A Beginners Guide to Round the World Tickets
Right! Round the World (RTW) tickets are awesome. They're one of the cheapest ways to see the world and perfect for the first time backpackers. They may look complicated, but they're really not. Here's a quick run-down...
A round the world ticket is literally a ticket that takes you 'round the world' (the clue is in the title!). All you have to do is:
- Choose all the places you want to stop-off at and see e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand etc...
- Work out how long you want to stop there e.g. Three months in Australia, one month in New Zealand, one month in Thailand etc...
- Buy a Round the World ticket from a specialist RTW ticket outlet - we recommend Round the World Experts...
- Go and have the time of your life...
- Come back, brag to your mates and make them jealous with the photos!
The round the world ticket is basically a series of pre-booked single flights that take you to wherever you want to go, over whatever period of time you want (one month to 12 months) - it's completely up to you!
There are two ways round the world
- Anti-clockwise - via the USA and the Pacific Islands first, then onto Australia and New Zealand, and back home via South East Asia.
- Via South East Asia first, out to Oz, Nz, and then back via the Pacific Islands and the USA.
Most first time backpackers go anti-clockwise as it means they can do the easier destinations of the US, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia before the slightly more difficult destinations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries in South East Asia. It also means doing the more expensive destinations first, leaving the cheapest for when you're skint!
Did you just say Pacific islands? Yup! You're going to go to places that everyone else would love to go to, but never will...
How round the world tickets work, costs, etc
Top tip: Get a world map in front of you for this next bit as it's easier to understand what I'm rambling on about if you can point at stuff too...
All you need to do is work out where you want to go and when!
- Most tickets are valid for 12 months
- Most tickets are fully flexible
Depending on how much money you have saved for your trip, how much time you have free to travel and how much you have to spend on your ticket; you can go where you want, for however long you want (usually 12 months), when you want.
In the UK you can leave from most of the major airports, although you're more likely to get a better deal through the big ones (London) as they have more flights.
To give you an idea, one of the most popular routes is...
London >> LA >> Fiji >> Cook Islands >> New Zealand (into Auckland on the North Island, out of Christchurch on the South Island) >> Australia (into Sydney, tour around Australia) >> Indonesia (fly into Bali) and make your own way overland through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, flying out of Bangkok (Thailand) >> back home (UK)
However, another popular route is:
London >> Bangkok (all around South East Asia) >> Singapore >> Perth (overland to Sydney) >> Christchurch (overland to Auckland) >> Fiji >> LA >> New York >> back home (UK)
The average price you'll pay is around £1,200.
Top tip: It's important to know if the price you have been quoted is the final price or not. This will help you to compare the different quotes you collect. Some may look cheaper than others until all the extras are added, and there are always extras.
Most popular departure months: January and February (the prices low and it fits with the seasons)
Most popular length of trip: Six months (for those who need to be back for summer) or 12 months (for those who don't have to be back or who want to spend Christmas overseas; usually in Sydney).
Useful facts worth knowing about round the world tickets:
- Round the world tickets are cheaper from January to March, which also happens to coincide with some of the best seasons to travel in the countries you'll be visiting.
- Prices may vary depending on dates e.g. prices fall by over £100 on January 19th - so departing a week later may be an idea - always ask to see when the prices fall.
- These tickets are fully flexible, which means that you can change them at any time i.e. you're having a great time in New Zealand so you decide to stay an extra month. You shouldn't need to pay to change your tickets as you head round the world, but some companies now charge. Make sure you ask to know where you stand.
Tom's top tips:
- Beware of 'From...' prices on round the world tickets. It may be 'From £756' if you book at the quietest, coldest, most random time of year that no one wants to go and don't add the taxes onto it - but be warned that the price you're probably going to pay will be around £1,200. Don't be taken in by the marketing...
- If you're at all nervous about travelling through South East Asia first, then I'd suggest you head anti-clockwise round the world - do the USA and Pacific Islands first.
- 'Less is more'. You're more likely to enjoy a five month trip seeing four countries properly, than trying to eight over six months. A RTW trip should be more about seeing things you'll never see again than rushing through airports and sitting on buses 'just to get there'. Really 'see' the countries you go to rather than 'visit'
Seriously important stuff - Round the world travel insurance
If you don't take it you could easily rack up a £50,000 - £150,000 medical bill if something goes wrong.
Imagine trying to find this money. Probably the only way for you to raise this amount would be for your parents to sell their house, right? What if you had to raise £300,000. This stuff happens. Seriously. Take insurance.
How to use this section of the site:
- Click on the routes 'Via blah blah...' scroll down and read our advice and information on the destinations available to you.
- Check out our 'countries' section for a more in-depth view of where you're visiting.
- Note down the routes and destinations that look cool.
- Check out the prices and decide whether this is the sort of thing you are after.
Either - (quicker and easier if you want to get cracking) call Round the World Experts on 0845 344 7667 to speak to one of our Round the World advisors to buy or chat through your proposed trip.
Or - Fill in the enquiries forms provided on gapyear.com with your details and they'll contact you...
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