We need to save as much money as we could so another entry is necessary. The money-saving tips continue in this entry, some of which veer towards a much longer and perhaps a permanent stay in the city.
First thing firsts, if you’re eligible, do get a student card. Rome is big on youth and student discounts. Often, you need to be an E.U. citizen to take advantage — but not always. The Vatican museums, for example, cost €8 instead of €15 for all students who have an I.D. And you can get a pass for all of Rome’s public transport for €18 per month, not €30, with an I.D. if you’re under 26, as long as you’re a “resident” in Rome. (This means, though, that if you get checked, the checker could ask for your permesso di soggiorno as proof).
Be careful with the use of your credit cards in the city and no, this isn’t the usual, “always pay them off as you go” advice. First of all, remember that few places in Rome accept credit cards. And that even if a restaurant does, technically, accept them, that means the transaction is fully registered and taxes so you have a higher chance of getting a “break” on your bill, and of making friends with the owner, if you pay in cash.
Tipping in Rome is always a touchy subject, but let’s be clear on one thing: Romans tip less than Americans. A lot less. We’re talking about rounding up to the nearest euro, not throwing in an extra two or three dollars, for a cab ride. We’re talking about rounding up on the bill at a restaurant and maybe putting another euro or two down, only if servizio wasn’t already charged. We’re talking about not tipping the person who cuts your hair or does your nails.
Yes, it might make you cringe at first, but Rome is a completely different system. Many Romans aren’t even happy about seeing Americans tip a lot, because that changes the local culture, and changing the local culture to be more like what you’re used to “back home” is the definition of invasive tourism. Part of living somewhere is adapting to the local culture. The local culture is not a tipping one. So instead of tipping 20 percent on a restaurant bill, save your money—and use it to return to the restaurant a second time.