Me and my girlfriend are planning a rtw trip for a year, we were all set to go with STA, but have found them not very helpful and expensive.
We are starting to wonder whether we would actually be better off doing it ourselves.
We do have some concerns though:
How hard is it getting visa's on route, most seem staright forward except China & India?
The price/availability of last min flights?
Can anyone help us please, as first time travellers should we go with STA or is it perfectly normal for people to book as they go?
Last minute flights are generally very expensive, but from time to time you can find a last minute bargain (normally only when availability is very good).
At the moment getting a visa for China as you go is not going to happen. They have made it so getting a visa for China is almost not worth the hassels. I didn't apply for a visa to India on the go, but when I applied for it by post it was very easy.
I personally prefer the option of a RTW ticket. Having one means the whole process with getting visas is a lot easier than if you don't have proof of onward travel. If you buy tickets as you go, normally you will end up spending a lot more than you would have had you got a rtw ticket in the first place especially if South America or Africa (not including Egypt) are included.
STA and Flight Centre are overall the worst travel agencies around the world as far as customer service is concerned. They are not interested in return clients but instead getting you in and out the door as quick as possible due to very high expectations put on the staff of those two companies to generate high commissions. If you go to a smaller independant agency, you are more likely to get better service as they are more interested in keeping you as a long-term client.
[ Edit: Edited on Aug 11, 2008, at 3:41 AM by aharrold45 ]
Hey i'm in the same boat.
As a first timer and doing it on my own i'm not sure whats best. I would feel safer having booked all the flights with a rtw ticket before hand i think.
I was in the same predicament as you are and was unsure whether to just buy tickets as I go along or get a RTW ticket.
In the end I bought a RTW ticket, because this is my first travelling trip as well as going on my own. I was fairly torn between the two option but it really depends on where you want to go. For example I am only travelling to south east asia, OZ and NZ. SO my ticket gets me from London to Bangkok, Bangkok to OZ, OZ to NZ, NZ back to Asia and finally back home. So I intend to travel south east asia for 5 months picking up visa's along the way etc, but wanted the security of knowing I will be going OZ and NZ on a set date. Also these dates can be changed for a fee of about 20GPB so even when your out there you can chop and change. The less stops you have the more flexible the ticket can be. Also I was worried feared that money may be an issue getting to another continent as I am working with a very strict budget.
However if your feel confident you can just hop along (which a lot of people do) then I say go for that! I think I wont be buying a RTW ticket on my next trip. It depends on where you want to go etc
I used http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/, who were very helpful and cheaper then STA! by about 200GPB!!
Hope this helps