FAQs - Round the world flights

If you're not sure how round the world flights actually work, what sort of route you can take or how far in advance you can book tickets - find out more here.

  • Baggage - can airlines take my bag ahead of me so I can pick it up later

    No, they can't. If you want to send baggage on ahead, you will need to make separate arrangements. Japan, in particular has a very efficient luggage forwarding service.

  • Baggage - how much can I check in?

    Check in baggage: Bags that you give to the airline at the airport to go in the hold of the plane and collect on arrival

    Hand baggage: Bags hat you take on board the plane with you

    Excess baggage charge: Fee imposed at check-in when your checked baggage exceeds the airline's allowance, or you check more bags then they allow.

    Airlines tell us that 95% of people check in one piece of baggage such as a suitcase or a rucksack each that weighs less than 20 kilos. If you are part of this 95%, then there isn't any need to read further as you will sail through check-in on your round the world trip without being charged any excess baggage fees.

    If you are one of the 5% and either your check-in bag will weigh more than 20 kilos, or you will be checking in more than one bag per person you might be charged excess baggage fees depending on what route and what airline you are booked on.

    Many carriers limit check in baggage to 20 or 23 KG. On many round the world tickets, even if there are some flights with higher baggage allowances, there are likely to be others limited to around 20 or 23 KG and just one check in bag.

    Baggage restrictions also vary depending on the cabin class you are booked in as well as for children and infants. There are sometimes special allowances made for certain items - e.g. sets of golf clubs, surf boards or diving equipment, but one by one we're seeing these special allowances disappear and dimensional limitations appearing on items such as surfboards. Mobility aids for personal use, such as wheelchairs don't count as checked in baggage.

    If you want to see what check in/carry on baggage rules are currently being applied by an airline on which you are booked to travel, we have detailed a directory here to the relevant section of each of the main airlines websites. Alternatively, please feel free to call us and we will be happy to advise.

    Sharp objects - everyone in the world hopefully knows by now that you can't pack sharp objects such as knives/scissors/tweezers in your check in baggage. Curiously, airlines are more than happy to sell you duty free spirits in glass bottles once on board!

    Valuable items - subject of course to local security restrictions, never pack valuables like cameras or lap-tops in your check-in baggage. There is a significant risk that they will be missing from your bag on arrival. Travel insurance companies take a dim view of claims for items lost in this way.

  • Accommodation - can you book my first night?

    In most places, we can book ahead for you. Even if you are on a tight budget, booking the first 2 or 3 nights accommodation can make all the difference and will go along way to giving you a safer trip as when you arrive in a strange country, jet-lagged and tired after a long flight, you are at your most vulnerable

  • Dates - can I get a ticket that is valid for more than one year?

    We are able to provide tickets that are valid for longer periods on some routes. For more details, call +44 1273320580 to speak to one of our experienced travel consultants.

  • Date changes - how do I change my flight dates?

    We know that the ability to change dates on a round the world ticket is very important, especially if you are planning on being away for a long time. To make your trip as hassle free as possible, Travel Nation provides a date change service once you're travelling (subject to seat availability in the same booking class). Find out more and request a date change here

  • Date changes - how do I change my flight dates?

    We know that the ability to change dates on a round the world ticket is very important, especially if you are planning on being away for a long time. To make your trip as hassle free as possible, Travel Nation provides a date change service once you're travelling (subject to seat availability in the same booking class).The only fees payable by you will be those passed on from the airline or other third parties if they apply.

    Our customers tell us our date change service is absolutely priceless, everything is processed by us in one place saving you time and money on your travels. Moreover, we don’t farm this process out to another office as some other companies do. Just as is the case with booking your round the world ticket in the first place, the further in advance you do this, the better your chances will be of getting the dates you want.

    What airline fees are payable? On many ticket types, there is no fee to change dates. On others there is a set airline fee. We will of course provide details of these fees when you book with us.

    Why is the Travel Nation Date Change Service important?

    • Travel Nation were the first to offer a centralised date change service for people on round the world tickets.

    • Our customers have told us that some airlines take an additional service charge of anything between $25 and $100 USD when date changes are meant to be free, or add these service charges to their set fee - by using us, you avoid these additional ‘service’ fees

    • It isn’t always easy to get hold of airlines. They don’t usually accept or respond promptly to emails and phone calls involve lengthy waits on hold.

    • Depending on where you are in the world, you have no guarantee of airline staff speaking good English. Additionally, staff at airline offices around the world are not always familiar with all of the rules and intricacies of round the world tickets.

    • Round the World tickets feature several airlines on one ticket. Even when these are part of a well known airline alliance, the reality is that the ‘right hand doesn’t always talk to the left hand’.

    • Airlines use different reservation systems and often cannot change dates on other airlines, or see flights changed by other airlines. This means additional calls are needed to each carrier to co-ordinate your changes. You can avoid all headaches by booking through us

    Request a date change here

  • Date changes - how much notice do I need to give?

