It doesn’t matter whether you’re 26 or 62, going on a round-the-world trip is the ultimate adventure of a lifetime. However, it can also be memorable for all the wrong reasons, especially if you try to book all the individual airfares yourself. Buying a round-the-world ticket removes a lot of stress and expense when it comes to the logistics of travelling long distances. Here are six tips for booking a round-the-world airfare from someone who’s done it and learned a few valuable lessons along the way.
Don’t try to book a round-the-world airfare yourself
When my husband and I decided to take five months off work to travel the world, we initially had the idea that we would book all of the airfares ourselves. However, when our itinerary ended up including every continent except Africa and Antarctica, it didn’t take us long to realise this was a recipe for disaster. For the first time in years, we needed to use a travel agent.
Our travel plans were particularly complicated but even if you have a fairly simple around-the-world flight schedule, it can still be a logistical nightmare. Back then, there weren’t dedicated travel agents for round-the-world tickets but these days you can book with a specialist agency like Airfare Geeks who specialise in simplifying complicated itineraries and finding the best deals for round-the-world fares.
I shudder to think what might have happened if I had tried to book all the different airfares myself as we inadvertently ended up in France during peak season and New York on the busy fourth of July long weekend. With a pre-booked round-the-world ticket, we didn’t have to worry about getting stuck anywhere with no flights. Or having to fly on a dodgy carrier to save money on last minute airfares. Booking our round-the-world airfare through a travel agent turned out to be the best decision we ever made.
Ask your travel agent about timing
Speaking of timing, we didn’t do as well as we could have with this although it wasn’t the fault of our travel agent. If you are going on an around-the-world adventure, it can be impossible to avoid busy or peak seasons along the way. We simply decided when and where we wanted to go and asked our agent to book our flights on those dates.
In hindsight, with an agent’s expert knowledge to guide us, we should have asked for suggestions on how best to maximise our itinerary and visit places in the most convenient and enjoyable order so they wouldn’t be so busy. A few tweaks here and there by an expert would have made a big difference to our enjoyment. And our wallets as arriving in a popular European city when a big event is on means accommodation is expensive.
Take advantage of your agent’s specialist knowledge
As someone who usually books their own flights direct, I didn’t understand just how much knowledge travel agents have until ours saved us from a major catastrophe. When we questioned what seemed like an overly long connection time in Rome, she explained that airport was notorious for taking a long time to unload bags so she had allowed extra time in our itinerary.
Sure enough, when we landed in Rome our bags took almost an hour to arrive. Unlike many other travellers milling around the empty carousel, we calmly waited for them instead of having a major panic about not making our next flight. Round-the-world airfare specialists know all the tricks and can save you plenty of stress while you’re away.
Plan in advance for peace of mind
When you book a round-the-world fare you know what date and time you will be arriving which provides peace of mind. Once we were on the road, we wanted our air transport to be coordinated so we didn’t miss connections and arrive late at our accommodation so a round-the-world airfare was perfect for us. Knowing where we had to be and when made things so much easier when it came to the coordination of such a big trip.
Let an expert deal with flight schedule changes
No matter how well you and your agent plan your trip, there will almost certainly be at least one flight schedule change. If you’re lucky, it will be minor and you’ll hardly notice it. Or, like us, it could potentially throw your trip into disarray. When one of the airlines we booked with stopped flying to Istanbul, our travel agent knew about it straight away and rebooked our flights with a partner airline at no extra cost. We didn’t even know about this major problem with our flights until – like magic – an updated itinerary arrived with a note about the change.
Use the 24 hour assistance line
When you book through a specialist round-the-world airfare travel agency, you will often have access to 24 hour assistance line. So, if there is an airline strike or you miss a connection for example, there is always someone on hand to help. Make sure you look for an agency that offers 24 hour assistance when you book your round-the-world fare.
Want to travel smarter and save money? Check out our tips for flying a low cost airline, keeping your luggage safe, visiting Europe in peak season, getting a great car hire deal, avoiding travel scams, saving money at the airport, staying at an Airbnb, finding cheap five star hotel deals, catching public transport overseas, staying safe in a big city, getting the best round-the-world airfares, making the most of a five star hotel stay, travelling during low season, visiting a theme park in peak season, packing a carry on bag, visiting a wine region, planning a romantic getaway, early morning flights, visiting the Great Barrier Reef, multigenerational travel, travelling in a motorhome, buying the best souvenirs, going on safari, visiting the Eiffel Tower, travelling with pets, holidaying with adult children, travelling with teens, and sleeping on a plane.