Now we need to make an airline reservation. Airfares have been going up as the number of carries goes down (Us Air and American merger is now complete). We have seen airfares fluctuate all over the place. We were paying $1100 to $1300 per person for a roundtrip non refundable fare (Philadelphia to Rome non stop). Now it is hard to find these but they do exist. Off season you can get fares for $800 to $1,000. We have seen fares at $1,800 and some as high as $2,500 for non refundable. That is crazy!
Multiple stops are sometimes cheaper at $750 to $1,000 but can cost you an extra night in a hotel. We saw some that flew you from Philly to Charlotte and then the next day Charlotte to Rome. One discounted fare of $750 flew you Philly to London, London to Moscow and then back to Rome.
The European airlines are offering discounted fares within Europe. You might be able to find the cheapest airfare to any big city in Europe and then take a discount airlines to your Italian destination. If we chose to do this, we would spend a night or two at that city and see it. Then you are on European time and can continue to Italy.
Having a frequent flyer card can get you free flights but it takes a lot of miles (usually 110,000 to 130,000 miles per roundtrip fare). We use the Capital One Venture Card which gives you 2 points for every dollar you spend on anything with no limits. You can at any time redeem points for $.01. It becomes a discount on your account. It doesn’t have to be for airfare. That is a 2% kickback on your account.
If you plan to travel often to Europe as we do, you will need a card similar to this to help reduce overall airfares. There is a bonus program now that offers 40,000 points if you use the card and spend $3,000 in first 3 months That is a $400 bonus). You can easily do that by putting all your bills on the card and using it at every store you visit.
Airfare shopping is important and may be your most expensive single item. Experts say that booking an airfare between 20 and 22 weeks prior to your trip date will yield the cheapest fares. Being flexible on dates you travel can also reduce fares a lot. Leaving on a Tuesday or Thursday usually yields cheaper fares than a Friday through Monday.
George & Jo Anne