Best time to buy my Italy airfare?
March 20, 2015 9:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm hoping to purchase my tickets to Italy soon - should I wait or pounce now?

My route is taking me from a small Midwest airport to Venice, with the return flight originating from Rome for a trip in early October. I've been stalking the various obvious websites as well as the travel service my university provides and so fat ticket prices have been pretty stable - right around the high $1300s to the low $1400s. Would it behoove me to wait until, say, April to buy, or is this the range I should expect to pay?
posted by PussKillian to Travel & Transportation around Italy (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Conventional wisdom is that you should buy tickets for international flights between 150 and 225 days ahead. However, keep in mind that flights between small airports are limited, so if you wait too long, you might be stuck flying at a time you don't want, or with a layover you'd like to avoid. Sometimes an extra $100 or so is worth it to avoid the stress of changing to a connecting flight.

I have a lot of experience flying between the Netherlands and various small Midwest airports, and I usually end up paying between $1300 and $1350, so your range looks reasonable to me (considering Schiphol is a bigger airport than Venice or Rome, so there are more airlines to choose from). I've seen flights between the US and Europe in the $900 range (via discount airlines such as Aer Lingus and IcelandAir), but getting from a big hub airport to a small one usually adds a couple hundred dollars on top of that.

On the off chance that you have a SomethingAwful account, you should check out this thread; if you post your travel details, people will help you scout out ticket prices.
posted by neushoorn at 2:01 AM on March 21, 2015

I'd hold off. International airfare 6 months in advance will be super expensive. Airlines are riding the Europe summer train right now. For my September trip to Europe last year, I bought 2 months in advance and paid exactly 1 grand. You should be able to find something similar. I'd say even $1,100-1,200 would be high for October.
posted by signondiego at 4:43 AM on March 21, 2015

I just bought my ticket from a major US hub flying into Venice and out of Milan for $1,320 leaving in 4 weeks.
posted by showmetheway at 9:12 AM on March 21, 2015

We bought tix for our spring trip (I write this from Rome) in September, and paid $765 RT into Milan and out of Rome from Seattle.
Sign up for every alert mechanism you see, I found out about this fare from an alert I get about quarterly.
Also, compare where you fly into, you may find cheaper flights into Milan, and I got super saver train fares to Venice for $9/person.
As always, ymmv, but good luck!
posted by dbmcd at 9:50 AM on March 21, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, all. Started to get a little worried since I was indeed coming from a small Midwest airport, so I kept haunting the sales and finally found something for just over $1200 that didn't have ridiculous layovers. I may have gotten a better deal if I had waited but given the circumstances I'm happy to buy a little early.
posted by PussKillian at 6:20 PM on March 23, 2015

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