Putting together your own summer holiday is one way of making sure you get exactly the holiday you want and at the price you want. With some careful planning and shopping around, there are plenty of ways of securing the best deals on cheap flights to Sicily and car hire from Catania and Palermo airports.

Cheapest flights to Sicily

Not surprisingly, if you opt to travel on a Saturday in school holidays, you are unlikely to find the most competitive prices for your flights to Catania or elsewhere. If you can avoid those peak weeks, visit Sicily in May, June or September and you will still find plenty of warm sunshine. For anyone bound by school holidays, booking early is the key to securing the best prices and if you are booking a villa, it also means that you get the best pick of accommodation!

Even if you are ahead of the game, think about taking a mid-week flight. Some of our villa owners will consider a mid-week arrival or departure date, subject to availability. Even if this is not an option, staying in a hotel or B&B for an extra night at the start or end of your holiday in order to get the cheapest mid-week flights to Sicily can make extending your holiday by a couple of days really worth it.

Many low-cost carriers offer cheap flights to Palermo and Catania, which are the two main airports in Sicily. The smaller airport at Comiso, which offers cheap Ryanair flights, is an excellent gateway to southeast Sicily.

Car hire in Sicily

Driving in Sicily is less challenging than you would expect, unless you are staying in a city centre where it would be better to rely on public transport. However, many of our villas are slightly off the beaten track so if you really want to explore the island, you are going to need to organise car hire in Sicily from Catania or Palermo airport.  Before you do this, it pays to be aware of some of the pitfalls associated with car rental abroad:

Top tips for booking car hire

As with flights, our best advice is to book as far ahead as possible. You can also keep costs down by checking that the fuel policy is full-to-full, rather than full-to-empty which involves paying in advance for a full tank of petrol and then returning it empty.

When you book your car hire from Palermo or another airport, try to avoid booking too big a car, particularly if you plan to explore small towns and villages where roads can be quite narrow.

Be sure also to check out the insurance policy prior to your trip.  It is generally cheaper to buy a separate annual excess recovery policy from an insurance broker than to take the top-up policies offered by the car rental companies and particularly if you plan to take more than one trip a year.

Finally, when you pick up your car, check that any damage to bodywork is recorded on the contract and take photos where relevant.