Take a ferry from Italy to the Greek Islands if you are skipping Athens entirely. Flying into Athens isn’t too expensive but over all you’d save $$ if you head right from Italy to the Islands. Ancona (north east) or Bari (south east) are the two best Italian ports to leave from. Here is the website for the Greek ferry system (don’t forget that ferries are often canceled and workers go on strike (especially with the terrible Greek economy right now). Instead of worrying about getting refunds for tickets if your ferries are canceled, I would play the entire thing by ear. Have a general idea of what islands you want to hit (don’t miss Ios or Santorini!) and then buy tickets at the port from the box office either day of, or a few days before. Don’t buy tickets online! Instead, plan your trip so you’re heading across Italy and have an overnight in the port at a cheap hostel–hit up the box office and try to figure out online the best routes going to where you want to go. Do your research for the islands because they are all fabulous and all very different! To get a better idea of a Greek Island trip click here.