PAYING AND BUYING THINGS IN ITALY

Buying and Paying in Italy

It’s not easy tricky to travel on a budget but with the changing Global market it is getting easier to use our money.  When traveling to Italy you should keep the following tips in mind.

TAKE CASH BEFORE YOU LEAVE

First, I recommend that you have a couple hundred EUROS with you before you leave the US. That is to ensure that you have some cash handy for your first expenses: taxi cab, sandwich, phone calls, etc., most small shops do not take a credit card for small payments. Also during your entire travel I would suggest this small amount to be kept and pay with your credit card as much as possible.  Each Region you travel in will have different quantity of Bancomat dispersed in a town, the Euro is the ONLY currency used in Italy.

USING YOUR ATM CARD IN ITALY

ATMs (Bancomats) are the best way to take cash out once you are in Italy, but the daily limit is 250 Euros (banks do that to prevent fraudulent transactions), so again, make sure you have enough cash before you leave. 
Banks have very strange hours to say the least (some, but not all, follow this schedule: 8:20am-1:20pm and then from 2:35pm-4:05pm), so it’s not always easy to find one open while you’re out. Make sure to tell your local bank the dates you will be gone so your check card doesn’t get blocked!! Also, make sure your PIN number will be good overseas, some banks require a different PIN, so again, ask your local branch. DO NOT take Traveler's Cheques, they are VERY hard to change, many banks off the tourist track do not accept, so avoid the whole trouble by not taking any.

USE YOUR CREDIT CARD


Most stores in the bigger cities take credit cards, but not the majority when you’re in a small town. Also, stores are more willing to give you a small discount on price if you pay cash! MasterCard and VISA are the most commonly accepted cards. You will get a better exchange rate by using your credit card, as opposed to exchanging US dollars in Italy. Keep in mind that if you pay cash, you're more likely to get a discount in an independently owned store, if you ask for it.  However, when you pay by credit card you'll be able to track your spending better and dispute a charge. Each credit card company has their own policy about international exchange rates and many may even add an international exchange fee on top of the exchange rate.  Make sure you check with your bank or credit card company about their policy.

DON’T BRING CASH US DOLLARS

A note: use your credit card, use ATM machines (which in Italy are called “BANCOMAT”), but don’t exchange your cash dollars, unless it’s an emergency, because shops will give you a terrible rate and you’ll end up paying a commission. Stay away for the exchange booths in the Airports near train stations in the major cities.  You will not find Money Change Shops in smaller cities and most smaller bank branches do not even have dollars on hand.  Remember, can you just walk into any American bank and exchange for Euro's?

GET MONEY BACK BY ASKING FOR A TAX FREE FORM


A great way to save money is to fill out a “Tax Free Form”, which you can ask for in many retail shops around Italy. The 20% SALES TAX (VAT) is already INCLUDED in the merchandise that you are purchasing, so if an item is 10 Euros, that is what you’ll be paying at the register (tax is not added at time of payment like in the USA). You will need to fill out this form completely, with your address, passport number, and other personal information, but this is legal and controlled by the government.
 The Italian government encourages foreigners to spend by refunding a little over 13% of the sales tax. In order to qualify there is a minimum purchase amount of 150 Euros, either as a single item or total purchase price of multiple items in one single store. By filling out the form and keeping the original receipt, you can present it and the tax form at the airport information desk  at your departure airport. You will get roughly 13% refund of the tax you’ve paid on the reciepts you present. The refund is given as either cash (Euros or Dollars) or by crediting your credit card (this may take longer while the cash refund is instant). Note that this refund doesn’t apply to food expenses, restaurants, hotels, car rentals, and other tourist services.

 SELECTING ACCOMODATIONS IN ITALY

Hotels in Italy, Italiaoutdoors Travel Guide

Accommodation in Italy can take many forms – some of them have names you will be familiar with, others will be different. Sleeping in Italy is often expensive, so budget a bit more for this portion of your travel allowance or plan to try cheaper options like hostels or Agriturismo to save money. A good Travel Planner will have visiting your lodging selection in advance, but if you venture out on your own and you do not make reservations in advance, keep in mind it is always okay to ask to see a room before you decide to stay there.

