Let’s Go: Round the World Tickets

Brian Peters of No Debt World Travel has shared with us how he transitioned from Briefcase to Backpack and also offered some great resources in his eBook “No Debt World Travel: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the World”. He now shares with us the art of booking round-the-world tickets and how you can travel around the world for less than you thought.

[singlepic=1779,250,,,right]One thing that stops people from traveling around the world is the PERCEIVED high price of airfare. Going to 5-10 different locations all on one ticket must be super expensive and only for rich folks who have the last name of Trump or Hilton.

Far from the truth.

A round the world ticket can cost LESS that $2500US. A year of Starbucks or cigarettes can pay for RTW air travel. Really. It all depends on the locations you pick and the times of the year you travel.

There are two options for purchasing a round the world ticket.

The first is using an airline alliance. OneWorld, SkyTeam and StarAlliance are the three alliances that cover the majority of the world’s airlines. For instance OneWorld has American Airlines, LAN and British Airways as members. Traveling with OneWorld could mean using one of these airlines or the 8 other partner airlines. Going from Sao Paulo to Miami to New York to Paris could mean taking LAN to Miami, then transferring to American for the MIA to NYC leg and then transferring to BA to get from New York to Paris. Going around the world would mean using only airline members in that particular alliance.


Frequent flier miles on one carrier get carried over to carriers within the alliance
Miles received from a carrier can be used with any other carrier in the alliance. That is a great reason to use an alliance, since circling the globe would be at least 20,000 miles.


One ticket means one point of contact for any problems as you travel
Benefit in terms of rescheduling. If you need to stay in Tokyo 2 weeks longer, than you may be able to shift other carrier dates automatically. Note that some airlines charge fees for rescheduling, so find out what those are before signing up.


Carriers in the alliance may not go to a particular location or not have a direct flight
OneWorld can go from Sao Paulo, Brasil to Sydney, Australia using LAN Airlines in 2 stops and about 24 hours going west, the more direct way. StarAlliance and SkyTeam take over 30 hours because of the easterly routes their flight take.

Alliance have restrictions on where you can go and how far
For instance, alliances want you to travel one direction around the world, east to west or west to east. Also alliances have set pricing depending on your total mileage or number of continents covered on one ticket
OneWorld – number of continents | StarAlliance – total mileage | SkyTeam – total mileage

This can be a pro or con depending on where you want to visit during your around the world travel.

The other option is to use a ticket broker, like Airtreks These are essentially travel agents not affiliated with any one airline or alliance. They work with you to get the best pricing on wherever you want to go without the restrictions imposed by the alliances.

[singlepic=1777,200,,,right]THE PROS OF A TICKET BROKER

Personal service to find out your travel needs
You’re generally assigned an agent who knows your itinerary and is a traveler themselves who can recommend stopovers, particular airlines and other tips to make your trip the best it can be.

Brokers find the best price possible regardless of the airline used

No restrictions on where you can go or what direction you can travel in
With an alliance you can’t travel from Hawaii to Japan, then back to Hawaii to Australia. You need to keep going on in one direction and not revisit a particular continent or location. This is not a problem with a broker. You design your travel plans exactly how you want it.


No accumulation of frequent flier miles
You may travel a total of 30,000 miles and have nothing to show for it but memories. For some that is fine, for others you may want to use an alliance so you can get bonus points, a future free ticket, etc.

Separate tickets for each leg of the trip can mean problems if not booked properly
Changes in one leg means that cascades down to all the other departures, which mean you may have to contact each airline and change dates yourself.

I went with a ticket broker on my own round the world trip and used Airtreks because it allowed flexibility that the alliances didn’t.

[singlepic=1776,300,,,left]After I chose the locations I wanted to go, I worked with Airtreks to figure out the best ways to get there. They even suggested that I NOT include Siem Reap, Cambodia in the RTW ticket. They recommended that I take a quick flight or cheap bus from Bangkok, Thailand to save myself cash.

But remember that is my particular case. An alliance RTW ticket might be the right option for you. You should investigate BOTH the brokers and the alliance when pricing your ticket.

Actually, the hardest part of a round the world ticket is picking where you want to go. If you had six months to live, what would be your top 10 places on the proverbial “bucket list”? Once you figure that out, it is a matter of giving your proposed itinerary to the alliance member or ticket broker and letting them figure out what you can do with your price range and time constraints.

It’s the dream of many to travel the world, but most don’t even pursue it because they think the price is out of their reach. It is entirely possible with a round the world ticket with a price is much less than you’d expect. Pick your locations, get your ticket and get out there!

Our Friends at BootsnAll have produced an Around the World Airfare Report that compares all the different ways to plan and purchase an RTW Ticket.  Check it out here.

Other comments

7 Comments on "Let’s Go: Round the World Tickets"

  1. Tweets that mention Let’s Go: Round the World Tickets | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- Topsy.com on Mon, 17th May 2010 9:04 am 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alexis Grant. Alexis Grant said: Tips for buying around-the-world airfare (from @CareerBreakHQs): http://bit.ly/cqpnjp I used @airtreks. […]

  2. Anil on Mon, 17th May 2010 1:13 pm 

    Even in shorter stints, in most cases adding a destination or two along your route doesn’t significantly increase the total airfare. More people should take multi-destination tickets. A great way to see the world a piece at a time.

  3. JoAnna on Mon, 17th May 2010 6:50 pm 

    I’m not actually in the market for a RTW ticket, but it always seemed so complicated to me. Thanks for laying out the basics … just in case I ever decide to buy one. 🙂

  4. Alison on Tue, 18th May 2010 10:37 am 

    Great tips! I wasn’t familiar with the concept of specialized agents for RTW tickets. Great to know!

  5. brian on Tue, 18th May 2010 11:22 pm 

    Reading this article now, compared to where I was before I even conceived of this trip, I would have never thought I could do it, afford it or just be up to the challenge. I was all wrong on all points. Once you start investigating, you realize how easy it is. You also kick yourself for letting your unfounded fears hold you back.

    Just start looking. You’ll like what you find out.

  6. Alonna on Thu, 20th May 2010 1:16 am 

    This year I bought a OneWorld RTW ticket which cost me $4700 after taxes and allowed me to visit 5 continents. The hardest part is deciding on your itinerary and playing around with the OneWorld tool until it all works.

    If you are planning a RTW trip be sure to read the FlyerTalk forum on the airline alliance you choose (www.flyertalk.com/forum/). Post your itinerary and ask for feedback, look into starting your journey from a country outside the USA to save money, and consider doing a Platinum Status Challenge with American Airlines if you fly with OneWorld (search FlyerTalk for details). Good luck!

  7. soultravelers3 on Sat, 22nd May 2010 7:04 pm 

    Great post! Even though we have been on an open ended, non-stop world tour since 2006 & on 4 continents & 32 countries, we have taken very few flights.

    BUT this year, we are going to circumvent the globe & continue to do that for several years as we winter in Asia (so my daughter can immerse in her Mandarin) & Summer in Europe (because we love it) & do stop in Africa, South America & Middle East or US to see family.

    Plus we want to stay in our 23 dollar a day per person range that we have lived large on so far as we have traveled.

    We suddenly need this advice! LOL! We are busy reading everything we can on flying RTW & how to do it cheaply. Thanks for the help!

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