The Skinny on Italy
Students always love Italy as an Acceleration adventure. The weather is great, the food is amazing, the history and art are beyond compare. And it's super affordable on a Catalyst budget. Here are our hot takes on getting a full week in Italy for under $500. Our big-picture advice is to focus on 2 cities so you can dig in and learn your way around. Generations of Catalyst alumni have chosen Venice and Rome, so that's the trip we'll build here.
Transportation 1: Let's Get Flights Set First
Flights are always our biggest planning and budget issues. So let's get those locked in. first. Good news for our budgets, because the available flights are showing sweet pricing for the summer:
So what does this show? How about that a Catalyst student can fly from Paris to Venice to start Acceleration and then from Rome to Berlin to end the adventure for a total of $78. Note: these are real flights for our actual travel days this summer.
Transportation 2: Let's Get Trains and Busses Locked Next
Our other transportation needs are simple: how to get from Venice to Rome as our adventure unfolds. Train times and prices are usually not available to see online until about three months before you want to travel. But for this summer, at least some of the trains are already available. More good news for our budgets if we're willing make a slight edit and see the Italian countryside from a bus window. Why not at this price?
Just to be clear. You saw the price correctly: from Venice to Rome by bus will cost our Catalyst traveler $9.50. This give us a total cost of $88 for all transportation elements on this Italian Acceleration.
For housing, we recommend considering hostels and Air BnB's both. The usual rule-of-thumb is to do a hostel if you're staying somewhere for one or two nights or are arriving late in the evening at your destination. Otherwise we recommend Air BnB. Here's how things will option out for this Italian Voyage:
Venice for two nights in a hostel with a 9.2/10.0 rating looks like a great deal at $39 total
But just maybe you're traveling in a group and want to all stay together, plus have a kitchen and your own laundry? Does that sound like an upgrade worth paying double for? Plus have gorgeous view out over the legendary canals of Venice? If you split this Air BnB with a total of 5 travelers, your nightly rate will be $40 per night or $80 total for your Venice stay. If you feel like splurging, this might be the moment!
That brings us to Rome housing for 5 nights. Again the jump ball will be hostel or Air BnB. Let's see our options going the hostel route first. Here again let's assume we have a travel group of 5 people. Once more the budget gods are on our side, at least if $140 total per person for the 5 nights in central Rome sounds good?
And then to the Air BnB option. How about a group of 5 in this flat, with a kitchen and laundry and right by the Vatican? For a total of $138 per person? The price with Air BnB's extra fees for cleaning will go up about $40 a person, but still this is a great rate.
(And OK just for comparison, what do you think it costs to stay in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at a Days Inn for 5 people for 5 nights? Here's the answer:
So What's the Italian Acceleration Total Cost?
Our grand total for the less expensive housing options and our transport shown above is $266. You'll add another $200-$250 for food, museum fees and local transport and you'll have done what hundreds of Catalyst students did before you: a week in Italy for $500.