An around the world plane ticket is quite possibly one of the most important things you’ll buy in your lifetime. It’s a proven way to change your attitude, worldview, and karma forever.
Here are the 10 best ways to make your trip more affordable…without having to settle for a trip that’s not quite what you wanted. You can take your dream trip and stick to a budget.
1. Check seasonality
Probably the hardest thing to avoid when planning a long trip (yet one of the factors that affects prices the most) is high season travel. After all, you wanna go when you wanna go. But traveling during busy times for a destination can raise the price of a single flight by 30% or more.
- High season: June, July & August. Dec 15 – Jan 10
- Low season: Jan 10 – March 31
- Shoulder season: all the rest
In the northern hemisphere, June through August is summer. Students are out of school, and employees are off work, and lots of them spend this time traveling. Late December through early January are high season because of Christmas and New Year’s, a time when many people across the world travel to visit friends and family. The seasonality factor is especially relevant traveling to or from high-traffic, seasonal destinations like Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.
2. Limit your number of destinations
The world’s a big place, but you don’t have to try to see it all at once. Here’s a few reasons why:
Round-the-world ticket fares are usually based on miles traveled, so it follows that the more cities you visit the more your ticket will cost, especially if they happen to cross oceans. Limiting your destinations will save you money on the ticket, not to mention giving you more quality time in the places you do go. But sometimes you can actually see more places for less via multi-city stops (by turning layovers into stopovers) so just be flexible and do your research! And if you’re wanting to upgrade to a business class flight, you can still use these other tips to maximize your value.
3. Travel overland
Overland travel allows you several things: a glimpse beyond a country’s flashy cosmopolitan surface, a firsthand view of its beautiful countryside, and a cheaper final price for your itinerary. Take advantage of what an AirTreks ticket allows you (that other types of tickets don’t) and travel overland wherever you can. It’s not as difficult, dangerous or confusing as you might think.
4. Be willing to connect
Everyone loves the convenience of a beeline point-A-to-point-B trip. But for just this reason, nonstop flights can be the most expensive ones. Not every nonstop flight is a surefire trip to the poorhouse, but if you’re open to connecting in a hub city you’ll almost always be able to save money on your ticket.
On that note…
5. Choose stops in hub-cities
Consider only flying into airline hubs (usually the country’s capital or biggest city) since that’s where the carrier will connect to smaller cities or towns in the country. Compare prices for local ground transportation (train, bus, car rental, ferry) versus the cost to connect via plane.
6. Use your city connection as a destination
If you want to get the most from the money you’re spending, think about booking a stopover. A stopover can increase the value of your trip without increasing the cost. There are several cities that offer free or cheap options for stopping over for certain amounts of time. Here are a few options for interesting stopover destinations:
- Hong Kong
7. Don’t backtrack
Unless you absolutely have to retrace your steps, don’t! While it is possible on an AirTreks ticket, this will typically increase your cost unnecessarily. For the lowest fare, you should set up your trip to route the fewest miles traveled possible. You’ll save some cash and time spent cooped up on the plane.
8. Follow the equatorial rule
While some of the world’s most enticing destinations are on the other side of the equator from home, these long flights are costly. Every travel consultant at AirTreks will tell you: every time you cross the equator, you add between $1000 – $1500 to your trip total. You’re far better off focusing on one world region and getting the most out of it. In other words, minimize the number of long-haul flights in your itinerary and you’ll be able to spend that extra money doing other fun and interesting things.
9. Book 4 – 6 months in advance
While some airlines do offer good deals on last-minute fares, it usually doesn’t help to wait till the last minute (or even the last month) to book an AirTreks ticket. Early access to the seat inventory helps us book you the cheapest ticket available.
Finally, if your trip cost is still out of reach…
10. Ask for advice
Which of your must-see places are making your trip cost prohibitive? Our travel consultants deal with complex multi-stop and RTW trips every day. Ask them which stops to get add or eliminate to lower the price — they’ll be able to suggest unexpected ways of assembling your itinerary so that it works for your budget. Some airlines offer discounts for travelers over 65 and students, and most offer discounts for children, and infants.
You can also try out different routes with TripPlanner just to see which routes will be most expensive.