ITALY HOTELS

Tips on Selecting a Hotel in Italy

All hotels use the official star classification system, from 5-star luxury hotel to 1 star accommodations. Room rates are based on single (camera singola) or double (camera doppia) occupancy, in every hotel room rates should be posted, (generally on the back of the room door).  Rates vary by season and sometimes special events and holidays specific to the region.  All hotels with a rating of 2 star and above should have a private bath, 1 star hotels could have shared baths.

Most hotels included breakfast (prima colazione) within the room rate, but be sure to ask specific or request to do without and the rate is usually reduced 5-7 euros.  Breakfast is generally served in a communal room with buffet style service; pastries, bread, butter, jam, cereal, yoghurt, coffee, and juice.  Some hotels that cater to American and English travelers also serve eggs and other items, confirm if is included or not in room rate or you may be charged extra.

Hotels for families and tourist areas offer half board ('mezza pension'), which is breakfast and dinner included within the room rate.

Booking is best done with the hotel direct rather or through a Travel Planner.

FARM HOUSE OR AGRITURISMO'S

Located throughout Italy are small family 'farms' called AGRITURISMO that offer simple rooms and meals based on the local gastronomic and wine traditions.  Many of the places offer many homemade products and local recipes and are a great way to experience the 'real Italy'.

BED AND BREAKFAST

B&B's are accommodations that provide a bed and breakfast in a private home.  There are now thousands of B&Bs throughout Italy and classified into 3 categories.  Some are located in historic towns centers, in the suburbs of the city, and in the country side.  Rooms for guests are furnished but do not always have a private bath. Quality varies greatly and there is very limited space so booking ahead is a must for the more popular areas.

HOSTELS

These are dormitory type lodging for student travels, check out the 'Let's Go' Guides for a listings.

VACATION RENTALS

Apartments, small homes, and villas now can be rented for a week at a time, some offer short term stays during off seasons.  Most of these are just homes with not addition services.  A great options of families and groups of friends who wish to explore a specific area while biking or hiking. 

FOR VACATION PLANNING SERVICES TRY THESE SITES:

