If you’re going to plan just one trip in your life, go around the world! Probably one of the most epic travelling experiences on the market, this is the adventure you take when you need to get away for a looong time.
More than a vacation, these journeys have the potential to be the trip of a lifetime. Whether it’s a reward for years of being holed up in dusty university libraries or the need for some serious change of scenery, around-the-world vacations have limitless potential.
Here’s how to get started:
Where to go
Everybody has a wish list of destinations they’re just dying to get to “one day.” Some places you might need just a few days to get a taste while others may involve a more lengthy stay.
- Make a list of all of the places you would like to visit and then group them by continent. It’s not always necessary to fly between destinations so if there are any places where you would be better off travelling by land, consider this when planning your route.
- Budget airlines like RyanAir and similar discount carriers often have deals or cheaper flights within different areas. Do some research to determine whether it makes more sense to incorporate some flights outside of your package. Click here for a list of budget airlines by country.
- Look at flight packages from airlines that offer around-the-world flights to get a sense of common ports of call and routes. These will be cheaper than a custom flight package made off the top of your head.
Here are a few of the most popular options:
- One World: This group offers the oneworld Explorer package that allows you to choose between 3, 4 or 6 continents or the Global Explorer where you purchase air mileage. One world is partnered with 11 airlines that will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go.
- Star Alliance: This group allows you to create custom tickets using their 27 airlines which fly to more than 1,329 destinations in 194 countries. If you are interested in multiple flights in one area, you can also look at their Circle Fares to Asia and the Pacific or 11 different Airpasses within destinations like Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
- Skyteam: This group is in partnership with 19 airlines. Like most around-the-world flights you must plan your trip in one direction (east to west or west to east) and make between 3-15 stopovers. This package divides the globe into 3 areas which you cannot backtrack between.
- The Great Escapade: This group only uses 3 airlines (Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic) but offers countless stopovers within 29,000 miles of allotted travel distance.
When to go
Because most around-the-world flight packages need to be used up within a year, it will be difficult to get perfect weather at every stop that you make.
Here are some things to consider:
- What do you want to do at a destination? If you’re just going to be sight-seeing in a city, that can be done pretty much any time of the year, but if you plan to spend a week tanning on the beach or want to get in some snowboarding you may need to be more strategic with planning around seasons.
- Check out festivals or special events that are happening at your destinations. It might be worth trying to be in Chicago for the annual Jazz Festival over Labour Day weekend; February in Rio may be worth avoiding due to the jacked up prices of hotels and insane crowds during Carnival.
- Remember, you have a year to complete your travel so don’t be afraid to include a long-term destination somewhere in the middle. Many people buy an around-the-world ticket when they go on a working holiday to allow themselves time to travel on either end of their work term.
Why it’s worth it
You may be asking yourself why you would go through all this trouble to research and plan your trip ahead of time when you could just book flights as you need them. Here are a few major benefits of the around-the-world packages:
- Because you are booking in quantity, the flights are cheaper than they would be if you booked each one individually
- Some companies offer unlimited flights within a certain mileage which, depending on how you plan things, can work out significantly cheaper
- Booking all of your flights well in advance will save you the money of last-minute bookings. Minimal charges are usually in place if you need to adjust the dates based on how much notice you give
- Sometimes when you’re travelling you start to lose steam and cut back on what you had originally planned. These tickets force you to take the time at the beginning to do all the work so that once it’s booked you can just enjoy yourself.