My wife and I are booked on the May 2012 Italy My Way tour (starts in Venice, ends in Rome), after which we need to get to Istanbul, Turkey, for a family reunion. I'm wondering what experienced travelers think is the best (yet affordable) way to accomplish this. We're retired so extra travel days are not an issue. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be flying out of SF International Airport. Thanks!
Roma and Instanbul are just too far apart for any other solution than driving. There is a decent amount of air traffic between two cities, you should find some good fares.
other than flying, my mistake to have written otherwise.
Larry, You didn't define your criteria for "affordable", but as Andre mentioned your best bet on that route is travel by air. The option I'd probably use is Turkish Airlines from Rome / FCO to Istanbul / IST. They have fares currently listed on that route for €137 PP (there will likely be some "additional fees" tacked on as well). You could also have a look at Pegasus Airlines from Rome / FCO to Istanbul / SAW. They seem to be slightly less expensive. Given the distance involved, I very much doubt that travel by rail and / or Ferry is going to be any cheaper. Happy travels!