Private Active Vacation Planning and Guide: McClure's Italy

Great Food and Wine Tours

Travel Planning,

Italiaoutdoors Custom Vacation Planner and Guide

Tips On Planning Your Italian Adventure

BACKWARD PLANNING TO YOUR DEPARTURE There's a lot to do when planning a trip, and a helpful order in which to do things. I find that the one thing that keeps me up in the final few nights before a trip is not so much the excitement over the impending trip as it is going over and over (and over) in my head the list of things I still need to do. Simply writing this list down goes a long way to help keep it off my mind. Here is a step-by-step list of everything you need to do to get ready for your trip, starting with getting a passport (if you don't already have one) and booking your flights, hotels, tours, etc., then on to the final days of packing and preparation, and then the day of travel itself. Once you're on the plane, you're on your own. (Well, OK, here are a few tips to help make the trip more comfortable.) This list is detailed, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of the little things, the dumb things, and the overwhelmingly obvious things. In all honesty, I've left for the airport without my wallet several times and had to turn around. 8 to 6 months before your flight - Get a passport. They say it takes six to eight weeks to get one (though it often arrives before that), so plan accordingly. If you already have a passport, be sure it's valid for at least six months beyond the date of return for your trip, as many countries won't let you in with a passport that's about to expire. 6 to 4 Months before your flight - Starting looking into airfares. You don't want to book them just yet, just get a sense of what the going rate is so you can keep an eye out for deals—unless you run across a phenomenal fare (from the East Coast, anything under $500, including taxes, qualifies for early purchase; from the Midwest or West, anything under $700 to $800).· 4 to 2 Months before your flight - Buy your plane tickets. Now is the time to lock in the best price you can find and buy your pane tickets. Congratulations. The trip is real now. 3–8 weeks before your flight - Get guidebooks. Actually, you could get these later, but since the next step is booking hotels, you'll want the advice in the guidebooks on that.· 3–8 weeks before your flight - Start booking places to stay. After you have your airfare locked in, feel free to start booking those key hotels (or hotel alternatives). If you're booking a longer-term stay like a villa or an apartment, do it as soon as your travel dates are locked in (i.e.: right after you've booked the airfare). Sure, you can wait a bit longer on hotels—or leave the trip more wide open to juggle your itinerary as you go. However, (a) it's always wise to book at least the first and the last nights, and (b) if there is a particular lodging you want to be sure you get, or are already comfortable with your itinerary, the sooner you book hotel rooms, the better your chances of getting your first or second choices (hotels that are cheap and central sell out quickly).· 2–3 weeks before your flight - Start packing. Yes, do its this early. There are two reasons: (1) This way you won't end up frantically packing at the last minute, which always seems to take five times as long as you'd thought and keeps you up way past midnight. More practically, (2) you'll find there are specialty travel items you need (electrical converters, travel clothes, etc.) that will need to be ordered from a catalog ahead of time, and who wants to pay for rush delivery?· 2–3 weeks before your flight - Look into tours. If you want to sign up in advance for a walking tour, guided day trip excursion, something fun like bike ride along the Brenta Canal or a hike in the Piccolo Dolomiti, or arrange for a private guide, go ahead and do it now.· 1–2 weeks before your flight - Book entry times to key sights. There are some sights—like Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Galleria Borghese in Rome—that sell out days, even weeks in advance. Book them now or risk not getting to enter them at all.· There are others—like the Colosseum in Rome; the Uffizi Galleries and Accademia (The David) in Florence; the Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge's Palace in Venice; the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua—that are wise to book ahead since they will save you up to an hour or two of waiting in entry lines once you're there. Again, go ahead and book those first three (LeaningTower, Last Supper, Galleria Borghese) now. For summer travel, I'd say also book at this point any of those others mentioned above you want to see, since entry times sell out fast in high season. At other times of year, if you prefer to keep a looser schedule, you can wait on booking any of the others until you're there; just try to do it at least two or three days ahead of time so you won't be disappointed. 2 nights before your flight - Finish packing. Seriously. Have everything in your bag and carry-on except your wallet and cellphone. Again, it will take longer than you expect, and this way you won't be up until 2am on the night before your flight. You'll be up until 2am on the night before the night before your flight. Trust me on this one.· The day before your flight - Prepare to leave. If you have note already done so, make your backup info sheets and leave copies where you need to. Call your credit card companies to let them know you'll be using the cards overseas (crucial if you don't want them to freeze the account when, from their point of view, you card suddenly starts acting suspiciously—like making large purchases in another country). Contact the post office to hold mail and put a hold on the newspaper delivery service. Make sure the neighborhood kid you hired to walk the dog and water the plants knows the difference. Check your flight times to make sure everything is still on track. 24 hours before your flight - Check in online. If online check-in is available for your flight (not always the case with international flights), do it as soon as it is allowed—usually 24 hours ahead of time. Just go to the airline's website, follow the instructions, and print out the boarding pass (I always print two—one for my pocket, one to stow in my carry-on—just in case). Doing this gives you peace of mind, ticks one more thing off the to-do list, and comes with several perks at the airport: With some airlines, this slightly reduces the cost for your checked bags (if the airline charges for this). It might save you time at the airport, since there is often a fast-track line for people who only have to check bags and not check in (works with Skycap service, too). Even better, if you travel with just a carry-on (no checked bags), you can just breeze right up to the security line with your pre-printed boarding pass. The last person to check in for a flight is the first to be involuntarily bumped if (when) the flight becomes overbooked. Check in early. Four hours before your flight - Leave for the airport. This is assuming you live within about 30-60 minutes of the airport, and are therefore budgeting an hour of travel time. I always aim to be at the airport three hours before my flight. Yes, that is way more time than they say necessary—technically, depending on the airline, you need to check in 60 or 90 minutes before your flight. Most people say to be at the airport two hours early. I prefer three (plus a generous amount of time to get there), because adding an extra hour will reduce stress levels—and air travel is ferociously stressful to begin with. That extra hour allows plenty of padding for delays, traffic, and long lines. I have, on any number of separate occasions, spent more than an hour in (a) traffic, (b) check-in lines , and (c) security lines. I've also waited half an hour for a tardy car service to show up, and been to airports where it literally takes 20–30 minutes to walk to where you need to be. Now, imagine if the stars of misfortune aligned and all of those delays happened sequentially. You'd miss the flight. If even only one or two happen—or there's, say, 15 minutes waiting for the car service, 30 minutes of traffic delay and a combined 45 minutes of waiting in airport lines. Suddenly, you're getting to the gate with barely enough time to hit the bathroom before boarding starts. Leave early, and you'll be happier. Just pack a good book and maybe a magazine or two to help kill time at the airport. Two hours before your flight - Plan to be at the gate. You should have already picked up some snacks and extra reading material, filled up the empty water bottle you brought with you through security, and visit the bathroom. Remove from your carry-on everything you actually want at your seat (as opposed to in the overhead—guidebook, a novel or magazines, snack, drink, gum, neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones) and put those into a small plastic bag so you can just sling that into your seat when you get to your row, stuff your carry-on into the bin, and sit down quickly.

