One of the main features of any trip budget is the cost of transportation. Some budgets facilitate car rentals or taxis to drop the individual everywhere he or she wishes to go. Other budgets are preferably geared towards cheaper modes of transport, mainly in the form of public transportation and a lot of walking. Both of these methods will allow a visitor to tour a new country, but the low budget traveller will do so at a fraction of the price which the luxury traveller will pay.
Personally, I fit into the low budget traveller category and I managed to tour the Italian city of Rome on less than 5 euros! While Italy is not ranked as one of Europe's cheaper destinations, the public transportation system is extensive and affordable. There were several sites I wanted to visit, and I didn't relish the idea of joining an impersonal large-scale tour group. I wouldn't have a say in the amount of time which would be spent at each landmark, and that wasn't sitting well with me.
So, I obtained a map of the city from the Information desk at the Roma Termini train station and simply started to walk. Exploring a new town or city by foot allows you to get up close and personal with the little things which make a community tick. I followed many a winding narrow alley and allowed myself to become swallowed up in the intricate maze of Rome.
As I walked, I had conversations with several people, one of whom advised me on the ins and outs of the public transportation system, and guided me to the first bus stop on my indie tour. The bus routes were marked on my map and I simply looked for the digital number on the windscreen of each approaching bus to see if it was heading in the direction of the Roman Colosseum.
Bus tickets can be bought in advance from any if the major transportation hubs, as well as in most shops and newspaper stands. These tickets are then used as payment on the buses and must be validated on entry. Point to point tickets are generally 1 euro, while a day ticket can be purchased for 4 euros. I found the bus to be large and clean, with an ample amount of seats. For the price being paid, it was definitely not a bad way to travel!
After visiting the Colosseum, I simply used the city map and boarded other buses to get to other sites around the city. After touring the Trevi Fountain, I entered the Barberini metro station nearby and hopped on the B line to return to the Roma Termini train station.
Getting around Rome on your own is pretty simple if you have a well detailed map in your possession. I felt a sense of pride each time I arrived at my destination, and I met several interesting persons en route to various landmarks. If you're up for a little adventure on your trip to Rome, forget the taxi and use the public transportation. It's reliable, it's cheap and it's much more fun!