I've been researching airline tickets to Europe and many of them have a maximum of 90 day stay...is it worth it to go through a travel agent to find cheaper deals for 6 month stays? Does anyone have any tips? ALSO, how do open return tickets work for Americans going to Europe if travel regulations for visas and otherwise are so high?
Lastly, do tickets become reasonably cheaper in the first week of September or is it comparative to flying in the middle of July?
Thanks for the help.
Those wide open tickets are very expensive - in other words you're buying an unrestricted ticket (full fare). Now we have sites like lastminute.com for both USA and UK departures that sell unsold, last minute tickets (both RT and one-way) at cut rates and I'd think that it would be cheaper to purchase one of these one-way tickets. There's also Priceline and Hotwire that do the same thing (not sure if these are for USA departures only or not). Then there's the problem of proof of onward passage that many countries enforce at customs, but this is easily solved. Normally ticket prices take a nose dive in the later part of Sept. This is a real BIG year for change in the industry, and who knows how things will be in the future - we're all just guessing based on past year's experience, but it does look like capacity will be reduced as airlines try to save $.
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 2, 2008, at 9:08 PM by Daawgon ]
In the few instances when I have looked at / booked tickets were arrival and departure were longer than 3 months apart, the tickets got cheaper past the 90-day limit. All you need to do is enter fixed dates for arrival and departure (= no open return). I would definitely talk to a travel agent about the subject too, nobody forces you to buy tickets through the travel agent if you don't like the prices they give you.
One-way flights and open return tickets are ok, especially when you have a residency permit already in your passport (like in your case) or have some cheap ticket out of Schengen (say, to the UK) or enough money to pay for a flight ticket back (visa credit card).
BTW, have you looked into flying courier too?
Actually, I haven't gotten my visa yet... I was under the impression I had to have a round trip plane ticket first. I am flying from Oregon into Zurich around the end of July and flying out at the start of January. I am going to be spending most of my time in Italy so that's the consulate I'm appyling to.
I am planning on buying a one way cheap RyanAir ticket from Zurich to Naples at the start of August and I'm assuming that shouldn't be a problem. I'm still really worrying over ticket prices though...
P.S. Does anyone know more details on flying courier?