First things first: before embarking on a round-the-world trip, you have to weigh costs and benefits. It’s expensive. You’ll be away from friends and family for months, if not upwards of a year. But then again, you’ll be able to see everything you’ve ever wanted to see–chill out on the island of Mauritius, finally see Fiji, and eat the cuisine of Morocco–and you’ll be able to do it for a relatively low cost compared to booking separate trips. Do some soul-searching and research before you go: really take the time to plan your journey.
Where to start
Before we get to the fun part, it’s time to book a ticket. Now, this is not for the faint of heart–it’s going to take a lot of research, some pretty meticulous planning, lengthy phone calls and some running around town to get everything confirmed. But don’t worry–it will be worth it once you’ve eaten traditional food at a family-run inn in Japan, and climbed Machu Picchu!
Most people purchase their RTW tickets from Star Alliance (a conglomerate of various international airlines) or OneWorld. One of the most important things about creating a good itinerary is making sure you maximize your mileage–or as the case may be, flights. OneWorld RTW tickets are measured by the number of flights (around 16), and Star Alliance tickets are measured by the amount of miles (around 33,000). Take care to make sure you get the most bang for your buck!
Planning your trip
One important thing to consider while planning out your trip is to streamline your journey. This part can take a little time, but you don’t want to spend anymore time on a plane than you absolutely have to–plus, it will help you get a better deal. Keep in mind that many RTW tickets have strict regulations when it comes to planning your trip. For example, many companies only allow you to fly in one direction, meaning once you start heading west you can not turn back in the other direction you must keep going west and your last destination on your trip is the destination you started with.
During the planning stages, you’ll want to do some heavy research on the locations you’re interested in traveling to. Check out travel guides, reviews, asks friends for advice–make everything count. You’ll also want to see which locations can give you better deals. For example, London Heathrow’s taxes are notoriously high, while places like South Korea, Indonesia, Mauritius and South Africa can be slightly cheaper to fly in and out of.
Many people also find that it’s helpful to establish travel hubs in certain countries. For example, while traveling Southeast Asia, you could fly into Indonesia, travel around to surrounding areas, then return back to Indonesia. Then, you can also have hubs in other areas–Europe, for example. That can help clear up some of the logistical headaches that pop up when it comes to planning these very detailed and involved itineraries!
Booking your ticket
Once you’ve finished creating your itinerary, there are a few ways to go about booking your ticket: you can do it over the phone with a representative from the airline in question, or you can book it yourself online. Pick your poison!
It can be best to book your trip over the phone so that you can talk to your expert to make sure you are planning your trip the best way. Make sure you read through all the regulations of your trip as well as some airlines can cancel your flights if you don’t end up boarding one of your booked flights. Pay close attention to your flight information and booking information beforehand so that you are not scrambling to get to your flight later.
As with any extended adventure it’s best to pack light for this trip. Depending on your trip of course, some travelers are hopping from one country to the next quickly while others might be staying in one country longer giving them time to do laundry. You want to bring comfortable lightweight clothes with you on your journey.
Remember that almost everything you think you need can always be bought at a local store. Only bring the essentials and don’t bring anything too valuable, since you’re likely to be traveling to different places constantly it’s almost guaranteed that you will lose something.
A round-the-world journey is a great way to see the world as a solo traveler or can be a great bonding experience for you and your best friends.
So, we don’t need to tell you again–you already know that traveling the world is no walk in the park. But after some research and planning, you will be well on your way to creating and customizing your dream adventure.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia.org contributor Tavyland.