Travel on a round-the-world airline ticket

If you’ve been reading my blog here, you will realise I love to travel, and I take every opportunity I can to head off somewhere I’ve never been before. It can be just around the corner, or off to some silly far-flung corner of our lovely planet, I don’t care as long as I can experience the journey, and the destination.

Around the worldOne travel idea I haven’t done yet, but would really like to try is one of the “round-the-world” or RTW flights. How they work is you purchase a ticket with special RTW conditions.  They allow you between three and twenty stops (sixteen seems to be the most common) over the period of a year, generally travelling in one direction only – meaning each airport you pick must be further along the route in the direction you are travelling.

This sounds like it would be horrifically expensive, but amazingly they are not considering the distance you travel and the number of stops you can make. They are much cheaper than purchasing the flights separately, or than purchasing one way flights. In fact, if you’re planning a long distance trip such as London to Sydney, Australia you might find that an RTW ticket is almost the same price as the London to Sydney return. I did not know this and for future long haul flights, I will certainly be exploring this option.

The limitations vary a bit from one airline alliance to the next, but the most common are:

  • Sixteen segments including ground travel
  • A strict mileage limitation of 26,000 to 40,000 miles depending on the price
  • A time limit, usually 12 months from your date of departure
  • A minimum number of stops, typically five
  • You must return to your departure point
  • You must travel in one direction, easy or west
  • Your stops need to be decided and assigned when the ticket is printed. Changes are allowed, but they charge fees for the changes much the same as with any ticket changes

Travel around the worldPlanning such an epic trip takes some serious planning. Thankfully in this day of everything being on the Internet, there are some really good online tools for this. Between the flight itinerary planning tools and hotel websites like HRS, you’re covered for the planning, and for places to stay along the way.

Hmmm I can’t wait to save up some vacation time and head off on what is surely to be an adventure of a lifetime.


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