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Thursday, October 20th 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YYZ." - Chris Myden

Toronto to Italy | How To Get The Best Deal On Packages

Guides >> Europe >> Western Europe >> Vacation Packages from Toronto to Italy

The Ydeals Noise-Free Guide To Getting The Best Deal On Flight & Hotel Packages From Toronto to Italy

Ydeals logo There are thousands of travel sites out there, all wanting you to believe they have unique or special prices on travel packages from Toronto to Italy. They don't.

They use marketing noise to hide the fact that there are really only two sources of unique prices on vacation packages to Italy.

This guide will remove the noise and show you what those sources are, so you can stop wasting so much time when searching for the best deal.

What are the unique sources of prices on flight and hotel packages from Toronto to Italy ?

Unique Source #1 - The Canadian Tour Operators

2 of the 7 Canadian Tour Operators offer vacation packages to Italy from Toronto, and they are: Air Canada Vacations and Transat Holidays.

Where should I look to get the best deal on a flight package to Italy?

Well, you could just search the Canadian Tour Operator's own websites individually, since there are only 2 of them offering flight and hotel packages to Italy. But of course there are *many* Canadian-based travel sites and brands that sell travel packages for the Canadian Tour Operators and will search both Air Canada Vacations and Transat Holidays simultaneously. This is the noise.

You may already be familiar with some of the travel sites & vacation brands that spend the most on advertising package flights, such as:

RedTag iTravel2000 Flight Network Sell Off Vacations Tripcentral
Flight Centre Signature Vacations Sears Travel Escapes Marlin Travel

This is by no means a complete list of all the Canadian-based travel sites. The only important thing you need to know as someone searching for the best deal to Italy from Toronto is that they are all retrieving their prices from the same source, and all trying to sell you the exact same air and hotel packages, from the same 2 Canadian Tour Operators, at the exact same prices.

One holiday site or vacation brand can't offer a lower price than their competition, and they can't legally change the package prices themselves anyways.

In other words, it is a huge waste of your valuable time to check any more than one of the Canadian-based travel sites. A large number of Canadians out there have been fooled into thinking they are comparison shopping, since no travel site or brand will ever admit that their prices are identical to their competition.

What about my local Toronto travel agency or independent travel agent?

If it's through a travel agency in Canada, or a Canadian travel agent, you can think of them as being identical to the sites I just mentioned above. They're accessing the exact same prices, and from the same sources as the sites above, and trying to sell you the exact same vacation packages. And they can't offer a price that's any different than any other site or brand.

When should I book a holiday to Italy to get the best price?

This is never an easy question to answer, as package prices are not 100% predictable. The tour operators start by setting their price at a level they think will fill the maximum number of seats, based on the demand they expect to see. If they experience less demand than they expected, they may decide to lower them. If they experience more demand than they expected, they may raise them. Unfortunately, a lot of factors that influence demand can be unpredictable.

How long a person can wait it out in hopes of a better price is a personal decision. The Canadian Tour Operators are generally more apt than other sources to offer a discount on their flight and hotel package prices with under 4 weeks to go before departure. But there's never a guarantee that they will.

What about last minute holiday deals to Italy?

Great last minute package deals to Italy from the Canadian Tour Operators are not nearly as common as the last minute price cuts to say, warm Caribbean destinations down south, such as Mexico or Cuba. Still, there have been some decent last minute price cuts on packages to Italy in the past.

What's a decent price on an air and hotel package from Toronto to Italy?

From Toronto, air and hotel packages to Italy from the Canadian Tour Operators tend to bottom out at around $1100 per person, after taxes, for a one week package. This is just a general guideline though, based on average demand periods of the year. And of course it can vary wildly, depending on the quality of the hotel involved in the package.

Vacation package prices are highly affected by demand. So anytime you can think of a reason that there might be higher demand than usual for travel to Italy (such as dates when many people in Toronto have holiday time) you can expect prices to react accordingly.

What about vacation packages from the Canadian Tour Operators with direct flights to Italy?

Both Air Canada Vacations and Transat Holidays currently offer travel packages with direct flights to Italy from Toronto.

What about all inclusive holiday packages in Italy?

Unlike some countries (Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic), where there is an abundance of all inclusive resorts, Italy does not really have many true 'all inclusive' resorts where all meals and drinks are included. They do have a few, but they will be very expensive compared to countries where there are many all inclusive resorts.

You may want to read the guide, Toronto to Italy | How To Get The Best All Inclusive Deals.

Unique Source #2 - The Flight & Hotel Combiners

The Flight & Hotel Combiners are sites that simply mash together the latest flight prices from the major airlines with the latest hotel prices in Italy to create a package. They tend to be U.S. based brands (but offer vacation packages from Canada).

Where should I look to get the best Italian holiday package deal?

This is the noise. The flight price component of the package from the major airlines is identical for every site that offers these types of packages. There may be a slight differences in their source of hotel prices, but for the most part they're all grabbing the latest hotel prices from similar sources, at similar prices.

The result is that the Flight & Hotel Combiners usually all have very identical package prices to each other, and travelers tend to waste a lot of time thinking they are comparing prices from unique sources against each other, when they're not.

Here are the Flight & Hotel Combiners that spend the most on travel ads, you have likely heard of at least one of them...

Expedia Travelocity Book It Orbitz Hotwire

When should I book to get the best price from the Flight & Hotel Combiners?

Try to remember that at the end of the day, the Italian vacation packages offered by the Flight & Hotel Combiners are simply made up of two components:

1) The latest flight prices from the major airlines. The major airlines don't tend to offer great last minute prices, so waiting until the last minute can backfire. I find the major airlines tend to usually offer their most decent prices around 8 weeks before departure.

