Author Topic: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...  (Read 10450 times)

jwilliams0215

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • WinningWilliams
    • WinningWilliams
Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« on: August 26, 2014, 12:04:40 PM »
My wife and I are planning a two-week trip to Italy next March/April. We'll avoid Holy week in Rome and are trying to be somewhat flexible with dates to optimize costs. Our departure city is Tampa.

My question: how do you find the best price airplane ticket with a multi-city destination? Our initial thought was to fly into Rome and out of Milan (seemed to be many more flights as compared to Venice). However, we are flexible with the itinerary as well. Just trying to maximize the experiences while maintaining a "reasonable" cost basis for the trip.

1) I've used Kayak, Vayama, Momondo and they all seem to come out the same, about $1,200+ PP with one layover.
2) Has anyone actually found using a travel agent to come out ahead on airfare? We plan on Airbnb, etc. to keep lodging reasonable so the travel agent would really only be for the airefare.
3) Kayak has the explore tool to pick a departing city and they let you know the least expensive flight to various cities. They have a rountrip trip to Milan for under $900 PP currently. Might it be better to fly into and out of the same city for $300+ savings PP?
4) Any other tools like the Kayak explorer to get the least expensive flight but using multiple cities?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 12:42:08 PM by jwilliams0215 »

marblejane

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Objective: lease expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 12:09:55 PM »
If you are just going Tampa->Rome and Milan->Tampa, then what you are looking for is called an open jaw.

Check out this article on how to search for open jaw tickets: http://maphappy.org/2014/05/how-to-book-cheap-open-jaw-tickets/

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Objective: lease expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 12:21:33 PM »
I'd consider buying instead of leasing.  I think the flight lease market is not the place to find the best deals.

But seriously, I think you're doing it right.  Kayak seems to have the best search options in my opinion.  And I personally would not waste a whole day to travel from Rome to Milan just save $300 on a flight, because the train tickets are probably close to $100 each (80-85 Euro?), so you're using a whole day to save $100.

Check out www.trenitalia.com to plan your train travel.  (Click on the Union Jack in the upper right for English) That's the official train website and not only are you dealing direct instead of with a third party, they will have the cheapest fares. 

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 12:53:48 PM »
Few comments:

- it's probably too early for best airfare deals for next March/April. What you seeing now is way too expensive (assuming Tampa is not a particularly lousy place to fly from)
- Cheapest high speed rail tickets (one way) between Rome and Milan are 29 euros with Trenitalia (standard price is 49 euros). Cheaper with regional trains, but that will take literally all day
- for train tickets don't forget to check their competitors NTV Italo
- long distance train tickets should be bought early (max possible 2 months)

jwilliams0215

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • WinningWilliams
    • WinningWilliams
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 12:59:15 PM »
Agreed Eric, no longer consider leasing!

Also to clarify, we'll be looking not just at Milan / Rome. We'd be looking at Cinque Terre, Venice, and then filling in perhaps with the Dolomites or other small towns. Rome and Milan was just serving as likely arrival / departing locations.

Albert, what time frame is the best for purchasing in your opinion?

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 01:19:14 PM »
In my experience 4-6 month for long flights, but check regularly for deals. A good price would be 1,200$ for both of you. You could get even more lucky, but I wouldn't count on it. 

Also I would advise April instead of March for places like Dolomites or Cinque Terre. It could be uncomfortably cold and rainy in March.

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1402
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 01:27:47 PM »
Commenting to get updates. DH and I just got back from a trip to Germany/France in July and flew into DUS and out of CDG. We'd like to go back at some point, maybe fly into Stockholm and out of Copenhagen or somewhere in Norway.

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2014, 01:40:21 PM »
There are sometimes very cheap weird "open jaw" options which might or might not work out well then all the other costs (getting to those cities) are considered.

There are special travel forums where people are sharing deals in weird combinations, price mistakes, trying to drop fuel surcharges etc. I don't know any in English and US based (important, in UK people will mostly talk about deals from there), but there must be...
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 01:43:21 PM by Albert »

Aphalite

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 425
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2014, 01:42:32 PM »
For international flights, the best deals are usually in the 2.5 to 1.5 months before departure time frame. Check everyday, there will sometimes be $200-$300 swings within a couple of days of each other - 4 months is still too far out, I haven't in the past 3 years gotten good deals when I've monitored 4 months out, but, I should caveat that I've always flown out in the summer (June or July)

EDIT: Forgot to add, as others have said, Kayak has been the way to go for me as far as price and flexibility.

