Don't Make These 8 Costly Mistakes in Venice, Italy

  • 01 of 08

    Don't Splurge on Gondola Rides

    High Angle View Of Couple In Gondola
    Kok Keong Theang / EyeEm/Getty Images

    At one time, a primary source of transportation through the canals of Venice was the gondola. Motorized transportation has long since overtaken gondolas in practical importance.

    The remaining gondola operations cater mainly to tourists.

    The prices gondoliers charge their passengers are government-regulated, but don't assume the costs are inexpensive. You can easily pay in excess of $100 USD for a ride that lasts less than an hour, and the costs go up after sundown.

    On special occasions, gondola rides make for memorable travel experiences. But be sure you understand the costs before you climb aboard, and make certain you've weighed this expense against other possible splurges in a city where paying too much for gondola rides is a very common mistake.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Don't Pay Premiums to Stay Near Grand Canal

    Elevated view of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy
    Marco Brivio/Getty Images

    Much like paying top dollar to stay on the The Strip is among the common mistakes for Las Vegas travelers, so too is the perceived need in Venice to stay right on the Grand Canal or very close to it.

    Not far from the high prices is the town of Mestre, just a few minutes by rail from the Venice's Santa Lucia train station. Mestre offers a selection of affordable lodging, yet lacks the physical beauty of Venice. But if you simply want an affordable place to sleep, it's worth a look.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Don't Pay Summer Prices for Lodging

    Hands Holding Ice Cream Cones
    Andrew Nguyen / EyeEm

    Venice can lose much of its charm during the busy summer months.

    No one closes official access to the beautiful architecture and priceless artwork, but you'll sometimes struggle to enjoy the aesthetics as someone pushes in for a picture and a better look.

    It will come as no surprise that visits in these peak months require premium room rates. This is true even at the budget hotels, and many of those places report "no vacancy" quite frequently in the summer.

    Many of us have little choice about the time of year in which we visit. But if you do have a choice, consider skipping Venice and its expensive room rates during the summer months.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Don't Spend Too Much Time and Money on Shopping

    Masks Hanging For Sale By Church Of San Giorgio Maggiore Against Sky In City
    Sara Ren / EyeEm/Getty Images

    Venice is famous for glass art objects associated with the nearby island of Murano. Backpackers are routinely warned about accidentally backing into these fragile works. Breakage expenses probably aren't in your travel budget.

    But here are two problems that represent far more common mistakes: spending too much time and too much money shopping in Venice.

    It's easy to fall into these patterns. The stores are climate-controlled and inviting. To be sure, many sell top-quality merchandise that will capture your curiousity.

    By all means, block out some time for browsing the shops of Venice, but then resolve that you will stick to your itinerary and see some of the sights that make Venice famous.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Don't Spend Too Much Time Standing in Line

    Street View towards St Marks Square, from Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello district, Venice. Italy, Europe
    Cultura RM Exclusive/Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images

    One site not to be missed in Venice is St. Mark's Basilica. Admission is free, but your time inside will be limited so that the line out front keeps moving.

    Let's focus on that line. In summer, it will be long.

    I would never suggest you skip this architectural masterpiece, but it does pay to plan a visit for times when the line is likely to be shorter. Arriving prior to the opening time (9:45 a.m.) is likely to produce good results.

    It is also possible to book a guided tour of St. Mark's Basilica at 11 a.m. in a variety of languages. During these tours, the mosaics inside are lit, making them easier to appreciate.

    Apply this principle to other major attractions. A little research can save valuable time and add value to your visit.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Don't Eat at Too Many Tourist Restaurants

    Tourists sitting in Piazza San Marco at dusk
    Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

    You can't blame Venetians for establishing attractive restaurants in the areas that get the highest volume of tourist traffic. It's smart business. Many of these eateries offer outside dining, sumptuous seafood entrees and first-rate service.

    Such property is expensive in any major tourist destination, and it comes at an even higher premium in Venice. So it stands to reason that even modest restaurants in these prime locations will sport high menu prices. If you tend to eat most of your meals at these establishments, your travel budget will suffer.

    If you invest in a vaporetto travelcard, you can use these "water buses" to cruise the canals and enter residential neighborhoods with much more affordable dining options.

    Recommended campos (neighborhoods) for finding such dining include San Giacomo Del Lorio and Santa Margherita in the Dorsoduro section. You'll probably find others as well. Rule of thumb: the further you travel from the Grand Canal, the more easily you'll find affordable dining.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Don't Submit to High-Pressure Sales Pitches

    Murano Glass for sale in a shop window. Island of Murano.Venice, Italy, Europe
    Cultura RM Exclusive/Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images

    You'll be told repeatedly that "our store has the best prices on Murano glass" or that "this is your last chance to purchase Murano glass." In point of fact, you can buy Murano glass in a host of European cities, and the prices in Venetian stores are fairly uniform for the standard pieces.

    But these tactics are quite mild when compared with the methods employed in the glass factories of Murano Island. It is possible to visit these places and see the artists at work. The front desk staff at your hotel might even arrange a free boat ride and guided tour for you.

    If you take such a tour, it will end in a large showroom. There will be an expectation that you are ready to buy. If you refuse, some salespeople will begin to quiz you about what you've just seen in the factory. "Didn't we just show you how carefully these pieces are made?"

    If your budget allows, it's nice to buy some Murano glass, Burano lace or other local specialties, but don't let anyone pressure you into overspending simply because you got a free tour or boat ride.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Don't Visit a City Instead of a Region

    Prato della Valle, Padova, Italy
    Piero M. Bianchi/Getty Images

    Do you practice hub travel?

    It's nice to establish a single hotel where you will unpack one time and pay one (perhaps discounted) bill at the end of the week. That hotel should be in a place that is central to the places you want to see and well connected by train.

    Many people who visit Venice simply run into the city, spend a day or so, and then take off for some other location such as Florence, Rome or Vienna.

    If you can arrange a few additional days, it is wise to base yourself outside of Venice and make day-trips into the city as well as several other regional destinations.

    Venice is the capital of the Veneto region of Italy, an area in northeastern Italy that is home to about four million people and some fascinating cities and attractions. Padua (Padova) is a beautiful walled city with great food and lots of attractions. It's about 24 miles from Venice, and rail connections can be made between the two cities in about 30 minutes.

    Other cities in the region that are within easy reach via rail include Treviso, Verona and Vicenza.

    Limiting your trip to just Venice is one of those common mistakes that could detract from the value of your trip and perhaps add to your costs for food and lodging.