Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Air Passes for Regional Travel

So I'm currently (frantically) trying to work out an itinerary for my upcoming trip to Brazil and Cartagena in March, and it's reminded me that I've had recently had several discussions with people regarding travel through very large regions.
  • The other week I was having dinner with Christine and Jerin, who are thinking of taking a vacation!  They want to cover Europe, but time is an issue as they have 2 weeks and a lot of places they want to see.
  • My cousin Kristina, who is currently freezing to death in her home city of Toronto, is thinking about coming with me to South America and since I wanted to cover a lot of ground over a short time (Brazil is nothing to sneeze at, a flight from Rio to Bogota is more than 6 hours!) we were looking for cheap yet economical ways to travel. 
  • My friend Lisa pinged me as she's looking at options for her summer trip this year, hopefully to Southeast Asia.  She asked me a lot of questions but basically she wants to go everywhere at once! from China to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
For all of these situations I would suggest looking into air passes.  Let's say I want to start in Rio, then go to Brasilia, then fly over to Lima and up to Bogota.  I put that in to LAN AirPass and voila! I pay for some stuff and I get 4 vouchers, which are flexible on the date you leave and cheaper than buying 4 one way tickets.  These are really good options if you need to buy some flights through a large area but don't have a lot of time to take the bus. I prefer the bus myself actually.  It's more scenic and it usually costs more to get back to the airport than the whole bus ticket, but I digress.

So as a reference, all major alliances do regional air passes.  There would include
Star Alliance

In addition, airpasses I've looked into that are more specific to a region are:
LAN ( South America, 4 cities in a month or something)
Cathay Pacific (I can't find this link as it's usually a summer promo, but it was a really good deal, something like 3 cities in most of Asia for 21 days, and it included the trans Pacific airfare! Maybe it will pop up again)

Anyway, so if you're looking at traveling through several countries in a region and don't have a lot of time, take a look at this and see i it's a good fit.

Back to fare hunting for me!