When I first decided I was going to Italy, I made two promises to myself. I promised that I would get the best deal and I promised that I would be in the moment the whole trip. Well, I kept both of those promises, but I will be talking about the best deal part in this post.
Now let’s get right down to it.
The key thing that allowed me to find the best flight deals possible was the website skyscanner.net. This website allows you to type in your departure and arrival city and the dates you want to travel and it scours the internet for the best flight deal possible. It even gives you the option of selecting an entire month if you’re flexible on dates! For my trip, I knew for sure that I wanted to depart on a Saturday, that way I could take advantage of as many vacation days as possible, and I also knew that I wanted to come home on a Saturday so that I would have the Sunday to recuperate before going back to work on the Monday. Aside from that, I was flexible within 1 week of my ideal departure date. Usually, the more flexible you are with your dates, the better, and it also helps if you start checking for flights as far in advance as possible, that way you can set a price alert on the flight and it will e-mail you every time the price changes.
These e-mails are a life-saver as they save so much time. One day, I got an e-mail saying that the price had dropped $150! That was a CRAZY drop in price! We booked it as soon as I opened the e-mail. That is another thing you have to be willing to do, book as soon as you see an ideal price because the prices update every 24 hours and you don’t want to miss out! Because of this price drop, we ended up booking our flight home BEFORE booking our flight there! It was a risk we were willing to take since we were able to get a DIRECT flight from Rome to Toronto for $349! This flight ended up being booked about 4 months before our departure date.
A few weeks later, there was another price drop, this time for a flight there. We ended up getting a connecting flight through to Milan for $463. ALWAYS take the connecting flight if it is significantly cheaper; direct 1-way flights were about $800. Our connection was in Brussels and since it was about a 12-hour connection, we were able to see another city for free! If you’re wondering why we bought a one way instead of a round-trip, it was because we wanted to depart and arrive in 2 different cities if possible in order to see as much of the country as possible. We were going to be travelling from city to city so we didn’t want to back-track.
Total Round-Trip Flight Cost: $812
There were 5 of us on this trip, so getting a hotel was out of the question. Actually, to be honest, hotels were out of the question even before I asked people to come on this trip with me because I knew they would be crazy expensive. Our next option was a hostel, however, we weren’t keen on sharing a bathroom with others and spending the extra money for a private bathroom wasn’t any cheaper than staying in a hotel. We came to a consensus that it would make more sense if we looked up places to stay on Airbnb.
Since I was the commander-in-cheif for this trip, I was looking up places to stay everyday, all day. It was getting too hard to send the links to everyone and trying to come to a decision over text message so we ended up getting together on a set date and started looking up places and going with what was available at that exact moment. There are SO many different places to stay on Airbnb in Italy that there is something that caters to every price point. We were looking for cheap but QUALITY accommodations; we wanted to be clean, comfortable, and have an authentic experience. We found EXACTLY that. I cannot rave enough about how amazing our apartments were. The trick is that the further away from the city centre you stay, the cheaper the places get. However, if you are staying outside the downtown area, ensure that you are within walking distance of a metro line. We google mapped addresses until all the street names started sounding the same in order to make sure that we weren’t going to be staying a ridiculous amount of time away from all the sites. The furthest we ever stayed from a city-centre was a 10 minute subway ride.
Since we had already booked our flights, we were firm with our dates and we chose places to stay based on what was available on the day we decided to sit down and book. This booking date was a month after booking our first flight, about 3 months from our departure date.
Milan (3 nights) $589; Venice (3 nights) $914; Pescara (3 nights) $786; Rome (4 nights) $787
Total Cost – $3,076
Total Cost per Person – $615.20
$615.20. For TWO WEEKS of accommodation. Crazy town. I can’t explain how much we loved our apartments and I WILL be doing a separate post on them sometime soon. I cannot recommend Airbnb enough; if you have a couple people you are going on a trip with, you can get a whole apartment to yourself, and if you are travelling solo, you can find great deals on private rooms. There are some people who have bad experiences such as owners not showing up for check-in, however Airbnb ensures that they will find you alternative accommodations. Just a note, we did not have any problems with anyone.
Total Cost per person for two weeks before spending money – $1,427.20
A two-week Italian adventure for under $1,500. That is UNHEARD of. Obviously, we spent a TON of money while we were there, but that was all thanks to the money we saved on our flight and accommodations! We were not stingy on our spending money, we took full advantage of our vacation. However, I wanted to show that it IS possible to travel to Italy and visit and stay in the major cities without breaking the bank. The rest is up to you.
- Be slightly flexible with your dates.
- Set price alerts for your flight on skyscanner!
- Realize that hotels are probably going to be more expensive.
- Flight & hotel packages might claim to be saving you money, however be sure to check how much flight & accommodations would be if booked separately.
- Have fun! Booking a trip is half the fun, so don’t stress, a deal WILL come up. Which brings me to…
- Be patient! Your e-mail alerts will come to you. Check Airbnb and other accommodation sites regularly.
I hope this helps someone! I know how discouraging it is booking flights from Canada as Canadian airlines charge disgusting amounts for taxes. If I can do it, you can! Just make sure you keep checking and you keep on top of your plans!