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Round the world travel

South Florida...
posts: 28
Round the world travel

Hi all,

On a whim I have decided to leave my job and heading off for solo travel...about 6-7 months. I am admittedly totally overwhelmed by all of the plans I have to make very quickly so I am hoping to get some help, specifically with planing airfare. I am leaving from Florida:

First stop is Lisbon. From there will be traveling to Spain, Morocco, France, possibly Switzerland, Italy and Greece. I was going to do all of this through land travel (trains and ferries).

From there I was going to head to SE Asia, probably landing in Bangkok. In that region I had planned on Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, possibly Laos, Singapore, Bali.

From there head to Australia with possible stops in NZ and Fiji before heading back to Florida with a stop in California on the way.

All of that being said, what is the best way to plan air travel? Should I plan stop overs and if so where? What is the best way to travel through SE Asia?

Thanks for any help!!

18 replies to this topic
Watford, United...
posts: 3,495
reviews: 12
1. Re: Round the world travel

See a specialist round the world travel agent. They will make it much easier for you.

Edited: 11:42 am, July 25, 2013
Cala d'Or, Spain
posts: 2,777
reviews: 88
2. Re: Round the world travel

Rebecca, coming to a forum like this will get you even more confused. You will get twenty replies and twenty different pieces of advice.

I am with MrMarcoos, get yourself an experienced travel agent.

Llanelli, United...
posts: 3,244
reviews: 175
3. Re: Round the world travel

Wise advice there from both crazypom and MrMarcoos.

Ultimately, Rebecca, you will have to make some decisions yourself, and a agent experienced and specialising in round the world travel will be able to give specific advice on air travel which will help you to get the best deal for your needs.

The input you get from well intentioned people on the forums will inevitably be based on the places that they like, and the interests and activities that they enjoy and will probably end up causing you even more problems in deciding where you want to visit, as there are as many opinions as there are possible destinations!

London, United...
posts: 25
4. Re: Round the world travel

Exciting isn't it, enjoy it :)

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,287
5. Re: Round the world travel

Unfortunately there are very few travel agents in the US versed in round the world (RTW) travel. (There are many more in Europe and Australia/NZ where RTWs are more commonly taken - by "gap year" people among others.

You might look to see if there's a branch of STA travel near you. They focus mainly on student travel, but sometimes they'll have agents who know something about RTW travel products.

Basically, there are two ways you can go about this. The first is to purchase an RTW airline ticket. These are sold by airlines who are members of the three big airline alliances, Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam. Basically these provide for up to 16 flights, and require that you cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the same direction (E - W or W - E.) You have to use airlines that are members of the alliance, or in some cases a few on top of alliance members, and you're limited either by the total miles you travel or by the number of continents you visit (more/further = higher cost.)

RTW tickets are priced very differently depending on where you start and finish the trip. RTWs bought and begun/ended in Europe are generally cheaper than those bought in the US, enough so that it often ends up cheaper overall to fly to Europe (and back) to begin/end the trip.

There are also one or two travel agencies who will put a “custom” RTW trip together for you, often using “consolidator” fares that are inexpensive but extremely inflexible – changes are very expensive or not doable at all. Airtreks is one of these - http://www.airtreks.com/

The second way is to put things together yourself using a series of one-way tickets on low-cost airlines. These may or may not be cheaper than alliance RTW tickets (depending on your route) but they offer the most flexibility – go where you want without pre-planning. This requires a lot more homework, especially if you want to travel on routes where there aren’t any low-cost airlines to speak of, e.g. Fiji – USA.

Bottom line, it’s a great experience, but one that takes some premeditation. I’d recommend consulting the “global alliances” boards at Flyertalk - http://www.flyertalk.com or the Thorn Tree message boards at Lonely Planet, where there’s one specializing in RTW and gap year travel.

Edited: 3:57 pm, July 25, 2013
South Florida...
posts: 28
6. Re: Round the world travel

Thanks for the advice everyone! Yes, this is a task to say the least and finding a RTW travel agent is very tough here in the US. But I'll keep looking...

Rebecca

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 12,264
reviews: 200
7. Re: Round the world travel

I have no advice for you. The only US travel agents I know do nothing but book cruises. I think the European-style travel agent is very rare in the US.

I really only wanted to say that I think what you are doing is terrific. I wished we would have been more spontaneous and taken a trip around the world before the idea becomes too difficult to contemplate.

Good Luck!

Manchester, United...
posts: 273
8. Re: Round the world travel

If you have not yet planned a full itinerary, your best option is to make a booking with stopovers in the main hubs of the regions you are visiting.

Looks like you'd want to include Madrid, Marrakech/Casablanca, Athens, Bangkok, Singapore, Sydney, Auckland, Nadi, Los Angeles.

You would need to bear in mind that *any* ticket issued nowadays (whether on Star Alliance, SkyTeam or Oneworld) can only contain a maximum of 16 flights. If you have a gap between cities, this is also included as a flight. For instance, Miami-Madrid-Rome-Hong Kong is obviously 3 flights. Miami-Madrid (train/bus) - Rome-Hong Kong is also considered as 3 flights when a ticket is issued. The jargon essentially being 3 'coupons.'

Trying to squeeze in so many countries may mean that overland travel or buying certain flights separately is a better option on some parts of the itinerary.

Within SE Asia, there are so many ways to travel. There are various inexpensive airlines like Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, Bangkok Airways. There are also plenty of aircon tourist buses that ply popular routes linking cities such as Bangkok, Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh, Luang Prabang etc.

My first instinct from looking at your wishlist is possibly a Oneworld Global Explorer fare as it can nicely link in Fiji with Air Pacific (you can also include a few other non-Oneworld airlines like Qatar Airways, Jetstar, Sri Lankan). It could go something along the lines of :-

Miami - Madrid - Marrakech - Madrid - Paris --Train/Bus-- Athens - Qatar - Bangkok - Singapore - Bali - Perth - Sydney - Auckland - Fiji - Los Angeles - Miami

You certainly need to get a solid idea of your itinerary. Check out the websites for the airline alliances to try and determine which one can meet your needs. It is also certainly worth scouring newspaper or magazine ads for travel agents as they may (or may not) be able to offer better fares than booking directly with an airline. Most travel magazines will be full of potential contacts. The USA is not the cheapest place from which to begin a RTW journey in comparison to the UK or Australia, so there may well be some consolidators with attractive rates.

Edited: 1:19 am, August 04, 2013
Brisbane, Australia
posts: 4,508
reviews: 28
9. Re: Round the world travel

You may not want to use this to actually book but it gives you an idea of the restrictions etc of RTW tickets.

www.oneworld.com/flights/plan-book-online

As said before there are limited stops but consider booking side trips separately. For instance when arriving into Australia you could book your Fiji and New Zealand flights completely separately ... it's quite cheap to fly to those places from Australia so you could do Sydney - NZ -Fiji - Sydney. So, with a bit of research using local TA experts you could plan your "local" trips separately and save money or stops.

10. Re: Round the world travel

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