December is not the best month for cheap travel no matter where you are going. Regardless of whether a country celebrates Christmas and the New Year, travel always seems to be at a premium. One of our members however is looking at travelling not only during the busiest time of the year, but also to a location not exactly well serviced from Australia.

My wife and I would like to do a return trip to Buenos Aires in Dec / Jan and I got a rude shock when I looked at the cost if the flights at that time. Best I can find is about 4k return pp in economy which is out of our price range. Anyone got any tips on how to secure a more reasonable price?

With Qantas shifting flights from Buenos Aires to Santiago, the sole remaining direct flight was with Aerolinas Agentinas, however this ceased last year. This leaves travel via Chile as the main option for Australians looking to get there the shortest way, however it comes at a cost. Significant savings can be had with a little bit of lateral thinking.

You can try Emirates for about $3300 (20/12 – 7/1) but at least 5 hours longer. Have you tried a cheap Air Asia or Scoot flight to Kuala Lumpur / Singapore and then book from there? (be aware flights not connecting, having to check out/in your luggage again and that the airlines would not ‘secure’ your onward booking if your first flight is delayed or cancelled, etc)

When it comes to airline pricing, the shortest way may not be the cheapest. Airlines price their flights to suit the market in terms of what they can afford, as well as looking at the competition. Luckily, Australia is very close to Asia, a continent with low average incomes but high airline competition. With the Middle East heavily reliant on Asia for much of its workforce, competition is strong on flights that take you the long way around

Sample dates of Dec 15 to Jan 15. British Airways Sydney to Singapore return $1,234, Qatar Airways Singapore to Buenos Aires return $1,491 Total $2,725

Another area of savings is to use points, either earned or bought. With redemption tables often not having seasonality costs, the value of points use can be greater when fares are up. The only problem with this is getting an award seat, which may not be readily available in peak season. Planning early and knowing when inventory seats are released can put you in the front of the queue in that scenario.

Do you prefer to go the long way round to save $1000’s of dollars, or have you found points makes $ense when it comes to saving money. What was your strategy or tip when it comes to saving those hard earned dollars, join the conversation HERE.

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