2) The latest hotel prices. It's more common to see hotels offer discounts at the last minute, but then you have to weigh that against the fact that the flight price component from the major airlines can rise as the date nears, meaning the package price could go up.

So as a whole I'd probably consider the flight price component as being the limiting factor, and suggest that I'd be comfortable watching prices from the Flight & Hotel Combiners up to about 8 weeks before departure. But everyone has a different tolerance for risk.

Travel packages from Toronto to Italy will depend a lot on the airfare that is bundled with it.

One strategy can be to look for dates that involve cheaper flight prices from Toronto to Italy, and then use those same dates when looking for a package. You may want to read the guide: Toronto to Italy | How To Get The Best Flight Deals.

What about booking flight & hotel separately? Is that cheaper or more expensive than a package?

Holiday travellers often want to know if booking a flight and hotel package to Italy is better or worse than booking flight and hotel separately.

To beat the package prices generated by the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you would need to find a hotel price that is better than the source of hotel prices used by the Flight & Hotel combiner sites when generating their package prices.

Is this possible? Yes. But is it likely? Probably not. Hotel prices for the most part have been squeezed down to the point where all the travel brands and search engines out there have fairly identical hotel prices.

But if you do want to give it a shot, I'd suggest starting with finding the cheapest flight to Italy that you can. You may want to read the guide mentioned in the paragraph above to do so.

Remember that for a fair comparison of a pre-packaged deal vs. building your own, you should always keep as many variables the same as possible, including the flight quality (number of stopovers, layover time), the number of nights for your trip, and either the exact same hotel, or one of similar quality. A few quick searches on TripAdvisor can tell you if the accommodations are comparable.

I would also suggest that when searching for accommodations to build your own package, you don't use the same site that contains the packages you're comparing against. The total cost has a very good chance of ending up being extremely similar.

An important thing to remember is that there are often hotels and places to stay that aren't 'linked up' with the major travel search engines. As a result, a search for vacation packages using well known travel sites will not return packages that contain these accommodations.

TripAdvisor is a great place to look for places to stay that you won't find bundled with packages through the search engines. You need to look for them manually. Do a Google search for tripadvisor Italy hotels. Click on the first result.

On the TripAdvisor page for Italy hotels, click on the area in Italy that you're interested in. Now, using the menu at the top, look under 'B&B and Inns' and 'Specialty Lodging'. These two categories are where you are most likely to find amazing places to stay for a great price that are sometimes not found as a bundled package through travel search engines.

Once you've found a few places that you really like, take the accommodation names and start copying/pasting them into Google. This will lead you to their personal website, where you can contact the owner (usually via e-mail or an inquiry form) to make your booking or ask about availability and rates. I usually just copy/paste the same e-mail to the various places I'm interested in.

Tip: If you click on 'See which rooms travelers prefer' on the TripAdvisor listing for the hotel (it's right under the rating bar graphs) you can often find out which rooms are the best, and inquire about their availability when contacting the owner.

What about European holiday packages with direct flights to Italy using the Flight & Hotel Combiners ?

The only direct flights on the major airlines from Toronto to Italy are into...

Rome (FCO) - On Air Canada, Alitalia, Delta, and Lufthansa.


Venice (VCE) - On Air Canada. Technically these are on Air Canada Rouge, which puts them more into the category of being on a charter airline than on a major airline.

Air Transat, a charter airline, also has direct flights to Lamezia Terme (SUF) and Venice (VCE). Some Flight & Hotel Combiner sites will generate packages involving these flights from Air Transat.

Look for packages involving these direct flights if travel time is a concern. From Toronto, direct flights to Italy take about 8.5 hours to get there, and about 9.5 hours to come home.

What about all inclusive packages in Italy?

When using the Flight & Hotel Combiner sites, you could keep an eye out for hotels that offer a room type of 'all inclusive', but there are very few true all inclusive hotels in Italy, where all meals and drinks are included.

What about budget-priced holiday packages to Italy from U.S. airports within driving distance of Toronto?

If you've ever read my guide about flying out of U.S. Airports within driving distance of Toronto, you may know that I feel it could be worth the drive, when you see a package from a U.S. airport to Italy that's at least a certain number of dollars less per person than a similar package from Toronto.

How much cheaper it needs to be depends on which U.S. airport you're flying from. Below, I'll list how much cheaper I feel it should be from each U.S. airport, to be worth the drive.

From Niagara Falls, NY (IAG)

The only two airlines that fly out of Niagara Falls are Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines, neither of which fly to Italy.

From Buffalo, NY (BUF)

I feel it could be worth the drive, if you ever see a package from Buffalo to Italy that's at least $225 less per person than a similar package from Toronto.

I think I've found a great deal on a vacation package to Italy!

Excellent! Please share it with your fellow travel lovers from the GTA, they will appreciate it and thank you for it! You can post it in the YYZ Deals Facebook group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive), where thousands of travel deal enthusiasts from Toronto are crowd-sourcing the best deals, and sharing great travel advice.

Or if you prefer, you can always give me a shout through the YYZ Deals contact form or on Twitter @YYZdeals or through Google Plus. Great deal finds are always appreciated.

Why should I trust this Toronto guide to Italian travel packages?

Chris Myden Ydeals The info in this guide is based on my observations of the travel industry over the years, including all the thousands of websites out there, and where all the different players get their prices from and how they interact with each other.

The goal is to remove the noise of travel marketing, so vacationers can stop wasting so much valuable time searching the same prices over and over.

But, as social proof of it's accuracy, feel free to join the YYZ Deals Facebook Group (click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive) and publicly disagree with any of it, or make a comment below. Critiques are always welcome!

I think I have some info that could help improve the Italian vacation package guide!

Great! Please post your info in the Facebook group above, or contact me directly. Suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. Let me know if you see something that seems inaccurate or outdated.

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