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How to book your round the world flight ticket

Top Tips for choosing your round the world flight ticket

Choosing the right round the world flight ticket can be a complex process but when done right it can save you thousands of pounds, dollars, euros or whatever other currency you might deal in. Round The World Magazine recommend using a search engine such as Skyscanner, Momondo or Kayak to search for cheap car hire deals. Simply type in your criteria and watch these search engines spit out a ridiculously cheap price.

With this in mind, we have collaborated with Ian Paterson, a professional blogger and travel professional whose job for many years has been to help people choose the right round the world flight ticket. We have come up with this guide to make picking the right ticket easier and to help you understand what factors are involved so that you can get the most out of your round the world flights.

Round The World flight ticket, airline tickets
Image Credit:Kate Hogan

There are five round the world flight ticket providers currently on offer today. They are the Qantas, Star Alliance, One World Alliance, The Great Escapade and Air New Zealand’s Tiki Tour.

Routing vs Price:

The cost of each round the world airfare is balanced out by the routing. This is where the ying and yang of round the world flights is balanced. That is to say, the more the ticket allows you to do in terms of routes and different airlines, the more the round the world flight ticket costs. The airline tickets that are more restrictive and perhaps force you to go a certain route, are the best value. More on the reasons why that is later but for now, I can give you a rough overview to each ticket.

One World Round The World

The most expensive but has vastly more options in terms of routing than any other ticket. Due to this, I would say this ticket is aimed more at business people and high-end leisure traveller. Budget £2500-6000 economy.

The Star Alliance Round The World

A little better value than the One World ticket but similar in terms of routing. Some of the airlines on this ticket are not seen as quite as good quality as the One World airlines but are generally very good. I’d fly with pretty much all of them. Again, this option is used by business people and those who have a very specific idea of what they want to do. Pretty much any major city in the world can be reached on these tickets but you are going to have to pay for that flexibility. Budget £2500-£5000 economy.

With the three remaining tickets, we are into backpacker, flashpacker and budget travel territory. These tickets have some restrictions but are easily the best value options for circumnavigating the globe. They are not better value because they fly on better planes or come with a greater level of service though, they are better value because they are sponsored by the airlines who run them and the tourism boards who force you to route through their country and increase their tourism numbers.

Side note: Tourism boards and governments reduce costs and taxes on flights into their countries for tourists, much more than business people and those visiting families and friends. The economic incentive is there because tourists contribute to local businesses much more than other traveller types.

The Best Value Round The World Flight Tickets:

Tiki Tour

This ticket is only any good if you want to go to New Zealand. If you want to do that, then great; if you want to visit the Pacific Islands along the way, even better. Air New Zealand is actually the only airline that flies all the way around the world with their own planes; from Auckland to Los Angeles, from L.A. to London, London to Singapore and Singapore to Auckland. This ticket offers cost effective add on flights, to the Pacific islands, hence the name. This ticket is great value but quite restrictive with limited airline partners. Budget £1200-2500.

The Great Escapade

This round the world flight ticket works in conjunction with Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Air and Air New Zealand. As such, your itinerary needs to feature cities these airlines fly to and that the next airline can pick you up from, to continue your trip around the world without using other airlines. That means you will certainly be passing through or stopping in London, Auckland and L.A. or San Fran. Of course the ticket is not just limited to those cities but they have to be on the route, even if just to change planes and hop on the next one. This ticket is great value but has a medium level of restrictions. Budget £1200-2500.

Qantas Round The World

This ticket uses Qantas, Emirates, British Airways, American Airlines and LATAM (if you go via South America). With this ticket, you have to go via Australia and use these airlines, which is quite simple considering their vast routing networks. You can be guaranteed to pass through or stop in London, Dubai, Australia somewhere, plus either L.A. or San Fran. This ticket is great value and not too restrictive, as the airlines it uses have huge route networks. Budget £1200-2500.

When Will You Depart:

Once you’ve decided which is the right ticket for you, planning when to go is the next stage. The ‘base fare’ of each ticket is driven by the very first date of departure from your home country, so picking a good date to leave, is key to getting a low rate. Obviously, avoid leaving in peak holiday times. When you have selected the ticket that’s right for you, you can obtain the current departure date costs from travel agents.

Following flight dates:

The dates that your following flights are on have less of an effect on cost but still some. When it comes time for building your ticket with a travel agent, try and be as flexible as you can. Plus or minus one week is the ideal amount of flexibility to give them, or simply ask them to only quote you on the lowest cost seats and find when the closest date around when you asked for is.


Obviously, it depends which airports you fly into and out of, as to how much tax you will pay but if you want to minimise these costs, check out this guide.

And Finally:

You will need to use an agent to build and book this trip for you. A round the world flight ticket is quite a technical fare to build and it requires quite a bit of ongoing management. Once you’ve taken the steps above, you’ll be able to approach a travel agent and help them to get you the best value available.

Ian Paterson is a professional travel consultant, passionate adventurer and travel blogger from Resfeber Travel Blog. He has circumnavigated the globe once before in 2010 and is expected to head off on his next traveling adventure in 2018. Alongside travel blogging, Ian writes about music and film for UK Magazines and blogs.

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  1. You are definitely using the wrong word. One thing is not a better value because it’s less expensive. Generally, not a bad article lê but this point is distracting.

  2. I never thought I could do this. Now I think it’s possible. Thanks for this article. I found it via T+L online.

  3. It is possible to do booking without a travel agent. I am in my 60’s and in 2015 I did a One World booking online. I was able to adjust dates and airlines to see price changes. When you have decided your route you contact the airline of your initial departure and they authorise and issue your ticket. I travelled Cape Town, Sydney, LA, San Francisco, NY, London, Paris, Cape Town using BA, QANTAS, American Airlines. The cost was R33 000. Happy travels☺

    1. She is right! The One World site is not too difficult as long as you understand the rules for segments (you have to respect the number segments in each “region”) and layovers. It is definitely possible to book an RTW ticket yourself with One World. You can store it and complete it at your own pace. If you have any problems en route you need to call the airline directly…it is much easier if your have status on a frequent flyer card with the first departure airline, for example BA, which has a large staff to handle issues.

      1. True, you can book a RTW ticket on the One World site but it isn’t as good value as the contracts that Travel Agents get. They are around 20% less.

  4. This sounds amazing. Is there a certain amount of time to complete your trip or certain places you must visit? How long can you stay in each place? Could you use it for three months for example?

    1. RTW tickets are usually subject to the same limitations as any plane ticket, meaning that travel must be completed within a year or so of departure.

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