Travel Blog Travel Guide - Beginners Guide to Independent Travel
Planning and Preparation
Many major airlines have clubbed together to form groups that offer Round the World Tickets. For the independent budget traveller this is the most economical way to see the world. Typically tickets cost around US$2000 and will see you completely circumnavigating the globe. Many are actually really flexible - you can call a number and have the date and time of your flight changed at very little or no cost - when you're choosing a ticket keep this as a consideration, chances are you will phone up and stay that bit longer somewhere. The following airlines offer RTW tickets. BA+Qantas+American Airlines
, Virgin+Air NZ (etc)
-- STA Travel
What do you need to think about when purchasing a round the world ticket ? Locations, follow the rules of the ticket, some say you can only go in one direction - eg. East. However, for jet lag, it's easier going west! But for some reason going east is more popular.
Don't forget your visa! Some countries require visas even just for passing through - the big one to consider is the USA - make sure that you know what visa you require for the USA and if you need a transit visa.
How do round the world tickets work? Groups of airlines form alliances to offer near-global coverage. They then offer flights on the airline that covers each leg of the journey, which allows a round the world ticket to offer many more destinations.
Group One - StarAlliance
Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, Thai Airways International, United, US Airways and VARIG
Features of a Star Alliance Round-the-World Ticket
- You can travel with any member airline (there are some flight exceptions)
- Start and end of your journey have to be located in the same country
- Only one Atlantic and one Pacific crossing should be included in your itinerary.
- Available for travel in First, Business or Economy Class! (where your budget traveler will find oneself)
- There are usually fare levels. StarAlliance has levels allowing you to travel up to 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles.
- Fares will depend on the origin and the class of service of your journey.
- There is no high season surcharge, so it does not matter when you depart. You simply need to determine the class of service and the total mileage you need. A major positive for the independent traveler.
- If your journey originates in Canada, USA or Mexico, you can buy your ticket up to seven days before departure. In all other cases, you can buy your ticket at any time before you depart.
- Your journey may last any time between 10 days and a year. You can change the dates of most of your flights at any time, except for those flights up to and including your first international or intercontinental journey. For a small fee, you will be permitted to change destinations.
- You can take as few as three, or as many as 15 stopovers in different cities (within the permitted mileage). The maximum number of stopovers within certain regions may be limited.
These tickets are available from a travel agent representing one of the airlines in the group.
Group Two - OneWorld
Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com American Airlines www.aa.com British Airways www.britishairways.com Cathay Pacific www.cathaypacific.com Finnair www.finnair.com Iberia www.iberia.com LAN www.lan.com Qantas www.qantas.com
OneWorld call their Round the World Tickets, Explorer class tickets.
Features of a OneWorld Round the World Ticket.
TravelTip! Big RTW Tip!
- Your journey must include at least three OneWorld continents, or four from the Southern Hemisphere and Africa where three-continent itineraries are not possible.
- Your route from one continent to another must move forward in a continuous westward or eastward direction. However, there are no backtracking restrictions so you are free to roam locally at will within a continent as long as you don't go back to your point of origin.
- Please note, you may need to travel through a hub city to get to your desired destination.
- You are allowed to take two stopovers in total within your continent of origin in order to get to or from a gateway to begin or return from your international travel.
- After departing from your continent of origin, you are allowed to take up to four flights to explore each of the other continents (six flights in North America).
- You can book up to two additional flights per continent, at a set rate.
- You can fly up to 20 flight segments on your trip.
- Available in First, Business or Economy Class.
- Your fare is determined by the class you fly in and the number of OneWorld continents on your itinerary, including your continent of origin and any continents you just pass through.
- Fares apply all year round except some seasonal economy fares, which are calculated on two seasonal rates: high and low.
- You can stay from a minimum of 10 days and you have up to 12 months to complete your trip.
- You must have booked and received a ticket for your first international flight (and any preceding local flights) at least seven days prior to travel when your journey originates from the Americas.
- However, you can leave all your subsequent flights open-dated. You can then schedule your trip at no extra charge as you go along.
- All reservations and ticketing can be handled by any OneWorld airline.
- join a frequent flier program and collect those air miles!
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