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2014, 01:46:09 PM »
For international flights, the best deals are usually in the 2.5 to 1.5 months before departure time frame. Check everyday, there will sometimes be $200-$300 swings within a couple of days of each other - 4 months is still too far out, I haven't in the past 3 years gotten good deals when I've monitored 4 months out, but, I should caveat that I've always flown out in the summer (June or July)

EDIT: Forgot to add, as others have said, Kayak has been the way to go for me as far as price and flexibility.

Depends from your flexibility. If you have this 3-4 week window in which you want to fly from Florida to Italy and not somewhere else cheap price so close might not materialise.

theonethatgotaway

  • Guest
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2014, 02:03:49 PM »
You can probably book all of your inter - Europe flights now as earlier is cheaper via their discount airlines . Ryanair fares can be 9 euros roundtrip.

For the transatlantic wait till January to purchase. Your total should be around 1300 for both round trip tickets via many different carriers. Tuesday afternoons generally have the best flight prices when searching.

wutra

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2014, 02:06:02 PM »
Have you considered signing up for a credit card with a large rewards miles sign up bonus? My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe next fall and each got a United Explorer card through Chase that offers 50k miles if you spend $2k in the first 3 months and another 5k miles if you get an authorized user to make a single purchase with the card. Most flights to Europe cost 30,000 points on United Airlines website so you'd need to spend another $3k on each card to get to the 60k points required for 2 round trip flights from the US to Europe.

jwilliams0215

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • WinningWilliams
    • WinningWilliams
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 09:27:38 AM »
Have you considered signing up for a credit card with a large rewards miles sign up bonus? My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe next fall and each got a United Explorer card through Chase that offers 50k miles if you spend $2k in the first 3 months and another 5k miles if you get an authorized user to make a single purchase with the card. Most flights to Europe cost 30,000 points on United Airlines website so you'd need to spend another $3k on each card to get to the 60k points required for 2 round trip flights from the US to Europe.

We have the Barlcays Arrival card that nets 2.2% on all spending. This way we don't have to be loyal to a single airline. Although with the bonus miles and perks on that card looks pretty good!

TreeTired

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 449
  • Age: 135
  • Location: North Carolina
  • I think we can make it
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 09:36:50 AM »
First of all,   I use this website to find the cheapest airfares.   This is the software that powers most of the travel agent websites.   You cannot buy a ticket on this website but you can identify the least expensive routes, carriers and times and usually can get the fares from an airline or travel agent.

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

(I usually use the calendar option to see what the fare is each day over the course of a month.  Amazing to see the variation in airfare day by day)

Secondly,  when we flew to Italy 2 years ago we were very surprised to find that open jaw - flying into Rome and out of Milan -   was much less expensive than in and out of Rome.   Of course non-stop was more expensive than changing planes, but when buying 2 tickets @$875  vs  $1200  I had to change planes.  Was a little worried about our luggage going from Charlotte to Newark to Frankfurt to Rome, but our checked baggage came right off the plane and into our arms in Rome.   :)

DollarBill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 902
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Austin TX
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 09:49:27 AM »
Just read an article in consumer reports mag and they said the best time to purchase a ticket is after labor day (Sept-Oct). I'll be waiting to see if it's true.

rujancified

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 197
  • Age: 41
  • Location: NC
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 10:08:27 AM »
A lot of good info already.

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ is awesome, but quirky. Be patient.

Any airline miles? I did a trip around Germany & the Netherlands in 2008 and flights into Germany were stupid expensive. I got a RT miles flight from the US --> Amsterdam and took a cheapo airline to Berlin (79 Euro). In total, I spent about $200-250 on flights. 

Are you planning on taking trains around Italy?

chemgeek

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2014, 10:53:01 AM »
We just took our honeymoon to Italy this past May. We were limited to leaving on a weekend and the beginning of high season so the prices were higher. Despite watching for months, I never saw anything drop much below $1400. March/April should be better, but I wouldn't hold out hope that prices will definitely go down. I'd work your budget around the higher cost airfare, and if it drops great!

