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Flying from East Coast to Italy - Strategy for Cheap Flights?

Flying from East Coast to Italy - Strategy for Cheap Flights?

Old Sep 4th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Flying from East Coast to Italy - Strategy for Cheap Flights?

I am based in the Washington DC area, my fiancé and I are going to go on a honeymoon the end of next summer (sometime in July-Sept. 2015) and I am trying to figure out the best strategy to find the cheapest flights. I have read that 1-3 months prior is the best time to buy plane tickets? I can't imagine this is true. Also I read sometimes January is a good time to buy. Any truth to these ideas? I know the common tip of buying on a Tues/Wed for best price but other strategies/tips would be appreciated.

We are based in the DC area but can fly from any airport pretty much on the east coast. Are international flights typically cheaper from NYC? Is there a place in Europe that is cheaper to fly into than others? I am open to a NYC > London > Rome type itinerary if it is cheaper to buy the individual legs and piece together an itinerary.

Suggestions welcome!
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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< if it is cheaper to buy the individual legs and piece together an itinerary.>

Just be aware that this is a risky way to save money, because if one leg of a disconnected itinerary is cancelled or delayed, the airlines will consider you a no-show for the rest of the legs. Of course you could, for example, get yourself to NYC a couple of days ahead of time to mitigate the risk, but if you have to pay for a hotel and meals, you may not end up saving anything.
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 04:23 PM
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Buying individual legs and piecing together an itinerary is perfectly fine provided they are all on the same ticket. Of course, that means using a travel agency, which can be an online one such as expedia.

As for tips to keep that cost down, one is don't fly to Europe in the summer when fares are peaking.
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Old Sep 4th, 2014, 09:19 PM
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I would look for a nonstop from the US-there are many different airlines that fly nonstop to Rome from all the major US cities.It is so much better in terms of how you will feel and also making sure that there are less kinks in your scheduling.
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Old Sep 5th, 2014, 01:56 AM
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When we went to northern Italy June 2012 we found huge differences in air depending on destination city - so we shopped around, pricing Milan, Venice, etc until we found a fare we were comfortable with. I have also found IAD is cheaper than DCA for longer trips. I am assuming you know about kayak as a search tool.

And depending on your personal financial situation, you have time to get an airline-affinity credit card - they will give you from 20,000 - 50,000 miles just for signing up and making some charges, charge everything to it for the next 6-8 months, and perhaps get at least 1 ticket covered with miles.
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Old Sep 5th, 2014, 06:00 AM
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Many sites sell multi-destination itineraries, arriving at one airport and departing from another. These combinations are easy to shop for and probably cheaper than trying to piece together one-way ticket combos yourself. However, the budget European carriers usually aren't included. Those all have to be purchased as single flights. You can't check your luggage from a "legacy" airline to a budget airline or collect all your boarding passes at your departure point.
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Old Sep 5th, 2014, 06:19 AM
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Both times I have traveled to Europe in the past, I flew Lufthansa. Do they have a strong reputation in Europe? Any other airlines to specifically look for?
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Old Sep 5th, 2014, 06:40 PM
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A good way to actually save money is to book multi-city, into one city and out of another, if you plan to move about or travel while in Europe, because you save money by not having to return to your arrival city and you may save up to a day of travel time.

Example: If you have a ten day trip that begins in Paris and ends in Rome, you would have the added expense of either a train or flight back to Paris, plus lose a half day or more getting back.

Do not try to save money by flying into a city in which you have no interest, then have to use travel time and spend more money to get where you want to go.

Example: You want to visit Venice and Rome, but can save a hundred dollars by flying RT into Milan. You then spend a half day and $40-50 getting to Venice and use another half day and $50-60 dollars getting back to Milan from Rome. You have saved no money and used a whole day of your vacay sitting on a train, not even seeing much.

Time is money on a big vacay. You don't want to waste it.
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Old Sep 7th, 2014, 02:39 AM
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If you fly an EU based airline you have more legal rights if things go wrong
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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I don't think there is any sure way to find a cheap ticket to Europe. I agree with the previous poster who advised you to seek a nonstop flight if possible - much less hassle and less chance of getting your luggage lost. I would also suggest that you begin following flights now and sign up for some price alerts from sites such as Kayak. Also, set in your mind a price that you think is reasonable, and buy a ticket when (and if) the price reaches your criterion. Finally - once you buy a ticket, stop following prices!
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Old Oct 4th, 2014, 04:41 AM
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"Both times I have traveled to Europe in the past, I flew Lufthansa.'

And if you fly from the DC area out of Dulles you are going to have to change in Frankfurt.

Nobody ever knows for certain "when the best time to buy tickets is." If they did nobody would be buying at any other time.

I agree with pricing tickets into various airports in Italy including MXP (Milan), FCO (Rome) and VCE (Venice) and I would do that using Kayak.com and I would do it now.
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Old Oct 5th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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The best time to buy a ticket is when the airline is having a sale, but there are far fewer sales than there used to be, especially for travel in the Summer. September might see some, since people with kids have gone home because of school. My experience is that third party sites, often don't find the sales, so when I'm looking, I pick the airlines that fly where I want to go, and monitor their web sites. It follows that you have to know your destinations before you start your shopping. My wife and I found Venice a very romantic place; Rome less so.

Most people can't find a nonstop flight and are forced to fly through a hub. I've never been willing to drive hours to a hub and pay high parking fees, just because of the remote possibility that one of our bags might get delayed or even lost. I just take a taxi to our local airport and enjoy all the money I've saved.

There have been a lot of changes in flying as airlines have cut back. You may find an old posting of mine saying the best prices on tickets were for sales two or three months before the flight, and prices within one month of the flight would almost certainly be higher. For a few years that was true, but things have changed and I'm no longer sure about the two or three months, but I still think one month before the flight is not a good time to buy. My advice now is to find a price you will be happy with, and buy if that price shows up, but perhaps sixty days before the flight, if your price hasn't shown up, just buy at the current price.

The idea that a certain day is better than another day to buy tickets is erroneous; do all the airlines collude to sell cheaper tickets on a given day? You can often save a little by flying on certain days; I don't play that game, so have forgotten what the days are.

Good luck in finding a good fare.
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