¨Travel makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world¨.
Buying a Round-the-World Airline Ticket
Fifty-Plus Nomads may want to consider buying Round-The-World (RTW) tickets anytime they plan to make a journey with multiple stops within one region or around the world.
All RTW tickets make you pre-book all your tickets in advance. However, since you are purchasing them in one giant bulk package, you may save money off the total price of all individual tickets. (Particularly if you do not want to fly budget airlines).
Most importantly, RTW travel agencies have a lot of experience with this type of ticket. Fifty-Plus Nomad can use this expertise to save considerable frustration and possibly money.
Types of RTW Tickets
There are generally two types of RTW tickets. One type is geared toward flying exclusively on one of the three airline alliances. (Each airline alliance has its own rules for how its round the world tickets work). The other type of RTW ticket comes for RTW travel agencies that use airlines from more than one airline alliance.
Round-the-world tickets that use one alliance require you to plan an itinerary that:
- begins and ends in the same country,
- will be completed within a year after the start of the trip,
- does not crisscross an ocean. (Meaning you cannot travel from New York-London-Rio de Janeiro-Paris).
- have a minimum of three stops and a maximum of fifteen.
The alliance ticket prices are based on the number of miles you fly the minimum amount of miles for one of these tickets is 29000 miles) and allow a set number of stopovers. (The minimum amount of miles for one of these tickets is 29000 miles).
Travelers can change the dates and the times on their tickets so long as they don’t change the destination. Airlines often sell these tickets directly.
RTW Travel Agencies
However, it is usually cheaper and better to use an RTW travel agency.
RTW travel agencies are just travel agencies who specialize in helping travelers who are planning a ticket with multiple stops around the world. You can buy any type of ticket from these agencies.
Instead of creating a Round-the-World ticket using the same alliance, the RTW agencies usually piece together individual airline tickets based on the lowest available fares they find. (Note: These agencies usually do not deal with budget carriers).
The RTW travel agency will help you find the type of ticket that works best for you. Depending on your routing, the RTW agency may create a routing that involves more than one alliance and is not subject to the same rules as the alliance tickets above.
The largest, and best known, round-the-world travel agency is Airtreks. I used them in 2013 to buy the following round-the-world tickets:
- Montreal-Chennai (India)- (overland to Mumbai);
The cost of the ticket -US $2200- was around $200 less than buying the tickets individually, and I found them to be very helpful with planning the flights. They also helped me when I needed to make a slight change to a flight. (Note: I may have been able to save money by these tickets myself using budget airlines).
Note: The Airtreks’ website is very useful because it:
- allows you play with different itineraries to see how changes affect the price, and
- suggests destinations where you may be able to stop for free because it is a hub for one of your flights.
Tips for Getting the Best RTW Tickets
Generally, you will get the best prices if you:
- travel in one direction,
- don’t backtrack,
- have a reasonably small number of stops,
- occasionally travel overland,
- and travel to large cities which serve as an airline hub.