The tool of the backpacker: The RTW ticket.
This option when used correctly, can be a real money saver.
Rather than buying a simple return flight with a stopover at a fixed price, RTW tickets can be done in the same manner, but allow you to stop off at the stopovers and extend the amount of time you want to visit in that area.
Why spend 10 hours on a layover wasting away in the airport when you can jump off the flight for practically the same price and travel onwards for a few months and then fly to another destination later once you’ve explored the place.
Here is the breakdown, normal flight and price:
£999 – Return flight London to Melbourne (with 7 hour stopover in Singapore)
How RTW tickets work:
£999 – London – Singapore – Melbourne – Auckland – Los Angeles – New York – London
Here is what you can do with the above RTW flight when spaced out over a year:
Fly London to Singapore and stop off to explore South East Asia for 4 months with sleeper buses before returning back to Singapore. Then onto the next stop Melbourne and travel upwards along the Gold Coast from Sydney then return to Melbourne after 4 months. From here, fly over to New Zealand and explore the north and south island before returning to Auckland after 2 months. Then head over to LA and drive the coastal roads of California for a month before flying over to New York City and grabbing a bus to Boston and then onwards to Canada to see the Niagara Falls. From here you can go to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec city, Halifax before returning to New York to fly home to London.
both flights cost the same amount.
One is spread out over the space of 1 year and it would cost you the same as a simple return flight from London to Australia.
With a RTW ticket you’re unlocking a very affordable method of using air transportation.
A Round the World ticket can unlock adventures and endless possibilities at an affordable price.
Little advice: Make sure you plan your RTW ticket with the seasons, the last thing you want to do is arrive in Australia during the winter; the beaches won’t be a very enjoyable experience (it does get cold in Australia, which might come as a bit of a shock!).
As you can tell RTW tickets work the same as normal flights, but they break up the connections to allow you to spend more time in said locations.
This works by working with the airline alliances and allows them to free up seats that they can sell at a higher price to the one-way passengers.
Flying doesn’t have to be expensive when you play around with the system.
It’s simply applying the same amount of air miles for both flights and spreading them out amongst different destinations.
You can book RTW tickets at a number of travel agents or directly from RTW websites such as: Round the World Flights
Or directly from an airline alliance such as: One World Alliance
Warning, don’t get carried away!
The above suggestion is a typical low cost RTW route, as it’s using the most common major hubs that the alliances frequently use.
It’s very tempting to get carried away and fly to all the fun places you’ve always wanted to visit.
The way you need to look at it is 10 or so different airlines fly from Singapore to Australia, this is not the case for routes such as Cambodia to Australia, it’s far less frequent and will cost a lot more because of this.
What you’ve quickly learned is convenience sells for a premium. Budget seekers however should have a lot of time and flexibility in order to grab cheap affordable flights. After all, that’s why they are going cheap in the first place.
I’ve seen RTW tickets start around £599, but this is the very basic Australia return.
The price will change depending on the Alliance/airline you go with and the time of year.
Other things to take into consideration: the more exotic or hard to reach locations will cost you more.
You will have a tough time getting to the Faroe islands for example, however Fiji or the Easter islands can work on some Alliance RTW Routes, so it does depend on some factors.
The more stop offs you make will cost you more and the dates/seasons will affect the final price.
Stop-offs themselves should be limited to 4-6 to make it affordable and only use the RTW flight major hubs.
Avoid choosing 20 or so just because you want to go everywhere, there are much cheaper methods to get to the location you want to visit.
My tip is to use the large hubs as location bases on your RTW flight.
It’s much cheaper to fly domestically once you’re in the continent using budget airlines and local transportation such as trains and buses.
Once you have reached one of the major hubs in the continent you’re visiting, you can then reach all the other places you want to visit at a better rate.
Here are some suggestions of major hubs located in continents that you can reach with a RTW ticket:
South East Asia.
Major hubs for RTW: Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok.
South East Asian countries to explore from these hubs: Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia.
or even take the long distance affordable sleeper buses all around South East Asia.
Major Hubs: Mexico City, San José
Travel: Local buses and coaches (chicken buses)
Flying cheap around Mexico: InterJet
Destination: Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua.
Major hubs for RTW: Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta
Destinations: Canada, USA, Mexico
Major Hubs for RTW: London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome
Destinations: Nordics, Central Europe, Eastern Europe
I haven’t listed all the areas around the world, but you get the general idea from the above information.
Once you use your affordable RTW ticket to get to one of the major hubs you can extend the next flight from that destination to depart 2 months later and then come back to the RTW ticket once you’ve explored the said area using the more affordable travel alternatives.
This will bring the price of your trip down dramatically.
Once you have booked your RTW ticket depending on who you decide to go with you will also gain some other extra advantages over booking the tickets individually.
Such as receiving your own personal 24/7 booking agent when you buy your RTW ticket (check when buying, to see if the company offers this service) to assist you every step of the way on your trip and to offer support when you need it.
You could then change your flight dates if you want to get back home early or stay a little longer in your destination.
This may cost a fee or come along free of charge with the service depending on what company you’re going to travel with.
But one thing is for sure; it will be cheaper, changing the flight with them than it will be to book a whole new flight all together.
This is great, as it offers you protection if you get caught in an emergency situation where you have to change your plans.
I hope you found this blog post on booking RTW tickets useful and I wish you the best of success with booking your around the world adventure!