    There is no rule for how early you need to change your dates, however the earlier you book your new and revised dates, the better your chances will be of securing a seat around the date you want.

    IMPORTANT!

    If you decide to travel over land on a leg for which you've bought a flight ticket, or simply want to take your flight later than it is booked for - the reservations on all of your subsequent flights may be cancelled if you don't advise the airline of this in advance.

  • Do I have to keep travelling in the same direction?

    You need to continue in roughly the same direction. Don't worry if your route involves a bit of zig-zagging. We'll sort it out for you!

  • E-tickets - are new tickets issued when I change dates?

    Yes. First, the reservation needs to be changed and secondly, the ticket has to be revalidated. Once this has been done, you will be issued with a new confirmation or e–ticket and normally your airline reference will be unchanged.

    Read more about our free date change service

    You can see your itinerary online and print off e-tickets here

  • E-tickets - what if I lose my tickets?

    Airlines rarely ask to see e-tickets as they already have information they need in their systems. As long as you have your passport and check in for the flight you are booked on, this is all you usually need.

    Once your tickets have been issued, we email your e-ticket details and are happy to resend them at any stage of your journey if required.

    You can see your itinerary online and print off e-tickets here

  • E-tickets - what is an e-ticket?

    ‘E-tickets’ or ‘Electronic tickets’ are a system which stores all ticket details in the airline’s computer system. They eliminate the need to issue a paper ticket, so if you’re booked on a flight for with an e-ticket, all you need to check in is your passport and airline reservation number (provided on your Travel Nation booking form).

    The check-in staff will be able to access your reservation form your name. E-tickets are fast, easy to use, and cannot be lost, damaged, forgotten or stolen. They can save you time at selected airports/routes, where you can use the self service check-in kiosk or online check-in.

  • Onward tickets - do I always need one?

    In general the answer to this question is 'yes', however, what happens when you have surface sectors within your itinerary?

    If you check the embassy websites of most non-EU countries, just a handful definitively accept that 'possession of an onward ticket from another country in the region' is an accepted alternative to a ticket out of their own country.

    The good news however, is that even where the rules ask for an onward ticket from that country, this is not generally enforced. To illustrate this here is a quote from the Thai embassy website:

    "Foreigners entering Thailand by any means under the Tourist Visa Exemption category are required at the port of entry to have proof of onward travel (confirmed air, train, bus or boat tickets) to leave Thailand within 30 days of the arrival date (otherwise a tourist visa must be obtained)."

    How does this affect my 'surface sectors?'

    So what if you wanted to fly to Thailand and then explore Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia by land - meaning you want to fly into Thailand and out from Singapore 3 months later. Will the Thai authorities accept you if arriving with your 30 day visa (to be allocated on arrival) and no booked onward travel arrangements? Officially (according to the Thai Embassy website advice), the answer is no, however in reality, it is generally this is acceptable...

    At Travel Nation, staff and customers have flown into Bangkok and out from neighbouring countries thousands of times with no visa beyond the 30 days, and without being asked to produce onward tickets. The same applies for most countries where UK passport holders are not required to hold a tourist visa. So long as you respect the length of stay in a country (i.e, you stay no longer than your permitted 30 days in Thailand) and have an onward ticket from a neighbouring country, you are generally fine.

    Potential enforcement at airline check-in

    Whilst immigration officials should be respected once you reach your destination, there is always a chance the 'onward ticket' rule may be enforced by airline check-in staff. Airlines may choose to enforce this rule because they can incur heavy fines for boarding passengers who end up being refused entry at their destination. If an airline has any doubt about your ability to meet immigration requirements, they tend to err on the side of caution - meaning you could be refused boarding.

    Every once in a while, a passenger may be asked to produce evidence of an onward ticket at check-in (we'd estimate no more than one in a thousand!), it's good to be prepared for the situation. Factors affecting this being enforced include your appearance (dressing and behaving conservatively at check-in and immigration is always advisable), and whether you can demonstrate that you have sufficient funds. If an immigration officer is suspicious of you when you arrive, he may well apply the rules more literally than if he has no reason to be suspicious.

    How to avoid potential problems at immigration

    As surface sectors are a classic feature of round the world tickets, this puts us in an awkward position. On one hand, we're duty bound to advise you of entry requirements, but on the other, we know that in the vast majority of incidences, they are not enforced. We know that common routes such as flying into Bangkok and out of Singapore, into Delhi and out of Kathmandu or into Lima and out of Santiago etc. are well trodden paths. So before you travel, here are our tips on avoiding potential problems at immigration:

    • Buy an onward bus, boat or train ticket out of the country and keep the confirmation handy whilst you're at the airport/border crossing. There are some instances where this is not acceptable but generally, it will suffice
    • Book an overland tour and keep the confirmation handy as above
    • If you're on a RTW ticket, make sure your onward flight (even if from a neighbouring country) is within your authorised length of stay of the country you originally enter. For example, if you fly into USA on a British passport, ensure your onward flight from Mexico is within 90 days of your arrival in the USA. Some immigration officials will struggle with the idea that your onward ticket allows for time in their country as well as a neighbouring one!
    • If all else fails and nothing but an onward flight ticket will do, go to a ticketing desk at the airport and buy a fully refundable ticket so that you can claim all your money back. Do make sure it's refundable. It's more expensive in the short term but ensures you're not out of pocket in the long term. Alternatively, contact us and we'll provide this service for you.

