Flights Booked!

Greetings Travelers,

My South America trip is falling into place. I have the Galapagos cruise booked and paid for (GL finally got the check), and I have my flights to and from S. America set up. I used to book the flights, and I came up with a pretty decent price.

I first started looking at prices several weeks ago and the Fly showed the price of tickets from SFO -> Quito, Quito -> Santiago and Santiago -> SFO to be about $1,400. Over the last several weeks the prices for tickets went up to around $1,900, but then stayed at that range.

Last Wednesday I was ready to book the flights for $1,900 a person, but Katy asked me to delay until she had her flight from Santiago -> Quito and back booked. I am not sure why she wanted me to wait, but I agreed to this. Turns out this was a bad idea. The very next day I went to book my flight and the same itinerary had increased in price to $2,550 a person! Initially I started to freak out. I was booking tickets for three people and did not want to be paying an extra $650 a person.

I assumed that it was the initial flights that were the catalyst for the price increase. I re-ran my Fly and Kayak searches over and over, trying different days to depart from SFO and Quito -> Santiago, but the prices always came up in the $2,550 range. Finally I tried switching the return date, and that was when I got my price to drop back around $1,900. I had the misconception that flight prices were generally determinant on the departure date & price, not the return date. This was apparently wrong. By delaying my return date, I got the price to drop.

We will be flying mainly on Lan Airlines. This makes me very happy since I have found that foreign airlines tend to have more leg room and much better service than US airlines. Fly found the best price for Lan coming from Orbitz. I even re-ran the flight search directly from the Lan website, and the Orbitz price was better.

I am almost done with all the booking for the S. America trip. I still need to get a hotel in Quito and to plan day trips/over night trips from Santiago. I hope to have all that figured out by the end of this week. Katy sent me a list of the fun things to do in and around Santiago, so now I just need to pick some. Life is so hard. ;)



Greetings Travelers,

I am currently trying to plan a vacation to the Galapagos. The limiting factor in my vacation planning is dates. Katy is only available starting December 21st, and we are scheduled to be in Valparaiso, Chile Dec 29th. This gives us a very tight window to actually make it out to the Galapagos, and to make matters worse, most Galapagos cruises leave at the start of the month or mid-month.

After about 2 weeks of research and contacting travel sites, I finally found a tour that worked. I booked through (“GI”). What I like about this site was that I was able to email them describing the kind of tour I wanted and the date limitations, and someone emailed me back within 24 hours with a list of all the cruises they offered that fit within my range. The prices, while not the cheapest, are not totally unreasonable either. For instance, they are significantly less expensive than the National Geographic tours run by Lindblad Expeditions (I am sure the Lindblad trips are amazing, but not within my price range).

The tour company suggested several options that might work, with only one fitting within the exact range I needed. I would have liked to book a slightly higher level cruise, but one option is better than none. We are going to be taking the Monserrat Yacht, itinerary C.

Booking the cruise with GI started off well, but I have now reached a hiccup in paying. GI charges an additional 4% of total sales price when you use a credit card. I am unwilling to pay the extra 4% just to use a credit card, so I mailed in a check return receipt to their location in Miami. It has now been over a week since I mailed the check and the company has not received it. I am considering stopping payment on the check and paying by credit card, but I have a problem paying the 4% service charge. I have emailed the cruise company and offered to pay by credit card if they waive the 4% charge, but no one has gotten back to me.

That is about all I have for now. I will post more when I know about the payments and book our flights.