Author Topic: Bike touring in South America - getting there  (Read 3989 times)

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Offline dgjessee

Bike touring in South America - getting there
« on: June 08, 2010, 08:23:28 am »
I'm very interested in doing some bike touring in South America.  The part that is driving me crazy is how expensive it seems to be to take a bike! :-[ I've had a hard time finding a lot of good first-hand information - does anyone have any personal experience shipping or flying with their bike to various spots in South America?  I think Avianca has the cheapest fees, but I'm not sure.  I'd just like to find out how much some other people have paid.




  • Guest
Re: Bike touring in South America - getting there
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 11:15:34 am »
Unless the experience of another has been pretty recent, there is a good possibiliuty that it won't reflect reality today, as airlines have been raising fees over the last few years.

Utlimately, you will have to check with a particular airline to determine what the fee will be when you plan to fly.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Bike touring in South America - getting there
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 02:42:42 pm »
Although we haven't been down there recently, we know how expensive it can be. Try not to fly Delta. Where are you going in SA. and from what city in NA? We know those who have take their bikes to SA from the UK. I believe, the bikes, have S&S couplers. His name is Andy and he is at Thorn dba St. Johns Cycles. We purchased a bicycle from him and I am sure he would be able to help you.

Assuming you have contacted all airlines flying to your destination, have you contacted any air cargo carriers that specifically fly to your destination or country? If you plan ahead, I wonder if you could send it via boat for less? Sometimes thinking out of the box approach yield the best results. Are you flexible, to changing your starting point, for your tour, if the shipping tariff was lower? Have you contacted DHL? The smaller the container, the less the cost. The key to shipping is not letting the airline know that you are shipping a bike. Breaking it down is the key and if possible curb checking it. However, if it is an expensive bike and you want to have it insured, the stealth route may be less desirable. We ere on the side of caution. Common sense would dictate taking pictures, recording serial #'s and if not covered, get insurance prior to shipping. I wish I could have provided you with current information. Good luck.

Offline dgjessee

Re: Bike touring in South America - getting there
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 06:35:27 am »
I'm flying out of Atlanta and researching flying into either La Paz, Santa Cruz, Santiago, or Buenos Aires.  I have tried to look into shipping companies but haven't found any really favorable price quotes online.  I just felt like I was spinning my wheels and hoping to find someone who'd been touring in SA recently on this message board to point me in the best direction.  It seems like Avianca has the cheapest flights, which would work fine for me.  I've also talked to a guy before who said he always tells the airline he's carrying camera equipment in his bike box - that way he only pays an oversize fee, not the bike fee (which really makes no sense to me; why would you charge a separate bicycle fee for a large box that also qualifies for a simple oversize fee?!).  I'm trying to avoid couplings because by the time I do that and pay even a reasonable oversize fee, I might as well have carried the bike in a normal case.

Thanks!  Keep the experiential advice coming!

Re: Bike touring in South America - getting there
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2010, 02:20:19 pm »
Hey Daniel,

One good thing to know about flying a bike is that smaller airlines, (such as Soutwest, Alaskan, or Allegiant) will charge far less or a bike than major airlines (Delta, Continental, United).  If you can book your ticket so that you check your bags initially with a small airline, you will pay their baggage fees, even if you are connecting to a major airline later in the trip.

With smaller frame sizes, you can sometimes break the bike down into two boxes.  You generally get 62 linear inches for packing, and you may be able to fit the frame in one box, with the fork, bars, stem, seatpost, and wheels in another box.  For padding, just pack your panniers and clothes around the bike parts.  This route can be pretty tricky, and does require some extra mechanical know-how, but it can be another option. 

My last suggestion, which can be risky, is to purchase a bike near your arrival destination, and try to line up a buyer for the used bike when you are finished with your trip.  Just make sure you can get racks on the bike, or perhaps a trailer.

Thanks, and good luck.