Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Around the World Ticket: Flashback - June 2007

Looking to see the world? Have a bit of time on your hands with a list of places to go?
Want the flexibility to roam the land without being locked into a schedule?
Then maybe an around the world ticket is for you.

Often considered an urban myth or written off as something that must be ridiculously expensive, let me tell you, the coveted around the world ticket is real ... and it's a very, very good thing. In 2007 I set out to backpack from Sydney, Australia to New York City westward. I had seven months and a limited budget. Knowing in advance where I wanted to go and that I'd be back in the U.S. once more before my trip, I did a little bit of research.

While I knew I'd be taking advantage of hostels and public transport, I needed a way to get from one country (or continent) to the next without dropping a lot of cash for one-way airline tickets. I stumbled upon a deal offered through American Airlines that provided various around the world ticket options for either a continent-based or distance-based fare.

I selected a mid-range ticket calculated on distance with the flight path of: New York --> Honolulu --> Auckland --> Christchurch --> Sydney --> Singapore --> Shanghai --> Beijing --> Bangkok --> New Delhi --> Moscow --> St. Petersburg --> Vienna --> London --> New York. At that time the ticket was less than $5,000 U.S. and afforded me the ability to fly as well as travel overland to my next scheduled destination.

At the time of my trip, and for several similar programs today, the conditions of the ticket were:
  • Ticket price is set by number of stops, distance and/or continents traveled.
  • The stops included must be detailed in your itinerary and are fixed upon purchase.
  • The trip needs to begin and end at the same location.
  • The journey must end within one year of beginning.
  • Dates of travel can be changed at no additional charge at any time throughout the trip.
My seven-month-around-the-world-backpacking journey was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The around the world ticket allowed me the freedom to extend one leg of my trip to get scuba certified in Phuket, was flexible enough to modify plans for volunteering in India after a Himalayan mudslide, and afforded me the peace of mind to take a last-minute detour to Egypt. The flexibility was reason enough for this to be the right option to me, but after doing the math, it was hard to beat the price as well. I would encourage anyone to look into this option if they intend to cover a lot of ground regardless of their travel time.

Websites for more information:
  • OneWorld - Partner airlines: American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Airberlin, Cathway Pacific, Iberia, LAN, TAM, Qantas and Sri Lankan Airlines
  • SkyTeam - Partner airlines: Delta Airlines, Aeroflot, Aerolineas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines
  • Star Alliance - Partner airlines: United Airlines, Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA AIR, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, THAI and Turkish Airlines
  • Nomadic Matt - "The In-Depth Guide to Buying an RTW Ticket"

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