How to plan your trip

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 multi-stop flights, tours and accommodation.

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!

Read our blogs

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.

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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 tailor-made tours. These kinds 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, Canada 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 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.

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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 you leave 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.

FAQs: Planning & Booking

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 round the world flights - see if these answers can give you a steer when you're planning...

FAQs: RTW Flights

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'll advise you of any airline or ticket charges.

Change your dates here

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.

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:

  • 15 March 2020: Forget trying to get to Melbourne during the Australian Grand Prix
  • 25 March 2020: Nyepi day in Bali. Everyone on the island is silent and does nothing all day and everything is shut, including the airport!
  • April 2020: Hong Kong Sevens
  • 23 April - 23 May 2020: Ramadan (avoid any predominantly Muslim country or area during Ramadan)
  • 29 April - 5 May 2020: Golden Week in Japan. Workers get a week off - it's going to be BUSY!
  • 24 July - 9 August 2020: Summer Olympics in Japan
  • 1-7 October 2020: Golden Week in China (see Japan)
  • 22 - 30 November 2020: Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan, India
  • 31 December: Around new year every year in Sydney, Australia
  • 12 February 2021: Flights to/from/around the whole of Asia are very busy around Chinese New Year

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 +44 1273320580 or get a trip quote by email

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