FAQs about AirTreks and round the world travel

We’ve compiled a few FAQs about AirTreks and round-the-world travel. Please feel free to contact us if you’ve got any other questions.

How does AirTreks work?

With AirTreks, create and book a custom itinerary for an around the world or multi-stop trip  in just three simple steps:

  1. First,  choose your destinations and plug them into our easy to use TripPlanner application, exploring different routes and price options until you find a combination of flights and stops you like.
  2. Second, after you’ve settled on the best itinerary, submit it through TripPlanner to an AirTreks Personal Travel Consultant. Your consultant will contact you to refine and optimize your itinerary to provide a more exact price quote. When you commit to a route your consultant will check availability and reserve your seats.
  3. Once you’re completely satisfied with your trip plan, AirTreks will request payment, book your tickets and you’ll be ready to take off traveling!

What’s included in the cost of an around the world, multi-stop ticket?

Unless otherwise noted, the prices quoted in TripPlanner and published on our website include:

  • Airfare from each point listed in your routing.
  • All airline taxes, facility charges and fees.
  • Expert pre-trip consultation.
  • Friendly post-departure customer service.
  • Trip insurance for U.S. Residents

When do I get my confirmed itinerary?

You and your Personal Travel Consultant will go through and reserve each flight in your trip, so you’ll actually come up with a final confirmed itinerary together.

After you review each flight, reserve your tickets, and finalize your payment, your Personal Travel Consultant will then email you all of the flight details directly. Tickets are issued immediately.  E-ticket receipts and another copy of your final itinerary will be emailed to you within 2-3 business days.

Can I make up my own itinerary?

Absolutely! Your itinerary is totally customizable and entirely up to you. Itineraries on our specials page are primarily used to show travelers what around-the-world routes are possible for what price.

What airlines do you use?

AirTreks books airline tickets on most commercial airlines currently operating in the world. There are some carriers that the US government does not allow us to do business with – notably Cubana Airlines (Cuba) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Each trip is constructed using flights from a variety of IATA-certified international air carriers. Should you have airline preferences, just specify your needs to your Personal Travel Consultant. In most cases, AirTreks uses the airlines that provide the best price and value for each leg of your custom itinerary, balancing the lowest possible cost with the most convenient route for your trip.  It is possible to substitute one airline for another on the same leg if a particular airline is more important to you.

In most cases, AirTreks uses the airlines that provide the best price and value for each leg of your custom itinerary, balancing the lowest possible cost with the most convenient route for your trip.  It’s possible to substitute one airline for another on the same leg if flying on a particular airline is a priority for you. This may result in a higher price for your trip.

What does “surface” or “overland” mean in the itinerary description?

AirTreks uses the terms “overland” and “surface” to describe trip segments our customers will travel on their own by train, bus, car, boat or other transportation that is not a plane. We do not provide tickets for the overland portion of the route and the traveler is responsible for any expense.

How far in advance can I book tickets?

The airlines’ computer reservation systems open their seats up for booking 335 days from today’s date (about 11 months prior to the flight). It is only possible to book flights within this 11-month window.

If you want to book seats on flights farther in the future than 11 months you’ll have to wait until the date is within the 11-month threshold. AirTreks can provide a rough price estimate for seats outside of this window based on current pricing.

How long can I travel for?

How long you travel is entirely up to you. However, since the airlines only release their seat inventory 11 months ahead of time, it’s only possible to make seat reservations within 11 months .

If you’re doing a “gap year” or plan on traveling outside of this 11-month window of availability, you would simply purchase your trip in two stages—book all of the stops you can buy now, and then the rest of your flights as your dates become available a little farther down the road. AirTreks can and does book flights for travelers while they’re traveling, setting up remaining or continuing flights by email or phone (or Skype). And you can even get a ballpark price for the non-purchased flights based on the current year’s prices.

AirTreks can and does book flights for travelers while they’re on the road, setting up remaining or continuing flights by email, phone, or Skype. We can even give you a price estimate for the non-purchased flights based on the current year’s prices.

One popular timeline for booking gap year plane tickets is to book the first stage of tickets four to six months before the departure, then the rest of the trip a couple weeks before departure.

