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cheapest way to travel

by weijers1 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 6:16 AM

I will be staying in Rome for 6 nights in early June with my husband and 2 teenagers. I want to go to Pompeii one day and maybe Florence another day. It looks like the train, ecspecially the fast train I need, would be very expensive. Am I better off to rent a car? Are there better options I am missing?

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19 Answers
  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    I'm sorry can't help you with car hire as we took the trains last year for our 8 days in Italy. But 2 things to consider.

    1. Did you go to trenitalia.com?  If so did you notice the Super Economy fares?  We took the high speed train from Rome to Florence last year at a cost of 19 Euros each.  I just did a quick search for a day in early June and see that is still the one way fare between Rome and Florence.  
    2. You might be able to find a limo type service that could take your family of 4 back and forth.  I don't know what the cost would be but that certainly could be an option.
    3. Buses might be your best option.  Again, I personally don't have any experience, but I'm sure you will soon get some answers and possibly pricing on this option.

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  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by ATXtraveler Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    If you have four total people and you feel confident as a driver, I would recommend hiring a rental for the days you want to go. A day trip with 4 round trip is much more cost effective on a rental, not to mention your time tables... just get the insurance!

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    Sorry I had 3 things for you to consider. The other thing you want to think about if your hire (rent) a car. If you are from the U.S. (I am) you will find the price of gas at least double our current U.S. rates. Your car there will get better gas mileage. Also the cost of parking your car needs to be considered. Again, I don't know specifics about these but I'm sure others will give you more details.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    I was just curious, so here is a link to parking in Florence.

    visitflorence.com/florence-m...

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  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by lynnehamman Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    I think that if you can get the Super Economy train fare its best option
    The drive from Rome to Florence (and back) is not a short one, especially for a day trip.

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  • markschaaf's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by markschaaf Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    If you are considering renting a car but don't have an international drivers license you should get one because many places might not rent you a car. If you are in the US you can get one from the local AAA for about 10 dollars and I think it is good for a year.

    Even if you don't use it it is better to have it and not use it then to go there and try and rent a car and can't. Other then that the main thing to look at is all the local traffic limitations because Florence has a few areas where only local traffic is allowed and have camera's to catch you and you could get a bill in the mail months after being home for the fine.

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  • giuguar's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by giuguar Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Driving in south of italy can be, not necessarily, kind of caothic mess, unless you're italian you probably don't want to experience that, if you go to naples or surrounding get ready to swap your mind and when in front of a traffic light go with red and pay attention with green;-)

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    The comments about the train being a lot faster than a car are true. This is because (1) the high speed train has no stops between Rome and Florence, and (2), the train is going 250-300 kph, which is far faster than you can legally drive. Thus, the car trip one way is over 3 hours, while the train trip is about an hour and a half each way.

    Furthermore, the train takes you to the city center (5-10 minutes' walk to the Duomo) while as Mark and Rich say, you'll have to park your car outside the city center to avoid the limited traffic zones (and pedestrian zones as well, of which Florence has a lot).

    Now, as for the train, there are a number of discount fares that may apply to you. Please see trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.j... for the list in English.

    You will want to see the Economy and Super Economy fares (which do sell out early), the A/R (roundtrip same day), and the 2 for 1 fare (every Saturday until June 8th, but could be repeated). I don't think the Family fare applies because you have to have at least one kid under 12.

    Don't knock the A/R fare of 69 euro. Remember that the lowest Supereconomy fare is 19 euro - one way. The 69 euro A/R fare is round trip, so 34.50 euro each way...well, the Supereconomy fare will sell out quickly, and the next level up is probably 29 euro one way, so if you miss that as well, the A/R fare isn't so far off.

    Bill

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  • Re: cheapest way to travel

    by weijers1 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Thank you! All of these answers are very helpful! I really want to take the train to save time and did not know about the economy tickets. Do you know how far in advance I can buy these tickets?

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    weijers1 wrote:
    Thank you! All of these answers are very helpful! I really want to take the train to save time and did not know about the economy tickets. Do you know how far in advance I can buy these tickets?

    Go to the trenitalia website right now and check out to see if the dates you want to travel are available.  I did check for one day in June and they were available.  Be sure of your travel date and time you want to travel.  You will get assigned seats on one of the train coaches.  Let us know if you need some help.  I got a lot of help from other VT members on trenitalia last year before our trip.   

