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A Budget Trip to Venice

Venice is indeed the lovers’ town! A very romantic destination, which I believe is worth visiting even 100 times! The international flights to Venice are a very good occasion to visit this beautiful town and fall in love, if not already. The airline tickets to Venice are worth buying because the rates will make your trip a budget one. As soon as you arrive on the Treviso Airport or Marco Polo Airport, take the bus shuttle for about 30-40 minutes ride, and then arrive at the Mestre Railway Station. You can accommodate at better rates in Mestre, but if you want to complete the romantic picture, you can choose as well a Venetian hotel, but take into consideration the fact that you will need a boat ride from the hotel entrance and the rates might be higher than in the neighbourhood from Venice.

Right in front of the Railway Station you can see the bus station which takes you directly to Piazzale Roma – the place where all the buses in Venice gather and also where the Line 1 Vaporreto departures. If you are in Venice for 48 hours or more, it is good to buy 48 hours passes – in exchange for 30 EUR/ person, with which you have unlimited trips by bus or vaporreto on the island or to the islands around – Burano, Murano, Lido.
Shopping is another local custom – if you want to get souvenirs in exchange for very good rates, go to Rialto Bridge – there are many small shops, where you can even negotiate your price. If you are hungry, don’t worry, although restaurants charge a higher amount for their services and food, you can try a pub for a drink or a street corner bar, where you can take something away or serve it there (the rates might be higher). A slice of Margherita pizza is about 1,5 EUR – 2 EUR, depending on where you buy it from, to 2,50 EUR – 3,00 EUR for a slice of Diavola Pizza. They have a unique taste and smell.

Gelato or the Italian ice-cream is also a must. It is very creamy, tasty and delicious! Absolutely one of the best ice-creams I’ve ever tried! One is about EUR 1,50.
If you want a healthy lunch or evening, and you are on a tight budget, Venice helps you with the Billa or Coop supermarkets. They are open until about 8 P.M. and you cand find there very good salads, fruits and other snacks for your trip. You will save a lot of money this way, for instance, you pay about 2,50 EUR – 3 EUR for a salad – in the supermarket and about 8 EUR in a restaurant.
Don’t forget to “get lost” on the small streets of Venice, along the canals, it is an extraordinary way to explore the beauties of this “water town”.

Venice Budget Trip
Venice Budget Trip

Venice Carnival 2011 – Ottocento – Da Senso a Sissi

The beginning of Easter fasting is marked in Venice with the magic formula “Carni vale!”, that is “shedding” from the meat “sin”. Or in other words, it’s time for celebration, play and exhuberance, that is it’s time for the Venice Carnival! This year’s Venice Carnival lasts between 26th of February and 8th of March. However, tourists and local people could join the last weekend the “Festa Veneziana”, a kind of  “Carnival of Venice Preview”. This year the carnival will mark 150 years from the unification of Italy and will also celebrate the woman, who will be also celebrated worldwide on the 8th of March. OTTOCENTO – Da Senso a Sissi is the name of 2011′s Carnival of Venice with connection to Luchino Visconti’s film – “Senso”. So, the Carnival will mix togehter this year themes from history, culture, society and cinematography. On the 8th of March, the Carnival of Venice will end with a water parade, silently, along Grand Canale. The feast will take place almost everywhere – in San Marco Square, on the streets, in theatres, public buildings, all will be full of entertainers, such as musicians, dancers, actors and singers.

Inside the Venetian palaces, visitors will watch fancy-balls, where tourists will also join, if they pay an entrance ticket (between 50 Euro to 300-400 Euro/ person) and if they are properly dressed. If you don’t have this dressing code, then don’t worry, because masks and costumes can be found everywhere in Venice for sale or rent. One complete costume can cost up to 200 Euro per day. However, taking part in the Venice Carnival can cost you few Euro if you want to buy only a fancy mask, such as Moretta, Bauta or Gnaga.There are also free entrance shows in Venice, those taking place in San Marco Square, in open air. As a tip, if you live for instance in Maestre, in the neighborhood from Venice, then you’ll pay less for drinks and food. In Venice, everything tends to be more expensive, as you are closer to most important sightseeing.

