Save Money In South America With An Airpass

South America is a very big place and has a lot to see. Almost every country is a destination in and of itself. Some countries such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina are huge and cover a lot of ground. Other places like Peru and Bolivia have a lot to see in different parts of the country but have poor infrastructure and poor mountainous roads which makes overland travel time consuming, treacherous and potentially deadly. If you are on a strict budget or have all the time in the world then perhaps 24-48 hour bus rides are your thing (many people do this in South America) but for most people, that sounds like a nightmare. That’s why air passes are the way to go in South America.

Flights in South America if you buy them independently are pretty expensive and if you are traveling to different countries it can be even more expensive which is why most airlines and airline alliances in South America offer money saving airpasses. These combine a certain number of flight segments for a fixed price and you can fly unlimited times within that certain area of which the pass covers or at least for the amount of segments you purchase.

The passes all differ. Some like TAM Airlines of Brazil offer a number of segments within Brazil for a fixed price which is exactly what I did in February because the distances between places in Brazil are great and the roads aren’t so good. A lot of times I like to travel overland because then you get to see the countryside, etc. but if you are in a time pinch and/or hate really long bus rides-then take my word for it-the air pass is the way to go.

Alliances like One World and Star Alliance also have air passes within South America and cover multiple countries and you can accumulate miles on airlines and affiliates of those alliances while you save money and fly comfortably. Check with their websites or call their service center for details on those passes.

Another reason to avoid overland travel is that bus drivers in South America, like in a lot of less developed areas are insane. In the Andean countries like Peru, Bolivia etc. there are numerous examples of drivers going too fast around mountainous curves and plummeting off the cliff and killing numerous tourists. I have been on busses like this and they are awful because you spend half your time freaking out, screaming at the driver and praying you don’t die. This is not a fun way to travel. Also, you hope that the drivers are not drunk which believe me, I have seen before in Latin America and certainly in Africa and Asia. The rules are a little different down there. That said, if it’s adventure you are looking for it can be very exciting-haha.

But the bottom line is ask your travel agent or consult the airlines websites about airpasses in South America. If you are off to Africa, Asia or Australia; airpasses are offered there as well but may not be quite the same value because it’s easier to cross borders overland and the disatnces are usually less.

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  1. I got the AirPass in Thailand with Bangkok Air, definetly a money saver for the random expensive flights.

  2. I did the Aussie Air Pass on Qantas, it was brilliant

  3. I assume our conversation the other night sparked this post, thanks bro!… so are you going to stop your sobbing over the yankees pathetic series and come to DC this weekend?

  4. I did the Mercosur Pass around SA-it really saved me some money and was pretty convenient. I recommend it to anyone.

  5. Well said. The only way to get around South America.

  6. Are there any air passes that include the northern Guyanas, Colombia and Venezuela in their collection of countries?

  7. Hey Brian, I really don’t know that one off hand. I doubt it though, at least with the Guyanas. I am actually looking into going there soon and flying is a real nightmare getting there and around. You have to fly on random independent airlines such as Caribbean Airways, North American and Caraibes (i think thats the name) which serves the French Caribbean only plus Paris. Caracas and Bogota are both much better served and you can probably access them on a One World pass because they are both served by One World Airlines but I don’t know if there is a pass that goes to them for sure.

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