Nothing beats traveling for free, and we love sharing Travel Freely user success stories. Today, we want to share Andy & Katelyn Blair’s month-long trip to Italy! This is an awesome story of how points and miles can take you around the globe, and shows you some of what you can do if you visit Italy for free.
If you want to learn more about how to visit Italy for free, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and stay tuned. Next week we will show you how to earn the right points and miles to visit Italy for free.
A month long trip is great to experience all that Italy has to offer. Can you share a little bit about what you did during your time?
We left home on June 7th and got home on July 4th. This let us experience a lot of what Italy has to offer. We rented a car in Rome and it gave us a lot of flexibility to see all of Italy that we wanted to experience.
Naturally, we spent the first few days in Rome, then visited Florence and Lake Como. We did a stop in Scotland on our way home as well.
How did points and miles help you visit Italy for free?
I’ll be the first to admit we didn’t completely visit Italy for free, but we saved a lot of money on flights and accommodations thanks to our points. Thanks to our Chase Sapphire Reserve, we transferred 118,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to United to book our flights from the US to Italy, and for our flights around Europe. A little bit of cash was required thanks to some European Airport Taxes, but otherwise our flights were completely covered.
AirBNB is a very affordable option across Europe. We took advantage of this instead of hotels. But we didn’t do it at face value. We took advantage of some gift card sales which helped us save 15% on all of our AirBNB expenses. If you’ve never used AirBNB you can sign up by clicking right here. When you sign up you’ll get $40 off your first booking at AirBNB. (Note: You can get a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card to pay for Airbnb and Hotels.com purchases. See: Why we LIKE the Capital One Venture Card.)
Travel Freely Tip: You can buy discounted gift-cards at sites like Raise to save money on expenses you’re paying cash for every day.
Are there any other ways credit cards helped you on your trip?
Absolutely! A lot of people focus on the rewards, but there are lots of other benefits that come with credit cards. One that really saved us a lot of money was the rental car insurance from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers primary rental car insurance up to $75,000 when you use your card to book your rental car. Thankfully we did, because our car was keyed in Italy. Since we put it on our Chase Sapphire Reserve, we didn’t have to pay the repair costs out of pocket. We just filed a claim and it was taken care of for us. That was a big relief.
We also got to enjoy various airport lounges, thanks to our Priority Pass membership that we have from our Chase Sapphire Reserve. This helped us get some free food and relaxation between flights on our way to visit Italy for free.
What activities would you recommend for people wanting to visit Italy for free?
If you’re looking to save more money, limit paid tours. There are a lot of free walking tours available. These are self-guided and you can download them to your phone before leaving the US. When you’re in Italy for a month, these savings can add up fast!
We also took an AirBNB experience, Luca & Lorenzo, where we got to experience rustic pasta making, and trying some amazing local wines in Florence. I would highly recommend an AirBNB experience to really feel like a local.
Thanks so much Andy and Katelyn for sharing your experience about how you were able to visit Italy for free!