Round the World (RTW) Flights

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
Martin Buber

I’ve been looking into the merits (or not) of buying Round the World (RTW) flights as opposed to buying them as we go.

The advantage of a RTW ticket seems to be is that you know what you’ve got, how much it cost, and when you need to travel. The advantage of buying the tickets as you go, however, seems to the be freedom to take your time and alter your plans according to events and your needs.

However, if there’s an advantage it seems only fair to say there’ll be disadvantages as well?

  • A lot of countries need a ticket out before you can get in. Don’t try to enter the US on a one way ticket. Unless you’re a US citizen you will not be boarded. The same can go for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Mexico…. etc. (source: RTWflights)
  • RTW tickets prices range between $2,700–$10,000 USD, depending on your mileage, route, and number of stops. A simple two- or three-stop RTW ticket might cost as little as $1,500 USD.(source: Nomadic Matt)
  • Low cost carriers (LLC), or budget airlines, are not always the best offer due to fragility of the market they operate in. Not all flights will be guaranteed or insured if airlines go bankrupt. (source: RTWflights)
  • A RTW ticket is valid for 1 year from the start date and requires you to end in the same country you start in. You don’t need to end in the same city but you need to end in the same country. (source: Nomadic Matt)
  • If you are tied to a RTW ticket, it can be expensive to change your flights. You lose flexibility. And that is the downside to RTW tickets. You can change dates, but at a cost. (source: Nomadic Matt)
  • Of course, we realise that the pay-as-you-go ticket prices may change, but given that they’re cheaper and obviously more flexible, we decided this was the best option. (source: Our Big Fat Travel Adventure)
  • There is no perfect solution as there are pros and cons to each option, so weigh them out and decide what’s best for you and your trip. (source: Bootsnall)

As we’re still not sure on the route, or time we’ll be away for, we’re keeping an eye on what people are writing about both types of flights.

“If you treat the ticket as an airpass in which you are happy to fly on a rigid schedule, follow the airline rules, and not change your dates, a round the world ticket will probably save you up to 30% off the price of point to point tickets.” (source Nomadic Matt)

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