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We've listed a few thoughts to consider when starting to plan your round the world trip...
How to start planning
Knowing where to start planning your round the world trip can seem daunting at first, especially if you either have plenty of time or a healthy budget - you literally have the whole world to choose from! To give you a nudge in the right direction, we've outlined a few considerations you'll need to think about before you get a quote. These will help you decide what sort of trip you're after and where we can help with flights, tours and accommodation.
Round the world trip planner - know where you want to be and when:
- Editable round the world trip planner - set your exact date of departure for any year, or any month
1. Do your research
There’s a wealth of information available in the form of specialist travel magazines, books, blogs and websites - all of which can be great inspiration. Make the most of these as well as our staff trips blog as they will help you sift out the “must see” from the “might-be-nice-to-pop–in-while-I’m-in-the-area” places. It’s helpful to know what can be omitted if your ideal route comes in over budget.
This trip might be a chance to visit somewhere that’s captured your imagination, but be warned; including Timbuktu in your itinerary might add £1,000 to the price!
2. Decide where you want to go and what to see
With a world map, jot down the places you want to visit and arrange them into a rough geographic order. You can head east or west and you don’t have to keep going in the same direction. Some zig-zagging or back-tracking is OK (e.g. London - Beijing overland to Hong Kong - Bangkok - Sydney is fine, whereas London - Bangkok - Cairo - Sydney wouldn't work so well).
You don’t have to travel “around the world”. You can go out and back to Australia via the same part of the world, or out via Africa and back via Asia for example. Whilst most RTW trips take in Australia and or New Zealand, you don’t have to visit these countries.
3. Decide how to travel
Flights versus surface sectors
If you have plenty of time, why not incorporate some surface sectors (overland travel) into your trip? Popular overland routes include Bangkok - Singapore, St. Petersburg through Mongolia to Beijing, Santiago to Lima, Sydney to Cairns and Auckland to Christchurch.
We offer lots of bus and rail passes, as well as group and independent tours. These kind of organised tours help you make the most of your overland experience and we can help by recommending suitable tours and booking them in advance - often at a discount.
If you're interested in self-drive, we can arrange car, campervan or motorhome hire - a great option for independent travel which works particularly well in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
4. Decide when you want to go
Book early, save money
Early booking gets you the best fares. Airline schedules are released 11 months in advance so if you want to book further ahead, we can book all your tickets at the beginning (to get the best fares) and you can use our free date-change service along the way.
Cheapest time to go
Depart in April, May and June for the best RTW ticket prices. Fares for UK departures in January/February/March and September/October/November are normally £50 - £150 higher. The best bargains are to be had if you avoid UK departures anytime during July, early August, Easter and Christmas.
Be flexible with your departures dates
It’s worth knowing that an otherwise identical RTW ticket that costs £2,000 if you depart on 20 December can cost £500 less if leave depart two weeks earlier/later. If you have to leave at a peak time, book as far ahead as possible. The lowest availability will tend to be on flights returning to the UK from anywhere warm in early January.
5. Work out how much you have to spend
Round the world tickets are great value for money
Spending more on a round the world ticket buys you proportionately more for your money – a £2,000 ticket will have more than double the number of stops and fewer compromises than a £1,000 ticket. Including pre-paid taxes, economy round the world tickets range from well under £1,000 up to £3,000.
We can quote for any route and advise on money-saving route changes if your ideal route is over-budget, so don’t assume that your ideal route is impossible or too expensive. For a quick idea of costs, see our examples of round the world tickets in economy,premium economy, business or first class.
Start your round the world trip from the UK
If you live in Europe it’s usually cheapest to get a low-cost carrier or train to the UK and organise round the world flights from the UK.
Other tips for round the world trip planning
FAQs: Round the world flights
We get lots of questions about the practicalities of booking rond the world flights - see if these answers can give you a steer when you're planning...
Changing your flight dates
Because round the world tickets can no longer be left ‘open dated’, it’s perfectly normal to set off on your travels with provisional dates towards the end of your itinerary which you’ll change later.
Dates on most round the world tickets can be changed (subject to availability) either for free or a relatively small charge. We never add our own charges but we’ll advise you of any airline or ticket charges.
Changing your flight route
On most round the world tickets it’s also possible to change your route while you are travelling, though where this is possible it may incur higher costs.
We've partnered with The Visa Machine which gives you a host of benefits: you can select each of the countries you're intending to visit, and at the click of a mouse, found out whether you need a visa, which visa are available and the cost. You can then log in and apply for all your visas at once, which will all be handled by our visas experts at the visa machine. Handy!
Travelling with a family
If you're planning a trip with your family and need some guidance on where to go, how to plan your trip and what to do - have a look at our family round the world trip information and read the blogs from some of our travelling families. We have a lot of experience with trips like this and can help you plan something brilliant for the whole family!
World events that might affect your travel plans
There are several major sporting or cultural events that could impact airline seat availability and accommodation prices during your round the world trip.
If you’d like to attend any of these events - book early (11 months ahead if possible). If you’re not fussed or cash is tight, avoid these destinations at these times:
- February 10 2013: Flights to/from/around whole of Asia are very busy around Chinese New Year
- March 15-18 2013: Forget trying to get Melbourne during the Australian Grand Prix
- March every year: Hong Kong Sevens
- March 12, 2013: Nyepi day in Bali. Everyone on the island is silent and does nothing all day and everything is shut, including the airport!
- November 14 2012: Total eclipse of the sun in Darwin and Cairns
- October 18-27 November 2012: Pushkar camel Fair in Rajasthan, India July 20 - August 18 2012: Any predominately Muslim country or area during Ramadan
- December 31: Around new year every year in Sydney
Planning around the weather
It’s natural to want warm weather when you go away, but we would advise against being overly scientific when planning around climate. Do consider:
- Weather predictability: The UK is not alone in having disappointing summers and freak spells of gorgeous weather at other times of the year
- Although the phrase ‘rainy season’ touches on a British nerve (too close to home!) and there are some rainy seasons to avoid, (India in June is not particularly pleasant) - other ‘rainy seasons’ can be very pleasant
- Many rainy places can be refreshing - classically Vietnam in May-September, where although it may rain every day, it won’t rain all day. Rain is dramatic, but afterwards, everything feels fresh and verdant
- Rain can mean fewer tourists – for example, January – March in Australia’s Northern Territory wet season which can be a very pleasant time to visit
- Some may like it hot, but how hot? Plenty of places have summertime highs above 30 degrees which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s a good reason why you see a mass exodus from the Middle East in June, July and August!
Enough with the planning – I’m ready to get a quote!
Booking your ticket is the fun bit! At Travel Nation we've booked thousands of round the world trips, so you’ll be in safe hands as we guide you through the process. Get help and talk to a round the world trip planner now on 01273 320 580 or