USA TODAY is among the media outlets reporting that summer travel to Europe looks to be up over past years, with travel to Italy especially popular. (Why? Dollar more stable, Olympics coverage provided PR.) Travel reporter Laura Bly featured yours truly in her article Friday.
Laura’s query got me thinking about what travelers can do now to get ahead of the crowds and make their summer trips to Italy more enjoyable. I will jot down a few ideas now — and bring you some suggestions from friends of Dream of Italy in the coming days:
Booking flights: There never seems to be enough seat capacity for summer flights to Italy. That means book as early as possible. It can pay to look into new/seasonal flights being added this year as they only recently opened up for booking. This is particularly true if you are using miles — a hint I always follow — much easier to find seats on new routes that started taking reservations a year ago.
We detailed some of the new services in the February issue:
- Delta starts flights between Atlanta and Venice June 6
- Delta started seasonal service between Cincinnati and Rome March 1
- US Airways starts daily service between Philly and Milan May 30
Then of course there’s Eurofly – the airline that brought seasonal service to the U.S. last year. They’re adding flights from New York’s Kennedy to Rome. They already had flights between Kennedy and Bologna, Naples and Palermo.This will help with capacity and what a nice change to have direct flights from the U.S. to southern Italy.
Ground transportation: In terms of rental cars, automatic transmission (favored by Americans) cars will be in demand. Travelers will want to book some of their train travel ahead of time ESPECIALLY if they are traveling on summer weekends or ANYTIME during the month of August (when Italians vacation en masse). Italia Rail (a DOI sponsor) sells Italian train tickets to the North American market.
Note: Our friends at Italia Rail just came through with a nice offer for Dream of Italy subscribers. Buy any rail pass before April 30, 2006 and receive a 5% rebate. Log-in for details on how to claim the rebate.