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to Greece Inexpensively- Putting the Strategies Together!
Well, it was time to
go through the search process once again to get flights to Greece.
And once again the flights were more expensive than I wanted to
pay, so off I went into the search mode. Checking everything search
engine I could find to try to get an idea of the fares. Everything
I found for the Raleigh to Athens flights were over $1100 for travel
in September of 2007. I usually try to put one ticket with FF miles
or my Credit Card miles, but I was a few thousand short on the Credit
Card miles and about 50,000 miles short with my Delta FF miles.(Delta
was bragging about offering many more seats for the 100,000 mile
level- but pretty much has gotten rid of the 50,000 miles.)
I started playing around
with other cities and found that USAir had some flights around $600-700
to Italy. As I had a friend in Slovenia I wanted to see and thought
it would be fun to explore Northern Italy a little on the way to
Greece I decided to focus in on the flights to Italy. I thought
that I would fly into Venice and then take the ferry to Athens.
I didn't want to fly back to Venice on the way out, preferring to
fly direct from Athens to the US(USAir now has direct flights from
Athens-Philly). The open jaw flights from RDU-Venice and Athens-RDU
ran about $2900(2 adults and my 2 year old daughter). By playing
around with the dates I was able to get the price down to about
$2750 which was not bad.
I decided that I wanted
to try to find even better fares so I tried other European Cities(London,
Rome, Vienna, Paris), but nothing dropped the fare until I tried
Milan. The fare dropped to $2130 for the 3 tickets. This was vaguely
reminiscent of the old days of flying, but I still had to figure
out how to get to Greece.
I looked into the different
Italian departure ports(Venice, Brendisi, Bari and Ancona) and weighed
a little over 100 euros for a cabin from the southern ports to over
200 euro from the northern ports) and travel time 13 hours from
the south to over 24 hours from the north. The idea of a relatively
inexpensive "cruise" was appealing(children are free on
some of the ferries so you'd only pay for two adults in a cabin-
airplane seats and deck class are even less if you want to save
more money- but I was a little concerned about the comfort of my
family) so I filed the notes away and then beginning looking into
The only direct flights
seemed to be from Milan or Rome and ran about $150 per person. That
was a little more expensive than the ferry(We would have to buy
3 airline tickets, but only 2 ferry tickets), but it was a difference
of 3 hours of travel time vs. 13+ hours. Another consideration was
that we would be spending 1/2 to 1+ day of our holiday on a ferry
which would take away from the time we spent exploring Greece or
We know had the getting
to Greece options layed out but part of the puzzle was missing.
We had to get from Milan to Slovenia, Venice and possibly the ferry.
The original plan was to drive down the eastern coast of Italy and
meet the ferry in one of the southern ports(Brindisi, Bari, or maybe
Ancona). We looked at car rentals(again running various searches
and getting quotes from about 10 different auto rental companies.
We found that a one way auto rental to an eastern Italian port city,
either raised the cost significantly or was not an option with some
companies. This seemed to indicate that we would have to return
the car to Milan to get the best value.
Since there was no ferry
from landlocked Milan, we decided to search more fllights. We'd
pretty much search all the major commerical airlines so we started
to look at some of the discount airlines. We found the EasyJet web
site and ran a search from Milan to Athens. Lo and behold we found
a fare for 22.99 Euro plus 11 euro tax. A fare of 34 euro per person($45
dollars). I guess you can figure out what we did!
We rented a car for about
$370 for the week, plus all our hotels and expensives so the savings
were not that great over the flights directly to Greece, but we
got a week in Italy plus flights to and from the US for a little
more than what we would have paid for a flight directly to and from
Our flight into Milan
arrived at 630am, and the flight to Athens left at 1230pm so we
could have flown in and out on the same day which would have saved
us close to $1000 on our tickets. So... spending time looking and
a little creative thinking CAN save a lot of money!