When It All Works Out.

September 11, 2012

In anticipation of my next required 90-day exit, I had planned a trip to Montevideo, Uruguay for several reasons. The airfare was affordable, travel time was short, lodging would be available through missionary contacts, and there was no exorbitant visa fee to pay upon entrance. Word on the street was also that the city was beautifully modern and safe for single female travelers adventuring alone. Not to mention, Montevideo is RIGHT ON THE BEACH. Living in a landlocked country doesn’t do much in the way of sea air and I was anxious to get back to a coast.

So back in June, after several weeks of researching the best fares, I purchased my ticket, confirmed my housing, and even booked a private cooking class with a famous Uruguayan chef. I was pumped.

Then in the midst of a non-stop work schedule several weeks ago, I decided to check my itinerary and research my options to possibly extend my upcoming weekend vacation. Instead, I encountered a defunct website and discovered that Pluna Airlines had declared insolvency. After raiding every online forum on the subject, it seemed that there was no way to contact Pluna and the only way to obtain a refund was to place an appeal through one’s own credit card company.

I Skyped in to my bank in San Diego and had them mail paperwork to my parents to complete for me, and embarked on an extensive search for replacement tickets to Montevideo. The only options now available cost $600 and required six hours of travel time—a stark difference against the original $200 and 50-minute flight.

And so I left all Uruguayan excitement behind and looked at airfare to pretty much every major city in South America. To my great dismay (but not surprise since this was all happening pretty last minute), prices across the board were exorbitant. Until I had a light bulb moment.

TACA Airline frequent flyer miles. I have been intentionally booking my flights exclusively through TACA over the last year to accumulate miles, and this decision-making was about to pay its dividends. Delightfully, I discovered that a ticket to Lima, Peru would be completely covered by a minimal amount of miles save for fees, and not only that, I remembered an old college friend was to be in the city the same dates I was looking to travel. Happy heel clicks ensued.

And here I am, waiting to board a flight to Peru. Though I have passed through the Lima airport several thousand times, I have not yet had the chance to venture outside. Here’s to a trip that has worked out better than anything I ever expected, and a week of old friends and good times awaits. Stoked.



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