An Italian vacation needn’t be purely the stuff of fantasies. With careful planning and budgeting, travel to Italy is affordable. A two-star traveler who has a do-it-yourself approach to making itineraries can enjoy 2 weeks in Italy for under $2,800, including airfare from New York. A four-star traveler may do the same basic things but end up spending over $7,000. The biggest financial challenge may be holding back on spending all your Euros on wine and gelato once you get there!Function
In financially tenuous times for the American dollar, it pays to pre-pay. When the Euro is strong against the dollar, every pizza on the go and extra night at the pensione is a big hit on the wallet. Analyze the benefits of buying a package vacation that includes hotels, flight, ground transportation and perhaps some meals. Paying for these in advance, in dollars, will mean you avoid having to pour more dollars into Euros once you hit Italy. Remember, however, that some packages will cost you more if they guarantee four-star hotels and gourmet dinners and you’re the type that is happy with shared bathrooms and street food.Time Frame
The months in which the masses descend upon Italy are late June, July, August and December. Traveling in the high season guarantees high prices, with one exception. If you can secure a last-minute fare, you might get lucky. Those who come in what travel professionals call “the shoulder season months” of April, May, early June, September, October and November typically get pleasant weather and lower prices. Expect to pay about $90 per day for room and board. Hotel prices are lower if you go directly as opposed to booking through the tourist office.Benefits
The benefit of researching routes and fares is in the numbers. Check out lesser-known companies like Eurofly, a bargain airline that flies direct from New York City to Rome. If you are flexible with airports and dates, you can cut your planet ticket price by 50 percent. Choose mid-week for arrivals and departures and avoid holiday periods. Note that discount airlines are typically tighter with restrictions and fees regarding luggage limits and ticket changes (see Resources below).
Frequent travelers to Italy know how to bargain-hunt. Remember that some of the Internet sites that compare fares do not include prices for European carriers, ticket consolidators and charter flights. If you can find a super cheap ticket to Paris, finding a connecting European flight to Italy can be as streamlined as checking the websites of Ryanair, Air Berlin, SkyEurope and easyJet. Mobissimo is an airline fare site that is based in Europe and represents a good roster of European airlines. Check online for coupon codes, student deals, senior citizen prices and other discounts.Resources: An article on discount European airline companies.
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