Every week, on “Round the World Wednesday” we share tips for planning, budgeting and selecting a route, plus advice on where to go and what to see and do all around the world.
One of the biggest excuses we hear about why someone can’t travel long-term is that it’s too expensive. While it’s not free, it’s also not as expensive as most people think. One thing is certain, though. The most expensive part of your trip will be your flights. Luckily there are countless articles and tools out there to help you cut costs on a big, round the world trip, including Indie, BootsnAll’s new multi-country flight finder.
For many first time round the world travelers or those who haven’t traveled much, figuring out what is a good deal and what plane tickets should cost can be confusing and stressful. So before we dive into specific routes, let’s offer some perspective on how much a typical round trip, international flight costs.
We searched several round trip fares on Kayak, one of the more popular flight booking sites in the world. Using information we learned from our Around the World Airfare Report, we searched flights from big hub cities to big hub cities as those tend to be the most affordable routes (playing around and searching different city combinations is always advisable, and with Indie, doing that is now easier than ever). We also searched all trips 6-12 weeks in advance to give us the best opportunity of finding cheap fares (all prices in US Dollars).
- New York > London, 02/19 – 02/27: $706
- Chicago > Delhi, 03/3 – 03/20: $1118
- Los Angeles > Auckland, 03/24 – 04/17: $1411
- London > Bangkok, 03/14 – 03/22: $865
- Berlin > Cape Town, 02/18 – 03/07: $864
- Johannesburg > Buenos Aires, 03/09 – 03/23: $1106
- Sydney > Miami, 03/16 – 03/29: $1461
- Auckland > Santiago, 04/17 – 04/30: $2278
If you average the one-way cost of flights on the above 7 examples, each flight comes out to $613, so now we have a reference point.
One of the coolest aspects of Indie is that you get immediate, live pricing on all trips. There is no other site in the world that allows travelers to create a trip of more than 6 legs and receive an immediate price without having to pick up the phone or send an email. This method of searching will save travelers hours of flight planning, and if you find something you like, you can purchase it right then and there.
Not only is searching for multi-stop flights on Indie practical, it’s also fun. What travel lover doesn’t like to sit in front of his or her computer and dream up different routes and possibilities? Now you can make it more real by mapping it all out and seeing how much those trips actually cost. As a company, we have been having lots of fun trying to come up with the most creative/cheapest/longest routes, and the following five trips are some that stand out.
10 Stop RTW from St. Louis
Average cost of 1 flight: $325.80
Highlights: This trip is a classic round the world trip that circumnavigates the globe, hitting up some big, bustling cities and giving travelers the opportunity to explore some of the great regions and countries of the world – Southeast Asia, China, Europe, and the United States.
Search details: I searched this trip from St. Louis because that is where I live, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this trip as affordable as it was. Living in a city that does not have an airport that serves as a hub, it’s always problematic finding good, cheap flights. When I first searched this trip, it was only 8 flights and did not have New York or Chicago on the itinerary at the end.
Indie flight tip: If flying to/from a smaller airport, you may be able to add larger, en-route cities to your itinerary for little added cost.
I was actually happy with the original price of $3246 for my 8-leg trip. But just for the fun of it and since I’d be flying right over it anyway, I added in New York on the way back, just to see how much extra it was. The price actually went down $22. I knew that so many flights to and from St. Louis go through Chicago, so I added that in as well, mainly to satisfy my curiosity. It did go back up, but only to $3258. So for $12 more than the original price, I was able to add two more stops – New York and Chicago – into my itinerary.
Explore Medieval Castles from New York
Average cost of 1 flight: $411.71
Search details: This trip was inspired by a Round the World Wednesday article about planning a trip around Medieval Castles. Since so many of the castles on this trip were in Europe, we were able to utilize a lot of overland transport, which is typically cheaper than flying.
Indie flight tip: Click on the airplane icon in between two cities to change that particular leg from a flight to an overland segment.
By playing around with different flights and overland segments, you can increase or decrease the cost of your ticket. Even if you don’t know a lot about airline geography, Indie makes it fast and easy to change parts of your itinerary around to get the best price (and if you need help, we’re right here to give you a hand!). Go ahead and try different combinations – you’ll be shocked at how much the price can change by altering one part of the trip.
RTW from London
Average cost of 1 flight: $432.80
Search details: We wanted to show the versatility of Indie, so we chose a variety of trips to highlight. This shorter trip originating from London would be great for someone who wants to take a round the world trip but doesn’t have 3, 6, 9, or 12 months to do it. Even if you only have a month, you can take a kick-ass, affordable trip and see many different countries, cities, and cultures.
Indie flight tip: Change dates around to see price differences.
When we first searched this trip, we used summer dates (a one month trip from June 5, 2013 – July 3, 2013). Since summer is high season in much of the northern hemisphere, it makes sense that prices will increase. By searching the same exact trip two months earlier (April 10, 2013 – May 8, 2013), the price went down $500. Keep in mind that hostels and attractions will be less costly and crowded during this time as well.
Round Asia from Sydney
Route: Sydney > Auckland > Bangkok > Calcutta > Kathmandu > Manila > Sydney (5.5 months in duration)
Average cost of 1 flight: $463.83
Search Details: One of my personal favorite features of Indie is the ability to quickly check different combinations of flights and get an immediate, bookable price. Like changing some flights to overland segments and playing around with dates, changing destinations can also alter the price.
Keep all options open and search all possibilities.
The original route for the above trip was Sydney > Auckland > Manila > Taipei > Bangkok > Denpasar > Sydney. The price for that flight was $3068. Though a good price, I wanted to see if I could add a few different cities in and lower the cost of the trip. Taipei and Denpasar were out in favor of Calcutta and Kathmandu, and I messed around with the order just a bit. I used the same dates, and while total travel time was very similar, the price went down $285. It took me about 3 minutes to change the itinerary around and get a new price.
Delhi to Auckland – the long way
Route: Delhi > Amman > Athens >overland> Madrid > Bogota > Mexico City > Auckland
Average cost of 1 flight: $735
Search details: One of the cons that I always see (and have written about myself) about buying a multi-stop, round the world ticket is that it’s too restrictive. “I don’t want to set my entire schedule in advance,” is what I read (and said before my own RTW) all the time.
You don’t have to buy your entire trip up front. You can buy separate legs at one time.
Some people like to have flexibility, and Indie gives you that flexibility. Let’s say you’re from New Zealand and find a great one-way deal to India to start your trip. After India, you know you’re going to the Middle East then Europe. While in India, you can mess around with Indie and check different combinations of flights, quickly moving cities around, changing dates, and getting prices. You don’t have to book your whole trip at once. With Indie, you can do it several legs at a time.
Tomorrow, stay tuned to learn why a multi-country flight shouldn’t be difficult or take you days and days to plan.