We booked our trip through this site. They have a lot of package deals similar to Groupon, but they also give you the option to totally customize your trip. Oh my gosh, it was so fun to play around on that site! At first, I entered in all our dream cities "just for fun..." But then when I saw the price (and did like five double takes), I realized that we could actually go to all our dream cities!
They key to finding a great price through that site is to play around with the different options. Warning: this takes a lot of time and patience! Here are some things to play around with:
- Departure & return dates: By moving our departure day one day forward or back increased or decreased our trip by $1000. Seriously. We found that it was significantly cheaper to fly out on a Monday than it was to leave on a Sunday.
- Order of the trip: Changing the trip order around drastically altered the price. At first, I tried an itinerary that looked like this: fly into Spain, then to Italy, to Greece, and fly back. By flipping the order, we saved about $1000. The last part of playing around is knowing which
- Cities: There were a few cities that tacked on a lot to the cost of the trip. Some, we were willing to forgo, and others we really wanted to visit. If a city was significantly more expensive, we decided to either leave it out, or stay there for a shorter amount of time.
- Transportation: (If you're only going to one or two cities, you're in luck and you can just skip this step altogether!) Knowing which parts of the trip to bundle is really important for maximum savings. Be ready to spend a lot of time on this step, and to open a million tabs in your browser. My advice is to first see what your trip total looks like with all travel included. Try switching your mode of transportation from plane to train and see how that affects the price. Then check small airlines like this one or this one and train ticket prices. If they are cheaper, book those flights or trains instead. We booked some on our own and some through the travel company. It ended up being cheapest for us to fly between each city. Thank you, budget airlines!
Our final itinerary looked like this:
Athens (4 nights) --> Santorini (2 nights) --> Palermo (3 nights) --> Positano (3 nights) --> Barcelona (2 nights).
And now, I'm planning imaginary trips as I type. I might have a problem.