Traveling around the world (or RTW travel, as you’ll hear travelers call it) is the ultimate plan for many travelers, and with today's airline alliance programs it has become a breeze getting to where you want to go (albeit for a price).
Each airline alliance, and there are three: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, and oneworld, has its own around-the-world ticket for economy, business, and first class cabins and available for pay or frequent flyer miles.
Whether you choose to redeem frequent flyer miles or pay (of course, the former is a far better value than the latter!), there is no better way to explore the globe for leisure travelers on a budget than these special global fares. They are only available from special around-the-world desks from each airline.
Here’s how to find them:
Star Alliance: http://www.staralliance.com/en/fares/round-the-world-fare/
Most people save their miles for this quality redemption, which permits the flexibility (like revenue tickets) to change or adjust travel during the journey as travelers prefer. This option is much easier (and more importantly, cheaper) than purchasing flights individually and is generally recommended for travelers with plans to visit three or more stops on an itinerary, since it saves money. The validity of the ticket is up to a year, meaning you can make your round-the-world trip last that long!
Restrictions on these tickets are plentiful, but the dedicated help desks of each airline alliance know the ins and outs and how best to maximize the value. For example, Star Alliance has three types of round-the-world tickets based on the desired distance of travel (29,000, 34,000, or 39,000 miles each with a maximum of 15 stops). One major caveat of these tickets is that backtracking is not allowed, meaning that customers must constantly travel in one direction. So, you’ll want to make sure and study those airline route maps!
The American Airlines and British Airways-led oneworld alliance has an especially unique option that is based on the number of continents visited. This option provides no mileage limitation, which opens up more long-distance travel possibilities, and changes to tickets are permitted at any time.
SkyTeam has similar products as well, including passes wholly within one region like Europe, Africa, or Asia.
Planning your trip can be just as much fun as traveling, and special tools like Star Alliance's Book and Fly tool ease the process a bit. Also, the alliance websites have mileage calculators that allow you to determine a valid routing before calling the airline directly to book your travel. Being prepared before you book your ticket will most definitely make your RTW travel planning significantly smoother, so take a look at these tools and start planning your trip!
One trick of the trade that experienced travelers know is that it can be far more affordable to purchase a round-the-world ticket in certain countries over others. For example, many people purchase and begin their journey in places like Thailand or Sri Lanka where the exchange rate is exceptionally favorable, which can save as much as 50 percent of the cost of the trip. A business class ticket around the globe could cost as much as $10,000 if purchased from a U.S. agency, but could be cut in half to about $5,000 if purchased in Southeast Asia. Remember, tickets can be purchased from foreign travel agencies on the phone or via email.
Around-the-world travel does not have to be a dream. It can become a reality thanks to these money-saving tickets offered by airline alliances!
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment. Things change all the time, so check with providers for the ins and outs.
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