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Round the World Ticket vs. One location at a time?

Considering traveling for a year and was curious if anyone had thoughts/past experiences with a Round The World ticket?

Can't decide if my boyfriend and I should purchase RTW tickets, or fly to one place at a time and "wing it" in a sense. I'm wondering which one might be cheaper. I also have some reservations about purchasing a RTW ticket because it seems like if we wanted to stay somewhere for longer and possibly work, it could prohibit us from doing so.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! Thanks!

9 Answers

top answer by

I have taken a round the world ticket by purchasing only one way tickets.

This is very doable and cheap for most of the journey, but be aware that crossing the Pacific Ocean can be very expensive.

I ended up finding a ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles for around 500 dollars, one way. 

When you are in Asia you can fly around the continent cheaply with airlines like 

In Europe you have budget airlines like 

In the middle east you have 

In Brazil you have 

When crossing the Atlantic the best airlines for cheap one way tend to be and 

Hope this helps and have a nice trip.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pacific Ocean (water)
  2. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  3. Los Angeles (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Will from On The Road

If you’re thinking about a year on the road but haven’t yet spent even a month away, you’ll be able to better gauge your readiness for any big plans if you consider (and then carry out) some smaller scale trips beforehand. This may seem unnecessary, or perhaps even silly, but I assure you the approach will offer an important lesson – one I wound up learning the hard way – about personal limits. For my first world trip I financially committed myself to being a year on the road without ever having traveled for more than a month or two at a time; consequently I discovered that, for the type of person I am, being in perpetual motion for so long without a break caused my enjoyment of the experiences I was having to be seriously diminished. The biggest trip of my life (at that time) was therefore filled with disappointments.

For this reason, I strongly propose you move forward along your travel path by firstly exploring shorter term options that will push the boundaries of your comfort zones in ways you feel might be comparable to experiences you’d like to have internationally over a longer term period. I hope that helps!

3 thanks

answered by
Carolann from Around The World

We don't have any experience with a RTW ticket but what we've learned during our travels is that our plans inevitably change and having the ability to book as we go, (depending on our destinations we sometimes try and find cheap flights we can cancel if needed), affords us the freedom we want while travelling.

We've always got some sort of a plan - especially since most countries require you to have an exit ticket upon arrival (some ask, some don't) but i'd say 90% of the time we book that next flight a day or short time before leaving for that country - we didn't book our flight out of Japan until the night before we left when we found a great deal. 

We also like to choose our next destination on whims - what's the cheapest flight out? That's where we're going!! Or we find 

Since we've been on the road, we've a. changed the length of time we've stayed in certain areas of a country because you meet people, learn about a country and what to see and find your own path as you go b. Skipped a flight out of Thailand altogether (and booked a train out before our visa expired) because we found a workshop on an island we wanted to go to and it ended up being a great decisions c. skipped a transfer flight to Vietnam and remained in Taipei, our layover city, instead which also ended up being a fantastic decision that opened up so many other opportunities for us -

Some of the best things during travel happen spontaneously - you meet people, find out more about what a country has to offer, learn about events, sights, festivals, etc in the country you are in or another country nearby that you may want to attend and change your direction - and having the flexibility to go where you want is an amazing thing.

2 thanks

answered by
Keith from Bowness-on-Windermere

Depends on whether you want to really travel, or just 'go places'. I'd suggest to take it one step at a time. If you like a place, you can stay as long as you wish (or your visa will permit); if you don't, you can move on somewhere else ... you can decide as you go. 

2 thanks

answered by

RTW tickets are very seductive and it's part of the experience to get the feeling they sell. It's actually super flex and easy for free reschedules, if you want to stay longer, or even for change routes (but for that a changing fee apply). Star Alliance is probably the best one and if you also dont forget to sign up for a Mileage Plus # at United Airlines, first carrier you should fly and the best mileage program out there (not only my opinion but awarded), the trip will earn you miles and frequent status that can help you for the rest of your life if travel will be frequent part of it.

However, as I said this all sound seductive but especially if you're going for a once in a lifetime journey and so need to spend your limited budget best way possible, RTWs are for sure overpriced and therefore bad choice. If you follow what Claus said you will spend a lot less money, saving for real experiences. Low cost airlines are usually locals and not part of those global alliances, you only need to google where you're head at to find them.

However again, in most countries tourists ought to already have a return/get away ticket when they cross in/land, and in practice its not uncommom to be required to present one as soon as you check in. Picking his example, Air Asia can't check you in to Indonesia with a one way tkt if you fail to show your way out. Not to mention flight cancels and non refunds with low costs. So if you can afford a RTW tkt, its definitely safer and more confortable. But you don't really need it if you pay attention and play smart.    

2 thanks

answered by

I would recommend a One Way Ticket if you maybe want to stay longer in places or work as you have to determine certain dates for your ticket. While buying one way tickets you can make use of offers and can decide more spontaneously where to go. Otherwise if you want to travel around the "whole" world (saying to South America, America, Europe, Asia and Australia for example) a RTW Ticket would be cheaper but the spontaneity is lost. Have a look here, to find some pros and cons to consider:

1 thanks

answered by
Daisy from California

We've traveled extensively on backpacker budgets for 40 years.  What we've seen is that people who book a RTW ticket often do not get off the beaten path and often stay in the large cities.  Their whole vision of the world is different than ours when we leave the city for more remote locales.  We recommend getting  Lonely Planet guides (or something similar).  As soon as you stay in one of their listed sites you will find other long term travelers who will recommend the routes to take, where to stay and what to see.

1 thanks

answered by
jack from California

I must say claus is right because i think crossing the pacific ocean can be expensive. Moreover, it will depend on you where you want to go?  But I must say which place would be you decide to explore must take some information about it for your help

answered by
Jon from Kalispell

RTW tix apparently can be bought cheapest from London.  ( I once saw an advertisement for about $1100!  4 stops I think lots of restrictions.)  Nevertheless this could give you a better idea of what is a rock bottom price.

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