Help & Advice North, Central & South America - scary prices

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Help & Advice North, Central & South America - scary prices

1. Posted by debstheleo (Budding Member 24 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone

My husband and I have sold our house and plan to go travelling for as long as we can. Whilst we’ve sold our house we are not minted! Just debt free ;) we are now in the process of selling everything else.

We have started to make some rough plans and have been scared half to death with a quote for flights for just half of our trip from STA.

Initial plan was:

3rd Jan 2001 UK to Orlando to meet up with friends for their wedding
Overland to Los Angelas
7th Mar 2011 Los Angeles to Mexico City
Overland to Costa Rica
4th Jul 2011 Costa Rica (San José) to Ecuador (Quito)
Overland to Chile
4th Nov 2011 Chile (Santiago) to New Zealand (Auckland)

We had initially planned to go from Mexico to Cuba and back, but the flight alone is £254 per person.

The price of the flights not including Cuba is £2508.40 per person.

This includes a RTW ticket which we wouldn’t use the end leg of (£1910 pp), plus LA to Mexico (£182.50 pp) plus San Jose to Quito (£415 pp).

We are new to this and were shocked at the cost. We would be really grateful if anyone could offer us any advice / tips on reducing our costs.

By including Central & South America have we made it expensive? Has anyone had any experience of doing this route and found a cheaper way?

Would it be cheaper to scrap the plans to go to North America and fly straight into SA?

We have emailed a number of other companies to get comparisons, only one of which has replied so far.

Many thanks in advance for your help and advice.


2. Posted by Antonio703 (Budding Member 67 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Deb,

Me and my gf booked our round the world last month. My advice looking at your route is try and be a little more flexible. speak to a number of companies and tell them the places you want to see and that you need teh cheapest route possible. For a start most rtw flights from UK to america go either new york L.A or San Fran not orlando so your price would probably come down straight can always get a train or internal flight to orlando yourself at a fraction of the price.

You also seem to have a few internal flights in s. america...this is an extrememly expensive way to travel...they have good bus systems and whilst they will take alot longer most of them are meant to be reasonably comfortable and really cheap. I have friends who tell me they travel from one country to another for little more than £10 per bus.

My last bit of advice is that we looked at north and south and it did bring our price up quite alot but it depends on u. we decided that where ever in north america we would have gone is still places we would more than likely visit on holiday one day and that it was not that important to us so we scrapped it. if it is vital then keep it in. if you are only going because you are heading over that way and are in actual fact not that bothered for it then I would say leave it out.

We got UK-Bangkok-OZ-NZ-S.america on a rtw for less than £ revers and only having south america and nz i am sure you should be able to find it cheaper than that.

good luck

3. Posted by debstheleo (Budding Member 24 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Antonio703

Many thanks for taking the time to reply, we really appreciate it.

The departure date is kind of fixed (unless we scrap attending the wedding altogether) but all the other dates were ‘made up’ so we had some kind of schedule / timeline. We can be very flexible.:)

Due to the date of our friends wedding being 5th January 2011 we are trying to avoid flying into the US over xmas / new year due to the costs.

We need to make the decision whether miss our friends wedding or not. If we cancel, we can look into flying into NY rather than Orlando.

We have 2 internal flights. The first is LA to Mexico to get us over the border which we’ve been advised not to do overland.

The other flight is from CA to SA – what other way would you suggest as we’ve been warned not to try and cross into SA from Panama. If there’s another way rather than flying, please let us know as we will be happy to give it a go!

Thanks again

4. Posted by Antonio703 (Budding Member 67 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Deb,

I would say that although normally teh price would go up around xmas if you are going on a rtw ticket the price should be quite low then...admittedly though you would not want to try and get an internal flight to orlando around that time as those prices i would imagine will go up...I would agree the easiest and safest way is L.A to mexico and u may also need to get planes over panama but I would advice discussing this with specialist companies. Although they can be a rip off they normally give good advice as long as you seem interested and play dumb as they think they will make commision off you!

there are also 2 other alternatives in terms of your trip that I looked in to for my trip and you may find beneficial.

a) Look in to a rtw ticket that has 29,000 miles, (around 1600) and go in to america but organise the out flight yourself. you can then get ur next flight from somewhere in central america to south america, travel there yourself and leave out of santiago. example route
uk - usa
costa rica - columbia
Chile - NZ etc

b) Get your route without North america (possibly for £1300 maybe less) for a slightly later date after wedding and look for cheap return to UK flights to Orlando. at that time of the year you could probably get these for less than £350.

Option B) is more time consuming but could potentially save u a lot of money in the long run. so depends what is more important to u?....Have you spoke with many companies? If not I could possibly reccommend who we booked through and a few others we spoke to. some of them are actually half decent! hard to believe I know!

5. Posted by debstheleo (Budding Member 24 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I've been speaking with a very lovely lady at Round The World Experts who has given us lots of advice and I thought it would be good to share with the forum as it looks like a popular subject:

Orlando / NY won't really make a difference to the cost, but the initial departure date will. High season lasts until 15th January, so travel on the 3rd is more expensive. So she is going to look into and price up a few different options for us which we can then mull over and make a decision on. She seems much more open to try different things for us.

We are even now considering flying into the US (NY), then independent travel into CA using Alaska Airways into Mexico, then back into the US (LA) and out to Auckland. This is because the flight from Costa Rica to Ecuador is £415 pp (STA) and £340 pp (RWTE).

I like the idea of free date changes with RTW Expert. STA said it could cost us £90 per change PLUS the increase in the cost of the flights.

After SA we plan to go to NZ and meet us with friends who are living there and spend maybe 6 months there, then OZ then Asia. A friend lives in Thailand and has already offered us a place to live and work which is really cool.

The overall plan is not to come back to the UK if we can help it which is why after landing in NZ we aren't bothered about having a flight out / back to the UK.

A RTW ticket would provide us with a ticket back, but based on our timescales it would have expired.

I'll keep you posted with the options that we are given.


6. Posted by Antonio703 (Budding Member 67 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Yeah we have free flight changes with them as well...they do that travel butler service as well which saves a lot of hassle and money. Have they offered a more reasonable price that way? Glad your getting it sort out.

7. Posted by debstheleo (Budding Member 24 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone

Just wanted to update you following my original post.

We have booked our tickets and set off 27th Feb 2011

We used RTW Expert who have booked us the following flights:

UK to New York, Chile to New Zealand - all for £1065 per person.

We'll make our way overland from NY to Chile and we have 12 months to do it in.

We can get a flight through Alaska Airways from LA to Mexico for £135 each and then get a flight from Panama to Columbia for $80 each.

All in all about £3000 less than we were quoted by STA.



8. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I think, with a little homework - you could have got the flights quite a bit cheaper than what you've paid. Not an outrageous price, but I think a little steep.

9. Posted by debstheleo (Budding Member 24 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi flyingbob

Believe me we have done a lot of homework and shopped around! The beauty about RTW expert is their travel butler service - free date changes - which can save you lots in terms of admin / fare increases costs.

The fares we got were unpublished. We tried to do them independently and with other brokers, but all were more expensive.

We are happy with the price we've paid and the company we've used.


10. Posted by Antonio703 (Budding Member 67 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Deb,

Your right that travel butler service is fantastic. it saves you time and money as it would be a pain contacting airline yourself. I booked with them as well and even after we paid off they still email every now and then making sure we have everything sorted and if we need any advice. They are probably trying to sell extras like insurance to us but its not a hard sell and if you say no but still ask for advice they are more than glad to help. I think it has a great service and after all our research they were by far our cheapest option.