RTW ticket vs Winging it!

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW ticket vs Winging it!

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1. Posted by nicky_mart (Budding Member 4 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

My boyfriend and I are planning a RTW trip leaving in late 2004 and at the moment I am currently debating on whether to get a RTW ticket or buy tickets as we go...

Our route will be something like UK-India/Nepal-SE.Asia-Oz/Nz-S.America-UK (or vice versa) and we would like to do some voluntary work in Nepal and in S.America. I was thinking of 3 months in each "region" to make it up to a year.

As it stands, if we got a RTW ticket, we don't want to have to work, and therefore wouldn't get a Work visa for Oz/Nz and would spend a year there on another trip. However, I've been thinking recently that just playing it all by ear and getting tickets as we go might be a better plan - might give us more time to volunteer and then get a year long working holiday visa for Oz, spend a year there to get some more money and then move on.

We are looking to save about £6500 each for flights and spending. Is this realistic for both methods (ie RTW ticket vs winging it)???? How do the prices compare?? Also, how easy is it to book as you go?

Anyone with any info/advice/opinions please feel free to give me your thoughts or let me know if you've done this or wish you had done one and not the other?!


2. Posted by zils (Budding Member 4 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nikki,
A few years ago me and my boyfriend did the winging it thing, we only went to Thailand Malaysia, and back home to england thru Greece. It cost us almost £800 just to do that! I'm leaving next week on a RTW ticket with STA Travel, its cost me £1300 for the flights and thats to go
UK-Singapore-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Bangkok (overland to Singapore)-Indonesia-Oz-Nz-Tahiti-Cook Islands-Fiji-USA-UK. A much better option-for me anyway. I only have a short time though (8mths) so if you have a lot longer winging it may be better for you. Hope this helps x

3. Posted by nicky_mart (Budding Member 4 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Zils,

Thanks for the reply!

To be honest, I think we could do with the discipline of a ticket, especially as it will be our first time travelling. I guess if we get a taste for it, we can always wing it at a later date.

We're not tied down to particular dates, but we've only got a limited budget. Would be a shame to spend too much time in one place and miss out on another or have to come home early.

We'll see!

Nicky x

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nicki (that's a guess at your name :) ),

I personally think winging it as you go is going to be (a lot) more expensive.

The main reason is that you will end up buying lots of one way tickets and these generally are more expensive than round trips. Of course you could buy round trips but that isn't going to get you very far on a round the world trip I looked into getting a one way flight to Norway recently and it was actually more expensive (by a few hundred euro!) than buying a round trip; ridiculous but true. It has something to do with how pricing of tickets are built up, country laws and regulations and airlines. Although it is slowly getting better with no frills airlines, in general ticket prices are still pretty much a mess when it comes to clarity and logicality.

The reason organizations like STA are so popular is because they use standard round the world ticketing options offered for example by Qantas (they have some real cheap deals by the way) and can expand on them without letting the costs get out of hand because of their many partners overseas.

It does depend on how much you want to 'tie' yourself down I guess. On the other hand, you can get tickets where the dates are changable for free in which case getting a round the world ticket that goes UK - SE Asia - Aus - S Am - UK would certainly not be a bad option. Getting to India/Nepal from SE Asia could be one of those trips you then do on your own if it is not part of a pre set route offered.

Considering the low US dollar these days, you might also want to check out the system here at Travellerspoint (under the TOOLS tab - Round the world tickets link). Because the ticketing agent is in the US, the prices come at nearly a 30% 'discount' when paying with the euro compared to the beginning of last year. This company specializes in RTW travel and has some pretty good deals too including a 'create your own' area.

Hope this helps!



5. Posted by nicky_mart (Budding Member 4 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your expert advice, Sam.

I think we are going to stick with the RTW ticket. We can always save up and go off again to the places we didn't make it to or revisit places we really liked... I reckon we'll get the travelling bug!

