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Should I just use a travel agent?
shwnsds
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Hi Fine People-
For my Sig O’s 40th Bday I’m taking him all over southern Italy to eat like pigs for 26 days. We’re leaving from Austin and can depart no earlier than Aug 29 and return no later than Sep 27. (We can cut the trip shorter if it will save us hundreds, but not worth tens.) We can easily drive to Houston or Dallas (family in both places) and depart from there if it would save us more than $50. We do plan on renting a car for part of the trip but not while we’re in Rome. (SO not while in Rome!)
Plane ticket prices are melting my eyeballs! I’ve tried all kinds of ‘fly to NYC then to London then fly Ryanair’ kinds of geometry but no matter what I do it always seems to add up to a pile of Thousand Dollars per ticket.

Thinking maybe if we can get a cheap car rental thrown into the package it might make up for my melted plane ticket eyeballs. We were hoping to spend $750/plane ticket and then $300 or less for a 2 week car rental.

But then I think it’s going to be impossible to get a plane/car deal since we don’t want the car for the whole time.

Wondering if I should just consult a professional and stop trying to work this math out myself. I’m not very good at math.

plus… er.. um.. i think i’m too stupid to use the ITA software. It won’t let me enter multiple city names.

If anyone has any help to offer that would be SWELL!
Thanks!

I am leaving from Austin, TX with $5000 for 29 days
Rome, Naples, Messina, Taormina, Palermo, Catanzaro, Matera, Lecce, Rome

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

Don
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You do what you want, but realize that you will have to pay a travel agent per component. I don’t think you’ll find one who would book this air+car for you for less than $100 each person. Also, they have little incentive to find the best deals for you, but lots of incentive to convince you that you couldn’t do any better without them. Think about that.

In my experiences with TAs, because I sometimes have to use them when work requires me to, I always find they don’t know me anymore once they have their fee. They don’t answer phone calls, they don’t answer emails, of course their office hours are offset 6 hours from most of Europe, so actually getting them when you’re in a jam—via very expensive phone call, btw—is nearly impossible. And they never do anything for me that the airline can’t do better itself when I speak to a live person in the airport.

I see AUS-FCO via ORD with American at $979 total using Aug 30-Sep 27. Book from AA.com.

For rental cars, try Skyscanner, Momondo, KelkooUK, and Easycar.

shwnsds
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Well that settles that! Thanks for steering me clear of near-semi-disaster. Just getting kinda desperate. Leads to ideas like ‘Should I maybe go to a loan shark?’

That fare thru AA comes out to over $1K when they add in the taxes and fees. If it’s the same one I was trying for ($444/each way?).

I may just have to face up to cutting our trip $500 shorter than planned. Sigh.

Gonna sit tight for a while longer and continue fretting and scouring the interwebs.

Thanks!

I am leaving from Austin, TX with $5000 for 29 days
Rome, Naples, Messina, Taormina, Palermo, Catanzaro, Matera, Lecce, Rome

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

Don
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Nope, the ones I found were $979 total with taxes, but only on the dates I posted for you. Surrounding dates were showing available at higher fares. That’s a very, very good fare from Austin to Rome in peak season. Before checking, I would have guessed it $1300+ which is more typical for US-Italy airfares through August, and sometimes into Sept. as well.

Orbitz and Kayak have good +/-3 day flexible searches.