This is a free guest post by Bridget Sandorford.
Whether you’ve decided to spend a year or two traveling or you’ve decided to take one big, unforgettable trip, a trip around the world can be the experience of a lifetime. There are two ways that you can get from country to country as you go: You can either book your flights as you go or you can book a RTW (round-the-world) ticket before you leave, mapping out all your stops along the way.
The RTW ticket is a popular choice for many travelers, yet there are also many great reasons to book as you go. Here are a few pros and cons of buying a RTW to help you decide what is the right choice for you:
It Takes the Stress Out of Planning :
When you’re traveling, you want to spend your time enjoying your trip – not worrying about where you are going to go next and how you’re going to get there. By purchasing a RTW ticket, you ensure that your trip is already planned out before you leave. Sure you may change your dates if you decide to want to leave a location earlier or stay a little longer, but you will have a basic framework in place for your trip that will allow you to relax and enjoy yourself instead of having to worry about finding and booking tickets along the way.
Your Budget is Set :
If you wait to book your tickets as you go, you have no idea how much they will cost. You could get a deal last minute, or you could end up paying much more if fares go up. By purchasing a RTW ticket, you pay all your costs up front and your budget for your flights is set.
It Saves You Money:
Purchasing a RTW ticket will end up costing you less overall than will purchasing individual tickets, even if you book and pay for them all before you leave. The exact amount will depend upon the length of your trip and how many countries you intend to visit. However, some estimates report that you can save as much as 30 percent by booking a RTW ticket instead of booking individual flights.
It Can Grant You Entry:
Some countries that you visit require that you show proof that you have a ticket to return home before you are allowed to enter. If you are trying to travel on an open-ended itinerary and want to book your ticket from your location once you decide that you’re ready to leave, you may have no such proof to show customs, and you may not be permitted entry. Having a RTW ticket can show that you have a return trip booked (even if it’s to another location) and will make your entry at customs much easier.
There’s No Flexibility:
Once you book your RTW ticket, there are not a lot of options to change it. You can change your date and time with no penalty, but you can’t change your locations. What that means is that if you decide to stay a little longer or leave a little earlier, you will probably be able to do so. However, if you decide you want to take a quick jaunt to a nearby country because you’ve fallen in love with the region, you won’t be able to do it unless you want to pay more money.
You Miss Out on Savings from Local Bookings
When you book a RTW ticket through an alliance or you search for the flights yourself on a fare-comparison site, you are only going to get access to major airlines. You won’t be able to check flights with small, local airlines, which can often offer you lower fares. In most cases, you won’t be able to check those flights until you are in a country that these airlines serve. Therefore, you could be missing out on big savings.
They are Only Good for a Year :
A RTW ticket is only good for a year from the date of departure. That means that you are going to have to hustle to fit in all the countries that you want to visit. It also means you don’t have room in your itinerary to decide that you want to stay and explore a region a little longer. You’ll either have to move on quickly to the next place, or you’ll have to shell out the extra cash.
Ultimately, whether or not you choose to buy a RTW ticket will depend upon your goals for travel. If you have a good idea of the places you’d like to visit and don’t mind not having flexibility, the ticket can be a great option that saves you money and makes travel easy.
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary arts training. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.
If you wish to get the regular updates from solo backpacker, subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the space provided on the right side of this page. You can also follow us on Facebook as well as on twitter.