling International usually have good accommodations. Mark and I try to stay at a hostel in the HI group whenever possible.

Most of what we save money on for this trip is long distance transportation. We mostly fly Ryan Air, Air Asia, and other discount airlines. It’s actually cheaper than taking a train or a bus. There are just a few rules to getting away with paying the least amount possible.

  1. Pack light.
    • Never have check-in luggage.
    • Make your carry-on as small as possible.
  2. Do the online self check-in.
    • Print out your own boarding pass or have it on your phone.
      • Each airport has its own rules. Some require you to have a printed pass others will allow you to just have it on your phone.
  3. Eat before your flight or bring your own food.
    • Buying food on the plane is expensive.
    • Some airlines like Air Asia say they do not allow you to bring your own food, but everyone does. I’ve never seen them do anything about it.
  4. Stop caring about where you sit.
    • Some discount airlines will seat you wherever and make you pay more to sit next to your friends or in a better seat.
    • Make yourself as comfortable as you can with snacks and movies on your phone and sit wherever they put you.
  5. Stop caring about when you fly
    • If you use google.com/flights/ you can look at the flight grid and pick the cheapest day to fly.
    • It might be cheaper to fly earlier in the day or on another day.
  6. Stop caring about where you fly
    • This one might be harder for people who aren’t traveling for a year.
    • Sometimes there are deals for certain destinations for reasons.


Italy

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land, water, or air.

Phone:

  • 113 – police
  • 115 – fire
  • 118 – first aid

Website:

Data:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • Many of the streets and walkways are paved in cobblestones making it harder to walk on with the wrong type of shoes.
  • Apparently, you can drink from any of the water fountains you see.
  • Watch out for pick-pockets.
  • Get your tickets ahead of time when going to see popular things.
  • You never know when you might what to check out a basilica. So, make sure to dress properly, or you won’t be let in.
    • Not shorts. Make sure that at least your knees are covered.
    • No sleeveless shirts.

Saint Mark’s Basilica

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 5 € – Basilica
  • 8 € – Bell Tower

Hours:

    • 9:30 – 17:00

Video

Notes:


Basilica dei Frari

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • 3 €

Hours:

  • Su 13.00 – 18.00
  • M – Sa 9.00 – 18.00

Video

Notes:


Don’t Miss:

Map:

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