After a hectic World Travel Market in London earlier on this week, the conclusion on trends is a general one: travellers are looking to save as much as possible when it comes to holidays. That's why while we were browsing the net about rail journeys in Italy, we decided to publish advice given on the New York Times In-Transit blog here. Taking a train has always been one of the most economical, and easiest, ways to travel around Italy. And thanks to promotions from Italy's main train operator, Trenitalia, taking the train just got even cheaper.
Here is a selection of top train discounts available now sought out by the New York Times.
Travelling on a Saturday? Until Dec. 10, Trenitalia's Sabato Italiano 2×1 promotion allows two passengers to travel on Saturdays for the price of one. Tickets can be purchased up to the day before travel at any sales point, including the Trenitalia Web site, self-service points and travel agencies.
Making a day trip? It's hard to find a better offer than the Andata e ritorno in giornata (same-day return) promotion. On Italy's fastest trains, the Frecciarossa and Frecciargento, the round-trip fare for a same-day return is fixed at 109 euros (about $150) for a second-class ticket, or 149 euros (about $205) for a first-class ticket. Depending on your destination, that can mean big savings. Just remember that the fare must be purchased before midnight the day before travel.
Traveling as a family? Remember that children under 12 traveling with an adult get a discount of 50 percent on normal seats (or 30 percent on tickets for berths and beds), while those under 4 travel for free, without reservations or a seat assignment. But if your group has two to five people, including at least one adult and one child under 12, check out the Offerta Familia promotion. It enables you to get the usual child discounts, plus a 20 percent discount on the other members of your group. Since this is only available on limited seats, make sure you book as far in advance as possible.
The best insider's trick for saving on trains, though, might just be Trenitalia's MINI fare. More than a million seats each month are set aside for MINI discounts of up to 60 percent on almost every line, from the cheap Intercity trains to the high-speed (and high-cost) Frecciarossa and Frecciargento. Take a train from Rome to Verona for 29 euros, Rome to Milan for 49 euros, or Venice to Florence for 17 euros. The catch: You have to buy your MINI ticket at least two days before departure, but since these seats are limited and sell out quickly on popular lines, you should buy your MINI fare even earlier, if you can.
To access any of the promotions, go to www.trenitalia.com and input your trip dates, departure point and destination. When the trains that suit your itinerary appear, pick a particular train and click "Next" to see available discounts. On that page, just change the number of passengers and train class to see all of your options. If you've picked a departure and return for the same day, for example, "Andata e ritorno" will appear along with the normal fares; if you've selected "2 adults, 3 children" under passengers, the "Offerta Familia" fare will show up, if it's available. And if the MINI or Offerta Familia fare does not appear, that means it's no longer available for the particular train you've chosen; go back and try selecting a different train. A bit of work, but worth the savings.
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The editorial team (source: New York Times In-Transit).