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Buying Airline Tickets to Italy

The Awaken the Artist Within Tour starts in Venice on September 29 and ends in Florence on October 12th. If you are only joining us for the week at Spannocchia, participants will meet us in Florence on October 4th, but still depart on October 12th.

Here are the things I think about when making my decision –

  • Will I be staying longer in Europe on one end of the trip, or both?
  • Do I want to arrive a day early, just to get over the rush of travel before our tour begins?
  • An open-jaw ticket, arriving at my first destination, and departing from my last is somewhat more expensive, but, it will save time and money in Italy.
  • Most flights from the Continental US leave late in the day and arrive the next day. On the way home flights leave early and arrive on the West Coast around dinner time.
  • A High-Speed Train from Florence to Venice takes about 2 hours and costs about $100.
  • Venice is the nicest city to arriveĀ  in, as the small airport means quick arrival, and there is a water bus to the Islands of Venice. Nothing like arriving in Venice by boat.

So now I’m going to look at fares. As of January 25, 2017 –

  • SFO to VCE, October September 27, FLR to SFO, October 12 – $1293
  • SFO to VCE, round trip, September 27 – October 12 – $978
  • SFO to Rome (FCO), September 27 – $543

These are all American Airlines, I use Google Flights to look for fares.

There is usually a dip in fares 8 to 12 weeks before you fly. I sign-up for a Google Fare Alert on google flights.

In this case, I would choose to fly in and out of Rome. I would purchase a ticket from FCO directly to Venice, take the Leonardo Express directly from FCO to Termini Station in Rome and change to the fast train to Venice. I would book a train ticket from Florence to FCO for my return. It would take me 4 hours to Venice, and 2 hours back to the airport. It would save me about $500.

Usually, I find it is possible to get open-jaw tickets much more cheaply. I usually pay around $750 for the cheapest economy tickets, so, the saving is more like $100, which I gladly spend to save the six hours travel time at the beginning and end.

One decision to make is “what airline tickets should I buy, and when should I buy them?”