Need Help Planning Your Italy Vacation

Italy is one of the most diverse places in the world to visit but there is more to the country then Venice, Florence, Roma, Cinque Terre and a couple of other top attractions.  If you plan you days well and understand how to move around within the country you can a great cost effective vacation full of activity, history, culture, and great food and wine.  Contact us to get the insights to travel in Italy.  We offer: Travel Consultant- book time online for a web chat to answer your questions about traveling in Italy. Travel Planning - need help outlining and planning your adventure in Italy. Scheduled Tours - each month we lead a scheduled tour for those looking to join a small group to explore. Travel support:  Bike Touring - routes, bike rental, bag transfers.  Walking/Hiking Tours - routes, bag transfers. Booking assistance and suggested contacts.

For More Travel Planning Assistance

Read more: Backward Planning to Your Departure

Italiaoutdoors Custom Vacation Planner and Guide

Travel Planning Tips For Italy | Airports

FLYING TO ITALY WHICH AIRPORT TO ARRIVE TO Italy has more than 130 airports throughout the entire peninsula and islands, services have gotten better and with the cost of gas and train tickets, there are several great options to connect your travel destinations by air. The two major direct international gateways in to Italy are Rome and Milan, and there are several other airports that serve as primary hubs for their regions many offering limited direct international connections.  Many of the smaller Regional airports can be reached by flying into an European hub first, this gives you many more options on ticket prices. The list below is of the major airports in Italy, this is a working list so it is not 100% complete and there is constant change of services that I can not keep up with.   Depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re going in Italy, there may be a smaller regional airport that would also be a good option for you (you can often find these by looking at Google maps and zooming out a bit until you see an airplane icon, or by consulting the official website for the city you’re visiting). For each airport listed below, there are also a few airlines listed that serve that airport – that’s also not an complete list, so be sure to check all your options for whatever airport you’re considering. Airports in Italy Listed by Region Abruzzo, Italy Abruzzo Airport (PSR) – Located near Pescara; served by Alitalia, Air Transat, Ryanair Aosta Valley, Italy Aosta Airport (AOT) – Located in Aosta; served by Air Vallée Basilicata, Italy There are no commercial airports for tourist use in Basilicata. The closest airport for most visitors is Bari Airport in Puglia. Calabria, Italy Lamezia Terme Airport (SUF) – Located near Catanzaro; served by Air One, Alitalia, Blu-Express, easyJet, Ryanair Reggio Calabria Airport (REG) – Located near Reggio Calabria; served by Alitalia, Air Malta, Trawel Fly Crotone Airport (CRV) – Located in Crotone; served by Alitalia Express, Danube Wings Campania, Italy Naples-Capodichino Airport (NAP) – Located in Naples; served by Air France, Alitalia, Air One, British Airways, easyJet, Germanwings, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Spanair, Transavia.com, Vueling, Wizz Air Emilia-Romagna, Italy Bologna-Borgo Panigale Airport (BLQ) – Located in Bologna; served by Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Czech Airlines, easyJet, Germanwings, Iceland Express, Jet4you, KLM, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Scandinavian Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines Forlì Airport (FRL) – Located near Bologna; served by Belle Air, Wind Jet, Wizz Air Parma Airport (PMF) – Located in Parma; served by Belle Air, Ryanair, Wind Jet Rimini-Miramare Airport (RMI) – Located near Rimini (nearest airport to Republic of San Marino); served by Air Vallée, Albanian Airlines, Ryanair, VIM Airlines, Wind Jet Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy Friuli-Venezia Giulia Airport (TRS) – Located near Trieste; served by Alitalia, Belle Air, Lufthansa Regional, Ryanair Lazio, Italy Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) – Located near Rome; served by Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air Malta, Alitalia, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Baboo, Blue Air, Blue1, Blu-Express, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, EgyptAir, El