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Not sure how to get to Greece
freshPine
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Hey everyone,

I skimmed the forum but didn’t find the info I needed. Anyway a friend and I want to go to Greece for around 2 weeks in the summer. We’d like to depart from Tampa FL to Athens around June 21 and return around July 2-4.

I’ve spent quite a long time on all the travel sites and the prices are just ludicrous: $1400 – 1600 each! I’ve read that a better thing to do would be to purchase a flight to London or something, then take EasyJet or RyanAir to Athens. Is it feasible to get our total ticket costs to around 900-1000 this way?

It’s just that something about this idea seems iffy to me. Is it really as simple as buying a roundtrip ticket to London (or wherever’s cheaper in England) and then buying a RyanAir or EasyJet roundtrip to get to Athens?

Should I buy the RyanAir/EasyJet tickets online at the same time I buy my London tickets or is it better to buy them at the airport?

I’m just worried that something will go wrong if we do this…I mean like, say the flight to London is scheduled to arrive at 5 PM. It would be best to have the flight to Athens atleast a couple hours away right (to give time to get off the plane and get luggage again or whatever?)

I’m sorry, I’m just totally stressed out from this whole prospect.

Thanks for any help.

Don
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What you found is typical of peak season flight prices from N. America to Greece. Yes, it is often cheaper to make your own connection via a less-expensive hub. The risk on 2 separate tickets that you book on your own, is that if Airline A gets you there too late—for whatever reason—Airline B does not, and most likely will not—accomodate you, and you’d completely lose the second ticket. Whenever you no-show any portion of a scheduled flight itinerary, the remaining flight legs on that ticket automatically get cancelled. To try to get them back, you’d pay the change fee (typically $250) plus any additional airfare if it’s gone up since you booked; and last-minute international flights are usually very expensive.

So to make a 2-ticket strategy work, you must plan plenty of time to make the connection. 4 hours is the minimum I’d consider if the price break was stellar, but even then I’d know I’d be gambling away the rest of my trip. I think it’s better to plan a night or 2 in the city where you will connect—someplace that you’d like to visit, anyway—then your connection(s) are less-stressed.

From Orlando, also check Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Duesseldorf on Ticket A. Onward to Greece, see Skyscanner.net.

Another caveat: the low-cost airlines usually have more restrictive baggage policies—usually 1 checked bag will cost about 20 Euros if booked in advance—plus many fees that you might not expect, such as 5 or 10 Euro booking fee, 5 Euro credit card fee, 10 Euro advance seat selection fee each way, pay for any onboard food or drink, etc. Not totally awful, but just be prepared for that. Sometimes the larger airlines compete on price with the low-cost airlines on similar routes, and the larger airlines sometimes are less-restrictive with baggage and fees. From Dublin, for example, in addition to Ryanair, also check Aer Lingus to see what they’d charge (actually, I don’t even think Ryanair serve Athens!).

See www.greeceflights.co… for info on a multi-ticket strategy to Greece.

freshPine
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Thanks so much for your reply, Don. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

You mentioned “peak season.” Although we can’t leave any earlier than late June (we’re university students and are taking the summer session), we could feasibly leave as late as early-mid August. Is that off the peak-season and would tickets be cheaper then?

Don
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Peak season = June-August
Low season = Nov.-March, except around Christmas (or if there happens to be an early Easter)
Shoulder season = inbetween

A $600 low season transatlantic airfare becomes a $900 shoulder season airfare becomes a $1300+ peak season airfare on the same route.

Outbound date determines fare season. Length of stay can also affect total fare, but usually not as much as outbound season. So, for example, it can be very smart to get outbound, say, late May as opposed to June 1 — it can save hundreds of dollars just by shifting departure 1 day earlier in some cases.

Sometimes there’s a shift to lower shoulder-season (Fall) fares on some routes around mid-August. I just checked Tampa and Orlando to Athens for you, looking at the entire month of August outbounds, staying 13-14 nights.* I do see a drop but not until Aug. 26, from fares running mostly around $1358, suddenly down to $1022 from Aug. 26.

*See the tutorial on this forum to try out ITAsoftware for yourself — play with dates and cities to see if you come up with something better; then, run it through BookingBuddy.com, and/or sign up for fare alerts if you’ve got more than a couple of months ‘til departure.

Try ITA with other cities—on the 2 ticket strategy—to see if there are better breaks earlier in Aug. that might afford a 2-ticket strategy for you.

Since you are students, check the student ticket sites for possibly better offers. Those are listed in our new user thread, pinned to the top of this forum.

freshPine
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Thank you for all your great advice Don. We did all you suggested, but it was impossible to find anything below 1300. This has convinced us to try to go in December. $400-500 ticket price difference is a lot of money to broke college students. Thanks again.

finnegan
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Errr…Greece in December is friggin’ cold (hence why no one goes there in December, hence the low ticket price). I’ve been in Greece in late October and even by then many restaurants and clubs are closed for the season as are many hotels (especially on the islands). The water is freezing and it’s often rainy. You will not be getting the true Greece experience by going in December. It also gets super windy in December and ferry schedules are greatly reduced.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

Cil
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Finnegan speaks the truth.
I have not been in Greece in December, but my kid got snowed on in Athens in March.
Greece has a Mediterranean rather than subtropical climate.
You have been given really good advice, but one other thing that might work is either a Greece/Italy combination or just trying to get a cheap ticket to Rome, and getting to Greece from there by flight or ferry.
Have you seen anything on STA or Studentuniverse?

Bigfoot
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There’s no point going to greece in December, unless you only want to visit museums and alike.

What’s your goal there anyway, island hopping, or Athens?

I would consider places like Italy and Spain as well. Barcelona, Roma, etc, maybe you can find some better rates!

finnegan
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What about a Spain/Morroco combo?

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

tigrouflip
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I was going to suggest what Cil wrote. Fly into an Italian hub, train your way to Bari, Ferry to Patra explore Greece, get back on the ferry in time to get back to your flight. This way you would be getting a slither of Italy while maintaining security on your flights and saving money. It could be fun! Try Rome and Milan for cheap international flights.

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $3000 for 36 days
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Mostar, Sarajevo, Bol, Makarska, Florence, Málaga, Seville, Barcelona, Ibiza Town