Italy: The Plane Tickets

I went ahead and made the move last night to purchase our plane tickets to Italy! Kind of a rush actually doing it, as I feel like this makes it real. Something about having the tickets, our biggest expense, gives me the feeling that we aren’t just talking about this now, it’s actually going to happen. I’ve been looking forward to this for months now, scouring as many websites as I can trying to find my way around the obnoxiousness of buying airfare.

We had originally planned to fly from Madison to Rome, and I was getting really nervous about the high prices I was seeing: $1400 per person r/t. That would have eaten a huge hole in the rest of my budget and I was getting worried. Enter the “More” feature on Kayak, where you can peruse a general month or season and see what airfares are all over the world from your home airport. I was shocked to see that a flight from Madison to Milan was only $843 per person r/t.

After reading so many sites that told me to book my tickets 131 days before my flight, I was so hesitant to wait to buy these tickets that I went ahead and did it anyway. Somehow, this flight, having 2 layovers and going from Madison-Detroit-JFK-Milan was cheaper than anything else I could find, including flights that cut out Madison completely, or even the one from JFK direct to Milan. Something is amiss, but as Marcus said, airfare is always screwy and maybe their algorithms are off. Who knows. I bit the bullet, and for a total of $1686, tickets are bought, and coming in $300 less than my planned budget, and $1000 less than flying into Rome.

This does alter our plans, as we had hoped to start off in Rome and do some sightseeing, then head to Florence and Venice, back to Rome and possibly some day trips thrown in to Pisa and Naples. Now my plan needs to head back to the beginning. Starting in Milan is going to mean more train tickets and less time in other places if we do decide to stay in Milan for a few days.

In purchasing these tickets, I did do a lot of website hopping. I first saw the cheap flights on Priceline, and no other site. Wanting to see how that compared to the carrier itself, I went onto Delta’s site and found the same fare! Awesome! Booking with the airline makes me a lot happier than going through another third party as we now have our seats chosen and may qualify for upgrades if they come up. We might be those people who pay the extra $100 for first class tickets on our overseas flights, who knows. I also like that if there is a problem, we have Delta to fall back on, and aren’t left out in the cold with Priceline or Expedia.

So, tickets are bought! Check that off the list! Now only 180 days until we leave, not like I’m counting or anything….


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