Everyone’s dream is to travel around the world but few people know many things about the Round The World Tickets, or RTW tickets as they are called. We compiled a list of useful information, so that you can get to know RTW tickets and explore their possibilities for travelling the world on a smaller budget.
1. What is a RTW Ticket?
A Round the World Ticket, is a special formulated ticket that allows you to travel to different destinations with a fixed budget. For example, you pay a once time fee of 4.000USD and you can start from London and do 7 different stop overs to your favorite destinations, as long as you return to London. That might be London, to New York, to San Francisco, to Rio De Janeiro, to Sydney, to London. When using RTW tickets, you have to use the flights provided by the airline companies alliances.
2. Which Companies Sell RTW Tickets?
Star, OneWorld and Skyteam are the three alliances that sell RTW tickets.
Oneworld, calls it “OneWorld Explorer” and it is continent based, while it allows backtracking within continents, which is a feature not offered under the StarAlliance RTW fares.
The link for One World RTW Tickets is: http://www.oneworld.com/flights/round-the-world-fares/oneworld-explorer
The link for Star Alliance RTW Tickets is: https://www.staralliance.com/en/fares/round-the-world-fare/
The link for Sky Team RTW Tickets is: http://www.skyteam.com/en/Flights-and-Destinations/Travel-Passes/Go-Global/
3. How Much Does a RTW ticket cost?
They start from 3k to 4k USD for the economy class and go up to 3 times for the business class. Below you can see an example from Star Alliance RTW Ticket planning site. It costs 3.293GBP to get a RTW ticket that starts from London and then goes to New York, San Francisco, Rio De Janeiro, Sydney and back to London.
4. What are some nice Itineraries for RTW Tickets?
It’s hard to say. Each person has his/her own favorite destination. The best advice however would be to do the following two things when you plan your RTW itinerary: a. List Your Must-Visit Destinations and b. Use the RTW tickets for the expensive routes, while getting cheaper, independent flights for the connections.
Moreover, try to plan for fliexibility. Sometimes, you may want to stay in a place for longer, other times you might be sick for a couple of days, or you may miss the Australia scubadiving you were aiming at, due to bad weather.
5. What are the Restrictions of RTW Tickets?
When you design your RTW ticket, you will find out that you have to obey to certain restrictions:
– You can cross the Atlantic Ocean only once. Yes, you really have to keep on going towards one direction until you travel around the world.
– Even though the Alliances offer many choices for connection flights, you may not find all places connected to each other, so you will “lose” some stop-overs.
– It’s not for sure that the total price of the RTW ticket will be less than the sum of purchasing individual flights, especially if you plan to use low-cost airlines.
– They have restrictions on the miles that you can travel in a RTW ticket. E.g, Star Alliance has a limit of 39.000miles when you design your RTW travel itinerary. That means that while you keep on adding stop-overs, if you reach 39.000 miles you have to stop.
– Once you purchase your RTW ticket, you can usually change the date and time of a flight without a fee. But you will have to pay a fee if you want to change an internal destination in your itinerary. Usually, this fee is 125USD.
6. What are the Difference between RTW Tickets provided by the three Alliances (Star, Oneworld, Skyteam)?
In Star Alliance you make two choices: How many miles are you going to purchase in your RTW ticket and what flight class you want. Regarding miles, you have 3 choices: 29.000, 34.000 and 39.000 miles. Regarding flight class, you can choose from Economy, Business and First class. The total number of Stopovers is 15, in all cases.
OneWorld Alliance offers two different types of RTW tickets:
a. Oneworld Explorer: You can choose from 3 to 6 continents, without a limit in the total miles to be traveled. The maximum number of stopovers is 16 (Oneworld calls them “Segments”). You cannot have more than two stopovers in the same continent and you can change the dates of your ticket without extra charge.
b. Global Explorer: This is similar to the Star Alliance’s model. You can get a RTW ticket based on miles (26.000 miles, 29.000 miles or 39.000 miles) and you can choose between Economy, Business and First Class.
7. Are there Special Travel Agencies to Help me More?
Yes, there are. And they can help you design a RTW route by combining one-way tickets from various airlines. You can find these agencies in big transit hubs such as San Francisco, (AirTreks) London, (STA Travel) or (roundtheworldflights.com) or (Travel Nation), Bangkok, etc. You can also find online services, such as (BootsnAll). or (Go Fly World Inc.) and (KILROY travels).
8. All in all, is it worth it to book a RTW ticket? Or is it better to book individual flights?
Not easy to say. Regarding the price, sometimes you will find a smaller price if you plan it with individual flights, especially via low cost airlines. Regarding flexibility, it might be easier with a RTW ticket. Regarding safety, it is much better to fly with well-known airline companies from big alliances.
9. Any Tip to Save some Extra Money?
a. You can experiment with different starting points for your RTW ticket. For example, let’s suppose you live in London and you want to make 10 stop overs. You could start your RTW from Cairo in Egypt and get a Ryanair or Easyjet flight to Cairo from London. That might be more price convenient than starting the whole trip from London.
b. It might sound strange but you could get a better price for your RTW ticket if you don’t book directly from the websites of the alliances that offer the tickets. Instead, you could try Airtreks or another agent like STA Travel or Flight Centre, as they have special deals with airlines and may get you a better total price.
c. If you end up booking individual flights and designing the whole trip without RTW offers of these alliances, you could use: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ which is like Kayak on Steroids!
10. Where can I find more information?
You can get more information regarding RTW Tickets at the related travel fora and websites. The best ones are:
http://www.flyertalk.com/ (the forum of the Oneworld)
Nomadic Matt’s post on RTW: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-tips/buying-a-rtw-ticket/