What’s the discount for children? What about students? Senior citizens?

For children between 2 years of age and up to age 11, fares are typically 75 – 80 percent of the full adult fare.

For infants in arms (under 2 years of age, that don’t need a seat of their own) the fare is generally 10 – 15 percent of the adult fare. For infants requiring a seat, child fare is be used. These numbers can vary from airline to airline.

For students, teachers, and travelers under age 26 (“youths”), we have access to discounted fares on some routes. To receive these fares students and teachers must provide valid student IDs and teaching certificates. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to get student, teacher, or youth rates on every route, but we will always offer them if they are available for your route and you qualify to use them.

Travelers over 65 years of age may be eligible for discounted rates on some domestic U.S. carriers. Unfortunately, most international airlines do not have discounts for senior citizens.

How soon can I leave? Can you book last minute flights?

AirTreks normally recommends starting the ticket purchasing process at least four months in advance of your intended departure date. Of course, we can definitely book you within 4-months of departure, and we often do still have great rates. Bear in mind that the closer you are to your departure date, the more likely it is that flights will be full, resulting in higher fares.

The absolute minimum amount of time before purchase we need to book your tickets is 3 business days, but some airlines have 7, 14, or even 30-day advance purchase restrictions on their least expensive tickets, so fares will likely be a lot more expensive for last-minute departures. International flights DO sell out completely, especially around the holidays, so if you are booking last minute, be aware that there may not be any space to travel on the exact date you’ve chosen.

Will I get a better price if I wait till the last minute?

Not in our experience. Usually, the best pricing for around-the-world and complex itineraries is available at least 4 – 6 months before your travel dates.

Can I accrue miles with my favorite FF program?

Yes, for most AirTreks reservations, travelers are eligible to accrue miles with their favorite Frequent Flier program.

However, many travelers are surprised to learn that not every airline ticket will allow you to accrue 100% of the miles flown, even if you are flying on the same airline as the one with which you have a mileage account. This is especially true when you travel on partner airlines (i.e. Delta and Korean Air). Furthermore, whether or not you can accrue miles and at what rate is often dependent on the specific fare price and class at the time the ticket is issued, as well as each carrier’s specific rules.

If earning miles on a particular carrier is essential for you on your travels, our best advice is to make this clear before you buy your tickets and to double check that the fare you’re buying allows you to accrue miles.

Sometimes, if you want to earn 100% of your miles flown, you may need to upgrade to a more expensive fare.

Does my price include hotels and land arrangements? If not, how do I get those?

When it comes to accommodations and tours, we’re happy to make recommendations based on our personal travels and your personal preferences. We have close partnerships with providers that can help. Just let your Personal Travel Consultant know what you’re looking for and they’ll point you in the right direction.

How can I find out if I need a visa or vaccinations for the places I’m visiting?

Officially, our answer is “For visa requirements, check with each embassy or consulate for the countries that you are visiting or connecting through.”

Apart from the Australian visa, AirTreks doesn’t issue visas in-house and our lawyers don’t like us advising our clients on visas we don’t issue. While it’s very important that you get the final word directly from the embassy, we DEFINITELY recommend that you find out about visas before buying tickets.

Transit visas are sometimes required when making connections and you want to be sure that you’re aware of all of the rules. At AirTreks, we try to anecdotally advise our travelers about entry and transit visas, as well as any reciprocity fees you can expect to see, and at the very least where to go to find out more. This is a topic where working with one of our experienced personal travel agents can really pay off.

If you’re looking for someone who can take care of all of your visa applications for you, we recommend visahq.com.

For vaccinations, check the travelers’ section of CDC.org. If you’re traveling with medicine, you should also double check the entry requirements to make sure there are no special rules for the specific type of medicine you’re carrying. You wouldn’t want to be denied entry, or have your prescriptions confiscated.

Another good place to get a general idea of vaccinations and health and safety measures for your trip is AirTreks Travel Health Page.

How do I get seat assignments?

AirTreks makes sure to assign seats for you whenever possible at the time of booking. If you have a specific seat request (aisle, window, seat number), we will include that in your reservations whenever we can.

