We are now planning to up our RTW trip from 12 months up to 18 months (so much to see & too little time!). I see that most RTW flight such as the Explorer etc are only valid for 12 months. Are there any in existence that go beyond this and are also fairly flexible if you want to stay a bit longer somewhere?
No RTW tickets allow you to go for more than 12 months. Depending on what sort of itinerary you are planning, you may be able to get your way to a place (one that doesn't involve taking a lot of flights from where you live) and if you plan on spending a while in that region, then get a RTW ticket towards the end of your time in that region. Then when you are going on your RTW journey, you'd have an airport near where you live on there so you'd stop there and just don't turn up for your other flights that made your ticket a valid RTW ticket.
The Oneworld explorer is about the best RTW ticket out there and is flexible although depending on where you are hoping to spend a bit longer you could find yourself having to spend a lot longer due to the L class (RTW Economy class) seats being very limited so when you change at the last minute sometimes they don't have any L Class seats left meaning you are stuck until a vacancy comes which could be a month or more depending on your destination and if it is peak travel time there or not.
One way I found that you can get some sort of flexibility is to have overland sections where you allow more time than you expect it to take ie land in Kiev and depart from Helsinki. This means you have to travel overland from Ukraine-Finland and say you gave yourself 1 1/2 months, well you know you have to be in Helsinki no later than that date 1 1/2 months later so you will be travelling at your own place taking in what you want when you want (unless Russia is in your itinerary where you'll need to plan to a certain degree). Then if you were getting close to that 1 1/2 month mark and still a way from Helsinki, you'd have to get a hurry up and move as directly as possible to there either by overland form ASAP or get a flight that will at least get you there before your RTW ticket is due to recommence. So with that example, you may expect to spend 14 days in Russia, but you add another 7 days on to that plan to allow some flexibility to stay longer if you wish or be able to fit another country in if that is what you end up deciding on. In that example Russia is a country that you'd need to add some days on at the front and days on at the end. This is mainly due to the visa regulations being painful meaning that you have to specify an entry and exit date that you can't enter before and you can't exit after you exit date, but you can enter after you entry date and can exit before you exit date, so you would have covered yourself for any changes in plans. Most other countries in the world arn't quite as difficult as that with regards to changes of plans only ones that you have to specify an entry and exit date and they only allow you to be in the country those dates.
Perhaps if you are from London, you coul do a rtw ticket which covers all 360 degrees of the globe like it needs to, but if you plan on not using some legs well just leave them close to the 12 month mark so you get as much use out of the RTW ticket as possible. Then if you were say in North America or Asia when the 12 months finished, then you could just buy a seperate flight back home after you spent that extra time in whatever places you still wanted to go to. Alternatively you could do some overland adventure back to London through Asia and Europe or Asia, Middle East and Europe after you'd not turned up for the last flight(s).
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 16, 2007, at 6:29 PM by aharrold45 ]
Thanks Allan that is so helpful. We have now devised a plan that we will book our 12 month RTW flights and just see how it goes. Our route goes anti clockwise so I reckon as long as we have gone round the larger part and reached Asia by the time the 12 months is up we will then worry about getting home whether it be that we book another flight or go overland (which sounds great!).
This way we have the best of both worlds.. if we are homesick and wanna go home we stick to our schedule and if not we delay our flight from oz to Bangkok and worry about the rest later!
This will also obviously depend on how much we have left!
You probably wont have time to think about home to get home sick. I wouldn't have thought about home more than 4 times in my 7 months away and when I am back home I am very close to my family. You are just too busy having a wicked time to waste your time thinking about home (the same place that you are most probably bored sick with and wishing your life on fast forward until this trip). If you are feeling homesick ignore it, because you will soon be feeling holiday sick when you make the disasterous decision of coming back home early.
My boyfriend and I were in the same position as you were. We had a feeling we would want to travel for 18 months to 2 years but weren't sure whether we would enjoy it/cope/get homesick. So we started by booking a RTW ticket with Travelnation (great people there), we got a BA-Qantas World Discovery Plus which included South America, NZ, OZ and Asia. This did cost us quite a bit but we got 2 internal flights for SA included and 1 for NZ included on the ticket....when you book make sure you ask if there are any additional flights you can add for free (or paying a little extra) to make sure you maximise the mileage! You can change the dates for free on this ticket although some offices charge a £10 admin fee, it depends where you do the changes. The BA desk in Singapore airport charges but the Qantas desk in Auckland airport didn't.
We left last September and we have now decided not to use the final flight home from Bangkok and stay travelling. We are not homesick in the slightest and LOVE travelling so much we are wondering if we can stretch the budget to 3 years! LOL We are regretting getting the RTW now as it seems like we have wasted a flight and possibly a big chunk of money, but we've figured it's cheaper and easier to stay in Asia and then get a cheap one way back to the UK.
The other way we thought of doing it was one way flights all the way, we aren't sure if this would have worked out cheaper as the fuel surcharges on our tickets were stupid amounts. See if the travel agent can give some one way ticket quotes too to see if it works out cheaper. Once you are away it's pretty easy to get cheap flights and we have discovered that we actually prefer to go overland as less time is 'wasted' waiting to board flights etc.
The only advantage to having a RTW ticket is that it gives you a bit more security that you have the flights all arranged. Like Allan said though there are limited seats on the flights for the RTW tickets, so if it's full you may have to wait ages to get on a flight if you want to change the dates. The only way around this is to be relatively certain how long you want to stay somewhere...we only had to change dates twice and it worked out ok.
If you need any more help, let me know
Thanks for your advice Donna that is great. I am tempted to stick with the RTW flight because if we decide to come home we will not have any futher costs and also it seems easier for those places a visa requires proof of an ongoing flight. Thanks for the adivce on Travelnation too I have had a quick look at their site and will give them a call at the weekend to find out some more details.
Thanks again.. hope you are having a fab time and manage to stretch it as far as you can! x