Face it. Anyone who’s traveled between Southeast Asia and South America knows it’s a pain in the wallet to purchase air tickets. This is because there are generally few direct flights between the two continents. Also, it’s a far off dream to have a budget airline doing the flying salsa between them. That said, there are ways to get cheap flights so you don’t cry Argentina every time you see the prices.
- Know the popular hubs
Peru and Brazil are the most popular hubs in South America thanks to their Wonders of the World status. They also have the highest Asian population that makes the staggering 30 hour haul between the two great continents.
If you’re looking for a cheap way back to Southeast Asia from Latin America, fly from either Lima or Rio de Janeiro into Hong Kong and then hop on a budget airline from Hong Kong to any Southeast Asia country. Not only do you save thousands of dollars but you also have more choices of the flight schedules that will take you back into the country.
Another choice is to scout promo flights from Lima or Rio de Janeiro to Los Angeles or Barcelona and then to Hong Kong.
- Budget airlines in Southeast Asia
With Hong Kong as your central hub, there are a plethora of budget flights in Southeast Asia that costs peanuts compared to South American airlines.
Choice of airlines are
The go-to Southeast Asian budget airline. Also flies to Abu Dhabi and London: Air Asia
From Thailand to Laos, Cambodia and Xian, China: Bangkok Air
Other resources: The Budget Airlines in Southeast Asia
- Know when to travel: Peak Season vs the Off Season
Since they are sitting on opposite hemispheres, what’s high season in Southeast Asia is Latin America’s low season. Travelers between the two distant continents can use this to their advantage.
You can score really cheap tickets flying into South America during its slow winter season which are around May to November. This is Southeast Asia’s summer peak season. Then when returning to Southeast Asia, aim to travel during it’s off season which are generally from September to November. That said, do not travel during international global holidays like Christmas and New Year’s.
- Do your research
Compare prices on online travel search engines like Hipmunk, Skyscanner and ITA Matrix Search. These sites have cool features that enables you to see the range of airfares in a month so you could choose the cheapest priced date. Check out Hipmunk’s price graph and Skyscanner’s calendar feature. Hipmunk also allows you to put a fare alert on your desired flight and dates so you can be notified if there’s been a price drop. This feature saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to travel on Christmas day to Hong Kong.
5. Don’t forget your miles.
With thousands of miles covered by your Southeast Asia-Latin American flight, it’d be a shame not to register for miles. Multiple trips can eventually reward you with a short holiday spree in a neighboring country or a free flight back home.
Consider signing up as a member for either One World, Sky Team or Star Alliance. These are global airline alliances that have several airlines registered in their networks. Cathay Pacific, LAN, COPA, Singapore Airlines, KLM and United are just some of the members.
Star Alliance: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asian Airlines, Austrian, Avianca/TACA, Blue1, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ehtiopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAM, TAP, Thai, Turkish Airlines, United, US Airways
Sky Team – Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, DELTA, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean air, MEA, Saudia, Taron, Vietnam Airlines
The nifty thing about these is that you can transfer and redeem your miles from one airline to another partner in their group.
With these money saving tips under your belt, it’s a guarantee you won’t be crying whenever you see those prices. Or your wallet for that matter