Pre-Departure

 

 

Once you’ve booked your round the world flights, there are a few more things you need to sort out before you get on that first plane. And here’s a handy guide to the main ones. 

 

 

Straight after booking

 

1. Check the documents

Once you have your e-tickets, check to see that everything’s as you expect it to be. If not, now is a better time to fix a problem than two hours before your flight. It’s also worth adding any relevant frequent flyer number you may have to the booking. If you don’t have one, it’s worth signing up for the schemes of airlines you’ll be flying on and adding the numbers later.

 

2. Additional Paperwork

For many countries, visas can be obtained upon entry. Others require you to get them in advance. Those for Australia and the US can be done quickly online, but others – such as India, China and Vietnam – require you to send your passport off. You really don’t want to be turned away at the airport, so get it sorted in good time. Roundtheworldflights.com has drawn up a handy visa chart…

Your passport also needs to be machine-readable and in date – if yours has less than six months validity at the END of your trip, you need to send off for a new one.

 

3. Safety and security

Look into what jabs, inoculations and medical certificates (such as Yellow Fever) you may need, and get on to your GP about having your arm turned into a pincushion if need be. It’s also worth researching whether you need to take malaria tablets – you generally have to start taking them before you go.

Insurance is a must (unless you’re a complete idiot), whilst applying for a second Visa or Mastercard (the most widely accepted credit cards) could save a whole lot of pain if your usual one goes missing. More safety and security advice can be found here.

 

4. Start filling the gaps

Get some guide books, read some inspirational material online and start learning about the history and culture of the places you’ll be visiting. It’ll enrich the experience immensely. It’s also good for getting ideas of what to do while you’re out there. If you fancy doing any tours, then now’s the time to look into them as well.

 

Two months before

 

5. Domestic duties

If you’re renting, hand in your notice. If you own your house or flat, you should decide whether you want to let it out for the duration of your trip and sort out tenants sharpish. You’ll also need to contact the Post Office to have your post stopped or redirected, arrange for gym memberships and utility accounts to be put on hold, and cancel subscriptions.

 

6. Dealing with work

Work wise, if you need to arrange for a long period of leave, you probably should have had a word before booking. If you need to quit, check your notice period and get a second, personal e-mail account through the likes of Yahoo or Gmail that you can use while you’re away. Oh, and tell everyone that’s the way to contact you, rather than let your work inbox pile up.

 

7. Start getting suspiciously sociable

Got family, Facebook acquaintances or distant friends of friends in the places you’re visiting? Why not drop them a line and let them know you’re coming. You might get an expert tour guide and free accommodation out of it…

 

8. Start shopping

If you want to take any specialist gear – clothing, footwear, electronics – start the shopping spree. And make sure it works/ is worn in before you go.

 

One month out

 

9. Get booking

You’ll need to work out how you’re getting to the airport. If by train, tickets booked in advance are far cheaper. Make sure you leave time for any delays, and aim to be at the airport three hours before departure. It’s also worth sorting out accommodation for the first night or two in your first destination.

 

10. Do the admin

Write out a RTW packing list, replace anything that’s broken or missing and write down important numbers – such as those of your banks, credit card providers, family and roundtheworldflights.com (for any flight changes). If you’re planning to get foreign currency in advance (and having a couple of hundred US dollars is always handy if nothing else), get it sorted now. Many currencies need to be ordered in.

 

One week out to day of departure

 

11. Tackle the tech and pack

Back up your laptop, charge all relevant batteries and make sure all chargers and adaptors are ready to pack. You may want to stock your MP3 Player up with a few failsafe playlists, too. And then, of course, you need to pack. There’s something of an art to getting the packing right…

 

12. Get flight-ready

Phone the airline to reconfirm your flight time hasn’t changed (rarely the case, but it’s good practice to check), take another look at your itinerary with roundtheworldflights.com’s View Trip system and check in online with the airlines own web systems if you can – it saves time at the airport and helps you snaffle the best seats.

 

For an even more comprehensive check-list, see this guide here

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) after you depart

 

Can I change my flight dates? here
How much notice do I have to give to change my dates? here
How much luggage can I take? here
How do I change my dates once I leave the UK? here
Can I change my route once I leave the UK? here
Can I get a refund if my plans change or I cancel my trip? here

Can I change my flight dates?
Date change rules vary by route, airline, and fare. As a general rule, the date for the first international flight of your journey is fixed, and cannot be changed without substantial cost. Changes to most other flights are permitted, subject to airline change fees and availability of seats on your desired new dates. Most date changes while you are traveling are made directly with the airlines at the airport, but we also over an Exclusive Travel Concierge system here. Please check your booking confirmation for the date change rules applicable to your specific itinerary.

