Tips for Snagging Affordable Airfare to Italy This Spring and Summer

It is no secret airfares to Italy are steep this year. Blame fuel charges most of all and also limited capacity. Where $900 roundtrip from New York to Italy in the shoulder season used to seem expensive, it now sounds about right. We’r have an information-packed conversation on Dream of Italy’s Facebook page filled with great Italy airfare tips — especially for buying tickets for this May, June and summer.

I’ve always said that Dream of Italy has some of the most knowledgable readers around and that I often learn a great deal from them. Looking to buy a plane ticket to Italy, here are some of the tips, tricks and strategies readers are talking about (some I’ve written about before but great reminders):

  • Big difference in fares between May and June so go in May if you can.
  • August (and Christmas) are always the most expensive in terms of Italy airfares. Italians are coming to the U.S. on vacation, Italian Americans are going home for celebrations, etc. Looking like $1,300 roundtrip for August.
  • Fly major airlines to Rome/London/big cities, then look for lower cost european airlines to destinations to smaller cities. WhichBudget can help you find airlines, routes. But keep in mind you might need to change airports (usually the case in London) and big fees for checked luggage.
  • AerLingus has some decent fares from JFK to Rome through Dublin. (Just under $900 r/t in May) Check about spending a few days in lovely Ireland!
  • Have seen sales on JFK-Venice routing – Air France, Delta. One reader got a fare for $690 r/t in May. Best we have heard of this season.
  • Six weeks ahead might be best time to buy (unless you’re going in the really crowded high summer season). Experts seem to thinking buying plane tickets too early or too late is where you spend more.
  • Sign up for alerts from sites like AirFareWatchDog, Travelzoo, etc. to monitor sales. Often you have to move very quickly.
  • Summer usually means a sale on business class fares to Europe. A business class ticket might be cheaper than you think!
  • Air France has some great sale fares for flights now through May 21.

Many thanks to readers Nancy Simioni, Dawn Sposato, Jennifer Dombrowski, Missy Staie, Howard Ladd, Carol Agia, Nancy Falvo for the tips and lively discussion.

The chat was prompted by my own search for a plane ticket for early May or early June so I will report back on any additional specific Italy airfare deals!