An around the world trip is quite possibly one of the most important thing you will do in your life. This may seem like an exaggeration, but even the mot cynical Washington insider can bet on a life-altering experience. It’s a proven way to change your attitude, your worldview and your karma forever.
What’s also true is that a big trip costs money — sometimes lots of it. But it doesn’t have to break you. So how do you cut yourself a piece of pie in the sky without having to settle for a life without an around-the-world experience? Make it cost less, that’s how. Here are the 10 best ways to make your trip more affordable without having to let go of the dream.
Probably the hardest thing to get around when planning a long trip is high season travel. After all, you want to go when you want to go. But traveling during this time period season can raise the price of a single flight by 30% or more.
Here’s what seasonality looks like the world round:
- High season: June, July & August. Dec 15 – Jan 10.
- Low season: Jan 10 – March 31.
- Shoulder season: all the rest.
The seasonality factor is especially relevant traveling to or from high-traffic, seasonal destinations like Europe, Asia and the South Pacific.
Limit Your Number of Destinations
Sure the world is a big place but you don’t have to try and see it all at once. It’s a bad idea, in fact. There are a couple reasons why this is true: Round the world tickets are usually based on miles traveled, so it follows that the more cities you visit the more your ticket will be, especially if they happen to be across oceans. Limiting your destinations will save you buckets on the ticket, guaranteed. Not to mention allowing you more quality time to spend in the places you are going. Be aware of the misconception that you get up to 16 stops for the same price and limit your laundry list to those places you value most.
Back in August of last year we wrote a post highlighting some of the best places in the world to travel overland and why. Overland travel allows you several things: a glimpse outside a country’s flashy cosmopolitan surface, a firsthand view of its beautiful countryside (and it will be beautiful), and finally, make your trip cheaper. Take advantage of what the AirTreks ticket allows you over other types of tickets and travel overland wherever you can. It’s not as difficult, dangerous or maddening as you think.
Be willing to connect
Everyone loves the convenience of a beeline, point A to point B. But nonstop flights can be the most expensive ones just for this reason. Not every nonstop flight is a surefire trip to the poorhouse, but if you’re open to connecting in a hub city you should be able to save money on your ticket.
On that note…
Hub-city stops are cheaper
Think about only flying into an airline hub (usually the country’s capital or biggest city) since that’s where the carrier will connect to smaller cities or towns in the country. Compare prices for local ground transportation (train, bus, car rental, ferry) versus the cost to connect via plane. See overland travel option above.
Use your city connection as a destination
If you want to get the most from the money you’re spending, think about increasing the value of your trip without increasing the cost. There are several cities that offer either free or cheap options for stopping over for certain amounts of time. Here are a few options for interesting stopover points:
- Hong Kong
Ask you travel consultant for more information about this.
Unless you absolutely have to retrace your steps, try not to. While it is possible on an AirTreks ticket, this will typically increase your cost unnecessarily. Set up your route according to the fewest miles traveled and you’ll be satisfying your budget and your utter disdain for the midair mindsuck.
While yes, some of the world’s most enticing destinations are on the other side of the equator from where you are, these long flights are costly. Every travel consultant at AirTreks will tell you each time you cross the equator you add between $1000 – $1500 to your trip total. Focus on one world region and get the most out of it. In other words, minimize the number of long haul flights in your itinerary and you’ll be able to spend that extra money doing other kinds of interesting things.
Book 4 - 6 months in advance
While some airlines do give last minute fares, it doesn’t help you to wait till the last minute (or the last month) to book an AirTreks ticket. It helps your price immensely when we have early access to the cheapest available seat inventory.
Finally, if your trip cost is still out of reach…
…which of your must-see places are keeping it cost-prohibitive. Our travel consultants deal with complex multi-stop and RTW trips every day. Ask them — they’ll be able to suggest unexpected ways of assembling your itinerary so that it works for your budget.
You can also try out different routes with TripPlanner to see just which routes have the greediest fingers.
Good luck and happy planning!