Made 12 early last summer that I started my around the world solitary At that time, one of the biggest doubts I had was the question of airline tickets around the world - or Round-The-World tickets, in English terminology. I have studied all the options on flights in depth, pondered what, and, in the end, I chose not to buy a ticket around the world..
More recently, the same doubt. In 2012, when a second long trip, this time with family, I went back to studying the subject and, given the specificities of the trip, I made the opposite decision and I bought tickets around the world for the three. Before leaving, I wrote a text on the subject called "Tickets Around the World: buy or not buy, that's the question". The text continues 100% current and therefore can help anyone considering a long-term trip in the coming times and will go through this difficult decision.
In short, buying a ticket around the world can be very advantageous, but one must think well. Each of the options has its advantages and disadvantages, as you can read in the text that I reproduce below in full.
How to Buy a Ticket Around the World
Buying a Round the World Ticket (or not)round the world, or simply RTWis one of the most important decisions the traveler has to make during the planning phase of a trip around the world.
Assuming you do not travel by boat, bike, hitchhiking or on foot, you will have to fly sooner or later, so there are basically three options to consider:
- buy a Round the World ticket or other Circuit Fares made available by major airline alliances such as Star Alliance or OneWorld;
- to buy a Round the World ticket in specialized travel agencies, called consolidators;
- or go and buy the necessary airfares along the way.
Let us therefore analyze each of the hypotheses.
1. Alliances of airlines
Although they are almost always more expensive than consolidators, the World Alliances tickets - and in particular the Star Alliance - that the TAP is a member - are an option that is worth considering. Of course, if you are a frequent traveler and have enough air miles that can be converted into a ticket around the world. Or, even if this is not the case, by the possibility of going accumulating miles along the trip, which will certainly translate into (almost) free flights after returning home.
In addition, you will travel with recognized airlines and, a not inconsiderable argument, having an airline ticket could facilitate entry into certain countries. For many, these last two arguments mean security and peace of mind, which in themselves justify the investment.
However, these tickets have the maximum duration of one year, which may not be enough for you. In addition, they may require traveling on routes that are too long, with hubs of the member companies. And worst of all, prices are not the same all over the world. For example, a Round the World ticket purchased for departures in the United States of America or Portugal is almost always more expensive than if the origin is London - the cheapest place in Europe and, therefore, the most advisable starting point for long journeys.
Finally, the All-Around World Tour tickets are obviously limited to the destinations served by the member companies, which may not include countries you would like to visit on your trip. In this regard, the Star Alliance is by far the one that has a wider offer.
2. Around the World Tickets in consolidators
For those looking for cheap tickets, consolidators (or travel experts back in the world) may well be the perfect choice. Basically, they join a series of segments to cover all the intended destinations, using airlines that may or may not be in the same alliance, and almost always manage to offer lower prices than the official sales channels of the companies and alliances.
Incredible as it may seem, it is often cheaper to buy a Round the World ticket, which stops three or four continents, than an intercontinental round-trip ticket. It sounds strange, but it's true.
To give a concrete example, the date of the flight searches for the project Diary of Pikitim - return to the world with family, a Round the World ticket with departure and arrival to London and stop in Bangkok (or alternatively Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and USA had a minimum price of £ 1052, the equivalent of about of 1.200 €.
There are, on the market, some reliable agencies operating in the travel market niche around the world. Among these, it is worth researching the British Round the World Flights, Travel Nation e STAeven because, contrary to their belief, they sell tickets from the world's largest and most well-known airlines, not from dubious or unheard-of carriers. Moreover, a good tool to make contact with the infinite routes possible in a trip around the globe is the TripPlanner da Airtrecks.
3. Buy the flights on the way
Arrived here, you're probably wondering why not everyone buys a Round the World ticket. First and foremost, for the sake of durability and flexibility. Not all trips last for less than a year, and not all travelers enjoy the obligation to plan the entire itinerary on departure.
Many appreciate the total freedom to decide what to do on the next day or week, and flexibility above all, allowing themselves to stay for months in a place that feels good, to follow a sudden passion and to change completely of route, to stay in a place to work or to volunteer, or to return home sooner than anticipated by any personal or professional reason. It is true that many Around the World tickets allow date changes free of charge, but this does not normally apply to the change of itinerary (100 or more dollars per change is charged).
Thus, buy the flights on the way is, of course, the option that allows for greater flexibility, only dependent on the availability of acceptable fares for the intended destination within a few days. It is ideal for those who do not have a defined plan or prefer to travel with the wind, or for trips lasting longer than twelve months.
It will almost always make your trip more expensive, but the flexibility of being able to take advantage of a promotion at any moment and fly to any unplanned place or simply wake up and decide what to do next day is a truly priceless luxury .
4. Compromise solution (buy only long-haul flights)
A compromise option is interesting for most (as long as the trip lasts up to twelve months) can be to buy a simple Round the World ticket, with only intercontinental flights, on popular and cheap routes (eg London - Singapore - Sydney - Los Angeles - London), with the rest being planned at that time and made by land or by using airlines low cost.
5. My decision
First of all, I have already opted for the two situations: first round the world which I performed on 2004 / 05 alone, I chose not to buy such a ticket. At the time, I preferred flexibility over cost and, moreover, the trip was more than twelve months long, which put me off the rules of RTW tickets.
In fact, most of the time I was totally happy with the decision. The exception would have been how much I flew between East Timor and Australia, or Australia to South America, paying a very high price because of the lack of competition. With a Round the World ticket in hand, she would have saved enough money.
For the second time [2012 family reunion], however, the option was to buy tickets around the World. Firstly, because the trip will last only a year. Secondly, because, being accompanied by a child, I will travel more slowly, with fewer long and tiring land routes, so the flights will have a more significant weight - so it's better to think about this option.
In addition, the planned itinerary includes numerous South Pacific islands and the only reasonably economic way to get there is through Circuit Fees or tickets available in the market. Lastly, since this is a three-way trip - not a solitary one - the cost factor has a threefold weight in any flight-related decision.
Note: the text "Tickets Around the World: Buy or Not Buy, that's the question" was originally published in the Pikitim's Diary.
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