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Culinary student travelling in Florence, Italy

Travel Forums Europe Culinary student travelling in Florence, Italy

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1. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted here because it's been quite some time since my last visit outside the country. For 2 1/2 months in Florence, I have a little over $2,000 American dollars to get by. While I'm there I don't have to pay for rent, but food and travel is all on me. I'm not really interested in anything touristy, nor am I much of a shopper, but I am interested in taking some trips outside the country with other students.

Are there any student discount cards for train travel that I should be aware of, or anything in general? I'm from Chicago, which is probably a lot different than Florence. The only other time I've been out of the country was 3 weeks in a pueblo in central Mexico.

Any information would help guys!

2. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If all food and travel is on you, then the money you speak of won't last unless travel is a bus to go three stops and you're cooking every day at home. Italy is not a cheap country anymore, regardless of where you are. You are going to need a lot more than $2000 for 75 days while entertaining others on food and trips.
Sorry to sound so negative, but it would be unfair to say you'd be just fine on this sort of budget when it's obvious you won't be. If the money was all for you then it would just about be OK.

3. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

The money is all for me - who said I was going to be entertaining others? I have $2,000 to spend on my own food and travel in Italy, no one else's. By travel with friends, I meant for example take a train to Spain for a day and walk around and explore, nothing else.

4. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

First off: please quote local currency, no USD. Saves us having to make conversions you can make yourself.

I did the maths for you, and you're looking at a budget of some €18/day. For everything except accom, that is awfully tight. It's possible if you stay in Florence all the time, but definitely not to go travel, in which case you'd need to budget for transport, sights and hostels or smt similar.

You need a budget of approx €75/day for Italy, including everything. For days spent in Florence, count on €25 to live comfortably (but excluding sights, museums, etc), €10 as rock bottom (when cooking yourself and shopping in cheap super markets).

Re Spain: did you bother at all to look at a map?? Spain's on the other side of the continent. Trains don't come cheap.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Sep-2009, at 14:46 by bentivogli ]

5. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I know you guys are just being helpful, but these resposes are awful snarky for someone just asking what I guess is a stupid question. I mean, it's not my fault I'm poor - I worked 55 hours a week for 2 1/2 months in addition to going to school and commuting to make this money to go on a dream trip, so it's not like I'm going to be doing anything rash. Though I suppose it is my fault that I'm ignorant.

Considering I'm a culinary student, cooking at home won't be that much of a problem and I already shop at super cheap stores.

Looks like it won't be easy to get by, no one's doubting that. But that challenge is all part of the fun for me.

Anyway, the point of my message was if anyone knew of any student cards or anything that I could use to get discounts on trains.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Sep-2009, at 20:22 by Tanianol ]

6. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Tanianol

Anyway, the point of my message was if anyone knew of any student cards or anything that I could use to get discounts on trains.

You can get an International Student Identification Card or ISIC. However, from the sound of things, you are already in Italy, so I don't know where you would go to get one. Maybe try asking some travel agents? In the States, you can get them at STA Travel, but you aren't in the States, so that doesn't help you . . . ISICs get you discounts on admissions, some hostels, and some trains. Not a lot of trains, though, I have been told. But some is better than none, right?

It might also be beneficial to get a Hostelling International membership (HI). This is something else you would have needed to buy at home. However, there is a way of getting one in Europe. Everytime you stay at an HI hostel, you get a stamp on a card, and pay the extra amount (a few Euros) for the bed. As soon as you accumulate enough stamps to fill the card, you are officially a member and are entitled to membership discounts at their hostels.

As far as your budget is concerned, it really is really low. Honestly. And I'm not trying to be a downer, but that is the reality. If you still want to travel, it would be best to stick to Eastern European countries and take buses instead of trains (some of them don't even have trains, anyway). That will save you some money. If you could scrounge up a tent, sleeping bag/pad, and a gas stove from one of your friends/classmates, you can easily camp instead of staying in hostels. Campgrounds abound in Europe, and many are near cities. In some countries, camping 'wild' is also permitted, provided you don't leave a trace behind you. FYI, hitchhiking is not recommended, especially for females.

Well, I hope this helps. Good luck on your travels. BTW, when are you going? You might not want to camp in the winter. . . .


7. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


Thanks for your response. I'm sorry, I didn't describe my situation very well. Actually I'm not in Italy yet, I'm going in two weeks. I'm going for study abroad, and therefore most of my Monday through Friday will be spent either in class or working in a restaurant. For the first half, I'm going to be going to class, and the 2nd half will be spent working (unpaid, unfortunately).

Since I have weekends off, that's when I'd like to do any sort of out of the country travelling I can. I have a multiple-entry Visa so that I could do that. I speak Spanish but have never been to Spain, so more than anything I'd love to visit there. One of the guy-friends I'm travelling with has connections in Spain, so if I went with him lodging would probably be taken care of.

I'd be going in late September and coming back early December. I know $2,000 is a low budget, but there are lawyers and doctors in my family somewhere, so if I was really in a bad spot, I could probably grovel for some money (preferably not, though).

I think the ISIC is the one I have heard of, though some students who went previously said it didn't help them out too much. I guess I won't be able to travel as much as I had wished, but I'm sure it will be a great trip regardless.

8. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hey Tanianol,

Where in Spain exactly would you be staying? It is worth it to find this out because it might be possible to still swing a trip. . .. One trip, and not for very long. But a trip. The more south you go in Spain, the cheaper it gets. So if your friend is in the southern part of Spain, you might be able to afford to go. It is good that accomodations would be taken care of.

What I would do is fly. There are scads of low cost airlines in Europe and flying can be really cheap, provided that you only bring carry-on luggage and are willing to forgo the usual 'extras' associated with flying. Low cost means no frills. EasyJet, RyanAir, flybe, BMI baby, eurofly, jet2, skyeurope, and wizz air are just a few of them. If you check around, you can proabably find one flying from Florence to Madrid or Barcelona (aim for Madrid).

The bus in Spain is reletively cheap, too, for a Western European country. It's slower, but patience becomes a virtue when you're strapped for cash.

Forget the train. The train is way too expensive for your budget. And you don't have a Eurrail Pass and getting one would blow most of your budget so forget about it. Anyway, the night train from Italy to Spain is a nightmare: bands of thieves leaking sleeping gas into cabins and stealing people's valuables as they snore away, unawares . . . Not worth it. Plus, it takes a lot longer than flying.

A few years ago some friends of mine and I went to the south of Spain over Christmas break while we were in college. We stayed in an off-season resort for $15 CAD (9.50 EUR) per night. We ate out of the local supermarket and my food budget for the week came to $15 CAD! That included Christmas dinner, which wasn't the whole turkey-stuffing-mashed-potatos-affair but spaghetti and tomato sauce, which was still nice. It was about 15 degrees Celsius then- still warm enough to go to the beach (which we pretty much had to ourselves), but maybe not warm enough to get a tan. . . .

My point is that if you travel in the off-season, then things can be much less expensive, maybe even by 50% in some cases. So be wise about when you go and where you go and how you get there. However, if your friends, or your friends' friends, live in a major city like Barcelona, then things won't be as cheap. The benefit of travelling with friends, though, is that, depending on them, you can sometimes share expenses. It would be a shame to have to beg your family or connections for money, so make sure that it is feasable before you leave. There is nothing worse than being stranded in a strange place in a country that isn't your home.

The other alternative is to explore the country you will be in: Italy. Why not? Italy has a lot to offer and is considered to be one of the less expensive places to travel in Western Europe. There is a lot to see. Well, those are my suggestions.

Good luck.

Steph ;)