You have planned your trip to Italy and would like to explore other parts of Europe before your Italy portion. How do you get to Italy without spending a fortune?
There are 3 options depending on where you are travelling from: airplane, train or driving.
1) In Europe there are discount airlines like Ryan air, Easy Jet, Alitalia.it, Blu-express just to name a few that are a cheaper option then the major airlines like Lufthansa. Kayak.com is a great site to compare different airlines and prices.
Different airlines fly from different airports. When researching the flights be sure to check out which airport they fly out of. In Paris there are 2 airports – Charles De Gaulle Airport and Paris Orly Airport. Some flights to Rome fly out of the lesser know Paris Orly airport. If you are flexible on your dates search for flights leaving midweek rather then a weekend.
Beware of hidden fees. Make sure you read the fine print. I recently booked a flight from Dublin Ireland to Pisa, Italy that was quoted one way 60 Euros. After all the “extra fees” it turns out my flight was twice as much as I was originally quoted. Extras included checked luggage fee, credit card fees, reserved seating among others. It was still cheaper then the national airlines so I can’t complain too much.
2) Take the train to your destination. I had a client ask me “How do I arrive from Zurich to Florence?” After researching the options it turns out it was cheaper and faster to take the train. Rail Europe had some great deals on the train from Zurich to Florence. Trains from Zurich arrive in Milan. Once in Italy there is a transfer to a train to Florence. Total travel time was 6 hours instead of the 7-20 hours by plane. Venice or Milan is the major cities that are connected by European trains. Plan your Italy trip to start in either of these cities.
3) Rent a car and drive to Italy. When booking a rental car be sure to confirm the rental car is allowed out of the country of origin. For example renting a car in Paris, France may not be allowed to cross the border into Italy. Before you leave for your trip apply for an International Drivers Permit. In North America you can purchase it at your local Auto Association. They are valid for one year.
Have a great trip to Europe. Buon viaggio!