    Further sources of information

    Travellers' forums are great source of up to date information. There are some countries where you definitely need an onward ticket, if you don't have a visa that allows you to enter without one. These include:

    • Australia
    • New Zealand
  • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) - how can I prevent it?

    To avoid DVT, be aware of the following guidelines, which will also help make your flight more comfortable:

    • Don't cross your legs when flying
    • Wear flight socks available from pharmacies
    • Wriggle your toes and walk the aisle occasionally
    • Clench your calf muscles to stimulate circulation
    • Before flying, eat a light meal rich in carbohydrates and greens
    • Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol, tea and coffee
    • Suck boiled sweets on take-off and landing to protect your ears
    • Sleep on board if your flight lands in the morning, but not if it lands in the evening
    • For humidified breathing air, cover your nose with a water-saturated cotton handkerchief
    • Wear loose clothing for added comfort.
  • Surface sectors - what are they?

    A surface sector is a travel agent's way of saying that you fly in to one place and out of another e.g. 'London, fly to Bangkok, make your way overland to Singapore, fly to Sydney' is an example of an itinerary that includes a surface sector between Bangkok and Singapore.

    Costs of ground transportation between these arrival and departure points are never included in flight prices that incorporate surface sectors.

    To get from A to B some people will use public transport, others will hook up with pre booked arrangements such as the Trans Siberian Railway, a tour and others will arrive armed with an open dated bus or rail pass.

    If you want information on your options for travelling across any surface sectors on your trip, please ask us or see our Destination pages!

    More about surface sectors

  • Tax - what's the story with taxes and fuel surcharges?

    Up until the 1990’s, taxes and airport security charges were only payable in a handful of developing countries. These were collected by very sullen looking people who sat in little perspex windowed kiosks in airports around the world whose main source of job satisfaction seemed to be to insist that you paid in $USD if you only had local currency left and in local currency if you only had $USD on you.

    One by one, during the course of the nineties, most other countries started jumping on this bandwagon and started making these charges compulsory. As the 90's progressed, starting with the USA and South Africa, they decided it was too much effort to collect the ‘free money’ themselves and realised that they could get travel agents and airlines to collect their taxes for free. To be fair, if these taxes have to exist, it is simpler to pay them upfront rather than encounter a nasty surprise each time you leave a country. Whilst there are still a few countries in which all or some of your taxes are collected in the old fashioned way, these days you pay most of your taxes up front with your air fare.

    As a rule of thumb, on a journey with say 6 or 7 stops, you should expect to pay around £200-£300 in taxes, possibly more if you have a few stops in the USA/Canada. Australia can add a lot and certain airports in Australia even more, especially Ayers Rock and Sydney (part of their tax goes towards a fund to provide triple glazing for people who live near or under the flight paths around the airport!).

    Things started to get complicated in 2004 when, following unprecedented increases in oil prices, rather than simply putting up their fares, airlines decided to add dreaded ‘fuel surcharges’ to each flight. These charges started off at a £2.50 per flight and have gradually climbed since, some routes are now over £100 on a longer haul sector. In many cases these days your taxes and fuel surcharges can amount to more than your fare, we keep things simple by only quoting fares inclusive of all taxes and fuel surcharges so nobody is misled.

    Different airlines have different fuel charges and often charge different rates for different routes and give virtually no notice or literally no notice prior to changing them. It is not always possible to guess which way they will change next, as though these charges are of course related to the price of jet fuel, airlines different hedging policies mean that changes have sometimes been out of sync with changes in petrol prices. Curiously, though the price of jet fuel has gone up and down over the last ten years, airline imposed fuel charges have tended to only go up.

    After the September 11 attacks, airlines introduced additional in-flight security measures (e.g. secure doors to the flight deck). These costs (about £2.50 per flight) were added to tickets as a supplement. To this day these charges still haven't been included by airlines in airfares and are collected in the same way as taxes are.

    As taxes and the other charges constantly change and new ones are introduced, the only way to advise you of the exact cost of the pre-payable taxes on round the world tickets with several flights, is to work them out when the booking is made.

    For all airfares on our website we have made the effort to show all prices inclusive of taxes and fuel surcharges. Beware of other travel companies who only show the fare ‘+ taxes’

    The good news is that currently, there is no VAT payable on air tickets.