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by mccalpin Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    First, I encourage you to read the second, third, and fourth tips at
    Italy Transportation Tips by mccalpin
    because they explain a lot about the fares, the trains, the tickets, etc.

    Generally, if you buy a discount ticket, you are committed to that date and time. You can change it once before the train departs (and up to an hour afterwards, as I recall), but you will be liable for any difference in fare. Since the discount fares will be gone by that point, you'll have to pay the rest of the Base (normal, full) fare. So this is just a matter of risk...if you are pretty sure you know what date and time you're going, at least you know that if things change once you get there, that you won't lose the amount you already paid, unless you don't take a train at all.

    Note that the fares can vary based on the day and time of day...the fares on the earliest trains (like 6 a.m.) will likely be cheaper than the rest of the day. While you may think that this is crazy, remember that you are doing a day trip, and need as much time onsite as possible...So if you don't like a fare for a certain day, look at earlier times. Also note that if there are InterCity trains on the same route (I don't remember), they will be cheaper and somewhat slower than the Freccia* trains, while still much faster than the regional trains. InterCity trains are also "premium" trains, so they have a reservation-only policy as well, and have the same discount classes as the Freccia* trains.

    Anyway, read those tips above and see what questions you have then...

    Bill

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    mccalpin wrote:
    First, I encourage you to read the second, third, and fourth tips at Italy Transportation Tips by mccalpin because they explain a lot about the fares, the trains, the tickets, etc.

    Generally, if you buy a discount ticket, you are committed to that date and time. You can change it once before the train departs (and up to an hour afterwards, as I recall), but you will be liable for any difference in fare. Since the discount fares will be gone by that point, you'll have to pay the rest of the Base (normal, full) fare. So this is just a matter of risk...if you are pretty sure you know what date and time you're going, at least you know that if things change once you get there, that you won't lose the amount you already paid, unless you don't take a train at all.

    Note that the fares can vary based on the day and time of day...the fares on the earliest trains (like 6 a.m.) will likely be cheaper than the rest of the day. While you may think that this is crazy, remember that you are doing a day trip, and need as much time onsite as possible...So if you don't like a fare for a certain day, look at earlier times. Also note that if there are InterCity trains on the same route (I don't remember), they will be cheaper and somewhat slower than the Freccia* trains, while still much faster than the regional trains. InterCity trains are also "premium" trains, so they have a reservation-only policy as well, and have the same discount classes as the Freccia* trains.

    Anyway, read those tips above and see what questions you have then...

    Bill

     One of the Italian train experts has just chimed in.  Look at Bill's info.  It is top notch.

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  • o_henna's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by o_henna Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    You will be better off renting the car and taking country side road instead of autostrada . The side roads are more scenic , definitely cheaper and not boring like autostrada . Plus the cafe are cheap as well.

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  • o_henna's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by o_henna Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Also depends on what you are more comfortable traveling in...even if the trains are faster ,I would put into consideration the time for the tickets,waiting for the train etc. plus we like to explore and take halts at small mom and dad cafe etc.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Filo, this service does not appear to serve routes between Rome and Florence. And hired drivers for this sort of distance will be much slower and possibly more expensive than public transit.

    IMHO, fast train will be the best option for this OP as they only have one day to explore Florence - which leaves little to no time to explore anything in between if they're going to try and see a good share of the attractions there. Train will also be the best option for Pompeii: it's just easier and relatively inexpensive given distances.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 5:38 AM

    They're not needing transfers from airport/train station to city: they're not flying to Florence/Naples, and the trains go directly to the Rome/Florence/Naples city centers and to Pompeii Scavi.

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  • Paolomusc's Profile Photo

    by Paolomusc Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    The metro is very reasonable and for 1 euro you have a limited time to do your journey. I went all the way to the coast on metro and train for that price, then came back to Ostia Antica for another 1 euro and then back to Rome centre for 1 euro. Brilliant!

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Right - the Rome metro and some of the FR trains to certain stops farther afield are very inexpensive (1.5 euro now); they just won't work for trips to Florence or Naples.

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  • BikeJohn's Profile Photo

    Re: cheapest way to travel

    by BikeJohn Online Now Apr 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    The fast trains have advance fares (see above); there are are also local trains on these routes (very cheap) - it would be do-able in a day but a bit of a push (I checked times before I went)

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