Spend Your Tax Return on a Trip to Italy

tax-refundJanuary is the time of year when Americans are thinking about a tax return. How are you going to spend that extra money that is soon coming your way? Do you have plans to pay off some old credit card bills? Perhaps there’s a new car you’ve dreamed of driving off the lot? Better yet, how about taking a family vacation? There’s no better time than now to book a Weekend in Italy.

To begin with, the Euro is currently worth $1.05, the strongest exchange rate in years. Those who have traveled to Italy in the past know that, prior to last year, the Euro averaged over $1.30, making European travel somewhat cost-prohibitive. Will the rate stay low? With a new administration coming into the White House and a president focused on domestic manufacturing and trade tariffs, you should probably not pass up this opportunity. Use your tax return to travel to Italy soon.

Saving Money while on Vacation in Italy

dollar-bulbThere are a number of ways to save money while traveling in Italy. The first and most obvious is to take your tax return and book as much in advance as possible. Do it while the exchange rate is low. Here are some specific items you can address in advance of your trip:

  • Airfare
  • Train Tickets
  • Lodging
  • Museum Tickets
  • Currency Conversions

Book Now for an Easter Sunday Vacation in Rome

Here’s our best suggestion for spending your tax return. When you get the check deposited direct or in the mail, book a flight to Rome for the week of April 10th with a departure date after April 16th. That’s Holy Week in Rome, the peak of the Easter season and an opportunity to attend a Papal Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on April 16th. Tickets are required to attend the Mass. They’re free, but go online now and book them in advance. You will not get in if you don’t.

Once your airfare and Papal Mass tickets are booked, you’ll want to search for lodging while you’re in the city. For best savings, try to secure an apartment and not a hotel room. If you’re planning on taking any tours, book those in advance also. Weekend in Italy offers a guided visit to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. The cost for that tour is 54 Euro, or roughly $56.70 per person.

Create a checklist of everything you need to book in advance and then set a spending budget for yourself while in Rome. Lunches run around $15 apiece, dinner for two at a nice restaurant will cost you about $75. Click here for a more detailed list of current prices and cost of living. Calculate your projected costs, add 10% for unexpected expenses, and then convert 20% of your dollars into Euros. You can do this at your local bank for roughly 8% or go online to Wells Fargo for much less. Take the remainder of your spending money and buy a pre-paid debit card. You can use ATM machines throughout Italy to access your money.

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