no longer sells air tickets, since more people want to shop for
airfares on their favorite websites or from the airlines directly.
However, it helps to talk to us about your itinerary before you select your flights.
get a quick look at schedules and prices, we suggest that you click
here for Orbitz, then click on "Flights" and "Multi-city." The only reason you may want to start with Orbitz is that it usually displays more flight options than other airfare websites, so you can get a quick idea of the scheduling possibilities. Then you can shop around other websites to compare for the best prices.
For most trips to Italy, you will want to fly into one city and
out of another. So at any airfare website, you will need to get
the input screen that allows you to choose a different city for
your return from Italy. That screen is typically called "multi-city"
or "multi-destination." On Orbitz, on the first page
click the tab for "Flights," because you cannot use
the "Quick Search." Then click the button for "Multi-city."
Type in your departure city in the USA, your date of departure,
and where you expect to fly into Italy, such as Rome. Then type
in your departure city in Italy, such as Venice or Milan. For
most trips we do, it is less costly overall and more convenient
to fly into one city in Italy and out of another. However, if
you wish instead to fly into and out of the same city (usually
Rome or Milan), please remember that there will be additional
cost in money as well as time to return to that city by train.
We can help by suggesting the best airport choices to fit our land packages.
Orbitz (or your preference for another airfare website), you can
type in the city names or you can use the three-letter airport
codes. Here are the key codes for Italy and Switzerland....
Milan -- MXP
Venice -- VCE
Florence -- FLR
Zurich -- ZRH
Geneva -- GVA
Genoa -- GOA
Pisa -- PSA
Naples -- NAP
Here are some things to watch for in choosing flights and airfares....
many connections? Often, the lowest cost flights have more connections.
the connection times longer or shorter than you want? We don't
like to see them less than 90 minutes between when one flight
arrives and the connecting flight departs. For some airports you may need more. We commonly see connection times offered at the Paris main airport (CDG) that are much too short, even less than one hour, causing you to rush and get really stressed trying to make the next flight.
- The most vulnerable part of many Italy trips is the connection you may have on the flight into Italy, especially if that connection is at an airport in the USA. For example, if you are flying from Los Angeles, connecting in New York, and you miss the flight from New York to Italy. You will probably need to wait overnight for another flight, thereby losing your first night in hotel in Italy (non-refundable), plus an airport arrival transfer in Italy (non-refundable), and maybe even a sightseeing tour in Italy (also non-refundable). There are two things you can do to protect against this problem. The first is to avoid a short connection time (try for 2 hours or more). The second is to get trip insurance, and be sure that it covers you for trip delays.
- When you are returning from Italy to a US airport, you will
need to clear customs at that first US airport, so if you have
a connecting flight to another US airport, we recommend aiming for two
hours, usually a comfortable margin.
- At the other extreme, you
might see that the lowest-cost flights have a five or six-hour
connection time. If you've got the time and patience for that, you may be able to save a lot on the airfare.
- Just don't buy air tickets without thinking seriously about
the connecting times.
is the departure time from Italy or Switzerland? Many flights depart around 7:00 am, some as early as 6:15 am. And since you
want to be at the airport well in advance, that could mean getting
up by 4 am on the last day of your vacation. If you object to
doing that, better look for a later departure.
you look at an airfare quote, be sure to see that airport taxes are included. Airfare quoted on Orbitz or most any major airfare website,
will usually include all taxes and fees. BUT when you see sale fares advertised
by the airlines and by mahy tour companies, airport taxes are normally NOT included. This
is important because those taxes can add $90 or more to the
cost of your airfare. Also, the airlines have a terrible habit
of quoting sale fares that are just ONE-WAY! So be sure to read
the fine print.
other sources. Orbitz can be a pretty good indicator. But you
might find a lower fare somewhere else, maybe even in the travel
section of your Sunday paper. And you'll want to check some
of the other major airfare websites such as Expedia, Travelocity
or Cheap Tickets. Or one of the airline websites.
that whatever website you go to for airfares will present you
first with a simple option to check roundtrip flights -- for
example, Chicago to Rome and back. If you want to fly back from
a different city, like into Rome and out of Venice, you must
click on the option for "multiple cities" or "multiple
destinations" or "more options" to get an input
screen where you can request a different city for the return
trip. Don't let people tell you that it's too expensive to do
that. It may be. But often there is no significant price difference to fly
into one city and back from another. And even when there is
an apparent savings to fly back from the same city, even up
to $100, you may find that the extra money you must spend to
get back to that city by train will cancel all the savings.
We often see people buy flights in and out of Rome, then tell
us they want to go to Venice. Then they find out that the cost
of the train ticket to get back to Rome makes the total cost
higher than if they flew out of Venice. And then there's that
day of vacation that goes just to traveling back to Rome. We
suggest that you talk to us about the itinerary before buying
your air tickets.