How much notice do I have to give to change my dates?
If you do not intend to take a confirmed flight (including flights booked for a provisional date), you must change your dates before the flight departs. Failure to do so may result in the airline cancelling your remaining flights and you incurring costs to have them re-instated. As a rule of thumb it is important you change your flight dates at least seven days before the flight is due to depart.

 



How much luggage can I take?

The most common system used, is the weight system. This allows you to take the following amount of luggage at no extra cost to you. 

• Economy Class 20-23kg (depending on the airline) 
• Premium Economy/Business Class 30kg
• First Class 40kg

If you travel via North America then there are a few airlines who still allow you to take two pieces of luggage at a maximum weight 20kg each. This will only be for the flights via the States though. 
It's worth reading our Surfboads, airlines and what you're allowed on an RTW article if you have any sporting goods you want to take

 

How do I change my dates once I leave the UK?
So whilst most date changes are made by our passengers directly with the airline locally (and this is the cheapest option – especially when done with an airline at an airport), we do know that sometimes you might not always be able to make contact with an airline in person. If we can help you, and airline permitting, then we will do so gladly, but we will only charge whatever the airline fees are to change your dates. These can be found on your booking confirmation. Again this is on the proviso that your airline will allow us to do so.

Can I change my route once I leave the UK? 
In most cases you will be able to re-route your ticket although this will cost a little more (GBP£75-£250 plus any changes in taxes or any increases in fuel surcharges) and involve you going into an airline office or at an airport to have the ticket re-issued (Most airlines will not accept re-routing and even date changes over the phone - the easiest place to change tickets is at the airport). Please note this procedure can take a while as the airline in the country you are in has to contact their office in London to get the ticketing details. Also the tickets we sell are quite complicated and it can take longer to reissue a ticket in Ulan Bataar that it would at Heathrow. 


How to change if you can't get to an airport 

If you want us to change your dates, please email your consultant and cc in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with your ideal dates and advise how flexible you are eg plus 3 days, plus or minus 1 day etc. For security reasons we will not do this over the phone. Please include your roundtheworldflights.com Booking Number and the debit or credit card you wish to use for any airline fees that will be noted on your booking confirmation (with expiry date and 3 digit security number). If you do this when you are in a place where you are able to access your emails regularly then it will definitely make your life easier too.

 


Important Information

 

We will endeavour to get back to you ASAP (usually the same business day) and always within 72 hours. However please note that we cannot change any dates departing within 7 days and will also need at least 7 days notice to book any new dates – in these cases you must contact the airline directly . Please also note that we are only able to change certain airlines, and that sometimes a booking drops off our system and becomes embedded within an airline system after you have left the UK. In that case you MUST contact the airline directly. There are some fares that do not allow changes - ( please see your Booking Confirmation for details) and there are also some cases where although changes are permitted with the airline, they cannot be made by roundtheworldflights.com after you have left the UK. In these cases you MUST contact the airline directly.

 

Can I get a refund if my plans change or I cancel my trip?
Most tickets from roundtheworldtravel.com are refundable, but cancellation fees will apply. This will be advised to you by your travel consultant and also in writing on your Booking Confirmation. Please note that once you have started travel, your ticket is non-refundable for any reason, including medical reasons. Roundtheworldflights.com cannot waive airlines cancellation penalties and strongly advise you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection. If you have to cancel your trip, for whatever reason, please make sure that your reservation is cancelled. This can be done by contacting your consultant in writing - most passengers do so by email (consultants emails are here) and cc in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  but you can post it if its more convenient, then please send your tickets (or e ticket booking confirmation) with a covering letter by Recorded Delivery to:

Customer Services, 

roundtheworldflights.com,

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London. N1 0PN

 

slington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

 

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

Refunds do take a while - 12 months is not unusual but on average 3 - 6 months is usually what they take (it really does depend on the airline).

Defining a round the world (RTW) trip

User Rating:/38

 

 

Give me the short version

Easy. An RTW – or round the world if we’re being formal – is a flight ticket that allows you stop at multiple destinations on multiple continents for a relative pittance. Which, obviously, is a Fairly Good Thing.

And the slightly longer, more tedious version?

