A RTW ticket can be cheaper than a long range return ticket. Even for those who prefer surface trips, flying is usually the only realistic and affordable option for long distance international travels. Even if you set out to travel around the world as much as possible overland or by sea, you will probably end up covering 80% or more of the distance by air.
Some advice – See the Around The World AirFare Report
- Don’t think you’ll get lower prices on the internet, or directly from the airlines. Not all ticket prices are available online. Because of the way international airfares are regulated, travel agents can sell tickets for less than the airlines themselves.
- Don’t purchase a cheap ticket that doesn’t go to the places you want, as later on you’ll end up spending more to get there.
- Insist on confirmed reservations for all flights before you pay. So called ‘open date’ tickets have many drawbacks and no real advantages compared with tickets with confirmed but freely changeable dates.
- Your route doesn’t need to be continuous; you can surface, which enables you to go from one place to another in the same country.
- If you know where you want to go and if you intend to complete the tour within a year, it will be cheaper. Choosing your flight destinations as you go will cost much more than booking it all in advance.
No airline currently fly all around the world. Various partnerships of two or more airlines publish RTW fares. Trips originating in some countries are substantially cheaper and a better deal (like London), than from other countries. Most published RTW fares also require a minimum number of stops (generally at least 3), a minimum trip duration (most often 2 weeks), and 23 days advance purchase. Within these constraints, published RTW fares are of two distinct types: those restricted primarily by routing specifications and those restricted primarily by a limitation on total distance flown.
First and Business class – For those travelling in First and Business class, published round the world fares are often the cheapest choice. Published Northern Hemisphere round the world fares in Business Class generally start at about 6.000US$ and 8.000US$ in First Class.
Surface Transportation – Tell the agent if there are specific sections of your trip that you wish to travel by surface transportation (land or water). Many published round trip fares permit at least a single open surface at either the origin or the destination
RTW Flights Formulas
1. Alliance or Custom-made? With an Alliance ticket, the standard arrangements are: Ticket valid up to a year – Go in the same direction (east or west) – Pick your stops and dates when you book the ticket. With a ‘custom-made’ ticket, it’s possible to tweak it to get exactly where you want to go, and even to backtrack. To get the best deals from this type of ticket, it helps if you’re flexible with dates and destinations, so a clever agent can make sure you get the latest bargains.
2. Routing or Mileage? Routing-based RWT fares – published routing fares around the world – start at about 2.000US$ ( in economy) for routes entirely within the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere it’s 800US$ higher. Regardless of the number of airlines involved, these fares are valid only for continuous travel on those airlines beginning and ending in the same city, without breaks in the air itinerary to be travelled by land or sea, proceeding always in the same direction, without backtracking or transiting any city more than once.
Mileage-based RTW fares are more expensive but usually more flexible than the routing-based. Most fares of this type are offered by the brand-name airline marketing consortia ‘alliances’ such as Star Alliance, Oneworld and Skyteam. Mileage-based RTW fares permit unlimited backtracking, as long as you confine yourself to the participating airlines, don’t exceed a specified total allowance of miles or kilometres for the entire trip, and don’t stop over in the same city more than once.