South America, here we come! Well, in February 2018. Our first big trip of 2018 and our first big trip away from H is booked. We’re super excited about it, but also a little worried. What will it be like leaving him for so long? Will we enjoy ourselves? We hope so! Will it be like old times traveling together? Maybe? Will we feel like the McCallisters from Home Alone? I hope not! Who knows the answers to these questions. All I know is that we are anxiously looking forward to it!
Why South America?
Vicki and I have a goal (among many other goals!) to visit all 7 continents. When we were trying to plan for our 2018 big trip, we were all over the map – literally. Being the #avgeek that I am, I wanted to maximize the most flight time possible in the best cabin. I know that sounds weird, because most people just want to get to their destination, but I’m a little “different”. We also knew that we only wanted to be gone 7-10 days. With these three things in mind, South America won out.
Although Vicki was raised in a military family and spent some of her childhood in Panama, neither of us have been to South America. Machu Picchu has always been on my bucket list, so what better time than now (or February) to mark it off? Buenos Aires and Argentina have always interested me, as well. So, we will spend 10 days in Peru and Argentina in February 2018!
What will it be like traveling to South America without H?
This will be the toughest part, for sure. How will we handle our first extended period away from H? We went to a wedding in Asheville a few weeks ago without him, but that was only 2 nights away. This time, we will be away from him for 10 nights! That’s crazy to me considering every day is like a week in terms of how quickly he’s growing.
We’re nervous about missing out on the special things. Will he remember us when we get back? What if he learns to walk while we’re gone? What if he says his first word? Missing all of these milestones scare us to death. But we also know that we need to continue to live our lives. In the grand scheme of things, it is 10 nights. 10 nights. That’s it. We are lucky to have amazing grandparents that will love to watch him. And, I’m sure he will want a break from us by that point, too!
Flights and Logistics
About that #avgeek thing. Flights are one of the key aspects of any trip I plan. Being the points award traveler that I am, I knew I wanted to use some Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Airline AAdvantage miles to fund the flights. Thanks to the head’s up from fellow Traveling Dad Richard Kerr and a few others, I was able to snag 2 business class flights home from Buenos Aires using American Airlines miles. This was awesome, because Buenos Aires to the United States in business class on points is tough to come by. It was a bit weird, but for this trip, I actually booked the flight home before I booked the flight there.
For the flight to South America, we used Chase points transferred to Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) to book Delta flights. Ok, that may sound confusing, but trust me, it works because of something called airline alliances. Without getting too far into the weeds, airlines are members of alliances, or partnerships, and “currency” (points) from one program within an alliance can be used for another member of that alliance. Now that you are bored/confused, we were able to get business class flights to Lima on points. Then, we just needed to get from Lima to Buenos Aires, which we booked with British Airways points (thanks to that alliance thing).
All in, we saved around $18,000 on flights alone! Not bad for a day’s work. Now, to figure out where we should stay…
We cannot wait for our trip to South America! This will be a trip like none we have ever taken. Should we have planned a trip closer to home? Maybe. Should we take H with us? Who knows. What I do know is that it will be a fun adventure for Vicki and I and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Now, onto figuring out hotel plans and rest of our 2018 travel plans…