Airline alliances sell special (and famously complicated) round the world tickets. These allow passengers to book a series of flights at once, at a price that’s generally far cheaper than booking the flights individually. The price is generally dependent on where you stop, how many miles you cover and how many continents you visit.

You can usually include ‘surface’ sectors where you travel overland (ie. Fly into Bangkok, get the train to Singapore, fly out of Singapore), and the tickets tend to be valid for a year.

Dates can often be changed free of charge or for a relatively tiny extra fee – so you can alter plans on the hoof.

Most importantly, these tickets are often not bookable online – they’re too complex for most web systems to handle. Attempting to book multi-stop flights online will generally end up with a very expensive quote, because the legs end up priced individually, rather than being lumped into one ticket.

But I don’t want to go round the world…

That’s fair enough. There are other tickets which serve similar purposes. If you’re only going to one continent, it’s possible to do it as an ‘open-jaw’ ticket, then add on internal flights. A good example would be flying into Lima, then out of Buenos Aires, while tacking on short hops elsewhere in South America.

There are also multi-stop flights that are technically normal return tickets which allow stopovers. Going to New Zealand via Asia and Australia on one of these often works out cheaper than an RTW, for example. A route along the lines of London – Singapore – Sydney – Christchurch – Auckland – Brisbane – Bangkok – London fits the bill here.

What’s the catch?

There are thousands of permutations, and switching one destination for another can bump the price up by hundreds of pounds.

Generally, you also have to go in one direction – backtracking usually adds big chunks to the overall mileage, and therefore costs more.

Also, the cheaper the ticket, the more it will probably cost to change later on.

So how do I get the best deal?

It’s best to start with a rough idea of where you want to go, and how long you want to spend in each place. Be prepared to be a little flexible, and then give roundtheworldflights.com a call on 020 7704 5700.

Years of fiddling with RTW tickets and access to the airline systems mean money-saving tweaks can usually be found. It may mean stopping in Kuala Lumpur rather than Singapore, flying into Melbourne rather than Sydney or spending 19 days in New Zealand rather than 20. But talking through the options will usually find that happy medium between dream itinerary and dream price.

As for the cheapest time to travel, the best bargains tend to be on departures after Easter but before the school holidays start.

 

 

33 things to do before you take off (The long version)

User Rating:/4



  1. Straight Away: Check your booking confirmation or itinerary for any discrepancies - it is essential that the first and family names you gave us (which appear on this Booking Confirmation or Itinerary) are exactly as they appear in each passengers passport. You must advise us immediately if this is not the case. There are many restrictions on changing names with airlines and where possible it is always at a cost. 
  2. Start thinking about where you're going to stay. We've got exclusive deals on hotels, cars, campervans and tours around the world. In Australia New Zealand The Pacific Asia Latin America Middle East Africa USA or Canada. You can custom design your own eBrochure here by selecting only the pages you want to see. Just click on one of the thumbnails, browse our eBrochures online, and your chosen pages will then be emailed to you via our eBrochure service. And it's free.
  3. Please ensure that you have all the required travel documents for your entire journey i.e. a valid machine readable passport (with at least 6 months validity left & please note a new passport can take a minimum of 10 days to issue

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before you depart

User Rating:/6


 

Do flights have to actually go round the world? here
When is the cheapest time to go? here
If I don’t live in the UK can I still make a booking with you? here
What does the phase ‘surface’ mean? here
What is the tax that everyone keeps quoting - is it V.A.T? here
Is roundtheworldflights.com just another Internet start up? here
Why should I book with you? here
Are you ATOL and IATA bonded? here
How far ahead can I book?  here
Can I pre-book my first night's accommodation? here
Why do I need travel insurance? here
How much notice do I have to give to change my dates? here
Can I change destinations whilst I'm away? here
How much luggage can I take? here
What is the difference between a paper ticket and an e-ticket and what do I need to carry? here
When is the best time to start planning and purchasing my trip? here
Will I get a better price if I wait until the last minute? here
Can I make up my own itinerary? here
What Gear will I need? here

12 things to do before you take off

User Rating:/5

 

 

Once you’ve booked your round the world flights, there are a few more things you need to sort out before you get on that first plane. And here’s a handy guide to the main ones. 

