UPDATED September 13, 2016
Seasonality, and Destination Order are just two of the factors that affect your overall around the world ticket price. Flexibility is your friend when you're looking for lower fares, but it's also important to embrace spending a little more when necessary to build the right trip for you.
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Seasonality is a huge factor in around the world ticket price structure. Here’s a general seasonality guide to get you oriented:
|Early Year||Late Year|
|High Season||June – August||December 10 – January 10|
|Shoulder Season||April – May||September – October|
|Low Season||January – March||November – early December|
* Note: these dates aren’t hard and fast. Different airlines and countries have their own variations on seasonality dates.
The reason a round-the-world ticket price changes over seasonal dates is logical: more people have time off to travel and visit friends and family during these months of the year and airlines make the most of it.
If this is when you’ve got time to make your RTW trip, expect pricing to be higher. We recommend booking about six months in advance if you’ll be traveling during peak season so you can take advantage of the lowest fares and best selection of seats and upgrades. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, work around seasonality to keep your costs lower.
Where you want to go and when will most certainly affect the cost of your tickets. When putting your trip together, consider the places you’re trying to hit and how close together geographically (or far apart) they are.
We recommend starting by brainstorming everything you’d love to do, then take a step back and look at that list, along with an atlas. Think about how much time you have to travel and how important your time in each of the places is to you. Use a ranking system to put your destinations in order of importance.
When thinking about this in terms of your RTW ticket budget, consider that some destinations can be more expensive (with regards to flights and daily spending) than others. You may have to balance the places you really want to see with how much money you have to spend to get to them.
Is seeing the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow worth $1000 more in total fare costs? The cost of including some stops may make you rethink your route.
Generally speaking, the more flexible you are the less money you’ll be paying for your tickets (depending on where you’re going). If you have specific dates and airlines, or a very specific or non-linear route, it limits the choices of fares your agent can use to assemble your trip.
If you’re more flexible with your stops, travel dates, and airlines, your agent will be able to shift your itinerary to the least expensive, most direct route, dates and airlines and possibly include a cool stopover or two along the way.
Conversely, when you’re on the road it will be more expensive to maintain your flexibility. While many tickets are date-changeable, generally speaking, it costs money every time you want to change your travel dates.
The general rule of flexibility: The more flexible you are before you buy the tickets the less money you’ll spend overall, the more flexible you want to be after you buy the tickets the more money you’ll spend overall.
Most of the time, the least expensive route is the shortest way around the earth geographically. But not always. Sometimes it’s a matter of availability, and sometimes of airline routing and schedules.
When constructing your route, be sure to tell your Personal Travel Consultant where you want to visit, not what you think may be the cheapest way to do it. If you live in Las Vegas and are planning on going to Vietnam, tell us that.
While a flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok may be cheaper than flights from Las Vegas to Hanoi, you will still have the expenses of getting to and from the major gateways.
Don’t forget, traveling overland can bring down your overall around the world ticket price dramatically.
Again flexibility is key. If there’s a specific airline that you simply must fly on (to accrue miles or just because you prefer it) it may force you into a more expensive ticket. That airline also may not be available on the dates you want, may not have the best schedule to line up with other flights or simply may not be the cheapest on that particular route.
Sure, flying to Singapore may give you the opportunity to fly on Singapore Airlines, but that’s not usually the cheapest way to get there.
If you’re looking to fly on an airline because of a frequent flier program, it may be worth spending a couple extra hundred dollars to you to get the miles, but then again, maybe it won’t.
Be sure to advise your travel consultant if you have airline requests and we’ll let you know of any differences in price and itinerary for your RTW route using your airline of choice.
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Photo Credits: Marcelo Rodriguez