I'd recommend leaving mid-week if you can. Of the airports, Milan is definitely the cheapest.  Idk what your specific dates are but just looking through Bing travel, I'm seeing $845/person rt through Delta ( lay over in JFK) from March 25 to April 8 ( both Wednesdays). If you change that same time window to an open jaw trip, into Milan out of Rome, the price is $1150/person. Round trip in and out of Rome is $1300/person. You have to evaluate for yourself if  the savings is worth the aggravation of getting back up to Milan from Rome.

For our two weeks, we did Florence, Tuscany ( based in San Gimignano), Porto Santo Stefano ( coastal town) and Rome. I wouldn't try to cram too much more into two weeks. In hindsight, I wish we had done Rome first, because coming from the quiet and beauty of the country into Rome was rough. Although, having the Sistine chapel be the last thing we saw before we left was pretty cool. Also, one of the best things we did while there was a small cooking class. They're not inexpensive but it was worth the 65 euros.

jwilliams0215

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • WinningWilliams
    • WinningWilliams
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2014, 11:19:20 AM »
@rujancified - definitely plan on taking the train throughout. The only uncertainty is getting to some smaller towns (if we have time). However, from what I've read, we should be able to utilize the public transit system throughout the trip.

@chemgeek - great tips. Decided to skip Venice?


GoldenStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2014, 11:25:36 AM »
Do some credit card churning and get the flights for free.. United explorer and Chase Sapphire.  With the Chase Sapphire you can transfere the sign up bonus to united.  With the two cards you can get roughly 100k miles (after the min spend) and get free baggage for your flights.

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4061
  • Location: On my bike
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2014, 11:39:23 AM »
@chemgeek - great tips. Decided to skip Venice?

Venice may or may not fit with your travel "style".  If you're a "let's wander and get in adventures" type of traveler (like me), then you'll LOVE Venice.  It's full of crooked walkways, back alleys, dead ends, and you'll pretty much be perpetually lost as it's one big maze.  But hey, you're on an island, so it's not like you can really be too lost. 
If you're more of a "we need to be here at this time" type of traveler, or "let's eat great food" type, then Venice can be frustrating.  Venice is filled with tourist trap restaurants and the ones that aren't are ridiculously expensive.  I'd recommend simple eating in Venice like pizza, panini, or finding the grocery store and buying picnic supplies.

We also did two weeks in June of 2012.  Flew into Milan but didn't spend any time there as we went straight to Lake Como.  From there to Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena, and Rome (flew home from Rome).  It was slightly rushed, but I'm glad we got to see as much as we did.  Probably could've covered all of that comfortably with only a couple of more days.  Well, you could easily spend a week in Rome and barely touch it.  Rome was amazing.  Of course it wasn't a honeymoon trip like chemgeek above, so we were okay spending all day away from our room and collapsing into bed at night.  :)

And if it wasn't mentioned upthread anywhere, get the Rick Steves Italy book.  Rick is the man.

If you have specific questions, I'm happy to answer any you have on any of the above cities/areas if I can.

chemgeek

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2014, 11:52:41 AM »
I had been to Venice on a previous trip. It would have lost us quite a bit of time to head that far north just for my husband to see it. We have plans of spending a solid chunk of time in italy once we retire though, so we'll get back there eventually : )

Seconding what Eric said, it helps to know your travel style before going. Ours was a honeymoon, so the time we spend on the coast was completely lazy ( we sat on a beach and ate our weight in cheese and salami). . It's very easy to have medioce meals there which is always upsetting. Rick Steve's food recommendations are decent, but the best thing to use we found was Yelp. We had some of the best meals there based on up to date yelp reviews.

We also rented a car to get around Tuscany/the Coast. Depending on what you want to see, this might be worthwhile for you in the more remote areas. Driving in Italy outside the cities is not the hair-raising experience you would expect.

Christof

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 594
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Germany
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2014, 03:41:26 PM »
Flights from the US to Europe are generally more expensive than the other way round even if you end up flying the same plane. Italy is popular and expensive. Vienna not so much. Tampa to Vienna is $936 per person on United. From Vienna take the train or get an inexpensive flight to Italy. It's a nice city to visit, too.

TreeTired

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 449
  • Age: 135
  • Location: North Carolina
  • I think we can make it
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2014, 08:37:35 PM »
I just got an email alert this afternoon about new low fares between Charlotte and Rome (I have that set up as a carryover from our trip 2 years ago).

