Traveling around the world at once is often a cheaper option than breaking it down into segments. The secret is to plan carefully and purchase the ticket well in advance. The cost is more than made up for by the amazing experience of seeing many places in a short period of time and the memories you’ll have for a lifetime. Here are some tips for how to travel around the world.
1.Price your trip as an “Around-the-World” ticket.
- Star Alliance is based on how many miles you travel and they offer passes in 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles increments. To put that in context, 29,000 miles (47,000 km) you will roughly get 3 continents (outside of the United States), 34,000 miles (55,000 km) will get you 4 continents and 39,000 will get you 5 or 6 continents. The more miles you do, the more destinations you can see and vice versa. Each pass allows up to 15 stopovers (a stopover is considered 24 hours in one destination) and you can get the ticket in first, business, or economy class. Star Alliance also requires passengers to start and end in the same country, though not necessarily in the same city. (There are also passes which are limited to geographic regions in the world.)
- Oneworld offers two different pass options: one that is segment based and the other that is mileage based. Global Explorer is Oneworld’s more conventional, mileage-based ticket. There are three levels – 26,000, 29,000 and 39,000 miles in economy class, as well as a 34,000 in business and first class. Just like the Star Alliance mileage-based RTWs, all miles are counted, including overland segments.
- Air travel is generally the most expensive way to travel. Use flight comparison websites like Travel supermarket, Sky scanner and Kayak or flight brokers such as Travelocity, Expedia and Opodo. Pay close attention to restrictions. Many “Around-the-World” tickets mandate that you must always be travelling in the same direction, eg. L.A. to London to Moscow. You could not go L.A. to Paris to London. This takes significantly more preparation.
2. Get into the frequent-flyer mile credit card deal.
- There are tons of offers out there–most banks have some version of a credit card that has partnered up with an airline, such as the American Airlines Citi card. You have to spend a certain amount of money in a set period of time, but the rewards can be huge–tens of thousands of miles. You’ll need around 120,000 to get an RTW ticket.
4. Know if you need a visa.
The last thing you want to do is to get stuck in Saigon getting yelled at by a man who tells you that you have to go back to Hong Kong. In certain countries, you might have to pay an exorbitant fee to get a visa immediately, but it’s hands down best to know what paperwork you have to have.
- The length of your stay and your citizenship are both important factors. For most Westerners, it’s easy to assume you can go wherever you want. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Do your research well ahead of time–it can take weeks to get a visa approved. And if you’re exiting and re-entering a country, know that process, too. You may need a different type of visa.
- Find Accommodation
- Preparing for Your Trip
- Live Cheaply & Easily
- Get international health insurance, so no matter where you are, you can get medical help or be evacuated if necessary.
- Realize that you don’t need to bring everything and the kitchen sink, only the essentials. The idea is to save money. Get a backpack and some exercise and get out there. This is once in a lifetime experience and you don’t need sleep, you just need heart and soul. Trust some people to give you some yummy in your tummy cultural food and some nice living quarters. Now get out there and have a good travel!
- Find out what currencies you will be using throughout the trip and plan ahead. Although traveler’s checks are safe, they can be hard to cash in smaller countries. You can almost always find an ATM, and they will dispense cash in the local currency.
- Get your international data-only sim card in advance. You’ll need an internet for using google maps, searching for some local places to eat or for free calling and texting, bookings and etc.