I have found that although the direct route is quickest, it is not always the cheapest. We are planning to go to South America next winter, and part of the plan is to land in Montevideo. I am using two website to find tickets: http://www.flights.google.com and http://www.kayak.com.
Our plan is to take a one way flight on January 5th. The cheapest ticket I could find for a direct flight to Uruguay is about $800 per Person.
So that is the starting point–$1,600 and some change. Actually, after taxes we will probably be close to $1,700. One of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years of traveling is that sometimes you need to be open to changing your plans. That is not to say that we will not eventually get to Uruguay rather that we should consider starting in a country that is a little farther north and a lot cheaper. In addition, perhaps taking a flight from a smaller city like Portland makes the flight a little more expensive. Maybe if we fly to New York and start our trip there, we can save a little bit of money on our tickets. This is what I found.
If we fly to New York and start our trip in Lima Peru, we are looking at about $486 per person or about $1,000 dollars total. That is a pretty big difference in cost. I was on the cusp of buying the ticket when I thought about visiting other countries that I have wanted to see for a while but have not had an opportunity.
If I add a one week stay in Costa Rica and then to Lima, we are looking at $784 dollars per ticket. That is nearly the same cost as buying a direct ticket to Uruguay, but we have an opportunity to see other Costa Rica and Panama. However, instead of our trip taking us from the very southern point of South America to the north, we will be traveling in the opposite direction. I am going to have to think about this difference, but I think that it would be a lot more economical. The flight from New York to Lima is much more tempting because of the amount of money we would save, however, I have wanted to visit Costa Rica for a Long time. It gives us a lot to think about going forward.