Al, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Jet2.com, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Luxair, Malaysia Airlines, Meridiana Fly, Niki, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airways, Swiss International Airlines, Transavia.com, United Airlines, US Airways, Vueling Airlines, Wind Jet, Wizz Air Rome Ciampino Airport (CIA) – Located near Rome; served by easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air Le Marche, Italy Ancona-Falconara Airport (AOI) – Located near Ancona; served by Alitalia, Belle Air, Lufthansa Regional, Ryanair Liguria, Italy Genoa Airport (GOA) – Located in Genoa; served by Air France, Air Italy, Alitalia, Blu-Express, British Airways, Lufthansa Regional, Ryanair Villanova d’Albenga Airport (ALL) – Located in Albenga; served by Air Vallée Lombardy, Italy Milan-Malpensa Airport (MXP) – Located near Milan; served by Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Algérie, Air Berlin, Air China, Air France, Air Italy, Air One, Alitalia, American Airlines, Atlasjet, Austrian Airlines, Blu-Express, Blue Air, Blue1, bmi, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Bulgaria Air, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, EgyptAir, El Al, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Flybe, Germanwings, Gulf Air, Iberia, Icelandair, Jet Airways, Jet4you, KLM, Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malév Hungarian Airlines, Meridiana Fly, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Sky Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airways, Swiss International Airlines, Syrian Air, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways International, Transavia.com, Turkish Airlines, Twin Jet, Ukraine International Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Vueling Airlines, Wind Jet Milan-Linate Airport (LIN) – Located in Milan; served by Aer Lingus, AirBaltic, Air France, Air Malta, Alitalia, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Carpatair, easyJet, Iberia Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Scandinavian Airlines, Wind Jet Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport (BGY) – Located in Bergamo; served by Air Arabia Maroc, Air Italy, AlbaStar, Alitalia, Amsterdam Airlines, Belle Air, Blue Air, Carpatair, Danube Wings, Eagles Airlines, Meridiana Fly, Pegasus Airlines, Ryanair, Wind Jet, Wizz Air Molise, Italy There are no commercial airports for tourist use in Molise. The closest airports for most visitors are the ones in Naples (Campania), Foggia (Puglia), or Pescara (Abruzzo). Piedmont, Italy Turin-Caselle Airport (TRN) – Located near Turin; served by Air France, Air Italy, Albanian Airlines, Alitalia, Blue Panorama Airlines, Blu-Express, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Darwin Airline, Iberia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines, Wind Jet Cuneo-Levaldigi Airport (CUF) – Located near Turin; served by Air Arabia, Belle Air, Blue Air, Ryanair, Wizz Air Puglia, Italy Bari-Palese Airport (BRI) – Located in Bari; served by Air Berlin, Alitalia, British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Ryanair, Spanair, Wizz Air Brindisi-Casale Airport (BDS) – Located in Brindisi; served by Air One, Alitalia, easyJet, Ryanair Foggia Airport (FOG) – Located in Foggia; served by Alidaunia, Darwin Airline Sardinia, Italy Cagliari-Elmas Airport (CAG) – Located near Cagliari; served by Alitalia, British Airways, easyJet, Edelweiss Air, Germanwings, Luxair, Meridiana Fly, Ryanair Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB) – Located in Olbia; served by Air Alps, Air Berlin, Air Italy, Alitalia, easyJet, Edelweiss Air, Helvetic Airways, Iberia, Jetairfly, Lufthansa Regional, Meridiana Fly, Transavia.com, Welcome Air Alghero Fertilia Airport (AHO) – Located in Alghero; served by Air One, Alitalia, bmibaby, Meridiana Fly, Ryanair, TUIfly Nordic Sicily, Italy Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) – Located near Catania; served by Air Berlin, Air Italy, Air Malta, Air One, Alitalia, Blue Air, Blu-Express, British Airways, Cimber Sterling, Eagles Airlines, easyJet, Germanwings, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Transavia.com, Smart Wings, Trawel Fly, Wind Jet, Wizz Air, XL Airways France Palermo-Puna Raisi Airport (PMO) – Located near Palermo; served by Air Berlin, Air Italy, Air One, Alitalia, Blu-Express, Darwin Airline, easyJet, Iberia, Jetairfly, Lufthansa, Luxair, Meridiana Fly, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Tunisair, Vueling, Wind Jet Trapani-Birgi