With summer just around the corner, and industry analysts predicting a record-breaking travel season, high travel prices might seem inescapable. But with our picks for this season's top bargain destinations, even travelers on tight budgets can find ways to make the most of a summer vacation.
I've monitored travel trends, industry news, and sale patterns to point you in the direction of places that offer the best bargain value for the coming season. Below you'll find examples of deals presently available for summer trips. Like all deals, these are sure to expire; however, a little research on your part can yield similar results when you're ready to book.
Italy rarely makes it onto anybody's bargain list. It's all the more rare to see it as a bargain in summer, when Italy is at the peak of its tourist season. However, new service from three airlines makes Italy more affordable than usual this summer. Plus, Rome was recently voted among the top most affordable popular cities in Europe. Go figure.
Alitalia will begin direct seasonal service between Boston and Rome on July 2. Delta begins flying between New York and Pisa, the gateway to Tuscany, on May 31. European low-cost carrier easyJet has expanded its Italy network from London's Gatwick airport to five destinations, including Rome and Venice, and in late July, it will add service to Palermo, Sicily. The airline also indicated that it will continue to cut fares to stay competitive with all the other European low-cost carriers.
Though Alitalia and Aer Lingus are between sales for coach airfare right now, both have recently run sales with noteworthy prices for flights between the U.S. and Italy, and are worth keeping an eye on.
Meanwhile, a spate of sales for business class flights to Italy (and elsewhere in Europe) from Continental, Delta, and Alitalia can make flying in style a whole lot less expensive. Delta has also put Milan flights on sale.
Package provider 1-800-Fly-Europe is running an Alitalia Italy special with summer Boston-to-Italy flights, car rental, and hotel from around $1,000. Go-today.com also has summer packages such as six-nights and airfare between New York and Rome for about $1,300.
Plus, VisitEurope.com has information on earning free train travel in Italy when you book accommodations.
For information on the latest sales, and tips on travel to Italy, visit the SmarterTravel.com Italy Travel Guide.