Using a 7 night stay,  I am seeing a $710 fare from CLT to Rome on Feb 2.   The least expensive fare from Tampa in February is $1200.   For some reason the CLT fares are even less than EWR   (Newark). 

Lufthansa,  CLT to Munich, then Munich to Rome.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 08:39:34 PM by NC_MJ »

ecmcn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2014, 10:18:49 AM »
You can probably book all of your inter - Europe flights now as earlier is cheaper via their discount airlines . Ryanair fares can be 9 euros roundtrip.

This is a great way to save if you don't mind a little additional work or hassle (which, duh, you're reading this forum!). I just spot checked a random date in November for RyanAir from London to Genoa (which is right by the Cinque Terra) and it's under 20 euros. The catch is its from London's Stansted airport, not Heathrow, so you'd have to catch a cab between them, or if you've always wanted to see London just tweak your itinerary and spend a few days there. But using the discount airlines means you can expand your Tampa - Europe flight search to much more of Europe, which greatly increases your chances of finding a great deal on the most expensive leg of the trip.

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2014, 12:07:01 PM »
It's a considerable risk to combine Ryanair or Easyjet with flights from US (other way around would be easier). 20 euros would be without baggage in the best case. They don't sell connections so if your flight from US is delays for some reason and you miss it then they won't give you anything. To guard against that you'd need to plan very long layovers. I'd only do it if you actually want to stay in the city you land in from US for a day or two.

UnleashHell

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6333
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Florida
  • Chapter IV - A New ... er.. something
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2014, 12:10:27 PM »
check out skyscanner.  that site seems to cover most of the sellers and you'll often find a price on there that's, at worst, as good as looking on direct sites.
we are going to Europe next month and snagged a flight on there that was over 300 bucks cheaper to London from tampa than the direct flight would be.

giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2014, 07:43:30 PM »
Following

Lian

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 141
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2014, 09:29:23 PM »
Great information - thanks all!

PilotsWife

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2014, 12:50:32 AM »
Follow airfarewatchdog on twitter & sign up for their alerts. I have gotten airfare for dirt cheap after they've tweeted some awesome deals.

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3440
  • Age: 36
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2014, 02:46:06 PM »
Going to be in Italy for a week pretty much the exact same time, although only about a week, to line  - and also leaving from Florida.  A month or so ago, there were RTs to Milan for $850 or so out of Jacksonville.  Wasn't ready to pull the trigger then.  Now the best I can find is a shade over 1K.  From this thread sounds like a plan of hashing out the plans with MIL at christmas, then start really shopping is a good one, if a good enough deal doesn't crop up in the interim.   I have a hard time waiting on these kinds of things - kind of a compulsive planner when it comes to travel, but it definitely can pay off.

Will be keeping an eye on this thread.

Penny Lane

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 203
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2014, 03:21:43 PM »
In addition to AirBnB you may want to check out the agriturismo sites for the areas you plan to visit.  We stayed at an awesome place in Tuscany, very centrally located, and did day trips to Siena, Arrezzo, Montepulchiano etc; reasonable and meeting locals was such fun.  You can rent a whole village or a small apartment, everything in between.

jwilliams0215

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Tampa, FL
  • WinningWilliams
    • WinningWilliams
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2014, 09:09:10 AM »
Going to be in Italy for a week pretty much the exact same time, although only about a week, to line  - and also leaving from Florida.  A month or so ago, there were RTs to Milan for $850 or so out of Jacksonville.  Wasn't ready to pull the trigger then.  Now the best I can find is a shade over 1K.  From this thread sounds like a plan of hashing out the plans with MIL at christmas, then start really shopping is a good one, if a good enough deal doesn't crop up in the interim.   I have a hard time waiting on these kinds of things - kind of a compulsive planner when it comes to travel, but it definitely can pay off.

Will be keeping an eye on this thread.

I just did a quick search on Kayak and saw roundtrip to Milan from Jacksonville, April 1 - April 8 for $807 roundtrip.


dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3440
  • Age: 36
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2014, 09:13:24 AM »
Yeah - I think our dates are going to suck a bit - traveling 3 to 11 to line up with mil's spring break.  Even waiting one day and leaving on 4 saves 150 or so but then we would get only six nights in Italy.

rob in cal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 306
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2014, 10:39:01 AM »
I've been monitoring Norwegianair recently.  Their prices are amazing, but their flights are often late, and you pay for all extras, including blankets, food etc and of course luggage, but the overall prices are as low as 200 dollars one way (not counting luggage costs) to Scandinavian cities from some US airports.  They do fly to Italy, but not as great a bargain, and if you are on a tight schedule not such a good option.

