Help me start planning my Adriatic trip for next year!
August 9, 2013 12:41 AM   Subscribe

Okay, team. I'm going to take a trip to the Adriatic area next year for the month of August, but I've revealed myself to be inept at finding flight pricing. That, and I'd like some pointers for what to look into I'm the planning process, if you have any ideas!

I'll mostly be in Albania, but I want to visit Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and maybe Serbia, too. I know the region and the languages I need either well or well enough, but I've never planned going over there outside of a group that was taking care of the arrangements for me.

What should I expect to pay for a round trip from the end of July to the end of August, or thereabouts? Would there be any advantage to flying somewhere other than the Rinas airport in Tirana, Albania, and then driving there? I'll be doing a lot of research over the next year, so any recommendations on things, books, or people I might want to look into? I know my way around Albania pretty well, but any great thoughts out there on where to go or what to see and do in the other countries?
posted by dubadubowbow to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would you like us to guess where you are travelling from? :)
posted by AnnaRat at 12:53 AM on August 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: If possible, yes :) Denver or SLC airport, thanks.
posted by dubadubowbow at 1:00 AM on August 9, 2013

Best answer: Ok, I don't have any specific advice from that location. But basically the airlines only have prices for 330 days out, so if you are searching for late July or August next year, the flights won't show up in most flight searches. So you may not be inept, you may just be looking for something that doesn't exist yet!
posted by AnnaRat at 1:19 AM on August 9, 2013

I would find the cheapest flight you can get to Rome and then fly on one of Italy's budget airlines to Albania. I saw a rome-tirana flight for less than $150 on alitalia.

If you have extra time, you can get the cheapest flight you can get to anywhere in europe, then take a budget flight to rome, then a budget flight to Tirana.
posted by empath at 2:17 AM on August 9, 2013

Round trips to Europe in July/August tend to be pricey. Usually around 1200-1800 USD. If you buy early or keep your eyes open for deals, you can sometimes get something around 600-800. If you see a price like that *do not hesitate* just buy. Aer Lingus (will have a layover in Ireland) and Iceland Air (will have a layover in Iceland) tend to have regular deals like that. Not sure what EUR airlines fly out of your area, but flying from the East Cost, that is who I find to be cheapest.
posted by chiefthe at 3:51 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the flight to Rome and e budget flight from there. You can also try some of the cheaper destinations in Italy. It is super easy and cheap to get around Italy via budget airlines or trains and will likely save you lots.
posted by mrfuga0 at 4:16 AM on August 9, 2013

Best answer: Go to Kayak and set up price alerts (not available from the front page, you have to click the little "more" triangle and set up a Kayak account but it's worth it!) for a bunch of possible flights. I would set up a bunch of them, SLC-Tirana, DEN-Tirana, SLC-Rome, etc., and maybe also use the "Top 25 cities" feature which lets you just look for cheap flights to a region (in your case, Europe). You can set it for, say, under $900, and see what you get (you might not get anything, or not for a long time, but you've got time!).

This feature isn't perfect - sometimes fares disappear before you get to them, sometimes they are so improbably low that I suspect they never existed in the first place, and sometimes the cheap flights involve a ridiculous number of long layovers. But it gives you an idea of what's out there.

Another thing you might want to consider is flying into Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is more of a tourist destination and is served by more airlines (including budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet) than Tirana. I have no idea how difficult/easy it is to get from Dubrovnik to Tirana beyond that they don't look too far apart on a map! Dubrovnik is right next to Macedonia though.
posted by mskyle at 6:32 AM on August 9, 2013

To be honest I find the budget airline thing to be a matter of diminishing returns for Americans in most situations. Especially for you, flying from Denver or SLC. You'll likely fly to an east coast city, change planes, then possibly have another layover somewhere like London or Paris, THEN get to your "cheaper" budget airline city (Rome?), THEN have to get on another plane to your final destination. Meanwhile you've shaved maybe $100 off your price. Just fly to where you want to go. Trust me. I've priced this out a lot of times, and it's never actually worthwhile.

In my experience the best way to insure the cheapest possible flight to anywhere in Europe is to not travel in July or August.
posted by Sara C. at 7:20 AM on August 9, 2013

Best answer: There's a non-stop from PHL to VCE Marco Polo in Venice I take fairly frequently, and it looks like Austrian Airlines and Turkish airlines flies between VCE and TIR Tirana, so that could be an alternative to Rome as you research flights. You might also investigate flights between Zagreb or Split, Croatia and Tirana. The cheapest flights to Zagreb seem to fly from Newark, NJ or Kennedy in NY, though if you have to change carriers at Kennedy it can be a terrible pain to switch concourses.

Agree with above comments that Summer is most expensive for flights, though it's the absolute most beautiful season on the Adriatic. And if you can add a side trip to Dubrovnik, you will never, ever regret it!
posted by citygirl at 8:47 AM on August 9, 2013

Fly in and out of Athens, Vienna, or Venice, and travel one way overland?
posted by mdonley at 10:15 AM on August 9, 2013

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