Airline Tickets: First Step

Okay, I guess one of the first things I planned was the dates we wanted to travel and our flights. I actually booked our travel dates around flights because our travel dates where flexible.

The quick tips for airline tickets and travel:

  • Start looking for flights 6 months in advance. We bought ours 5 months ahead.
  • Search the sites daily, but we found the lowest prices on Tuesday afternoons.
  • Decide if you want a round trip flight or if you’d rather return from a different location. We chose to fly in and out of different locations to save time traveling back up to Venice to return home.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be the cheapest days to fly.
  • Check with several airlines and online sites to compare prices.  We bought tickets from Kayak for our trip there and studentuniverse.com for our return flight. Atlanta to Venice and Palermo to Atlanta.
  • Also, prices are reasonable to fly within the country. We flew from Naples to Sicily for a little over E-100 for two people. That was with travel insurance. Wow!
  • Print your boarding passes online and check within 72 hours to reconfirm your reservations and departure time. The airlines can have schedule changes and if you’re late, you lose.
  • For International flights, I would show up at least 3 hours in advance. Sometimes it takes a while to get through security and customs.
  • I would suggest taking carry-on luggage to save hassle and money. This is also easier to tote around if you’ll be taking buses and trains between cities. We have many tips to show you how to get by with very little in your bag. The carry-on bag dimensions for European airlines are 9″ x  14″ x  22″ including handles and wheels. You can also carry a personal bag or purse.
  • We registered with the U.S embassy and they sent us any travel alerts via phone emails. We found out about a protest in Rome against the U.S. regarding the American “interference” in Ukraine. We avoided that thanks to our alerts. It was a peaceful demonstration but  the state department warned that it could still turn confrontational and escalate into violence so it was good to know about it. Check it out at travel.state.gov

This is a detailed summary of my process:

I searched airline flights on several online sites and directly with the airlines.  We flew into Venice and flew out of Palermo so round-trip tickets were not an option.  Even though round-trip tickets would have been cheaper, we felt the time saved by flying in one area and out of another would be worth the extra dollars. We also booked a flight from Naples to Palermo because that was the fastest way to get to Sicily and it wasn’t that expensive.

After hours and hours of searching and comparing flights, I ended up booking our flight into Venice with Kayak. I didn’t buy them right away because I had months before our trip. I checked prices daily and noticed a difference depending on which days we flew as well as what day I booked. I think Tuesdays were the best days to fly. I may have gotten a better deal if I had waited longer but I didn’t notice much difference after watching prices for a couple of weeks so I booked them. $1844.96 for one way to Venice for two adults, which I think was great. I saw several more fares that were double that amount and although we didn’t have a direct flight, I felt that it was worth the savings. It was an Aeroflot Airways flight, which went through Moscow and was a great Russian airline. I booked our flight from Naples to Palermo with Volotea Airlines for a little over $100 one way for two people. I can’t believe that you could fly anywhere for $100 but you can. I ended up booking our return flight from Palermo, Sicily to NYC on to Atlanta with studentuniverse.com, which I called to verify, you don’t have to be a student to purchase tickets with them. They had the best prices and I purchased travel insurance with them also for a grand total of $1474.10 it was a Meridiana flight from Palermo and US Airways flights on to Atlanta.

Everything went well on our flights other than the usual delays that happen and because we only had carry-on luggage, we didn’t have to deal with baggage claims or any of those hassles.

Contact me, James Garner, if you have an questions or need a more detailed explanation of anything I’ve mentioned: email: jamesgarner@eatwritepacklight.com

I can try to help as much as I can through email or if you feel like you need more assistance, you can hire me as a travel coach. I charge $25.00 per hour with a 2 hour minimum.

 

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