I interviewed George Moore of AirCruise World for these expert pointers for ATW tickets.
#1 basic rule: No changes to the route
The first thing to know is that, once tickets are issued, it is never possible to change the routing.
#2 Date changes are possible but usually expensive
While travel dates can be changed, this too can often result in substantial penalties simply because of availability. What was available six months ago, when the tickets were issued, is certainly not still available the day before the flight.
So, for the best experience, get out your guide books and review your itinerary and travel dates over and over (and over again) before purchasing airline tickets. Purchase the airline tickets with the thought in mind that you will not be able to make any changes once the airline tickets are issued.
#3: Continuous direction of flight helps
Going in one continuous direction will keep the price as low as possible.
#4: Northern vs Southern Hemisphere
Also, northern hemisphere itineraries are always the least expensive. For example, the US to Europe to India to Asia to the US or vice versa will always be least expensive. Adding stops in South Africa, Australia or South America in the southern hemisphere will substantially increase the cost of the itinerary. For example, here is a comparison of two of the most popular economy class itineraries with the difference being only a Sydney stop.
Los Angeles to Sydney to Bangkok to New Delhi to London to New York to Los Angeles per person tax included 2795.
Los Angeles to Bangkok to New Delhi to London to New York to Los Angeles per person tax included 1895.
#5: Not your airline of preference
Be prepared to fly on airlines you do not recognize. For example, if you want a stop in Beijing, you will most likely be on Air China. If you want a stop in New Delhi, you will most likely be on Air India. If you want a stop in Nairobi, you will most likely be on Kenya Airways.
#6: Sidetrips can be added later
Finally, remember that short flights can be booked a la carte to fit between ATW stops.
The best example is Bangkok. From Bankok, you can visit every country in South East Asia without worrying about your base around the world price. All you need to do is give yourself enough time in Bangkok for a visit to every country in South East Asia. And of course the same applies for Sydney, New Delhi and London, or wherever.
When my ATW clients booked their ATW ticket, they gave themselves a big block of time in Europe during which they wanted to journey via Eurail Pass, and take separate trips to Morocco and Egypt. But since these smaller trips were a la carte, they did not need commit to them far in advance.
This variation is called an “open jaw” ticket. It’s when you arrive into one location and depart out of another location. The clients, above, flew into Istanbul then went overland to London (during which they did the side trips above). In London, they picked up their flight itinerary again. Often, there is no additional charge to do this.
These strategies all keep your ATW ticket less complicated and less expensive, and also gives you more flexibility.
Bottom-line advice from Flight Guru George
The key for the best experience is to spend time in your guidebooks figuring out what you really want to see before purchasing the base around the world airline ticket.
This is always the key.
Do not buy an around the world airline ticket thinking that you can make changes to it at any time. No, no, no!
Have you ever dreamt of taking an Around the World trip? I can tell you – from firsthand experience – that it DOESN’T take a whole year or $100,000.
It is more do-able than you think!
I am here to show you how: (609)923-0304.