Airport (TPS) – Located near Trapani; served by Air One, Meridiana Fly, Ryanair Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy Bolzano-Dolomiti Airport (BZO) – Located in Bolzano; served by Air Alps Tuscany, Italy Pisa-San Giusto Airport (PSA) – Located in Pisa; served by Air One, Albanian Airlines, Alitalia, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Elbafly, Germanwings, Jet2.com, Meridiana Fly, Ryanair, Transavia.com, Vueling Airlines, Wind Jet, Wizz Air Florence-Peretola Airport (FLR) – Located near Florence; served by Air Berlin, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airways, Baboo, Brussels Airlines, Cimber Sterling, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Swiss International Airlines Umbria, Italy Perugia-Sant’Egidio Airport (PEG) – Located in Perugia; served by Belle Air, Ryanair, Skybridge AirOps Veneto, Italy Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) – Located near Venice; served by Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Berlin, Air Corsica, Air Europa, Air France, AirBaltic, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, bmibaby, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cimber Sterling, Croatia Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Eagles Airlines, easyJet, Emirates, Finnair, Iberia, Jet2.com, Jet4you, KLM, Lufthansa, Meridiana Fly, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Thomson Airways, Turkish Airlines, US Airways, Vueling Airlines, Wind Jet Treviso-Sant’Angelo Airport (TSF) – Located in Treviso; served by Air Arabia Maroc, Belle Air, Germanwings, Ryanair, Transavia.com, Wizz Air Verona-Villafrance Airport (VRN) – Located near Verona; served by Aeroflot, Air Dolomiti, Air France, Air Italy, Air Malta, Air Moldova, Alitalia, Belle Air, bmibaby, British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa Regional, Meridiana Fly, Mistral Air, Neos, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, Transavia.com, Vueling Airlines, Wind Je Tips on Using the Major Carriers Alitalia and other major airlines There are two ways to fly into Italy: Using any major U.S.airline, Italy's Alitalia (or one of its code-share partners), or a major European airline like British Airways, Air France, or Lufthansa Using the low-cost carriers and doing lay-overs in hub cities. This is the old-fashioned and still standard way to fly to Europe: on some major airline you've already heard of. Most major U.S. airlines offer flights to Italy—direct from the East Coast and other major cities; if not, at least connecting through· New York. Then, of course, there is Alitalia (www.alitalia.com), Italy's national airline. Alitalia is no better or worse than any other major airline out there, and, as you'd expect, tends to have the largest number of direct flight from the U.S. to Italy: Alitalia flies direct to Rome from New York, Boston, and Toronto daily, Chicago six times a week, and Miami regularly, as well as from Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Saõ Paolo.Alitalia also flies direct to Milan from New York and Saõ Paolo, Brazil.Alitalia also code shares with Continental (if you book an Alitalia flight that leaves out of Newark rather than New York's JFK airport, you'll almost certainly be aboard a Continental jet), is now a strategic partner with KLM/Air France, and is a member of the Sky team alliance (www.skyteam.com), which includes Delta. All of which means you can probably book a ticket on any of those carriers (and accrue your frequent flier miles) and still fly Alitalia to Italy. You can also often fly to Italy on a major European airline, usually connecting through a hub in their home country (say, London on British Airways, Paris on Air France, or Frankfurt on Lufthansa). Why bother? Sometimes a European carrier will be having a system wide sale that drops its prices lower than even U.S. ones. It always pays to check. One of the major benefits to using a major airline is that you can often arrange to fly "open jaws"—into, say, Rome and back home from Milan—which will save you at least several hours of backtracking and probably a day's-worth of vacation. Tips for finding the least expensive airfare Know where the deals are (E-savers; fare alerts; deals newsletters) Know that timing is everything (high season is summer, X-mas; buy 6–8 weeks out; be flexible) Don't pay retail (airfare aggregators; wholesale consolidators; Priceline & Hotwire - bidding & opaque fares) Deploy insider secrets ( vacation packages; frequent flier miles; the London Switch)

