The 'round the world ticketing dilemma.
Chicago Travel Blog› entry 2 of 251 › view all entries
February 5th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Tim Leffel has posted several very helpful articles on the transitionsabroad.com website. He has done the 'round the world thing several times and seems to have it completely deciphered, if that's possible. He writes that the buy-as-you-go option can be considerably cheaper, and offers "unparalleled flexibility..." something important to me since I seem to change my mind every 15 minutes or so.
But in his book, The Practical Nomad, Edward Hasbrouck holds the opposite view. According to Edward you are a bloody idiot and damned to hell if you try to piece together your own fare on the internet. (Did I mention Edward is a travel agent by trade?) I diligently read approximately 7,000 pages of his section on air transportation, but refused to be bullied into a RTW ticket without further proof of its superiority.
The Rough Guide's First Time Around the World (my favorite book on the subject of RTW travel) presents the pros and cons of each in a rather happy-go-lucky manner, implying that either way, you are a winner.
To get an accurate comparison on price, I went to the airtreks.com website and used their nifty travel planner to send them my itinerary. Within 24 hours I had an estimate. I fiddled around a bit, changed a few things yet again, and spoke to the sales rep, Deborah, to get the final price: $12,600 per person (based on business class). I then plugged the same route into Kayak.com, doing multi-city stops and long layovers (doing this allowed me to add two previously unplanned destinations to my trip for no extra charge: Seoul and Kuala Lumpur). By buying the best fare on each route, the price came to just over $10,000 per person.
Hmmm, flexibility and a better price? I will pay (and plan) as we go. At least one thing's settled!
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