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Traveling Solo To Italy & France

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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 or

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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