Round the world flights
Planning a round-the-world trip is an exciting once-in-a-lifetime task - but where do you start? Where do you go? How long should you stay in each county? Which cities should you visit?
We have put together a our thoughts on what need to consider in ensuring you have the best time at the best price.
Where do I go?
Before you get started with any planning of your round the world trip, its good to have a think about where you really want to go and what you want to see on your round the world adventure.
Make a note of all the places you have always wanted to visit.
It’s a good idea to be realistic
When you have put your “wish list” of places you would like to visit on your trip, it’s always a good idea to talk to a travel agent, or a round the world ticket specialist about your flight options and the costs. Also it’s also a good idea to speak with friends, and also look online to read travel features and watch travel documentaries to narrow down you dream destinations.
You then need to think about the type of trip you want. Do you want to cram as many places as possible into your trip or do you want to spend some time in each place and get to know each destination a little better? As tempting as it can be to tick as many places off your 'must-visit list' in a short space of time, think carefully about how tired travelling will make you .
Now place your short-list of destinations into a timeframe and place a sense of importance against each one to help you decide how many nights to spend in each place.
When thinking about a number of nights in a destination, it is also worth considering any activities/events/attractions you want to take part in and see there that you would like to allow any extra time for.
How much money will I need?
It’s a really good idea before you get carried away with your planning to take a step back and think about your budget, how much money you will have and what you can actually afford to do on your trip. You need to be realistic when allocating how much you want to spend and stick to it - you don't want to worry about money for your whole trip or come back to piles of bank overdrafts and credit care bills that you may have difficulty in paying.
Are your planning or able to work in any of the countries you are visiting? What are the costs of living in certain countries? Some countries are a lot cheaper than others.
When working out a budget, don't forget to include air fares and taxes, any transfers you will need, accommodation costs and food. And allow some extra spends for souvenirs, sightseeing and activities while away.
What about the weather?
It may be snowing here in the UK but it might be 40 °C in Australia or Brasil., its always good to do research the weather in your destinations before you book your tickets. You don't want to pack your flip flops and swimwear then turn up during your destinations' monsoon season or there winter.
The southern hemisphere (South America, Australasia and Southern Africa) has summer in our winter and vice versa. And the Far East has monsoon seasons while the Caribbean is more likely to be hit by hurricanes in certain months.
How do I plan a route?
Round-the-world flights usually operate in a route from west to east or east to west, so place your destinations in geographical order with this in mind (consult a map if you are not sure). You usually can't go back on yourself, so think about this when planning too.
How do I choose the right fare?
There are a number of specialist companies who will help you to choose the right tickets for you and who will offer advice on things like the cost of living in your destinations, how to amend you itinerary to get the most out of your trip and which visas you will need. Take a look at directory of companies above for contact details.
There are three main round-the-world fare groups available from One World, Star Alliance and SkyTeam - take a look at their sites to help you plan your trip and speak to a travel adviser before you book to help you get the most for your money.
All fares are available in Economy, Economy Plus (where available), Business and First Class - but remember, the same terms and conditions tend to apply whichever class you travel in.
How flexible are round-the-world tickets?
Most round-the-world tickets are valid for a period of up to a year after the departure date from the UK. For most tickets you only need to book your first flight from the UK and the others can be booked at a later date.
You don't have to fly your entire journey and many tickets will allow you have 'surface sectors' - where you travel overland and then continue flying from your next destination. For example you could fly into Bangkok then travel overland to Singapore and fly out to your next stop from there.
When planning your route, use this flexibility to your advantage and don't overplan - you don't know where you will end up falling in love with and wanting to spend a few extra days in. Book flights and accommodation for the first couple of nights of your trip as a minimum, but allow for some change in plans or you could end up missing out on a festival you hear about at the last minute or not get the chance to see one last sight on your must-see list.
What about my accommodation?
There's no reason to blow your budget on accommodation on a round-the-world trip and shopping around and considering a range of accommodation types can really pay dividends.
Whether you want to stay in five-star hotels all the way or would consider budget hostels, use a travel-comparison site such as TravelSupermarket or tripadvisor to hunt for the best deals and do some research on hostels or local-style hotels in your destinations to save your hard-earned cash.
Things to remember before your trip
Follow our checklist to set off on your round-the-world trip fully prepared.
- Passports - Check that your passport is in date and how long it is valid for - some countries require that it is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival.
- Visas - Find out if you need a visa for any of your destinations by checking the country's embassy website. Some visa’s can take a few weeks to process and will probably have a fee attached to them so do your research early. However, only start the visa process when you have finalised your plans and booked your flights.
- Jabs - Check with your doctor to check whether you need any injections or to take any special medication - such as malaria tablets - before you go away. You also need to think carefully about the activities you want to take part in on your trip and whether your current health is up to it - for example, if you plan to cycle across Canada, it might be time to set up a training regime.
- Travel insurance - If you already have an annual travel insurance policy, check that it is valid for your trip - for example, many annual policies have a time limit on how long you can travel for and still be covered. Also think about any activities you plan to take part in while away such as bungee jumping or skiing and read the small print of your policy to ensure you are covered. Compare policies and find the best deal for you here.
- Packing - Be ruthless when packing your backpack and think carefully about what you will actually need. While you may have shoes for every occasion while at home, you might resent that extra pair when you are lugging your bag around the world.
- Travel extras - Sort out your travel extras in advance and shop around for them to save money. Big savings can be made by pre-booking extras such as car hire, finding the best rate online for travel money and sorting out your travel insurance well in advance of your trip.
- Money - At least a month before you set off, check whether your current credit or debit cards are suitable for use overseas as many are not and you will incur unwelcome charges for purchases and withdrawals. If not, apply for a card specifically designed to be used abroad . Pre-paid cards are also a good option for overseas currency and can be used to pay for items in shops and restaurants with low or no fees - but are not suitable for use when checking into a hotel or leaving card details with a car hire provider.
- Carry contact details for people at home when you are travelling and make sure that friends and family know where you are and have your contact details. Make sure that you also have details for your travel insurance provider and your bank in case of an emergency.