In the last week and one half we have been considering the Christmas holidays in Italy. Or, perhaps from just after Thanksgiving to just before Christmas. The air fares are lower in the winter than during the "high season" (March through October) and the weather from Rome south is pretty mild. In fact, it compares favorably to the winter weather in Southern California! Before we commit to living in Italy we need to try the different regions in the "quattro stagioni". (my Italian is pretty lousy but I think I just said the "four seasons"). I note fares for late November 2007 around $800 RT from the west coast of the US. From NYC or other major east coast cities the fares are less than $650 RT...both quotes to Roma Fiumicino (Leonardo di Vinci) airport.
It seems that the decision must be made at least three to four months in advance of travel or the fares really jump. That doesn't mean that one cannot find a good fare at the last minute, but the more advance the purchase the better the probability of a good fare...again, maybe not the best fare, but a good fare, at the very least. If you are a gambler, start looking for fares 60 days before your planned departure...you might find a super discounted fare resulting from unsold tickets for a particular destination and day of travel. Another tip...if you have accumulated air miles use those air miles to get from your location to a major east coast airport. We have saved more than $300 per ticket per trip doing the latter (traveling from Seattle). Also, if you look at tours, sometimes the combination of airfare, hotel and some meals is a real good deal! And...often one can extend (stay beyond the tour dates) at no extra airfare cost to you...turn a six day trip to Rome into a three week tour of Italy?
Next post...more about our 1984 trip...the one that "hooked" us!