33 things

 



  1. Straight Away: Check your booking confirmation or itinerary for any discrepancies - it is essential that the first and family names you gave us (which appear on this Booking Confirmation or Itinerary) are exactly as they appear in each passengers passport. You must advise us immediately if this is not the case. There are many restrictions on changing names with airlines and where possible it is always at a cost. 
  2. Start thinking about where you're going to stay. We've got exclusive deals on hotels, cars, campervans and tours around the world. In Australia New Zealand The Pacific Asia Latin America Middle East Africa USA or Canada. You can custom design your own eBrochure here by selecting only the pages you want to see. Just click on one of the thumbnails, browse our eBrochures online, and your chosen pages will then be emailed to you via our eBrochure service. And it's free.
  3. Please ensure that you have all the required travel documents for your entire journey i.e. a valid machine readable passport (with at least 6 months validity left & please note a new passport can take a minimum of 10 days to issue
  4. f you're travelling to the USA - The USA has changed its entry procedures for travellers to the USA: From the 1st November 2010 all passengers must have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in their booking, as well as obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) which can be obtained online, is valid for two years and costs $14 here. Failure to do so will mean you will not be checked in and refused permission to fly. For SFPD for each passenger, we now need your date of birth, gender (M/F) and full names (Surname, First Name and Middle Name as per your passport). Please email it to us immediately after booking in the following format SI.P1/DOCS*////13JAN76/M//SMITH/JOHN/GEOFFREY Where 13JAN76 = date of birth, M = gender, SMITH = surname, JOHN = first name and GEOFFREY = middle name. We will then transmit this SFPD information to the US Security Department through your RTW booking.
  5. Buy a decent RTW travel insurance, such as our one! A cheap policy that leaves you uncovered can cost you far, far more in the long run. (check that it covers you for the duration of your trip, all areas you’ll be visiting and any risky activities (such as skydiving) you may intend to partake in). roundtheworldflights.com's insurance has cancellation cover from the moment it is booked and issued.
  6. If you’ve not done so already, buy some guidebooks and give them a proper read to get an insight into the history and culture of the places you’ll be visiting – as well as getting ideas of what you want to see and do. Start pencilling in a few probable highlights between the flights.
  7. Sort out your visas. Many countries either give visas on entry or don’t require them. Others (such as the US and Australia) can be got pretty much instantly on the internet. Some, however, require you to send off your passport. And the likes of China, India and Vietnam won’t let you in without that magic bit of paper. Every year many people forget to get an Australian visa (which we can do), a US ESTA or an Indian visa and the result can be misery, major delays and substantial additional costs. For further visa advice please visit our visa chart here
  8. If you’re not already covered, start on the jabs. Get your tetanus booster, hepatitis A inoculation and any others – such as Yellow Fever if you’re heading to much of South America or Tanzania. Generally your GP offers the best deal when it comes to innoculations
  9. Apply for frequent flier accounts with the airlines/ airline alliance you’ll be using and get your number added to your ticket.
  10. If you haven’t already, get either a credit card or an extra bank account with a globally recognised debit card (Visa or Mastercard are most widespread). Having a spare card can save an awful lot of pain if one goes missing/ is stolen.
  11. Two months out: If you need to hand in your notice on your rented accommodation/ find tenants for the place you own, now is the time to do it. If you’re planning to sell up, you probably should have done so before booking your tickets
  12. Arrange for gym memberships, utility accounts – such as electricity, gas, telephone – and the like to be closed or put on hold for the expected duration of your trip.
  13. Contact any friends, family or friends-of-friends you may have in the places you’re visiting. Get tips, arrange to meet up and cadge whatever free accommodation you can wangle.
  14. Start buying any specialist gear you want to take with you – be it clothing, walking boots, backpacks, a new camera, adaptors or toiletries. And, just as importantly, test that the electronics work and the rest are broken in before you leave.
  15. Arrange for your post to be stopped or redirected, with any subscriptions cancelled.
  16. If you currently use a work e-mail account, set up a free one that can be accessed worldwide with the likes of Yahoo or Gmail. And, crucially, tell everyone that you’re switching to it.
  17. If required, arrange for a medical appointment and get your malaria tablets. If you’re immediately heading to a malarial zone, you’ll need to start taking them before you leave. In the case of Mefloquine, you should start two-and-a-half weeks before you leave.
  18. 1 month out: Start embarking on your farewell tour – make sure you catch up with all the friends and family you want to see before you go.
  19. Work out how you’re going to get to the airport on the big day. If by train, now’s the cheapest time to book tickets. Make sure you factor in time for things to go wrong (train delays etc).
  20. Get any foreign cash and travellers cheques you’re planning to take. Be careful not to leave this too late – some currencies need to be ordered in. The Post Office do pretty good currency deals these days.
  21. Book your first night’s couple of nights accommodation if you’ve not done so already. The rest can be done on the road, but you really don’t want to have to find somewhere to stay after landing in a strange foreign city on a long haul flight.
  22. Make copies or scans of important documents such as your passport, insurance policy, driving licence and tickets. Give one copy to a family member, store one copy separately from your real documents in a safe part of your bag, and e-mail copies to yourself.
  23. Make a proper packing list and start gathering everything in one place. If something’s missing, go and get/ buy it. If something’s dirty, wash it.
  24. Write down the phone numbers of roundtheworldflights.com, bank lost card helpline and travel insurer in case something goes wrong. Preferably e-mail them to yourself as well.
  25. Set up playlists on your ipod/MP3 player.
  26. 3 days out: Reconfirm or check your first flight with the airline (always a good practice before any flight)...read more
  27. Check your itinerary again in View Trip. The moment you book any RTW flight with roundtheworldflights.com you can take advantage of a specially designed system to look at your itinerary online - it's through our reservation system and it's called View Trip - and it's a very convenient way for you to check your RTW flight itinerary online. To see your RTW itinerary online just click here...read more
  28. Start packing (See our handy list here)
  29. Make sure batteries for phone, MP3 player/ipod, camera etc are fully charged.
  30. Finish packing, checking everything off against your list.
  31. Say those last goodbyes, but resist the urge to get absolutely hammered. Being violently hungover on a long distance flight is an excruciating experience.
  32. Check in online – it’ll save you a lot of time at the airport and allow you to reserve a good seat.
  33. Day of departure: Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, don’t eat too much if you don’t want to feel bloated on the plane, and feel free to yelp with excitement. But get to the airport early (3 hours is normal on most flights!) – the adventure of a lifetime starts today

