Friday, January 29, 2010

Sicily on a Budget

The Great Recession is coming to an end but recovery may take a few more months. Unless you want to postpone your trip to Sicily for another year or two, now is the time to begin planning for 2010. Here are a few suggestions if you don't have too much to spend this year. You're not alone! (Speaking of money, the gold coin shown here is an augustalis from the reign of Frederick II in the 13th century, so don't expect to receive one as change.)

Flights: Ryan Air and easyJet are good choices if you're coming from someplace in Europe - remember to check which Sicily airport they serve - but during the "high" season (May through August) some of Alitalia's fares are comparable. If your trip involves crossing an ocean or two, the best advice is to just shop around.

Lodging In Town: There are plenty of hotels in Sicily, and rates at the 3-star establishments are usually pretty good. You may want to consider a bed and breakfast in Sicily. Keep in mind that quality of accommodation may be uneven; some B&Bs are exceptional while others leave much to be desired, and a lot of low-cost pensioni (2-star guest houses) now promote themselves as B&Bs.

Lodging Out of Town: Country retreats ("guest farms" or agriturismo) are rural bed and breakfasts on working farms. Here you can stay for a night or two. Villa and cottage rentals in Sicily usually presuppose a minimum stay of one week, with arrival/departure on a weekend.

Getting Around: Unless you're taking an escorted tour of Sicily, you'll either have to rent a car or rely on public transportation. Driving can be challenging in the larger cities, while buses and trains do not take you everywhere but do make it possible to get to major attractions.

Whatever approach you take, enjoy your trip!

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