Just because you would like to be a traveler who does less touristy things does not mean that you have to miss out on some of the most iconic attractions in the world. The Colosseum is a great example. If you have never been to Rome before, the Colosseum is a must. However, many people get caught up in the thought of not only buying a ticket to get into the Colosseum, but also paying for a tour so that they get the full experience and learn about this amazing structure. These expenses can add up and prove to be a problem, especially for travelers on a budget. This is where you can use technology to your advantage. For just as thoughtful, informative, and, arguably more, entertaining a tour, all you will need is minimum access to wifi, a device that can download and play podcasts (smartphones and tablets), and a pair of headphones. This tour will not cost you a cent, the only thing you will need to pay for is basic entry into the Colosseum. Make sure to download the audio tour to your device before leaving your accommodation (as you will likely not have wifi at the Colosseum).
The tour I am recommending is part of Rick Steves’ Audio Tours of Europe. Not only is this resource free, it is also very informative and, in my own dorky opinion, very entertaining. The audio tour starts outside of the Colosseum, perfect to listen to while you wait in line for security. Rick and his guest Lisa Brown describe the outside and call your attention to various things, listing numerous facts and stories about the Colosseum and when it was built. As you move into the Colosseum, the facts and stories continue, leaving you with no shortage of information about this ancient monument.
Rick and Lisa make great partner-guides, bantering a bit back and forth, and making nerdy jokes and comments along the way. While some people may not enjoy the dad-like jokes as much as I did, the audio tour is still very worth their time. This particular tour is 40 minutes long, allowing for much of the Colosseum’s interesting facts to be revealed to the listener without causing them to feel bored. Adding to this, Rick and Lisa’s stories are supplemented with sound effects and specific directions. With their headphones in, the sound effects really allow the listener to get lost in the views and history of the Colosseum, all while being given specific directions of where to stand, look, and investigate. A few other perks to consider: you can pause, fast-forward, and rewind the audio tour, so you are never rushed and you never miss what your tour guide is saying again!
Rick Steves’ Audio Tours can be found on the podcast app of any smartphone or tablet or in the Rick Steves Audio Europe app. You can find a list of his other podcasts and audioguides by visiting his website.