5 Things You Need to Know About Round the World Tickets

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Before booking a round the world ticket (also referred to as an RTW ticket), there are five things that you need to know about them so that A: you can get the most out of your trip, and B: you get the right ticket for you at the right price.

Going on a round the world trip can be the experience of a lifetime, but to get the most out of round the world travel you need to understand how it works and what the limitations of it are. To ensure you get the most out of your trip, take note of these five tips:

Round the World Trips Require Time to Plan

For a lot of people, holidays can be impulsive events. It’s possible to turn up at the airport with a small case of luggage, book a ticket to the first destination going and have an adventure. Sadly, the same can’t (and shouldn’t) be attempted when buying a round the world ticket. The reason for this is that you need to have a provisional list of destinations in place (at least in your head) before you leave, along with a provisional list of dates that you’ll be flying.

RTW tickets are often restricted on the amount of miles that you’re allowed to fly, along with the amount of stopovers that you’re allowed to make. Because of this, it’s crucial that you plan your trip in advance to ensure that you have enough stops/miles to get home and to see all of the things that you want to see.

RTW TicketHow much time does all this planning take? It depends on the person, and how clear they are about what they want to do and where they want to go. Some people might have dreamt about going on a RTW trip since they were young, and they might already know exactly which destinations they want to visit. For others, it might take a bit more planning and research.

Planning a round the world trip requires you to plan the same things as you would on any normal holiday/traveling experience (flights, dates, visas, insurance, vaccinations, etc). The problem with it is that you’re often going to have to plan TWELVE MONTHS worth (as this is the average length of a RTW trip), meaning there’s a lot more planning involved, especially when you consider that you’ve got to make everything sync up properly and stay below your allowed mileage/destination threshold.

To summarize, if you’re thinking about going on a round the world trip, start planning it as soon as you can, as you want to give yourself as much time as you can to plan things out as perfectly as possible.

They Have Strict Rules That You Must Follow

A lot of people think that buying a round the world air ticket enables them to have a Carmen Sandiego-like free reign of the globe, where they can go anywhere and do anything they want, whenever they want, just because they’ve ‘got a round the world ticket’.

While a RTW ticket means that you can travel the globe and do the things you want to do, there are certain rules put in place by most airline companies. The first rule is that you must travel either East or West around the world. No backtracking is allowed (except in small occurrences within specific countries/regions).

Secondly, they have a rule that during your trip you must travel across both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. This is a fairly obvious one, and just ensures that you will actually be ‘going around the world’.

Don’t get too hung up on the backtracking rule. As long as you’re heading more-or-less in one constant direction (either East or West) you should have no problems. Occasionally you may have to backtrack slightly (i.e. because the only major international airport that you have to fly out from is back in the direction you just came from) but as long as you don’t plan on zigzagging thousands of miles than you should be fine.

These rules that I have listed are made by most airline companies, but there are certain (special) exceptions when they can be broken (especially in regards to backtracking).

They Can Save You a Lot of Money (Providing You Avoid the Extra Costs)

Travel CurrencyIf your dream is to travel around the world, then buying a round the world plane ticket is almost certainly cheaper than buying half a dozen of single airline tickets as you go.

Saying that, not all round the world tickets are created equal, and some can cost you more money than others (depending on your trip). When comparing RTW tickets it’s important to consider the potential total cost and not just the cost of the initial ticket itself.

Some airline companies will charge you extra for adding on extra destinations to your trip, flying more miles than you were originally permitted, changing the dates of your flights or changing the destinations you’re visiting, so it’s worth knowing which tickets charge extra for these things (and how much), and what the likelihood is that you’ll be making changes to your trip that might incur such extra costs. Doing so should give you a more rounded view of which ticket is right for you.

They Allow You to Be Flexible

One of the best things about round the world airline tickets is that they allow you to be flexible in your travel arrangements once you’re on the road.

Unlike with most flights, you can change the dates of your flights totally free of charge. This means that if you want to stay in one particular area for a longer (or shorter) time, you can do without any problems.

The only real dates that need to be confirmed before leaving are the ones that cover the first part of your trip, and even these can be changed as soon as you land if necessary.

Not only can dates be changed, but so too can the destinations that you visit (to some degree). That being said, changing one small portion of your trip can create an impact on the entire rest of it. Changing around destinations can be a gamble, as increasing the amount of miles that you’re flying or destinations you’re visiting might mean that further down the line you have to miss out on somewhere that you originally intended on visited (due to the limitations of your round the world ticket). Which brings me onto my next point…

They’ll Take You to Places You’d Never Otherwise Visit

This can either be a positive or a negative, depending on your view of the world. For me, it’s a positive. If you do change your destinations around mid-way through your trip, and you are forced to visit somewhere you’d never originally planned on, take it as a learning experience and go in with as much enthusiasm and curiosity when visiting that new place as you would with any other, as you might just turn out to like it there!

Last but not least, stuck for ideas on where to go or which route to change? Check out these round the world itinerary ideas.


Related posts:

  1. Booking Your Round the World Ticket
  2. Round the World Travel Questions – The Top 10 Questions Asked
  3. Booking Airline Tickets in Advance Vs Buying As You Go




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