Monday, November 23, 2015

Patagonia Trip Planning: T-Minus 5 Weeks

In five weeks we will be in Patagonia! Time is ticking though - most of our weekends until then are filled with holidays and outdoorsy adventures and in four weeks we leave for Montana to visit my sister and brother-in-law (a stop on the way to South America). We have buckled down and penciled out a rough itinerary for our trip. With an entire month, there is plenty of space to fill.

For the most part we will travel on a shoestring as we usually do, but Patagonia is a vast place (and I say that as someone from Alaska!) and it appears to be well-worth it to arrange some inter-continental flights ahead of time to avoid multiple 20+ hour bus rides. I've been watching prices for months and they only seem to be climbing.

I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet, as far as both price and having dates we have to stick to in our otherwise fluid plans. Our flight routes are Buenos Aires to El Calafate, then El Calafate to Ushuaia, and then Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt. By far the most expensive leg of this trip would be Buenos Aires to El Calafate (especially because our flights to and from South America were on miles). Whenever I find a brilliant deal on travel arrangements, I have a little ping of regret that I didn't follow a career as a travel agent. But then again when your hobbies become your work, you tend to not enjoy them as much as when you did them for leisure. But whose to say I couldn't be happy as a travel agent doing archaeology as a hobby? Now there's something to think about!

My brilliant idea was to use Delta miles to fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. We didn't quite have enough, but even with buying the extra miles we saved about $150. And then I had a thought to search for a multi city ticket for the next two legs, and for some reason that can only be explained by the crazy inner workings of the interwebz, it was $90 cheaper per person to do it as multi city ticket rather than two separate one way tickets.

I also learned two important things about travel search engines during this extensive flights search: Kayak is the best, do not waste your time with Google Flights or Sky Scanner.

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