You asked me which way is best? It all depends!
Many times during the year I get that little travel bug that calls me to have a holiday and visit family, friends, old and new places.
More often than not I have to ignore that call for adventure as Australia is pretty far from everything and traveling to most places, except for South East Asia or New Zealand can be expensive and time consuming.
At the same time, each time I plan a trip from Australia I know that it’s an opportunity to make the best out of it and I want to visit and see as many places as possible, which is not difficult to do as for sure there will be plenty of layovers particularly when you travel to Europe, the USA, Central and South America.
Imagine that you are 9 years old, comfortably at home entertained somehow-perhaps playing with your Barbie dolls- and your mum asks you to go down to the shops and buy something for her to cook lunch. Such a big deal to leave the house, right? But if you knew that on the way there you could stop at the park, spend time on the slides and the swings, meet the new kids that moved into the house around the corner and have an ice cream, then it is not such a big deal and you would gladly do it. Well, that is how I have learned over the years to see my trips from Australia, to avoid being overwhelmed and keep my eye on the ball all year-round before I can travel.
When traveling from Australia to South America you will be presented with many options, that although more expensive than your typical trip to Thailand, Fiji or Bali, will certainly allow you to appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
You could choose to Travel to South America, particularly countries like Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela (North of South America) via Europe, with a stopover in Abu dhabi. In that case you could travel to Paris, France first and stay there for a couple of days and then head to Madrid, Spain using many of the European budget airlines and enjoy some delicious tapas and the rich culture and architecture that one of the largest cities in Europe has to offer. From here you can fly direct to Bogota, Lima and Quito.
You could also travel to the North of South America via the South of South America. In this case you will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile via New Zealand. The issue I have with this option is that the layover in New Zealand is not long enough to leave the airport, so that to me is a missed opportunity, plus there are less than a handful of airlines traveling to Argentina and Chile which means that airfare prices could easily be 40 to 60 percent higher than the above option. In saying this, however, the South of South America is quite different from the North, the south being quite European, so you will be able to enjoy the differences and contrasts. Plus, if your Spanish is muy Bueno o un poquito at least you will have more time to practice and improve as well as meet wonderful people that will feel super happy to hear you say hola. From there you can find direct flights to pretty much any country in the continent.
A third option, and one that I use the most due to its lower cost is to travel via the US. From the East Coast of Australia, you can travel directly to Los Angeles, or you can have a layover in Hawaii, Aloha! And then make your way to South America. Some airlines have direct flights from L.A to Bogota (lucky me), otherwise if you are traveling to other countries in South America it’s likely that there will be a short stopover in Mexico City or somewhere in Central America like El Salvador. Just be mindful that often these stopovers in Central America are really short (about 1.5hrs) and travellers could miss their connecting flights if their previous flight was even a tad delayed.
What I love about traveling through the US is that if you are not pressed for time, often for the same amount of money you can fly to South America from the East Coast, New York having frequent, direct flights to the main cities like Bogota, Lima and Quito; and lets be honest, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a few days at the Big Apple, have a few bagels and watch the world go by while strolling through Central Park eating hot dogs.
In any case, thanks to the fact that South America is on the other side of the planet those who travel there have the opportunity to enjoy and take in varied places and cultures on the way, and there is no shortage of options as to the route to get you there. All I recommend is plan well ahead and be patient and flexible to adapt to the different rhythms of life wherever you go.
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