There are hostels (not just for youth) and camp grounds in and near Venice.
- Chioggia Travel Guide and Pictures
- Padua Hotels (with reviews)
- Padua Travel Guide from about.com's Europe Travel
- Faronhof Bed and Breakfast, 15 minute bus ride from Venice
- Venice Hostels and Camping on Hostels.com
Eating and drinking in Venice: Avoid Piazza San Marco and the area around it. Sitting at a cafe or restaurant in the main square is very costly. In bars, you'll usually pay extra to sit outside so if you just want a drink, stand at the bar or better yet, go into a store to buy it. (In Chioggia, outside table service was minimal)
- Tips for Eating in Venice with suggested restaurants
Venice sight-seeing tips: Venice is meant to be explored on foot. The first thing you need is a good map but even with that you're likely to get lost. If you plan to travel much by vaporetto (water bus), you can buy passes at the ticket office. The number 1 vaporetto along the Grand Canal is a good way to see Venice from the water and is especially nice at night. Avoid gondola rides and water taxis.
Many churches are free to enter and have good art work inside. Basilica San Marco is crowded. I prefer visiting the smaller, less crowded churches on my walks. They're also a good place to sit and rest or cool off. While the majority of tourists stay near Piazza San Marco, the rest of Venice is interesting as well. Spend some time wandering on the back canals, enjoying the architecture, people, and boats. It's not really necessary to spend money to enjoy Venice.