Saturday, April 21, 2018

A New Wanderlust Fix - South America: Santiago & Buenos Aires - April/May 2018

My addiction to wanderlusting cheaply was excited again in January when I was alerted to an affordable fare to Santiago, Chile - $629 round trip plus a $25 airline ticketing charge -- flying out of Portland and returning to Los Angeles (ticketed by Latam Airlines).  Why Santiago?  Well, why not?  After all, I have wanted to continue my exploration of South America ever since a 1978 (40 years ago) business trip from Chile to Panama (and places in between).  And, in the past year I had the opportunity to meet and add friendships in both Santiago and Buenos Aires that added current inspiration to the long-held goal.  So, I proceeded to buy the tickets to Santiago -- and added a round trip from Santiago to Buenos Aires for $165 in credit card points.

As I went about my trip planning, I was super pleased to learn how affordable complete Airbnb apartments are in Santiago ($45 to $55 a night for a fully equipped, downtown condo) and to have my dive partner from my Australian trip (an Argentinian living in downtown Buenos Aires - posted about here) offer me her apartment for my time there.

The trip got underway on April 17 - when I flew from Portland to Dallas/Ft. Worth (Alaska Airlines) and then direct to Santiago on American.  American even gave me a complimentary upgrade (no, I don't know why) to their spacious premium economy seats on the new 787 aircraft - complete with an empty seat next to me.  It would have been more comfortable journey if I hadn't been fighting a head cold -- but the medication and complimentary wine did provide some needed sleep on the overnight 9+ hour flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Santiago.