Need Help Planning Your Italy Vacation

Italy is one of the most diverse places in the world to visit but there is more to the country then Venice, Florence, Roma, Cinque Terre and a couple of other top attractions.  If you plan you days well and understand how to move around within the country you can a great cost effective vacation full of activity, history, culture, and great food and wine.  Contact us to get the insights to travel in Italy.  We offer: Travel Consultant- book time online for a web chat to answer your questions about traveling in Italy. Travel Planning - need help outlining and planning your adventure in Italy. Scheduled Tours - each month we lead a scheduled tour for those looking to join a small group to explore. Travel support:  Bike Touring - routes, bike rental, bag transfers.  Walking/Hiking Tours - routes, bag transfers. Booking assistance and suggested contacts.

For More Travel Planning Assistance

Read more: Flying to Italy What Airport Should I Arrive At?

PLANNING A CUSTOM BICYCLE TOUR TO ITALY

Bike Tour Italy

Picture your ideal active cycling, skiing or hiking vacation in Italy - routes and activities selected just for you, world class food and wine, and immersion into authentic Italy.

Vernon McClure, recreational programming expert and developer of Italiaoutdoors online guides, uses his expertise to design very special holidays for small groups of 1-12 people. All activities; be they fitness, cultural, or food and wine based are selected and designed with your group in mind.

  • Your activity: cycling, running, hiking, walking and ski options range from easy tourist routes to the most challenging climbs in the Dolomites. Vernon's regional knowledge enables him to customize routes for each group.
  • Your pace:  the Northeastern Regions can support different route options for your group, so each individual guest has the perfect ride, walk or ski route just for them. There are plenty of alternate activities and excursions to be enjoyed when you and non riders.
  • Your guides: I (Vernon) lead each and every trip, we are there to insure it runs smoothly.
  • Your money: Private trips don't need to be more expensive than group trips - we can work with you to design something to fit your budget.
  • Your perfect trip: We can modify to adapt to the weather, your desires, or to take advantage of opportunities for any unforeseen adventures that we may discover along the way!

What do our guests say?

"I have been on 9 bike tours with various companies but I have learnt more about biking in a week with Vernon, than all the other trips combined.  A great plus is my husband to be is now as excited about riding as I am, thanks to the positive experience created during this trip." DH

"We can hardly find the words to explain what a fantastic trip this bike tour has been. We were looking for a memorable way to spend our anniversary and indeed we found it. The biking, cooking, eating and touring were all incredible." -BH

Click here to learn more about how we provide different route options for groups of mixed abilities.

Are you organizing a trip for a small group of 4-12, or a bike or walking club? 

Take a look at our suggested bike tours to get an idea of where you can go and what to do then I can help you custom your active vacation!

Private travel with Vernon- Italy by bike, ski and hike tours; active vacations are created and personally led by myself, I can make adjustments for you as you learn more about the area.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more about our services, and how we can work with your group to create your perfect bike, ski or hike holiday adventure in Italy!