It always amazes me that when people are looking for cheap accommodation in Rome or other European centres, they forget there is such a thing as suburbs.
If you live in an American city, chances are your city has suburban areas. Ditto if you live in the UK, or Australia, or anywhere else in the world. In most of those places, the majority of ordinary city residents don’t live in the CBD – they live further out. Yet somehow, they manage to get into the city to work, five days a week.
The reason the natives don’t live in the city centre is simple – it’s too expensive. Rentals in the outlying areas are much, much cheaper. Often, local restaurants are much cheaper than the inner-city eating places, which are often more upmarket.
So really, it shouldn’t take a leap of imagination to realize that you, too, can save a heap of money by searching for an apartment in the areas where ordinary Romans live, instead of heading straight for the usual tourist traps. Especially in Rome, where public transport is incredibly cheap, very reliable, and easy to understand.
It’s not that hard to find apartments outside the main tourist areas – a search on TripAdvisor will usually turn up quite a selection. Read the reviews carefully – and there’s no reason why you can’t email the owner for details of buses, trains or subway services to the city.
On my recent trip, I paid about two-thirds the rent I would’ve paid in a more central location. And I was able to save more by doing my own cooking – a local supermarket was close by, something it’s almost impossible to find in central Rome. And the small trattoria around the corner was far, far cheaper than the touristic cafes where I ate lunch while sightseeing. Overall, it was well worth the extra half-hour or so travel time each day.