A round the world ticket would be one of the most cherished and important buys of your life. It is not just any other ticket that you are buying. It is your ticket to adventure, an unmatched and never before experience, changes your attitude and perspective towards life itself, it is a game changer to sum it up! Well, a round the world ticket comes along with a price tag and it is quite obvious, that you would need money to travel. But it is also true that to lay your hands on your RTW ticket, you don’t need a fortune. There are a number of ways to spend effectively and efficiently, to get a round the world ticket within your budget. Here, we have prepared a list of some of the important things to keep in mind to get a good deal on RTW ticket prices and what all factors go into determining the price of your ticket. Read On!
THE BALANCING ACT: ROUTE PLANNING, TIME AND BUDGET
When we start planning a trip of this type, we often start off with crazy ideas about all the places we want to go. There comes a point where we have to get a little realistic about what’s achievable and affordable. It becomes a balancing act of your dream trip, with the time and budget available. Start with your ideal list of places to go and an idea about the time you have to travel. Think about what you want to see and do in each of these places and how much time you’ll want there. Don’t forget to think about your daily budget as well. Remember some places are much more expensive than others, or possibly the value of the currency against yours (though continually changing) will factor into the cost. Prioritise your list and have a look at a map and think about your route.
When looking at your route, keep in mind that generally, shorter, more direct flights will be cheaper, though this is not always the case. Sometimes, depending on airline schedules and routes or sometimes just on availability, they may not be. This is when having an agent can be useful as they can provide other options you might not think of, like travelling by land to a nearby airport, where the flights are significantly cheaper.
Also look at distances between places on your route. Try not to backtrack. While we don’t have rules saying you can’t do this, you’re covering miles you’ve already travelled and therefore paying extra for them. Also have a think about the longer flights which will generally be quite expensive and what return you’ll get for them. The more oceans and equators you cross and the more miles you travel, the cost of your ticket will go up. Some travel agents say that every time you cross the equator, you’re adding between more than $1000 to the cost of your flights. A big detour to another continent for one stop might be better saved for a later trip to keep costs down. On that note, to keep things cheaper it’s often best to limit your destinations a bit. But even more importantly, it gives you more time in each of your destinations to truly enjoy them. Packing up your bags to get to a new destination every day or two is exhausting and barely gives you a chance to enjoy the things you’re seeing and doing. So not only will it save you money, but it will also make your trip more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll still want to travel so you can save those destinations for another trip.
If you think you might need to drop a destination but aren’t sure which one, speak to one of our agents. They have years of experience with this type of travel and have the resources to quickly search costs, so will be able to give you accurate information about which destinations you could drop to save you the most money.
MIX FLIGHTS WITH OVERLAND TRAVEL
Bear in mind that you don’t have to fly everywhere and sometimes it might be cheaper to rent a car or take a train. While overland travel does generally take longer than a flight (though for some shorter distances, with the time to get to the airport and check in on time, it might be faster), travelling is about the journey not the destination right? So these options will allow you to see more of the countryside and smaller towns and cities in between and who doesn’t love a road trip!?
HUBS AND CONNECTIONS
We’re not talking about computer networking here, though city hubs are similar in that they’re a common connection point, but in this case, for flights and other forms of transport. Usually the biggest city in the area will be a hub and will have key airports that most airlines fly in and out of, and will connect to other forms of overland or local transport, connecting you into that specific area of the world. And typically, it’s cheaper to travel in and out of these hub cities.
And if you use them as connections and place less importance on direct flights, you’ll make more significant savings. Direct flights are great when time is limited, but if you’re travelling for a year, you don’t have the same time constraints. Taking flights with connections, whether they’re in and out of hub cities or not, will give you great savings on the cost of flying. And in some places, you might even be able to extend your stopover to create an additional destination for little or no additional cost. Check out our Making the Most of Stopovers page here for more details
While you’ll obviously be thinking about the weather in each of the places you’ll be going to and probably trying to avoid typhoon season, there are also seasons that relate to the cost of airline tickets. For obvious reasons, when most people have time off work and want to travel, airlines hike up the prices. Often prices could increase by 30% or more. While some of these times are fairly universal like summer and winter breaks, others might be affected by local holidays and therefore can vary by country or even by airline. When planning your route, try to work around high season to keep the costs of your trip down. Also bear in mind that on a long trip, it will be difficult to avoid travelling at these times completely. If you will be travelling high season, it is best to book tickets around 6 months prior to the date of travel to minimize the costs.
Generally high season will be mid-December to mid-January and June through August while low season will be mid-January to March and November to mid-December. Shoulder season fits into the areas in between in April and May and September and October. Be sure to have an awareness of local holidays in the areas you are looking to travel to as well.
Most travellers nowadays have frequent flyer points with a particular airline or airline alliance and we want to get as many points as we can so we can get free flights. This often won’t factor into the cheapest deal for you. Determining whether the points you receive will be worth the increase in fare is another factor that could affect your costs. If you let our agents know which airlines are your preferred airlines for getting points, we can give you the information to let you determine whether it’s worth the cost of the flight to get those frequent flyer points.
If you have long legs, or simply prefer flying in greater comfort, you may wish to book First Class, Business Class or Premium Economy Class tickets, which will obviously cost more. These can also be mixed, for example, if you just want the Business Class tickets for the long-haul flights, while still travelling in Economy for shorter flights.
FLEXIBILITY PROS AND CONS
In the initial stages of looking at your trip, If you can be flexible with your dates and routes, you’ll likely find better deals. As mentioned above, sometimes the shortest, most direct flight isn’t the cheapest or you might hit certain countries during their local holidays when availability is low and costs are high. At the minimum, shifting your dates by a day or two could make a huge difference in cost, while being locked into specific dates or airlines can limit you to more expensive tickets. Also having flexibility on your route can be a benefit. Planning to bounce around so you can hit Thailand for Songkran, followed by your brother’s wedding in Las Vegas followed by Easter in Sweden will make it more difficult to find the cheapest deals. To keep the budget down, it’s best to let your agent determine the itinerary to all your destinations around the best deals, whatever the dates, airlines or routes might be.
Maintaining your flexibility once you hit the road can increase costs however. But if you tend to go with the flow a bit more when you travel, you may want to keep your dates open so you can feel you’ve fully experienced somewhere before you move on to the next place. Flexible tickets can be purchased at an initially more expensive price, and they will typically also cost more every time you want to change them. But they also give you freedom on the road to be a little more spontaneous, if that’s your travelling style.
The cheapest seats on flights tend to sell out first. Being able to book early will ensure you get the best prices. Sometimes you might be able to get a good deal at the last minute, but it’s an unnecessary risk when you know booking early will get you good deals.