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How Do I Book a Round-the-World Trip?

SmarterTravel

Dear Editor,

How do I book a round-the-world trip?

L.D.

Dear Reader,

While going on a round-the-world (RTW) trip is exciting, actually booking the flights can be a daunting task.

Even if you’re an independent traveler who always books his or her own flights online, you may want to enlist the help of an RTW expert travel agent before booking. There are a number of flight options, too many to detail in this article, so your life will be made easier by having an expert dedicated to answering your specific questions.

BootsnAll, a website that dubs itself the “ultimate website for the independent traveler,” has an extensive RTW guide, including everything from planning tips to advice for returning home afterwards. It also has post-trip interviews with RTW travelers and blogs written by travelers currently on a trip. You can also find planning information on U.K.-based websites The Travellers Lounge and gapyear.com.

You have a variety of options for booking your RTW flights. While it’s always great to have options, the vast array of flights, airlines, and cities may be intimidating. Airtreks, a partner of BootsnAll, is a good resource for pricing different flight options. The website allows users to create customized RTW itineraries using its TripPlanner feature. You can experiment with cities in different orders, and the TripPlanner will suggest less-expensive options where necessary. Once you submit an itinerary you’re satisfied with, an Airtreks representative will contact you to assist with booking.

Airline alliances also offer RTW tickets. SkyTeam, oneworld, and Star Alliance all offer RTW and single-continent itineraries. Air New Zealand has introduced a new RTW fare that includes flights from Los Angeles to Auckland, Hong Kong, and London.

Restrictions for RTW fares differ depending on which airlines you fly and where you book. The fares from an airline alliance may be more restrictive than those from Airtreks or another non-airline outfitter. For example, each alliance requires travelers to fly in a continuous direction, crossing each ocean only once. But not all fares from independent providers have such rigid restrictions.

Before booking an RTW trip, it’s worth doing your homework. Compare RTW itineraries and prices before you settle on one. You may also want to contact a travel agent.

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