FAQs after

 

Can I change my flight dates? here
How much notice do I have to give to change my dates? here
How much luggage can I take? here
How do I change my dates once I leave the UK? here
Can I change my route once I leave the UK? here
Can I get a refund if my plans change or I cancel my trip? here

Can I change my flight dates?
Date change rules vary by route, airline, and fare. As a general rule, the date for the first international flight of your journey is fixed, and cannot be changed without substantial cost. Changes to most other flights are permitted, subject to airline change fees and availability of seats on your desired new dates. Most date changes while you are traveling are made directly with the airlines at the airport, but we also over an Exclusive Travel Concierge system here. Please check your booking confirmation for the date change rules applicable to your specific itinerary.

How much notice do I have to give to change my dates?
If you do not intend to take a confirmed flight (including flights booked for a provisional date), you must change your dates before the flight departs. Failure to do so may result in the airline cancelling your remaining flights and you incurring costs to have them re-instated. As a rule of thumb it is important you change your flight dates at least seven days before the flight is due to depart.

 



How much luggage can I take?

The most common system used, is the weight system. This allows you to take the following amount of luggage at no extra cost to you. 

• Economy Class 20-23kg (depending on the airline) 
• Premium Economy/Business Class 30kg
• First Class 40kg

If you travel via North America then there are a few airlines who still allow you to take two pieces of luggage at a maximum weight 20kg each. This will only be for the flights via the States though. 
It's worth reading our Surfboads, airlines and what you're allowed on an RTW article if you have any sporting goods you want to take

 

How do I change my dates once I leave the UK?
So whilst most date changes are made by our passengers directly with the airline locally (and this is the cheapest option – especially when done with an airline at an airport), we do know that sometimes you might not always be able to make contact with an airline in person. If we can help you, and airline permitting, then we will do so gladly, but we will only charge whatever the airline fees are to change your dates. These can be found on your booking confirmation. Again this is on the proviso that your airline will allow us to do so.

Can I change my route once I leave the UK? 
In most cases you will be able to re-route your ticket although this will cost a little more (GBP£75-£250 plus any changes in taxes or any increases in fuel surcharges) and involve you going into an airline office or at an airport to have the ticket re-issued (Most airlines will not accept re-routing and even date changes over the phone - the easiest place to change tickets is at the airport). Please note this procedure can take a while as the airline in the country you are in has to contact their office in London to get the ticketing details. Also the tickets we sell are quite complicated and it can take longer to reissue a ticket in Ulan Bataar that it would at Heathrow. 


