Okay, we’ve finalised our planned itinerary, so I’ve been able to book our flights there and back. We’ll be using a combination of air, bus and boat travel on our trip, so I’ve decided to book us return flights from Sydney to Santiago, then internal flights using LAN (possibly booked via Zuji – they are usually cheapest I’ve found) … or possibly Aerolineas Argentinas if I can’t get LAN flights. LAN is my preference since they are a OneWorld airline, and we get frequent flyer miles and I get priority check in and such using my Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status.
I was disappointed that the Qantas flights were so expensive – although by adjusting the timeframe of our travel I’ve been able to get a cheaper fare. Originally we were planning on flying soon after Christmas, but now we won’t be departing until the 19th of January. This takes a bit of pressure off with planning and booking accomodation and such (in some areas the summer months sees all accomodation booked out pretty early – even hostels, which you would expect to be able to book with only one or two days notice normally). We also have to get some gear together – we will need travel packs and waterproof hiking boots for where we are planning on going.
I wasn’t able to find any nice flights to South America at a cheaper rate – unless we were planning on flying via the US, which would have meant flights that were a lot longer (probably would have to fly via LA, Miami then down to South America – adds a lot of travel time!). Unfortunately the Qantas flights are operated by LAN, so I won’t be able to upgrade us to business class using my Frequent Flyer points. Apparently Qantas are planning on flying direct to Santiago from November 2008 with 747’s, so the next time we fly there I’ll try and get us some upgrades!
Will keep you posted on our progress as the trip comes together.