On a RTW trip your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a tour. The more isolated the location; chances are the pricier it is to reach and your airfare will jump up significantly. Your comfort level is important as well. Many travelers are content with staying in basic conditions with minimal amenities, eating simple food, and a guide that may not even speak the same language. Be sure to have a written contract stating everything included in your tour, especially if they provide food and accommodations, which is rare on RTW trips.
There is a very wide variety of operators. Many are highly advertised operators that focus on selling to university students and young people. These are the most likely groups to take a RTW trip, so the majority of RTW tickets are aimed at them. Most airline tickets will have a basic fare that allows you a handful of stops with set dates. To add stops the fare increases. If you change the date of a flight during your trip you will likely need to pay a fee.
Suggested Tour Operators
- Airtreks (http://www.airtreks.com, Tel. +1-415-977-7100)
- Search engine for piecing together RTW tickets and multi-stop round trip tickets, as well as business class and one way tickets.
- One World Alliance (http://www.oneworld.com)
- American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, LAN airlines, and six others make up this alliance of major airlines that land at 675 airports in 130 countries.
- Star Alliance (http://www.staralliance.com)
- Network of 19 airlines such as United Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and others that cover 897 airports in 160 countries. Also offers regional and continent wide air passes.
Piecing together your own Round the World trip can give you much more flexibility in planning and dates. With tours you generally must complete the RTW trip in one year, you face fees if you want to stay longer in certain places, and drastically altering your route or canceling your trip is next to impossible. Traveling on your own allows you to stay in places you like for longer. It gives you the option of being free to go where you want, whenever you want. You don’t have a set time to finish your trip. You can finish when you are ready, or more likely, when you run out of money. One downside is that if you are relying on airfare for most of the trip the price will be significantly more expensive.