How to change if you can't get to an airport 

If you want us to change your dates, please email your consultant and cc in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with your ideal dates and advise how flexible you are eg plus 3 days, plus or minus 1 day etc. For security reasons we will not do this over the phone. Please include your roundtheworldflights.com Booking Number and the debit or credit card you wish to use for any airline fees that will be noted on your booking confirmation (with expiry date and 3 digit security number). If you do this when you are in a place where you are able to access your emails regularly then it will definitely make your life easier too.

 


Important Information

 

We will endeavour to get back to you ASAP (usually the same business day) and always within 72 hours. However please note that we cannot change any dates departing within 7 days and will also need at least 7 days notice to book any new dates – in these cases you must contact the airline directly . Please also note that we are only able to change certain airlines, and that sometimes a booking drops off our system and becomes embedded within an airline system after you have left the UK. In that case you MUST contact the airline directly. There are some fares that do not allow changes - ( please see your Booking Confirmation for details) and there are also some cases where although changes are permitted with the airline, they cannot be made by roundtheworldflights.com after you have left the UK. In these cases you MUST contact the airline directly.

 

Can I get a refund if my plans change or I cancel my trip?
Most tickets from roundtheworldtravel.com are refundable, but cancellation fees will apply. This will be advised to you by your travel consultant and also in writing on your Booking Confirmation. Please note that once you have started travel, your ticket is non-refundable for any reason, including medical reasons. Roundtheworldflights.com cannot waive airlines cancellation penalties and strongly advise you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection. If you have to cancel your trip, for whatever reason, please make sure that your reservation is cancelled. This can be done by contacting your consultant in writing - most passengers do so by email (consultants emails are here) and cc in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  but you can post it if its more convenient, then please send your tickets (or e ticket booking confirmation) with a covering letter by Recorded Delivery to:

Customer Services, 

roundtheworldflights.com,

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London. N1 0PN

 

slington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

 

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

Third Floor, 32-33 Upper Street,

Islington, London N1 0PN

- See more at: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/contact.aspx#sthash.QuihTYFE.dpuf

Refunds do take a while - 12 months is not unusual but on average 3 - 6 months is usually what they take (it really does depend on the airline).

Define a RTW

 

 

Give me the short version

Easy. An RTW – or round the world if we’re being formal – is a flight ticket that allows you stop at multiple destinations on multiple continents for a relative pittance. Which, obviously, is a Fairly Good Thing.

And the slightly longer, more tedious version?

Airline alliances sell special (and famously complicated) round the world tickets. These allow passengers to book a series of flights at once, at a price that’s generally far cheaper than booking the flights individually. The price is generally dependent on where you stop, how many miles you cover and how many continents you visit.

You can usually include ‘surface’ sectors where you travel overland (ie. Fly into Bangkok, get the train to Singapore, fly out of Singapore), and the tickets tend to be valid for a year.

Dates can often be changed free of charge or for a relatively tiny extra fee – so you can alter plans on the hoof.

Most importantly, these tickets are often not bookable online – they’re too complex for most web systems to handle. Attempting to book multi-stop flights online will generally end up with a very expensive quote, because the legs end up priced individually, rather than being lumped into one ticket.

But I don’t want to go round the world…

That’s fair enough. There are other tickets which serve similar purposes. If you’re only going to one continent, it’s possible to do it as an ‘open-jaw’ ticket, then add on internal flights. A good example would be flying into Lima, then out of Buenos Aires, while tacking on short hops elsewhere in South America.

There are also multi-stop flights that are technically normal return tickets which allow stopovers. Going to New Zealand via Asia and Australia on one of these often works out cheaper than an RTW, for example. A route along the lines of London – Singapore – Sydney – Christchurch – Auckland – Brisbane – Bangkok – London fits the bill here.

What’s the catch?

There are thousands of permutations, and switching one destination for another can bump the price up by hundreds of pounds.

Generally, you also have to go in one direction – backtracking usually adds big chunks to the overall mileage, and therefore costs more.

Also, the cheaper the ticket, the more it will probably cost to change later on.

So how do I get the best deal?

It’s best to start with a rough idea of where you want to go, and how long you want to spend in each place. Be prepared to be a little flexible, and then give roundtheworldflights.com a call on 020 7704 5700.

Years of fiddling with RTW tickets and access to the airline systems mean money-saving tweaks can usually be found. It may mean stopping in Kuala Lumpur rather than Singapore, flying into Melbourne rather than Sydney or spending 19 days in New Zealand rather than 20. But talking through the options will usually find that happy medium between dream itinerary and dream price.

As for the cheapest time to travel, the best bargains tend to be on departures after Easter but before the school holidays start.

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