Cheers, Nicky

6. Posted by katesnape (Full Member 28 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


I guess you've already made your decision - but just to say that Im on a RWT at the moment and dont feel restricted at all. I have changed my flight dates a routes a few times without any problems - the only thing i'm restricted to is going home..!!! Which I dont want to! Loving it in Australia at the moment - give us shout if you have any other qu's.

I got my ticket from STA travel for around 850GBP! Bargain! I have been London - New York - Los Angeles - Sydney - Auckland - Sydney - Adelaide - Sydney - London! I got a good price leaving before 15th June last year.


7. Posted by Peter (Admin 6765 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Yep.. I'll add my voice to the RTW chorus :) I'm busy finalising one at the moment through STA and am very happy with the price. I think it is probably the same deal that you got Kate - it's AU$2899 and lets you travel 29000 miles around the world with 15 stops on any Star Alliance airline! The cheaper option was AU$2399 for 5 stops i think, but that doesn't seem to be quite enough unfortunately. Very flexible as far as I can tell as well. Good luck with the planning.

8. Posted by iloveflyin (Full Member 159 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nicky,

Quite a few airline alliances have RTW tickets. I work for American Airlines and know that our One World Alliance does sell RTW tickets. You can travel on AA, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, ect... I am pretty sure, other alliances have similar type of tickets also. Look through their sites and find out.

To go around the world is not that hard. My family took it afew years back in two weeks. We went from Dallas, Texas to San Jose, CA, Taipei, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, London, Paris, then back to the USA. However, I plan to go around the world in one weekend (leaving right after work, 5pm on friday, and return to Dallas sunday afternoon), with stops in London and Tokyo.

So, it depends on where you want to stop, how much money you want to spend, how much time you have. On some of my long trips, I schedule to travel at night, so I can save some hotel expenses. For instance, flight from Hong Kong to London, leaves at midnight, and arrives early in the morning. Also, use the internet café along the way to rent hotel, which is cheaper than going through travel agents, or drop in. Ticket price, I believe you are looking at around $2,000 per person. The best time to travel is in the spring or autumn, due to good weather and less passengers. If you have any further questions just drop me a line. In the meantime, you can see pictures from my last RTW trip at the site below:


9. Posted by jimbob (First Time Poster 1 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nicky
Head off on my RTW ticket next week 4th FEb. The itinery is: Bfast, Lon, NY, Rio, Lima, Caracas, Mexico, LA, Tahiti, Auckland, Sydney, Bangkok, Dubai, Frankfurt thn home.
Your best bet is going in and talking to TRAILFINDERS, they are situated all over the UK. Talk to them personally, the web sites good but the human interaction can help you so much with all the wee stupid questions.
They really are very good because if you are a bit unsure about your route, they can advise whats best for you and your wallet.
I decided to take the most expensive ticket, 39000 miles which cost 1900 quid and also a years travel ins which brought the cost up to 2350.
You can also get all your visas with TF as well.
I received my ticket yesterday and with it came quite a few vouchers.
With regards to money, about 3grands about right. Put the rest on your CCard, alot easier and safer to travel with. BUY dollars NOW. 1.8 is some value.
Hopefully, I've been some help.
Have a blast and be safe............

10. Posted by bauul1 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hello All,

I'm just in the planning stages of my trip. I hope to leave in July '04. I have a ton of questions, but I'm seeing that the prices some of you are reporting are a lot cheaper than anything I've found in the time that I've been researching ticket prices. I live in NY, is it cheaper to fly RTW from the UK than from the US? Also, I know a lot of the time combining an RTW ticket with Local flights to get to other areas can be a good option. For example, someone mentioned going to Nepal/India from SE Asia. Are there any helpful resources that any of you know of where I can look into this? Or any stops along the way that would be good "hubs"? The questions keep flowing, so I'll hold off for now and follow up later. (Planned/Desired stops: UK, Rio, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, Bali, New Zealand, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, India, South Africa, Kenya, UK. Besides the start/end point, the order doesn't really matter to me.)