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Traveling Solo To Italy & France

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Hi,

I am planning a trip to Italy and France for this summer. I will be traveling for about 7-8 weeks (about 3 weeks with family/friends). I am looking to leave near the end of May (18-12) and returning mid July (13-15). I have gone through a lot the past few years with friends' deaths and other personal things so I am wanting to get away and relax, enjoy and have fun. I also would like to have an enjoyable plane trip since my last plane experience wasn't so relaxing or quiet. I was looking into business and first class flights and came across a few $2000 flights but quoted in U.S. dollars (I'm in Ontario, Canada) so after the exchange it would have been greater. I have been using discount air fare engines such as Expedia, Travelocity and CheapOair but haven't been able to find something that I can afford. Many research articles on the Internet "claim" that you can get discount prices for business and first class but I think there is some sort of catch.

I have VISA GOLD and about 27,000 points but it won't afford me a trip to Europe. I was also thinking of converting my HBC and Petro-Points over to VISA but I would have to go through so many conversions and lose a lot of points. So, after doing a lot more research, someone suggested flying premium economy. From what I have learned so far, it's only offered through certain airlines such as Virgin and British Airways. Can you search for premium economy through discount search engines such as Expedia.ca or Travelocity.ca?

I read a posting on this forum with regards to a person traveling to Venice and a member suggested flying into London or Paris and then catching a flight to Venice. I was going to fly into Venice or Rome - depending on family's schedule, from Toronto International and fly out of Paris, France (returning home). I'm guessing that I would be able to get a better flight with respects to costs? Do you have any other suggestions? I have an ITIC card (teacher discount card) but don't know if this will help. I just found out about this discount card and applied.

Thank you for all of your help and suggestions.

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