Round The World Tickets are a popular way to travel around the world, but is it the best ticket for your trip? Many travel writers really sell Round The World Tickets, they’re generally seen as cheaper and more convenient than buying as you go. You pay one bulk price and it’s all pre booked, so you don’t have to worry about booking ahead on the road. However, they will not be the best for all trips, it all depends on the amount of time you plan to travel for and where you plan to travel to. For example, some less popular destinations won’t be available on a Round The World Ticket.
I used a Round The World Ticket for my first trip, my year out. For me, I had a set time that I would be away, so getting a RTW was easy and meant that I knew what I was doing. It also meant that I only had to survive on the money I had and could earn for a year. I had quite a few popular backpacker destinations, so a RTW ticket was an easy solution. Although buying it was quite fun, one of the travel agents we tried ended up doubling the amount of flights I wanted as she couldn’t understand that I planned to journey overland for a lot of the journey… However, I did discover that flights can only be pre booked up to nine months in advance, so a date alteration had to be made.
How Much Will A Round The World Ticket Cost?
In all honesty, I can’t answer this question. The cost of a Round The World Ticket will is dependent on so many factors. The cost will depend on how many stops you make, which airports you use, the distance covered and how long you travel for, to name just a few components that’ll make up the price. I would advise you to have a good shop around and get a few prices. It may be worth changing your destinations or time schedule and see if it affects the price.
How Do Round The World Tickets Work?
Round The World Tickets are actually ‘Airline Alliance Passes’. This means that you buy a ticket from one airline company and can use their flights and their partners. However, each of these airlines have their own Ts&Cs as well as their own rules. Also, none of the airlines that supply Round The World Tickets are (or are aligned with) budget airlines.
There are some good reasons for buying a Round The World Ticket, and for some trips they really are the best option. Here are some good points of RTW tickets:
Generally, Round The World tickets are cheaper, especially if you limit your stops. You’ll get the cheapest price if you limit yourself to a basic ‘Three-Stop Plan’. The majority of your flights will be booked way in advance too, so you’ll have a cheaper rate there.
Everything (almost) is completely pre-booked. On my year trip the flights could only be booked up to nine months in advance, so the flight home had to be changed a few months in, which also had a small fee. However, with the majority booked and confirmed you know where you need to get to and when. It can be a headache trying to book flights in a hostel with a bad WiFi connection.
You Know Your Budget
You know exactly how long you have to travel, so you know exactly how long you have to budget for. What’s more you prepay, so you don’t have to factor in flight costs in your limited budget once you are travelling.
Entry Into Countries
Some countries, such as the U.K., Peru and New Zealand (to name a few), require proof of onward travel for you to gain entry. With a RTW ticket, this is a headache you don’t have to think about.
Sometimes a Round The World Ticket is not the best option. There are some arguments why you should ‘Buy As You Go’. Bad points of RWT tickets include:
Lack Of Flexibility
Your route is pretty much set in stone, you know which airport you need to get to and when. What if you fall in love with a place and want to stay? Or what if someone tells you of a neighbouring island that you just can’t miss? You may want to change your plans, but you can’t, well not without a hefty fee.
It’s Not Always Cheaper
Contrary to popular belief, a Round The World Ticket is not necessarily the cheapest option available. Budget airlines aren’t used and if you want to go to a few unusual places, you may have to buy additional flights.
They Follow The Tourist Trail
That dreaded tourist trail. It’s not always a bad thing to be on a tourist route, in fact it can be quite fun. However, most Round The World Tickets only really include flights to the popular backpacking destinations (plus point, there’ll be plenty of backpackers to get help from), so if you want to ‘get off the beaten track’ this can be difficult.
So Many Rules
All the airlines that allow you to buy a ‘Airline Alliance Pass’ have their own Ts&Cs and rules. These can be quite complicated and confusing. Many Round The World Tickets require you to travel for one year, in one direction with the same start and end country. Although you can generally change dates and times of flights, you can’t change your destinations. Make sure you understand the rules before you buy.
There are journeys where a Round The World Ticket is the best option, and some journeys where they are not. I found the Round The World Ticket really helpful on my first trip, as I wouldn’t have done well with the stress of having to plan everything on the road. It gave me a time limit to get from A to B, so I didn’t just end up staying in my first country trying to see everything. I did have to purchase one extra flight, but I did this on a budget airline, so that wasn’t too bad. However I haven’t bought one since then and it’s unlikely I will – it is unlikely that I’d travel for a set year again (at the moment it’s shorter trips, but I’d like to be able to just travel until I have to come back).
I’d recommend a Round the World Ticket if you:
- Have a set amount of time;
- Are planning to visit lot of popular places;
- Don’t handle the stress of booking on the road well;
- Are a first time traveller.
My main bit of advice though, is to simply shop around. Look at the price of a Round The World Ticket, then look at the price of a Buy As You Go (for your definite destinations). BootsnAll have a great Comparison Report that you can use – and it’s free. Take the time to figure out what would be best for you.