Italy 2016: Pre-trip

I came back from Italy a few days ago and boy was it fun. I asked on Instagram if you'd like me to blog about the trip and a few as...

I came back from Italy a few days ago and boy was it fun. I asked on Instagram if you'd like me to blog about the trip and a few asked for it. Maybe because I said something along the lines of us spending only SGD1k. 

We spent a little bit more than SGD1k but nothing more than SGD1.5k. So how did two unemployed girls travel around Italy with only SGD1.5k per person? It all starts with the pre trip. 

Disclaimer: Before I start my travel diary, please take note that I am in no way showing off. Heck, I haven't even travelled the world enough. But I always believe that it is not where you go but the experiences you gained. So here goes!

p.s. All prices included in this post is per person

1. Flight

If you haven't heard of Skyscanner, where have you been all these while? Even while I was still working, I would browse Skyscanner during my free period. It gets very addictive, trust me. One day, eL and I decided that we wanted to have a short break somewhere. We brainstormed many different places. We weren't thinking of somewhere far. Our choices were Perth, Vietnam and Pulau Perhentian including some of our past destinations like Bangkok and KL. 

So we keyed in 'To Everywhere' on Skyscanner and a list of places came up with the expected date of travel. Shockingly, Milan came on top. Meaning, Milan was one of the cheapest flights in June. 

You won't even guess how much Milan costs. 

It was SGD493 including taxes on Oman Air. Win! That is already half the battle won.

We contemplated a lot whether we should go since we didn't plan on anywhere too far. Europe was definitely not on our list. Definitely not in summer. Definitely not during Ramadhan! But we figured, we can't miss such a good deal. You may never get that price ever again. SGD500 to Europe is crazy cheap. 

So we took the plunge. We booked our tickets. It was a crazy and spontaneous decision that we couldn't believe we made. It was at midnight when we both video called each other and screamed in excitement. We only had a week to plan our itinerary. It was that random.

We went for 9D8N. Till today, we wish we had spent more days there. But any longer it's Eid.

It wasn't until our trip that we realised we got the deal because Oman Air was having a Ramadhan Special. Thank God for Ramadhan!

Our flight includes a connecting flight.

SG to Milan via Oman Air
SGD493 including taxes

2. Route

It took us a while before we decided on our final route. We had initially wanted to fly to Paris for a few days but decided against it because of the flood. We had also wanted to catch the Euro16 in action but figured we can put the money to something better.

We had to decide which village we wanted to go to in Cinque Terre and ended up with Riomaggiore. Thankfully it was Riomaggiore. You'll read why in my CT post.

So after much deliberation, we decided to go with-
Milan - Rome - Florence/Pisa - Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore) - Milan

3. Accommodation

We opted for Airbnb instead of staying in a hotel. We chose to stay in an apartment to save cost and to be able to cook our own meals. We wanted to experience living like the locals. We made friends with our hosts, with our Florence host being all mummy with us. Our last night in Milan, we decided to sleep in a hotel.

Find an accommodation near the metro station or bus stops to save time, energy and money! We had the luxury of the metro station and bus stops less than 5 minutes from our apartments. 

Rome : SGD64(2 nights)
Florence : SGD132(3 nights)
Cinque Terre : SGD71.10(1 night)
Milan : SGD69.06(1 night)

Total : SGD216

4. Transportation

We avoided taking cabs at all costs. Cab fares in Europe is crazy. Most of the time, we travelled by taking the Metro and the bus which is super convenient by the way. So much so that we memorised the stations in Rome by the end of our Rome leg. 

If there is one thing we learnt from this trip is-
The normalcy of transportation strikes in Italy. 

It is so common especially during any public holidays that they have a schedule for it online. The strikes can last up to a few hours usually ending after 24 hours. It can be very annoying for travellers especially if you have plans scheduled and you weren't aware of it. Like us. We were stranded in the Florence Train Station for hours before we could pick ourselves up and made an alternative route to Cinque Terre. 

We did cab, twice. However that was due to certain circumstances that I'll blab about in the next few posts.

Below are the transportation costs not inclusive of the metro and bus rides. These are prices for the major travels.

Milan Airport to Milano Nord Cadorna
Malpensa Express : appx SGD18

Milan to Rome
Megabus via appx SGD20

Rome to Florence
Italo via raileurope : SGD26

Florence to Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore)
Trenitalia via GoEuro : appx SGD26

Riomaggiore to Milan
Trenitalia via GoEuro : appx SGD21

Total: SGD111

5. Meals

Many have asked how is it like to be in Europe in Summer and during Ramadhan. The challenge is real. Especially when we were in Florence. The heatwave there was beyond. But the positive side to it is that we save so much on meals. We brought our own canned foods in case we couldn't find anything to eat. Safe to say, almost all the canned foods are still in our bag by the end of the trip.

Halal foods are aplenty. Seafood restaurants are everywhere.

6. Unlimited Data

You may want to skip this but unlimited data is a god sent. Which is why I can upload pictures almost every minute. Other than updating my social medias, unlimited data is so convenient for moving from one place to another. 

We relied on Google map for everything. We used Google map to go everywhere. The pocket wifi can connect up to ten devices and can be used for six hours continuously. Needless to say, we were quite dependent on it. 

The ordering, pick up and returning of the pocket wifi is really convenient. Check out if you are travelling to Italy.

Pocket Wifi : appx SGD45

7. Bags

I still don't know if we made the right decision of bringing backpacks because it gave me sore shoulders after every carry. However, if you're going to travel often, meaning if you are going to jump from one city to another, a backpack may be the safest bet. It came in handy definitely on our trip to Cinque Terre. I can't imagine lugging around a huge luggage up and down the steps. 

Although by the time I reach the Riomaggiore Train Station, my legs wanted to give way. 


Amount converted for trip: SGD500
Total amount spent for trip: SGD1365

p.s. We still had cash left from the amount that we converted. So we actually spent less than SGD500 per person in 9 days. Also we didn't do any luxury shopping so that helps!

I hope these helps! Enjoy your holiday if you're travelling anywhere soon!

I'll share my experiences in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and Milan in the next few posts! 



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