Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully answer some of my questions. I'm planning my first international trip to be taken from mid-August through mid-September and it's to Uruguay to visit a friend of mine. I'm getting ready to purchase the tickets and this is where I am really confused. First off, I am flying from O'Hare in Chicago and it seems like I can have a layover in one of three cities. New York City, Miami, and Washington DC at an airport called "Dulles". Does anyone know any of these airports and can make a suggestion as to which might be the safest for me? No matter which airport I choose, I will have a stop in Argentina. When you have a "stop" does that mean you stay on the plane, or must you exit, only to re-enter it when it's time to take off? My big question is customs. If I fly from Chicago to say, Miami before leaving the country, do I go through customs in Miami, instead of Chicago? How long does it take to go through customs, and how long of a layover should I choose in order to comfortably do everything that needs to be done? In looking for my flight options I am finding layovers from an hour to 4. I don't want my flight to land late, then be out of luck for missing my connection. Is a two hour window enough if I need to go through customs, or should I allow at least four? Thanks to anyone who reads this entire message and is able to help me out.
Awesome. Leaving the good ole USA for the first time is scary. I can empathize. But it's invigorating as well. Well, figure your destination is far south of Chicago. So for me, I would not go east to NYC or DC. Why?? I want the shortest flight and the least stops. I have been the Central and South America and all three times we either went to Miami or Panama City. But we didn't get out we just landed for fuel. You don't go through customs until you get to Uraguay (your destination). Check your tickets or check your airline web site. It should tell you if you have a stop or a connection. You will be able to see if you change planes because the flight number will change. I would go the Miami route and connect in Argentina. There all safe because your not leaving the airport. Not that it's unsafe outside the airport but your in a secure area if you follow me.Have fun and my limited experience with South America is that the people are really special and so nice. Happy travels
It is not clear whether your stop in Argentina is fuel stop or a change of plane. Check this out? If a fuel stop is likely that you will have to get off the plane, but to wait in the airport and not go through immirgation or cutoms. You board the same plane and take the same seat for the duration of the journey. If a plane change, then you would just go straight into the transit lounge. Regardless of where you do your transit in the USA you will have to change plans and hang around the departure areas.
On the way back, you will have to get off in the transit (MIA, DCA or JFK) and go through US Customs, and put your bags back on the belt to ORD.
I wouls suggest Miami to transit in the Sates, I have done Central and South America a few times and always seem to end in MIA. I did go through JFK once, but it's so large you get lost easily!
MIA everytime. There aer also some facinating peiopel watching areas in Miami!
Enjoy your trip!
If you are beginning your journey from Chicago, with a stop or layover in Miami, before heading to Argentina, you will not go through customs until you reach either Argentina or Ureguay. As a US citizen, you will just have to show you driver's license/photo ID and your passport to a ticket agent (and answer the "did you pack your own luggage" questions). Only when you are returning home will you go through US Customs. If you do not have a direct flight into Chicago - let's say your layover is again Miami - you will most likely go through Customs in Miami, if you change planes. If not, you will go through Customs in Chicago.
I noticed you are in Wisconsin, did you check into flights from Milwaukee? We live equidistance from both O'Hare and Mitchell Field. We choose Mitchell when the layover is not Chicago. We love the airport - less crowds asnd much quicker checking in and getting to gates. (More than half the time, a bit cheaper too.) Just curious...