While some airlines don’t allow for advance seat selection before check in, others do, and most airline policies differ in some way. Unfortunately, fees for booking seats in advance, or in certain sections of the plane are an inconvenient reality on many airlines. During the ticket purchase process, it’s good to inquire about how your seats will be assigned.

Because the airlines reserve the right to change their equipment on any flight up until departure, specific seat requests can never be guaranteed. Your Personal Travel Agent should be able to either enter in seat requests for you at booking or at minimum advise you how to do so at check-in.

Will you notify me of airline schedule changes after my tickets have been purchased?

AirTreks has a dedicated team that’s committed to advising our clients of schedule changes of more than 15 minutes from the time of booking until your trip is over, and to assist if any of your flights are delayed and may cause you to miss a connection. Our customer service team is here to help you get your trip back on track if airline changes interrupt your travel plans.

You don’t always have to accept airline changes either – sometimes there are options to rebook your flights onto a different airline or route when schedule changes occur.

Airlines often change their schedules without notice, sometimes canceling flights altogether. AirTreks is the only company to offer schedule change and cancellation notifications as a value-added service included in all bookings.

Does AirTreks book trips for groups?

Yes! We specialize in arranging complex, around the world, and multi-stop trips for large groups. If you have a group, of any size, please get in touch, we’d love to help with your flights.

If you’re already working with a Personal Travel Consultant at Airtreks, please let them know before they send a preliminary quote.

Can I get a refund if my plans change or I cancel my trip?

Whether or not you can get a refund on a ticket depends on the type of ticket purchased. While refunds are possible for some canceled tickets, not all tickets we sell are refundable, and most airlines do charge cancellation penalties. Typically refunds amount to about 30% of the cost of the ticket (each leg of your trip is refunded separately according to the airline used) and could take up to six months to receive compensation. Airlines are quick to take your money but slow to give it back.

Typically refunds amount to about 30% of the cost of the ticket (each leg of your trip is refunded separately according to the airline used) and it could take up to six months to receive compensation. Airlines are quick to take your money but slow to give it back.

Because of how air ticket refunds work, it’s highly recommended you purchase travel insurance. Even though voluntary changes aren’t usually covered, if a situation arises where you cannot travel for a covered reason (such as illness, or a family emergency), your trip cost would be covered in full by the insurance company.

Can I change my flight dates or times?

Yes, it’s possible to make changes to your flight dates and we’re happy to help!

All date and time changes are subject to fees imposed by the airline along with any difference in fare and taxes imposed. If you choose to have the AirTreks customer service department work with the airlines to make the change on your behalf, you’ll be charged an additional processing fee.

You’ll be advised of the rules to make changes to each of your tickets in writing at the time of purchase, as fees vary by airline and fare rule.

Can I change my route or destinations?

It’s certainly possible and we’re always happy to help you with your trip.  However, the process for doing this is different (and more complicated) than making simple date changes. To make this type of change, we’ll have to cancel and rebook the parts of your itinerary you’d like to change.

Your ticket must be canceled, then submitted for a refund (if it is refundable – many tickets aren’t refundable at all, and most cancellations will incur penalties at minimum), and then you’d need to buy new tickets for the new route, possibly at a higher cost.

To save you money, and time, not to mention to avoid the stress of last-minute routing changes, we highly recommend you choose your itinerary carefully and well in advance so route or destination changes aren’t necessary after you start traveling.

Of course, we realize that plans change and things happen, so don’t hesitate to contact us when you need a route change. We’re here to do whatever we can to help you use as much of the value of your original tickets as possible towards a new route.

What if something happens and I need to make changes after I get my tickets?

If you need to make changes to your tickets due to unforeseen circumstances and you have purchased travel insurance you’ve already won the battle. Any costs associated with changing, cancelling, buying emergency tickets home or trip interruption costs will be returned to you by the insurance company as long as you’re changing/cancelling for a covered reason.

If you don’t have travel insurance and need to make emergency changes (or if the reason for your changes isn’t covered by insurance) all of the expenses incurred would be your personal responsibility. That said, our customer success department is here to help. We’re experts at adjusting tickets to fit travelers’ needs and are happy to advise you on the best way to change your AirTreks tickets to get your trip back on track.

