I had heard about Round The World (RTW) flights from a few different sources while planning our trip and they sounded like the way to go. I initially started looking into the prices and a few things seemed to steer me away early on from purchasing them:
a) Huge Constraints – you had to continue traveling in one-direction (East or West) and had many other restrictions. I didn’t like that this would put constraints on how and when we traveled. It just wasn’t going to work with the rough plan we had, wanting to chase the nice weather and trying to avoid peak season in Europe. If you check out the map of our travels here, you’ll see that we’re all over the map and a RTW flight ticket would not have worked for us at all!
b) No Savings in Cost – I felt like I could do it myself for the same price, if not cheaper. This was more of a gut feel and some very rough flight budgeting efforts I had put in.
So with those 2 issues, we abandoned the RTW flight purchasing idea and never looked back. Until now. I wanted to know for sure if we made the right decision – cost wise. Were we able to do it cheaper ourselves?
Let’s dig into our flight numbers and compare it to a popular RTW carrier, Airtreks, and find out if we made the right decision:
Our Epic 300 Day Trip Around the World:
Here’s a simple table showing our Flight Costs:
Airtreks Comparison Quotes:
Here’s a (~90%) complete list of the flights we took with a quote:
I tried an even more simplified version with just the main big flights we took:
Lastly, here I tried to see if I could follow the one-direction rule and just list only the major stops on the way to see what it would look like. Even still, our actual crazy itinerary was likely cheaper.
What a RTW Flight Buys you:
A RTW ticket will certainly give you peace of mind knowing that your flight prices are locked in, but at a pretty hefty premium. It also puts handcuffs on you in terms of your travel flexibility.
No matter which way I tried to slice and play with the Airtreks estimator, you can see that we saved a ton of money booking our own flights (likely half the cost!). We did a mix of purchasing on-the-go, watching for flight deals and purchasing reasonably in advance. Thankfully I listened to my gut and not to what other people were telling me and what I read online.