I haven't looked into prices or rules of these rtw tickets yet, but how does it work? Can for example just say i want to make around 20 to 30 stopovers and be totally flexible on timetables and duration of stays in each? (I'm going for a year). I've no idea even if that many stops / flights willl be cost prohibitive?? (Anyone have rough idea on what a customised trip like this might cost, ballpark?)
Most RTW tickets that I looked into have a limit of 3/4/5 stopovers (stays in one city of more than 24 hours) per "continent", depending on the number of miles (= cost) of that particular ticket.
I think it's possible to add extra stopovers beyond that limit, but that'll cost you a couple of hundred dollars (?) per stopover, so quickly gets prohibitively costly.
I'd look into taking some ground-based transportation between places (for example, it's supremely easy to train around all of Europe, so you really only need a flight into Europe, plus another one out of Europe). Not only will that be cheaper, you'll also have less of an impact on the environment.
The cost varies greatly depending on the taxes of which airports you fly in and out of (and also what country you would be buying it from.
As far as rtw tickets go the best overall round the world ticket you can currently get is the One World continent based ticket. Until a few months ago you were allowed a maximum of 20 flight coupons, but that has changed and it is now a maximum of 16 flight coupons. On this ticket you are allowed a maximum of 4 coupons in any one continent except North America (considered to be USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America, The West Indies). On this ticket it is possible to add a maximum of an extra two coupons per continent except the one of departure at extra cost, but that is only if you have not already used the maximum of 16 flight coupons.
If Africa is meant to be a part of your itinerary that ticket is very restrictive and may mean huge amounts of backtracking and having to do large overland sections to make your ticket valid. If South America is on your to see list then this is pretty much your only option for a RTW ticket.
If you plan to miss out Africa and miss out on South America, then most rtw tickets will be satisfactory enough.
If you do plan to go to South America then a RTW ticket is definitely the way to go because flights to and from South America and within South America are very expensive.
I purchased the 4 Continent One World RTW Fare. My ticket started in Australia - Africa - Europe - South America - Australia. Mine had 13 coupons used (2 of which were overland sections adding nothing to the taxes) and that cost $4044.20AUD back on 14 April this year when I paid for the ticket. Since that time taxes have risen large amounts so the same thing is probably a $400AUD more with the fare increase and the taxes which are increasing almost daily. For that the only airports that I fly in to which have expensive taxes are Sydney and Madrid.
An overland section counts towards you used flight coupons even though you are not flying that leg.
In Europe what can sometimes work out cheaper is if you land in somewhere like London and then buy seperate tickets to other European destinations.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 28, 2008, at 3:22 AM by aharrold45 ]