Do I have to make reservations for specific flights?

All flights on your itinerary are reserved at the time of payment. You don’t have to make separate reservations for each  segment of your trip with us.

Can I get "open" tickets?

Regardless of what you may have heard, an easy “open ticket” as you might imagine it does not exist on most major airlines but are predicated by very compromising rules, infrequent or inconvenient schedules, a lack of availability, low-priority seating and for planning can be unpredictable at best – you may have to wait days or weeks to travel if flights are fully booked.

Note: Our professional opinion from over 30 years of experience in the industry is that open tickets are almost never necessary and should be avoided whenever possible.

Any ticket that can be issued with an “open” date can be issued at the same price or less with confirmed reservations for a flight where space is actually available, with the option to change dates as many times as necessary. Having confirmed but changeable reservations offer the best of both worlds.

AirTreks does not sell open tickets, as most of our contracts require that we have a confirmed seat in order to issue tickets. Wherever you buy your tickets for your around-the-world itinerary, we strongly recommend travelers insist on having confirmed reservations for all flights before buying tickets from anyone. It’s just easier that way! And you’re much less likely to get stranded in a destination.

Why does the AirTreks TripPlanner show a price range and not one set price?

TripPlanner was created as a tool for travelers to get instant prices for complex trips. We know how important your time is, so we built it to be used without requiring you to spend a lot of time adding fixed dates or specific flights. Since final prices differ dramatically depending on flight availability and the trip elements mentioned above, TripPlanner provides a price range to cover all of the options. Nine times out of ten the final cost of your trip will fall within TripPlanner’s estimated price range. (Exceptions might be for last minute or predominantly peak season travel.)

TripPlanner’s price range is designed to be used as a guide (factor in a bit more for high season and last-minute trips) and then submitted to a Personal Travel Consultant for a more exact and personalized quote. When you get in touch with us, we often find ways to reduce your cost or add in extras (like stopovers in interesting destinations) for the same fare price, creating amazing trips for you, every time.

After you’ve discussed your options and decided on an itinerary, your Personal Travel Consultant will narrow down the range to a single price before you make your purchase.

*TripPlanner prices include all taxes and fees, and  travel insurance for US residents.

Will you tell me the exact itinerary and airlines I'll be on before I pay for my tickets?

Absolutely, and without exception.

When is the best time to start planning and purchasing my trip?

It’s never too early to start planning a trip. Most airlines begin to release their fares 330 days in advance.

We recommend booking your flights at least 4-6 months in advance.

Here’s why:

  • A good lead time gives you at an advantage over other people who wait to start shopping for tickets. There’s less competition and therefore less demand.
  • You can get the dates you want. Especially if you’re planning on traveling in a peak season (the holidays or summer months), by planning your trip far enough in advance you’ll get your pick of the most coveted dates. Waiting impedes your ability to get choice dates without paying a premium.
  • Discounted seats are usually the first ones to go so if you’re ahead of the game you’ll be able to snatch these up before the crowd does.
  • You can move on to other stages of the planning process, like arranging fun activities and comfortable accommodation.

How much does it cost for each stop?

AirTreks ticket prices are not calculated by the number of stops – different destinations can add very different amounts to the total price of the ticket.

We recommend using TripPlanner to see which destinations are adding the most expense to the total cost. TripPlanner is free to use and you can make as many adjustments as necessary to your itinerary get a price you like. You can also ask your Personal Travel Consultant directly which destinations are increasing your costs, or if they have suggestions for how to pick the most economic routing.

Do I have to start and end in the same place? Go in a certain direction? Follow certain routes? Use specific airlines? Limit my trip to a certain number of miles?

AirTreks tickets are extremely flexible. There are virtually no rules with regard to any of these questions. You can start anywhere, end anywhere, travel in any direction, backtrack, travel overland as much as you like, fly on any airline you choose or travel any number of miles without any restrictions on number of stops.

AirTreks does recommend your trip have more than three stops, however, simply because we’re able to offer the most competitive prices for itineraries with more stops.

Need more help? Chat with us here!