Can anyone shed any light on this company with regards to whether they are any good, ticket prices.
Also ive been looking at the brochures they do etc and seen the tours within countries your visiting that they provide etc, some last for a month and some last only a few days. The prices seem a bit steep and will obviously add to the cost of our trip.
Im kinda looking for some advice as to whether it is worth doing these organised trips or whether you can sort these out when you get there, as it may be cheaper. (or thats what am thinking).
Can anyone who has used these guys, and done the excursion (of sorts) give me any advice.. Or just put down some Pros & Cons?
I'm also interested in this, as I was thinking of booking through STA as it seems the easiest solution and yet I previously asked a buddy of mine that's already been travelling and his suggestion was that its best and cheaper to pay as you travel round? This is my first time travelling and I'll be alone, so really the STA option is more appealing, but im also always open to saving some cash if it means I can stay out there for longer...
So that makes two of us then.
We will just have to be patient.
STA seem to be good if you are 26 or under but otherwise I think you would find Trailfinders cheaper. Whenever I have got quotes from both, Trailfinders always comes out much cheaper (but I am over 26).
As for organised tours, it would depend on where you are going but generally I would advise to go it alone - it's much more fun and normally works out much cheaper. Tours are normally unnecessary in my opinion. This is especially the case if you are planning on visiting a country/region that is geared up for travelling, such as Australia or New Zealand, or South East Asia for example, where it would certainly be unnecessary to go on an organised tour. I often look at the tour brochures to get an idea about itineraries, and then go it alone.
I agree with Bex76.
I have been on one organised tour booked in the UK and that was a couple of years ago to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to see mountain gorillas and a few other national parks etc. I could have done the trip independently but fancied having it all tied together for me by a tour company. It was brilliant!
I wouldn't go on a tour in South-East Asia, Oz or New Zealand - well, actually depending on age and interest I might recommend a hop-on hop-off bus pass in either Oz or NZ - simply because they are good value for money, cover all the places you will likely want to see on a first visit and give you the chance to meet other people travelling around your age range, party and have a blast! You can buy these at STA and Oz Experience are your best bet. You still have an air of independence but the bus driver will book hostels for you on arrival and it takes out all the hassle etc.
As for the cost of RTW tickets at STA Travel. I used to work for STA so have a pretty good idea about these things (or at least should have ) and happen to know that the prices for RTW tickets are actually set by the airline alliances, eg a World Discovery Plus ticket allowing 6 stops and operated by BA and Qantas among others costs £x depending on your departure date. The tax on a RTW ticket is again a fixed amount. So, in theory, the ticket should cost the same wherever you buy it from. The factors that make a ticket cheaper are departure date, age (under 26 and you are eligible to slightly cheaper fares on SOME but not all RTW tickets) and availability.
The earlier you book any flight the cheaper it is likely to be. If you are under 26 buy an ISIC or IYTC card at STA and take advantage of the under 26 flights they sell. Also ask about cheaper departure dates - it is cheaper to fly to Australia in and around our summer as it is winter there. I can't remember exactly the cheaper times to fly but there are peak times that should be avaoided. Don't be afraid to ask them at STA about cheaper departure times.
STA are good value for money on flights but don't feel that they are the be all and end all. There are several other good places to but RTW tickets and a google search of the words Round the World Flights will bring up some of these.
My key piece of advice is this:
Make sure you trust the person you buy your tickets from. They have the power of being in the know and have the power to decide if they want to tell you about certain things. For example, if you were came in and said you wanted to fly to destination x on 17th December the fare might be £800. If you flew on 16th December the fare might be £600. 17th-24th December is often a peak peak season as it is just before xmas. If they didn't tell you this, you wouldn't know.
I would buy my RTW tickets from STA Travel but I know a bit about the costs and routes from working there and having done 2 RTW trips.
Do a bit of research into routes you are interested in and costs etc. If you can work out the route you want and know its possible, and costs however much, then you can go into the travel agent with a degree of confidence and be happy with your purchase.
If you want more help just shout. If you have a route in mind I'm happy to have a quick look and tell you if it's possible, which ticket it might be and how much it might cost.
I hope this helps,
p.s - Tours can be great. They can seem quite expensive but divide the cost by number of days for an idea of value.
Things to look at are:
-whats included, accommodation, vehicle type, driver and guide? or just driver. Inclusion to sights etc. local payments.
-how many meals do I get etc.
-Group size, smaller is better
-ask people what they think of the company you are considering going with
-think about the country or region you are visiting...africa is easier on a tour. it can be hard independently. se asia, australia and new zealand have better backpacker scenes and are easier. Therefore tours are not so necessary.
If you post your proposed trip then myself and other posters might be able to give you some more ideas.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 10, 2009, at 2:24 AM by joey22 ]
I have booked my RTW flights with STA and I did ALOT of shopping around and they were by far the cheapest! Im 24 though so I dont know how much it would be if you are over 26. Iam alos going to book a tour across America with STA foe £1,700 including accomodation, travel, breakfast and dinner which a very good deal if I was going to go from LA to NYC myself.
I'm under 26 myself and I have just booked with trailfinders after looking at both them and STA. STA quoted the same for the flights to UK-SEA-AUS-NZ-UK. I decided to go with trailfinders because its only £50 to make a change compared with £85 at STA.
I agree that SEA-AUS-NZ are well catered for travellers and tours aren't necessary. Buses can be booked with the bus companies in NZ and AUS when you get there.
Making changes to rtw tickets can often be done by calling the airline themselves. The fee is sometimes cheaper than the fee quoted by the travel agent.
I changed the date for a flight out of Bangkok in an STA Travel over there and it cost me about a tenner. If I had called STA in the UK it would have been £50 and the cost of the phone call. As an American might say, 'go figure'.
I'm not suggesting this is always the case and if Trailfinders wanted £50 a change and STA £85 I would have done the very same as you.
Have a good trip
Just wanted to add my two pennith here ...Ive booked my RTW with STA, im 28 and they came out cheapest for me at the time, I booked it in Aug 08 and fly out April 09! Im doing as the STA agent advised and going it alone because of costs.
Thanks for that last bit of info Joey regarding changing dates ... I hadnt thought of going into an STA where I'll be rather than calling UK!!!
We also used the brochures for itinery ideas.
Good luck guys
p.s I paid £1590 for my ticket ... UK - HONG KONG overland to SINGAPORE - SYDNEY - CHRISTCHURCH over land - AUCKLAND - FIJI - LA - NEW YORK.