Planning an International Trip – Part 1

Planning for a trip overseas, especially to a country where I have been countless times like Peru, requires a good bit of preparation even for a veteran traveler.  The logistics of making sure all travel connections and lodging work together in as seamless fashion as possible can be a bit daunting.

Needless to say, I made a pretty significant error on Friday when purchasing my domestic airline ticket from Lima to Iquitos. First, I made sure that I notified my credit card company that I would be making the purchase. Since buying from StarPeru Airlines involves an overseas purchase even through the internet, one time in the past they denied the purchase as a protection from fraud since a Peruvian purchase was unexpected. After that, StartPeru would not accept the same card for that purchase.

If everything goes smoothly without delay, my flight from the U.S. will arrive in Lima at 6:14 in the morning. I intended to catch the afternoon flight to Iquitos at 2:45 which would give me extra time to do a little sightseeing if I have the energy. I mistakenly purchased at ticket on the 7:45 am flight which only left me about 50 minutes to get through immigration, customs, check-in, and security in time to get to the gate to catch the bus that takes passengers out to the plane on the tarmac. (StarPeru flights do not leave from the terminal.)

Even being well versed in the quickest ways to negotiate the maze, I’m not sure I could make it. And since I’m planning to take my Mavic Pro drone, I need an extra 45-60 minutes to register it through the customs office and pay the refundable fee.

I immediately emailed the StarPeru customer service office asking for help and they said I needed to call their office in Peru. Technology is a wonderful thing because a quick call on Skype got me through to an English speaking woman who was able to quickly make the change. She admitted her English was “so-so”, so I tried to do everything in Spanish and was surprised at how easily I was able to communicate everything. It only took about 3-4 minutes to make the change and I had an emailed confirmation within seconds.

The point of this is, first of all, to be very careful not to get in my situation. I was very angry at myself for not checking everything before making the purchase. StarPeru has always been helpful when I needed to make changes in the past and their representatives speak English, but that may not always be the case with another airline. And making a change in flights only 9 days before without a fee might not be possible in the U.S.

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