FAQ–Around the World Ticket Flexibility

I spend a lot of my time answering travelers’ questions, so I thought that I would post some of the more frequently asked questions on our blog.  The number one question that we get asked has to do with ticket flexibility and open tickets for Around the World travel.

Here are a few of the questions we received about ticket flexibility:

  • just wondering what the length between my flights can be.
  • hi. can you change dates after you start without penalty?  thanks
  • The destinations will be concrete but can dates of travel be flexible?
  • How long can I stay at each destination?
  • Can you stay as long as you want in each place?
  • Do I have to use the RTW ticket within a certain time period?
  • Can I travel on an open ticket?
  • Do I need to include my dates on my ticket?

Ticket Flexibility:

When we talk about ticket flexibility, we are talking about changing the date(s) on the ticket, not the routing or the name of the traveler.  (Neither of which can be changed on a ticket.  In the case of a routing or name change, the traveler would need to refund the original ticket and purchase a new one for the different routing / name.)

So, at AirTreks, we customize every itinerary to suit our travelers’ specific needs.  The traveler is in charge of how long they want to stay in each place, how much flexibility they require on tickets and exactly how nailed down they want everything to be.

Using AirTreks Tripplanner pricing tool, we don’t even ask you for your specific travel dates, because we want to construct your routing on the best flights for your itinerary, not just the flights that happen to operate on the day you picked.

Flexibility Versus Price

Our packages are made up from a series of one-way tickets, each with its own rules and restrictions.  Some tickets are free to change.  Some carry a penalty to change.  And some (very few) are completely non-changeable.  (As a general rule, the first flight out of the US has a large penalty to change or is unchangeable.)  Many times airlines will offer fares at different price points based on the flexibility of the ticket.  The more flexible it is (ease of change), the more expensive the ticket.  We try to balance the price with the traveler’s need for flexibility.

A traveler should alert their Travel Counselor as to which legs of the trip require the date flexibility and which legs you may not.  (No need to pay extra for flexibility when you don’t need it.)

Open Ticket:  There is a kind of ticket called an “Open Ticket”, in which there are no dates designated.  The ticket allows a traveler on any flight between the destinations listed on the ticket with no specific flight reservation and no guarantee of being able to travel.   The traveler has one year to use the open ticket.  The cost of an open ticket is far greater than a ticket for a specific flight.  (I will go into more detail about the “Mythical Open RTW ticket” that exists only in the fevered minds of uninformed travelers in a future posting.)

Length of Stay

We often get questions from travelers asking us how long they can travel.  Since we customize trips to suit our travelers’ needs, the answer is easy, they can travel as long as they would like.

A couple of important points things to keep in mind:

  1. The length of stay that is allowed by the government of the country the traveler is visiting.
  2. Many countries require a traveler to be in possession of an “onward ticket” (a ticket departing the country you are entering) when they arrive, to offer proof that the traveler will not be staying.

Airline Reservation and Ticket Restrictions:

Regardless of where an airline flight ticket is purchased, these rules will apply:

  1. The airlines do not allow anyone to purchase, reserve, or sell seats their flights more than eleven months in the future.  (Or to put it a different way, airline reservations can only be made from today to 11 months from today.)
  2. There is no airline ticket that is valid for more than one year.

How to Travel for More Than One Year:

With the airline restriction above, how does a traveler stay on the road for more than a year and how can AirTreks help them?
If someone proposed to travel for more than a year, we would make arrangements to ticket the portion of their travel that they would comfortably complete within one year.  We would find a reasonable spot to “break” their fare and then offer them an estimate on the portion of their trip that they cannot yet purchase.  While on the road, the travelers could either buy the remainder of tickets from AirTreks or purchase them locally, themselves.

If you want flexibility on your tickets, it’s best that you speak to someone about the rules of your ticket(s) and your ability to change them.  AirTreks has personal travel counselors available to help you create the trip of a lifetime.  To price your trip click here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at travel@airtreks.com or give us a call 1-877-247-8735.

We’re here to help.