When we finally made the decision to leave behind our life in the U.S. and head out to explore the world, our first step was deciding our mode of travel. Did we want to purchase RTW (Round-The-World) plane tickets or flights as we go?
For those who aren’t sure what a RTW ticket is, it is a plane ticket that allows a person to literally travel around the world with multiple stops along the way. Depending on the airline alliance you choose, there are different rules you must follow when booking the itinerary for the ticket. If you are considering a RTW ticket, check the rules and figure out what alliance best suits your travel plans. A few examples of these rules are; flying one direction without backtracking, having a limited number of segments (flights) to get you all the way home and using the full ticket within one year (365 days) of departing.
While rules for these tickets inhibit absolute flexibility on the road, the value can not be mistaken. RTW tickets are not cheap, but you can save a bunch of money versus buying one-way tickets from point-to-point. Don’t get scared away by the requirements, just do your due diligence in advance and figure out if they fit your travel style.
We initially thought RTW tickets were our best option, but we eventually decided we wanted as much flexibility as possible while traveling. We did not know our long-term itinerary and didn’t have a set time frame for returning home, so buying flights along the way better suits our needs. This approach already seems to be the right decision, as we have some backtracking scheduled early in our trip.
Choosing the buy-as-we-go option versus RTW may end up costing more money, but the flexibility it gives us is a major perk. Plus, with some flight hacking and some bonus credit card points I’m hoping it all evens out in the end.
Have you booked a RTW ticket? If so, what alliance and was it the right choice for you?