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3440
  • Age: 36
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2014, 11:13:17 AM »
Skyskanner also seems to have some cheaper flights than come up in Kayak - I think jetBlue and Emerites may not be in the Kayak results.  Given that it looks like we should be targeting $600-700 per person, $885 isn't good enough to pull the trigger now, but it does look pretty good in comparison to most of the other flights that fit our dates.

rubybeth

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1402
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2014, 10:18:42 AM »
I just booked tickets last Thursday to from MSP to Amsterdam for May for $838/ticket, with one layover in Philadelphia each way. The lowest I had been seeing consistently was $985, so when I got a Kayak alert about the $838 price, I jumped. I keep checking daily, but it's back to $985/ticket. I doubt I'll have any regrets about purchasing so early, because now we can focus on finding that perfect AirBnB apartment near a canal...

zinnie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
  • Location: California
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2014, 10:45:43 AM »
You can definitely get lower than $1200pp at that time of year--that is closer to the high season prices. I would expect about $600-800 per person at that time. I like Google flights, as it tracks all possible combinations/airports for you. The best prices we ever got were from there where we had to buy legs from separate airlines. I am seeing $860 for round trip from Tampa to Milan in March.

I have flown from San Diego to Milan or Genoa 3 times in the past few years and prices have consistently gone up. Off-season used to be closer to $500, but now $700s was as low as I was seeing to Milan.

I didn't see if you addressed how you were planning to travel around once there, but be careful of trying to see everything as that can add a huge cost to the trip and make it more stressful. Trains are much cheaper than driving but you are still looking at 25+ Euros per person one way from Malpensa to the Cinque Terra area. (And instead of Cinque Terra consider cities along the Tigullian Golf where you'll get less tourism and more of an authentic experience: Chiavari, Santa Margherita, Rapallo, San Remo, etc.)

Enjoy! 

(And thanks for all of the other suggestions in this thread; I am making note of all of them for next time!)

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2014, 11:45:05 AM »
I have flown from San Diego to Milan or Genoa 3 times in the past few years and prices have consistently gone up. Off-season used to be closer to $500, but now $700s was as low as I was seeing to Milan.

When you say $700, are you talking one-way fares, or round trip?  $700 is half as much as I have been seeing and I devoted a ton of time to researching flight options before taking my family to Europe last year.  We spent about $4000 on airfare for 3, so that's $1333pp, RT.  I would have loved to save $2000 on airfare, but no amount of changing dates, cities, or anything else seemed to get us below the price we got.

I've been to a few different cities in Europe now and wouldn't mind going back some day, but airfare is always the gotcha.  For a shorter trip you could spend more on airfare than on the actual trip.  I'm not FI yet, so I can't get enough time off work to spend a month or three living abroad, although that is a huge motivator for FI.  So many things get more affordable if you're there for at least 3 days in a row, often cheaper still when booked weekly, and even more affordable still if you can be there a month at a time.

Albert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2014, 12:03:33 PM »
I wonder if flight from US to Europe cost more than the other way around. From here one could occasionally find very cheap tickets to North America assuming travel dates are flexible and not in peak periods.  For example I recently saw Warsaw-NYC-London for 200 euros return (Jan-March 2015).

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: Objective: least expensive flight to Europe (Italy)...
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2014, 01:00:04 PM »
I wonder if flight from US to Europe cost more than the other way around. From here one could occasionally find very cheap tickets to North America assuming travel dates are flexible and not in peak periods.  For example I recently saw Warsaw-NYC-London for 200 euros return (Jan-March 2015).

I would say "it depends".  I've plugged those searches in before and sometimes the US origination is the cheaper way, sometimes the European origination is cheaper, sometimes they are about the same.  Actually what bothers me most is that although my city does technically have an international hub airport, LAX is another 400 miles away from Europe and typically flights from LAX are cheaper.  Like, potentially a LOT cheaper.  I just checked to see what round-trip flights would be from my home airport to Paris for a week in February: $1016.  From LAX?  $655.  That sucks, especially when so many of those LAX flights have connections on the USA east coast anyway, same as a flight from my home airport does.