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We are wondering if we wish to travel inside Europe, i.e out of Naples to Catania then out of Ljubljana to Amsterdam then back to the U.S, is it easier to go to a travel agent like AAA or to take your chances with a travel agent in Italy and Slovenia.
Has anyone ever bought tickets over in Europe with no problem, or is it best to get them on the internet while you are in this country?

Posted by
9110 posts

More scoop first: Are you flying from Dallas to Naples? Why did you decide to fly from Naples to Sicily? How are you getting to Slovenia and from where? How are you getting to Amsterdam and from where? What we need is the whole stinking schedule, not just bits an pieces or all you'll get are fragmented answers. Basically, you'd probably want to do it before you leave so you know you have it all locked up at a good price. With those destinations, you probably can't make it a continuous open jaw, so you'd make the open jaw Texas to Naples and then Amsterdam to Texas. The rest would be inter-European flights. You don't need to use a travel agent anywhere. You can, of course, buy tickets in Europe either over the internet or at the counter.

Posted by
32244 posts

Jerry&Stelly, As Ed so eloquently stated, you don't need to use a Travel Agent for the trips you mentioned. I agree that some additional information on what you're trying to do would be really helpful, otherwise the advice offered may be incorrect. For open-jaw flights to and from Europe, you can research routes, times, prices, etc. and then book directly on the airline websites. That's the only function I normally book through a Travel Agent. I never use booking services like Priceline, Travelocity or whatever, so the others will have to comment on those. For flights within Europe, the best method is again to book directly on the airline websites. You can use www.whichbudget.com to determine which airlines operate on the routes you're considering. Note that in many cases, budget airines in Europe use a "sliding scale", with prices increasing as each flight fills up. Therefore, those that book early get the best price. If you wait until you're in Europe to buy tickets, you'll be paying FULL PRICE and it may be difficult even getting a seat. Most flights I've used over the years are FULL. Be sure to read their Terms & Conditions carefully before booking, as tickets are often non-changeable and non-refundable, and luggage rules can be restrictive. Happy travels!

Posted by
323 posts

Thanks for the quick replies. We are traveling with our granddaughter to Naples to stay in Sorrento and tour around the sites Pompeii, etc. When we put her on the plane for home we plan to fly to Catania to tour some of Sicily. We then plan to travel some of southern Italy. See the trulli houses and leave from Bari by ferry to Dubrovnik. Travel the coast of Croatia up to Zagreb then to Ljubljana. However,when we looked for flights out of Ljubljana to Dallas they were the 35hour kind so we thought Maybe we could fly into Amsterdam and fly KLM home. We are still planning but it seems we need to buy our tickets well in advance on line to get good prices. I assume they are reliable airlines and we will get some confirmation. We have bought tickets on the trains in Spain before and it worked out well, but we have never bought airline tickets for flights in Europe before.
And, yes, we plan to be over there for about two months so we are not trying to squeeze this in on a two week odyssey.

Posted by
3614 posts

I don't know how well-served Dallas is by United and its partner lines, but I'd be surprised if they don't fly from there. We just used them for a trip, which included a return from Zagreb to San Francisco, via Frankfurt. We had a 1 hour, 20 minute turn-around time in FRA (too short for my comfort), and the whole journey was something like 15 hours. 35 hours is wa-a-a-y too long. I think there are quite a few flights from Zagreb to FRA. Why not consider going to Ljubljana before Zagreb, and making the latter the end point of your trip? Check United and Lufthansa for flights.

Posted by
5450 posts

I just plugged in Ljubljana to DFW using dummy dates on www.kayak.com. Got lots of options, many with just one stop and in the 14 hr - 17 hr range. Where are you looking? As for internal flights in Europe, you are proposing to purchase two one-way fares, which can be kind of expensive. Flying is the way, however, to get around Europe these day, so lots of options abound. Again, my suggestion is to use kayak.

Posted by
2770 posts

For flying within Europe, one way fares are fine, they are offered by the budget airlines, e.g. Easyjet. Look at sites such as skyscanner.com to find out who flies between where quickly, book flights directly from the airlines.

Posted by
4062 posts

Since you may be unfamiliar with the low-cost airlines in Europe (or Southwest on this side of the pond) here are a few general guidelines: Most, maybe all, have no inter-line luggage arrangements with other airlines. If you are using a low-cost flight to get to a city such as Amsterdam to fly home, you will have to collect your luggage, go through immigration, check in with the trans-Atlantic flight and go through security. Budget airlines offer very low prices well ahead of the day of travel but those prices tend to rise as the tickets sell. If you are shopping only a few weeks ahead of time the cost may be about the same on a major carrier such as Air France. Also, domestic extensons on trans-Atlantic carriers such as Delta/Air France-KLM can be very cheap. There are no "round trips": each leg is sold as a separate ticket. The cheapo guys put a price on each service, including each piece of luggage. Read the airline Internet page very carefully to get a handle on total price and check-in procedures which are usually strictly enforced. Some of these lines have been flying for a substantial time and operate very large fleets. RyanAir and easyJet are among Europe's biggest carriers of any sort.
They may not appear on the the travel search pages turned up by Kayak and other international companies. www.skyscanner.com and www.whichbudget.com are useful shopping sites.

Posted by
323 posts

Thank you all for your good advice. WE will start looking now. We plan to leave the end of March. Our first priority ti to make plane reservations so we meet our granddaughter at an airport in the US so we fly overseas together. She will be an unaccompanied minor and leaving from Raleigh to meet us. She will be flying home by herself and it gets to complicated to try and get her here before we leave.
Thanks again for the info.

Posted by
4171 posts

I can recommend the ITA website: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ as a place to string together all your destinations and/or search using the calendar to find the lowest fares. Then you will need to go to the individual airlines to get the tickets. In 2011 (before I knew about ITA) I priced out a trip from Tucson to Lisbon to Florence to Stuttgart, then back home from Basel. The cost was about $3000 per person. Then I tried just Tucson to Lisbon and home from Basel using American carriers (or their partners) and internal European carriers from Lisbon to Florence and Florence to Stuttgart. We had to use 3: Lisbon to Madrid on Easy Jet, Madrid to Florence on Meridiana and Florence to Stuttgart on Air Berlin. Everything others have said about the additional costs for luggage is true, but even with that, we cut our costs in half, so the airfare ended up being $1500 per person instead of $3000. It was well worth the planning and flying took much less time than anything else we could have done. I can't think of a time when I used a travel agent for anything in the last 10+ years.

Posted by
895 posts

You say your granddaughter will be traveling as an unaccompanied minor for part of the trip. Make sure you get a letter from her parents stating that you have their permission to take her out of the country. I imagine it has to be notarized. This is usually asked by the airline at checkin. Also check with the airline you are travelling with if they require anything further.

Posted by
9110 posts

Actually you may not need anything for the kid. We travel with a couple of runts quite often. What we have is a piece of paper with the parents' drivers licenses on it as well as ours and a hand-written statement, unnotarized, signed by both parents saying
we can take the kids anywhere and make any decision as though we were the parents without reference to them. It's never been asked for: doctors, borders, airlines, nothing.

Posted by
323 posts

Thanks for that information. We met our two granddaughters in Madrid last year and we weren't even allowed to hug them until I showed the airline person my passport and signed a release. We will get the drivers license thing going, but I believe our son will have to tell them at the airport that she will be meeting her grandparents in Atlanta(I think we will be flying Delta) because I'm sure they won't release her to just anyone.