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How to buy the flights for your RTW?

The process to buy the flights for your RTW (Round the World trip) is a task that is very related to the budget. Inevitably, you will have to plan flights to get an estimate of how much you will spend while budgeting your trip.

There are several ways to buy the flights for your RTW. Depending on the type of trip and type of traveler you are, any of them may suit you.

Buy an integrated ticket around the world

These types of tickets are available from airline alliances such as Star Alliance, SkyTeam or, OneWorld. These allow you to make your trip around the world with a single fare.

tickets - buy the flights for your RTW
Tickets Sign

An RTW ticket usually has the following restrictions:

  • the number of segments to perform,
  • airlines must belong to the same alliance – this will often force you to travel longer to make stops at these airlines’ hubs,
  • length of travel – normally the ticket is valid for one year,
  • You cannot make the crossing between the same two continents more than once.

This can be a great option to buy the flights for your RTW if you have accumulated miles to spend and on the other hand, you will also accumulate some new miles on this adventure.

The price of the trip will vary depending on the destinations and where you are going to start.

Buy the flights for your RTW from a specialist agent (consolidator)

Consolidators are specialized agents looking for the best flight combinations to buy the flights for your RTW. AirTreks is one of the examples of this service.

These companies allow you to submit the itinerary online and later you are contacted by an agent who will inform you about the conditions, the value, and the best options. It is a more personalized service, but it also has its price, as you may have to pay a commission.

Buy the flights for your RTW separately

Autonomous ticket purchase is the most laborious but we realized it would bring more advantages, both in flexibility and budget.

Travel Planning - buy the flights for your RTW
Travel Planning

The method is simple, use Skyscanner, Momondo, and Hopper to understand price variations and find the best rates.

When comparing prices you should note that when buying the cheapest tickets, fares usually do not include changes in the event of unforeseen events and in some situations do not include checked baggage. You should pay attention to all these factors when estimating the price of your flights.

On the other hand, it allows you more flexibility and even increased time to explore a city like we just did on the flight between South Africa and Vietnam. We increased our connection and will stay for 3 days in Hong Kong.

Buy the flights for your RTW while you’re traveling

This is the ideal option for the more adventurous or for those who do not want to commit to an itinerary. With this option, you will be more dependent on price fluctuations and if sometimes lastminute tickets are cheaper, other times they are extremely expensive.

Our choice

After comparing the various options for our trip, we realized that integrated tickets around the world, given the airline restrictions, would not fit our idea of our itinerary and there were some destinations we didn’t want to give up. In addition, when we compared prices with consolidators or with the option to buy tickets ourselves, we found it more expensive for our itinerary.

World Globe - buy the flights for your RTW

When comparing consolidators with buying the tickets on our own we realized that we would still save some money.

So we got to work and using Skyscanner, we put price alerts on all the segments we wanted to buy, analyzing price fluctuations. When the price of a flight dropped to an acceptable value for the segment, we would make the purchase.

When we estimated the fare for our trip using a single fare, for example at Star Alliance, it was about € 5000 per person.

When we estimated the fare for our trip using a consolidator, it was about € 4000 per person.

When we estimated the fare for our trip by booking each flight separately, it was about € 3000 per person.

Book your flights with Skyscanner or Momondo

Why booking directly allows you more flexibility:

  • You can buy only the main flights from the pillars of your trip and make segments by land or sea, or buy the shorter flights during your trip. It turns out to be a compromise solution that allows you to set the pace of your trip but still have some flexibility,
  • You’ll probably find cheaper flights by combining low-cost airlines with more expensive ones,
  • With more flexibility you can travel in the days before or after what you originally planned and save some money;

The flights we booked before traveling

  • Lisbon – Luanda – Cape Town
  • Johannesburg – Hong Kong – Ho Chi Min (We have increased the layover time to 3 days and for the same price we will visit Hong Kong)
  • Singapore – Melbourne
  • Sydney – Nadi (Fiji)
  • Nadi (Fiji) – Christchurch
  • Auckland – Buenos Aires
  • Lima – Lisbon

This is the fifth publication in the series: How to plan an RTW. If you want to know more about planning a round the world visit the other publications in this series.