Are you dreaming of the enchanting canals of Venice, the historical wonders of Rome, or the breathtaking landscapes of Tuscany? Italy's rich culture, history, and natural beauty make it a dream destination for many travelers. However, before you can immerse yourself in la dolce vita, you need to tackle one crucial task: finding and booking your international flights. This guide will take you through the process step by step, ensuring a seamless journey to your dream tour with Curata Travel!
When we plan our tours, we take into account several factors including: what is the largest closest airport while also keeping your transfer time reasonable. While larger airports like Rome, Milan and Naples may have more flight itineraries available, sometimes that would mean 5+ hours in the bus on your first or last day, which we try to avoid. For some of the smaller airports you are likely to find itineraries with 1-2 stops to arrive. If you are determined to find only nonstop flights or use just one specific airline, you may have some difficulty. So here are our suggestions!
1. Start Early, Stay Flexible:
Planning ahead is key to snagging the best deals on flights to Italy. Airfare prices tend to rise as the departure date approaches, so booking several months in advance can save you a significant amount (we recommend 5-6 months in advance for international flights). Additionally, flexibility with your travel dates can open up more affordable options - consider arriving a day prior to the tour start as a 'rest day' to recover from jet lag and be ready to hit the ground running! Use online flight search engines like Google Flights to explore a range of departure and return dates.
2. Consider Nearby Airports:
Don't limit your search to just one departure airport. Sometimes, flying from a nearby airport could offer better fares or more convenient connections. Consider other departure airports other than your closest home airport. For example, we are located in Central PA and our closest airports are Harrisburg, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. We usually bypass those for larger ones like IAD, JFK or EWR for more flight options with less connections.
For flying INTO Italy, you are not tied to the airport we have designated. For example, if we have selected the Verona airport as the meeting point on arrival day, you could still look at flights into Milan or Venice if those work better for you, and then arrange a train or transfer to meet up with the group.
3. Utilize Fare Comparison Tools:
Various online platforms offer fare comparison tools that allow you to search multiple airlines and travel agencies simultaneously. Websites like Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Kayak can help you easily set search parameters to compare prices, flight durations, layovers, and airline options. Set up fare alerts to receive notifications when prices drop for your desired itinerary.
4. Book Directly with Airlines:
After you've found a flight that meets your criteria, consider booking directly through the airline's official website. This can provide you with better customer service, easier options for managing changes, and a more seamless experience.
5. OR Consider using a Travel Agent:
If you have a trusted travel agent you use, or AAA or a credit card like American Express, consider utilizing their travel services to help you book flights. They often have access to different pricing and have the expertise to navigate this space.
6. Loyalty Programs and Miles:
If you're a frequent traveler, consider joining a frequent flyer program or utilizing your existing loyalty memberships to earn miles and points. These can translate into discounts, free upgrades, or even free flights over time.
7. Optimize Layovers:
Long layovers can be a great opportunity to explore an additional city along the way, but they can also add to your travel time. When booking flights, consider the length of layovers and the airports you'll be transiting through. Some airlines offer free layover tours for extended stopovers in their hub cities.
8. Double-Check Travel Restrictions:
Before finalizing your booking, ensure you're up to date with Italy's entry requirements and any COVID-19 related travel restrictions that might be in place. Keep an eye on the official government websites and relevant airline information for the latest updates.
9. Compare Total Costs:
Remember that the cheapest initial fare might not be the most cost-effective option when you factor in baggage fees, seat selection, and other add-ons. Compare the total cost of your flights before making your decision.
Booking flights to Italy can seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right tools and information, you can find the perfect flight that fits your budget and travel preferences. By starting your search early, staying flexible, and using comparison tools, you'll be well on your way to experiencing the wonders of Italy in no time. Buon viaggio! (Safe travels!)