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RTW tickets vs buying tickets as you go???


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Armchair Traveler
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Joined: July 27th, 2007

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  • Added on: November 27th, 2007
Hi all,
I hope you can help. I've found conflicting advice on airfare travel for a RTW trip. Many say get a RTW package (from say and yet a number of others say, just get your first flight and then pick up flights as you need them as long as you schedule is flexible so you can seek out last minute/cheaper deals. What does everyone think? At this point, I'm planning a two year trip RTW (might have to reduce it to one if the costs get to crazy). I plan to visit the following places (roughly in the order in which I'll see them) and will usually stay a month in each place (some two months like France & Italy):
Mexico (Cozumel/Cancun)
-possibly visit El Salvador if time
Costa Rica
Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
Argentina & possibly Easter Island
New Zealand
possibly Bhutan
China (Beijing & Great Wall)
Mongolia (use Trans-Mongolian railway)
Russia (use Trans-Siberian railway)
-possibly Lativa & Lithuania if time
-possibly visit Austria/Croatia/Slovenia/Romania/Slovakia
Czech Republic
Africa (Botswana or Tanzania)
-possibly Madagascar if time

That's probably too much, but it doesn't hurt to plan more and then reduce later.

thanks in advance,
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 131
Joined: July 18th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 27th, 2007
RTW tickets are only valid for 365 days, alas.
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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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  • Added on: January 19th, 2008
i'm part of the buy as you go clan. I like the idea of having more freedom.

Kathryn M

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World Citizen
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Joined: June 16th, 2005

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  • Added on: January 22nd, 2008
I'm buying as I go. However, I don't think I will have very many long flights. I'm not sure if it works out cheaper if all your flights are long-haul.


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Lost in Place
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  • Added on: January 24th, 2008
You can mix and match too - I wanted flexibility but I knew I had to get from South America to Tanzania in time for a Kili climb, so I booked that long haul (and 2 others) but I'm leaving the rest to booking along the way. I've been looking at too (mentioned on a different thread here) for discount airlines and it has been extremely helpful.

Best of luck!
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Lost in Place
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Joined: October 10th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 24th, 2008
Just have to be a little savvy.


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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Joined: October 24th, 2005

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  • Added on: January 25th, 2008
I don't think you can really plan a two year trip in advance.

You can make a wish list, but things will change. For that amount of time, the ability to adapt to conditions is a greater skill than the ability to plan.

I'm 11 months into my trip. Longest I purchased ahead was 30 days. Even then, I wish I had more time in some of the places I went.
On the road since March 2007

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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: July 11th, 2007

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  • Added on: February 11th, 2008
When I add up the prices of individual tickets vs. RTW estimates I come up about even.

This is my rough flying itinerary: home -Hongkong -PP overland Siem Reap - Hanoi - Luang Prubang - overland (thailand, Malaysia etc) Syngapore - bali - perth - sydney - queenstown overland auckland - cook island/ fiji - home

home is whereever would be cheapest in US between Boston and Philly. My question for all you seasoned rtw buyers: is there a different route that would make things cheaper? I have played around with the routes quite a bit and it looks like flights are going to cost 5k-ish either way. So booking as I go will be a no-brainer.


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Sells Travel by the Gram
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Joined: June 20th, 2005

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  • Added on: February 20th, 2008
ok i just took your exact route and minus one flight the one between hanoi and singapore airtreks on bootsnall brought up a range from 3750 to 4950...i dont think that includes tax but i think that if you got the one closer to 3750 assuming availability it could cost you less than 5000...

Also my only recommendation might be to buy the long haul flight to hong kong and back from cook islands or fiji...personally i think flying back from FIJI will be cheaper as Air pacific goes between LAX and Australia and is a codeshare for oneworld...
Josh has taken his much needed vacation and will be going on another Christmas to New Years 2011/2012. However, before he does read about his past trips


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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: July 11th, 2007

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2008
Thanks...I was thinking along those lines too - I Figure I will check with airtreks for an exact quote before I make my decision. Great to know you did a similar route and it worked out pretty well.

I originally planned on Fiji - but Cook islands grew on me b/c I will land in paradise vs. Nadi being a dump apparently and needing to travel more once in the country. So unless the expense is drastically more I am leaning in that direction.


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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Joined: October 24th, 2005

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  • Added on: August 1st, 2008
Fiji is easier to get to than the Cook Islands. Much easier.

Nadi is a dump, but only if you go into town, which you never really have to do. There are backpacker places near the airport and you will probably only have to stay in Nadi for one night if you are going up the Yasawas.
On the road since March 2007

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