Skip Navigation

RTW...where to start?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW...where to start?

1. Posted by roxymayhue (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

I'm planning a rtw trip in I have plenty of time to prepare. If I knew where to start!
I know the regions/countries/cities I want to go. Not sure if I can hit them all or not. Is there
a place to get sample itineraries? Do most people go east to west or the other way? Then
there's the whole climate thing. I would like to try to be in the right places with the right
weather (i.e. at Lake Baikal in January would not be good.) It's a bit overwhelming for the
first time rtw traveller. Luckily I have a good amount of time to plan. Any help from you would
be greatly appreciated. Looks like there's a lot of experience hangin around these boards...

2. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

this is such a wide open question. how long? what types of stuff do you want to see?

I see you are in Cali now
I would start by flying into wellington, NZ and see a bit of NZ
then fly to australia make my way north and see a bit of australia
then fly into the Thailand/vietnam/cambodia area or hong kong

I mean from there you could go anywhere, head west through asia, go to africa, or europe so many options.

3. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 8y

If you're getting a 'round the world' ticket, they normally have a number of miles that is covered in the price and have fixed example routes for you to base your trip on...this is what I've seen in the UK any how, not sure how it works in the US. Presumably you want to get the cheapest deal on flights so I would advise that you base your route on economy journeys...

STA travel (USA)

If it's your first time you could start somewhere a bit 'easier' i.e. western culture, English speaking to get eased into the whole backpacking scene but then it's so different in every country...

Paul is right though, can you narrow down your requirements a bit?!


[ Edit: Edited on 02-Mar-2009, at 14:48 by mim ]

4. Posted by roxymayhue (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

Thanks mim and paul for the replies. Not sure if I'll end up getting a rtw ticket or not. On my current wish list is:

NZ, OZ, Asia, Africa, Europe, South & Central America, Caribbean, South Pacific. I know this sounds ambitious but
I'm going to try and do it.

I was planning on a year but may expand it to 18 months. I'm flexible. The L.A. to NZ plan sounds good. Save
me from flying to NYC. I want to do this as cheaply as possible of course!

Is it cheaper to get a rtw ticket or just wing it? I shy away from having to be a certain place at a certain time. I'm
more of a "wing it" type. I'd like to be as flexible as possible. How does the rtw ticket work?

5. Posted by nigelpeaco (Respected Member 10 posts) 7y

Starting from California and having New Zealand as the first stop misses a trick.

Air New Zealand fly from Los Angeles to Auckland.....but stop in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands on the way. This gives, in effect, a free stop on a RTW ticket and also gives you a South Pacific stop.

One of the secrets of RTW tickets, is spotting the free stops on the route.


6. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 7y

Quoting roxymayhue

Is it cheaper to get a rtw ticket or just wing it? I shy away from having to be a certain place at a certain time. I'm
more of a "wing it" type. I'd like to be as flexible as possible. How does the rtw ticket work?

It usually depends on your destinations as to if a rtw ticket is cheaper but normally the answer is yes a rtw is cheaper than buying sector fares as you want to travel. Most the time if you are just winging it you are not planning more than a week or so in advance so by that time all the cheaper airfares for longer distances are normally gone and even for shorter distances you are normally stuck paying top dollar for it.

Given that South America and Australia are in your itinerary chances are a rtw ticket will work out much better value, but you will be restricted in needing to provide your dates when booking the ticket (also airfares can only be booked a maximum of 11 months in advance so that might make the latter part of your ticket a bit messed up and mean you need to change the dates later.

I have sold rtw tickets in Australia to a number of US citizens in recent times which have worked out much better value than buying from the US due to Australia's exchange rate being very favourable to the US residents at the moment. It is possible to get your trip to extend to 18 months despite the fact RTW tickets and all airline tickets have a maximum validity of 12 months. To do that though you would need to buy a fare from the US to Australia which can be booked like the way nigelpeaco mentions or going via somewhere like Fiji (the most favourable option for a lot of US people). The downside doing it that way is that you are very restricted in where you can see in the South Pacifc/Australasia area on the RTW ticket (not that your options from the US are all that great anyway), but the bonus is that you have the option to include Central America/Caribbean which you can't if you start the ticket in the US as Central America and the Caribbean come under the North American continent in RTW tickets. It also means you spend less money and can travel for longer than the 12 months that is the normal maximum validity.

7. Posted by roxymayhue (Budding Member 20 posts) 7y

Free stops are great with me! I also had no idea that I was limited to only 12 months on a rtw ticket.
I also had no idea that I had to book so far in advance. I'm apparently really clueless! Is there a good
book on planning rtw trips?

8. Posted by nigelpeaco (Respected Member 10 posts) 7y

This is the book I used and read over and again:

"The Rough Guide First-Time Around the World: A Trip Planner for the Ultimate Journey, 2nd Edition (Paperback)"

Amazon have new and second-hand copies available.


-Nigel- (UK)

9. Posted by roxymayhue (Budding Member 20 posts) 7y

That really sounds like the perfect book for me! Thanks everyone for the expert advise!