Venice Carnival 2011 - OTTOCENTO – Da Senso a Sissi
Venice Carnival 2011 - OTTOCENTO – Da Senso a Sissi

For a great accommodation deal click here and you will find the best rates in Venice for the 2011 Carnival. Transportation is based mainly on gondolas or water taxis. However, if you are on a tight budget, don’t take gondolas, because this is the peak season and the ticket is very expensive. But, you can go by Vaporetto and Traghetto in order to reach the surrounding cities. If you want to benefit more from the Venetian atmosphere, it is highly recommended to go by feet. Don’t forget that during the Carnival of Venice there are very many tourists there and it tends to be overcrowded for a peaceful walking.
Carnival of Venice 2011 Costumes
Carnival of Venice 2011 Costumes

Save an Average of 41% on Your Short City Break Hotel

If you’re looking to admire Barcelona’s outstanding architecture or setting off to enjoy a romantic weekend in Venice, you’ll be astounded to find that you can save considerably just by booking within 5 miles of the centre, compared to a booking a hotel in the centre itself. The weekend city break has been increasingly popular for general holidaymakers, and research by travelsupermarket.com has shown that the city breaker can save on average a staggering 41% (around £53 per room per night) on accommodation costs by booking comparable hotels a mere 5 miles from the centre.

Taking a Parisian short break can see the average rise to 48%. And by adventuring 5 miles out of the romantic capital you could even get yourself a 4 star hotel rather than a 1 star for a depreciated amount. The 4 star Golden Tulip Paris – Porte de St Cloud is offering a standard double room for a mere £100 per night, while the 1 star central Le Petite Belloy Saint Germain, is offering a similar room during the same date for £132 per night.
Paris isn’t the only isolated example, the research shows the same story with 4 other major European cities, including Venice, Barcelona, Madrid and London. Where in terms of London, you can book yourself a 3 star hotel for around 60% cheaper a little further a field, with a potential saving of £94 per room per night.

While booking your accommodation, be sure to keep away from popular stadiums and business areas such as La Defense in Paris and London’s Canary Wharf. Their popularity is reflected in the price. The misconception we have that booking a little further out would place you too far from all the major sites and attractions is largely unfounded. All the hotels within the research were well within a mile of either a bus or metro station, allowing ease of access to the heart of each city via public transport.

Bus or metro ticket prices will vary depending on whether you are visiting during peak or off peak times, however weekends usually fall within the off peak time for public transport in the majority of cities. The prices are also dependent on the city you visit and your age, with children and elderly people usually paying less. Individual tickets are available, although if you wish to make use of all the systems, including buses, undergrounds, trains and in terms of Venice, the waterbuses, you could opt for a travel or day card.

The savings that can be made on your accommodation will easily offset the price of a travel card. Taking a stay in the English capital for example, a hotel 5 miles out of the centre of London will generally put you within zone 3 on the tube map. An off peak travel card for an adult will cost £6.30 for a day. With this you’ll be getting full access to London’s public transport system in zones 1 to 4.
By taking the most costly scenario with an adult couple wishing to spend the weekend in London, the daily travel costs would amount to £12.60 (£25.20 for the weekend). Compare this to the average saving of £53 per room per night, that’s still a staggering saving of £81 over the weekend, or £40.40 a day, by staying within zones 3 or 4 rather than zone 1.

Some travel cards also come with additional benefits, such as the London travel card, which allows for 2 for 1 entry to some of the more popular attractions and sites, such as the London Eye and Tower. This can potentially save you even more on your city break. Be sure to check terms and conditions in order to see if you can benefit from such promotions.

Top tips for weekend break hotel savings:
• Search for hotels outside of the centre, looking for hotels only 5 miles out will give you a significant reduction in the costs.
• Stay clear of accommodation near business areas and stadiums.
• Stay in hotels that are near bus or metro stations.
• Sum up the value of travel cards, and see if any come with promotional offers to help you save even more money during your break.

Guest post contributed by Michael Wade of the weekend breaks team at travelsupermarket.com.
Research by travelsupermarket.com correct on 14/06/2010
Based on the dates of: 16th-18th July (Friday and Saturday night). 2 adults, 1 double room, room only.
Prices per room per night.
Data compiled on 5 cities of London, Venice, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona