Honeymoon Discussions

Italy - travel agent/tours vs. booking myself

Hello! We were married on New Year's Eve, but are just booking our honeymoon to Italy now. We can do about 8-10 days and I was hoping to visit Rome, Tuscany & Venice, spending a few nights in each. It seems like many tour companies have packages that include hotels, daily breakfast & 1st class train tix for these locations for $1,200 - $1,900 per person (depending on how nice the hotels are & whch company it's with), and then airfare is about $940 rt per person. Does this sound right? Would it be cheaper to try and book the train tickets & hotels in each city myself? Anyone have any recommendations for places to stay or tour companies they've used (with prices)? We are planning to go in early May, so I don't have a lot of time. Thanks!! :-)
Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Italy - travel agent/tours vs. booking myself

  • Options

    I'm going to Germany and Austria in June for our honeymoon for 11 days and we looked at travel agents/tours as well.  We found that the tours looked pretty good, but not for a honeymoon (at least for us.)  None of them had an itinerary with exactly what we wanted to do and we didn't want to be with a group for the majority of the time.  We wanted some privacy for our honeymoon.  So I ended up booking everything myself and didn't find it too difficult and I got exactly the trip and itinerary I wanted.  I did use the tour brochures to start my searches for hotels though.

  • Options
    I personally would not do a tour for my HM, but everyone is different. I just wanted to point out that you can book through a travel agent and NOT do a tour. Depending on the hotels you are looking at, it may benefit you to do it yourself, but otherwise, a travel agent can put a custom package together and perhaps offer some recommendations within your budget.


  • Options
    hz80408hz80408 member
    5 Love Its First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited March 2012

    Having planned our first trip to Europe, I would not do a tour, especially for your HM.  I think it'd be a lot more relaxing to be on your own schedules and do what interests the two of you.

    If you need help, you could always consult with a TA.  You can also google "italy 10 day intinerary" and see what you find.  I've found websites like tripadvisor, Rick Steves, Lonely planet and even TN's travel board all very helpful.

    That flight price is really pretty good for right now and I would consider booking that ASAP before it changes.

    Does 8-10 days include your travel time to/from Italy?

  • Options
    I just sent you a PM.  My parents are heading there this fall and are NOT doing a tour.  That was the last thing they wanted!  Hopefully the info I sent over helps.
  • Options
    For a honeymoon to Italy, I definitely wouldn't use a tour or a travel agent.

    We went to Italy for two weeks this last September. We had a very nice trip with some splurges and spent $5000 total for the two of us (not including airfare) so the prices you have been quoted are on the high end, especially since it doesn't include all of your meals or sightseeing. You can view all of the entries in my travel blog on Italy here.

    I would personally recommend booking the accommodations yourself; utilize travel planning websites like Trip Advisor to help you select your hotels. I booked the majority of our train tickets before our trip with Rail Europe which was a very easy process. Additionally, I also second the recommendation for Rick Steves. Although I don't always use his recommendations for hotels and dining, he's got great info on sightseeing and how to divide your travel time in the most efficient way possible.

    With 8-10 days, assuming this doesn't count your travel time from the US, I would recommend:
    3-4 days in Rome, 2-3 days in Tuscany, and 2-3 days in Venice. You'll also have to account for travel time between the cities (i.e. it takes a little over 2 hours to get to Venice from Florence).
  • Options
    I've done it with and without a TA and never a tour.
    for our 19 night trip there in sept 2010 I did, in fact, use a TA to BOOK, not to plan. I planned-I like that part! I let her do the dirty work of booking 6 flights, 4 hotels, a rental car, 6 airport transfers, 9 days of private drivers in 4 different areas.  I chose the areas and hotels and flights and let her book everything. i'm a seasoned traveler-and i love PLANNING. what i dont love is figuring out transfers.
    lets say you have 10 days. you can very easily book a flight into rome and out of venice. spend 3 nights in rome, 3 in tuscany, 2 in florence and the rest in venice-or whatever combination you want. you dont have to book trains ahead of time. you can simply go to a local travel agent in any city and they can book or you can just go to the train station to book them. for example-i was there in january for rome and florence.  instead of going all the way to the train station in rome (termini) i asked the hotels concierge where i could go to get tickets. the office was literally around the corner. we were able to ask questions about where to put luggage, when to arrive etc.. and, since i'd been through termini before and hated it, it was nice to sit down and have questions answered. he booked our car and seats and we got the tix right there.


  • Options
    also a few things to keep in mind: most hotels will offer breakfast so getting it on the tour is no great big deal. also a friend of mind did one (a perillo) and was PISSED when she got there and found out that the dinners tthat they had were from a pre-set menu (like a price fix) and not the real restaurant's menu.

    italy is easy enough to explore on your own. plan it out, be patient and you'll do much better than on any tour.


  • Options
    Perhaps you could have a travel agent plan the trip for you (with your input) and schedule you on a few tours here and there. I lived in Italy for a bit (Florence) and absolutly love it! I've done tours of all of the famous/popular things and I've done the same on my own. I must admit I liked being able to take my time. My best friend went to Australia for her honeymoon and booked through a TA, but had him plan them some tours (he gave them all of the info and let them pick) and she loved it! Perhaps you can go that route and have the best of both worlds.

    Feel free to DM me if you are looking for something more off the beaten path to do, or just want more info.
    The Skinny Architect: www.skinnyarchitect.com
  • Options
    Also, know that if sometimes train tickets are cheaper booking directly through the train company than Rail Europe.
  • Options
    edited March 2012
    Thanks everyone for the advice!! The travel agent we are talking to is not really working out, so I think we are going to attempt to book our hotels & train tix ourselves. We already got our plan tix, so now we just have to decide what we absolutely have to see, pin down how we will divide our time and maybe book a few tours to see come major sites (for example, I read that booking a vatican tour is better than just going b/c you avoid a lot of long lines). And, I really want to do a winery/vinyard tour in Tuscany!

    Thanks again for all your help! Any specifc suggestions on sites not to miss (besides the big ones in Rome that we will definitely hit, like Trevi fountain, Collesium, Vatican, etc), please let me know!! :-)
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options

    I was in Italy at the end of May last year & I fell in love! Cinque Terre is such an amazing place to visit! It is just north of Pisa. There was a land slide there in October but I think that most of the towns will be opened in May!  I planned mine & my brothers backpacking trip based on the forums on fodors.com. It is so helpful! The trains are really easy to use & I would search on easyjet & ryanair for any flights within italy that you may need :)

    My fiance & I are going to the Amalfi Coast & Venice for our honeymoon in September! I'm using fodors & tripadvisor to plan ours out.

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards