RTW Airfare’s Sweet Spot: Time vs. Money

Searching, pricing, and booking complex multi-stop international flights has historically been the most time consuming and frustrating part of planning a round the world trip. Whether you take the travel agent route or try to do it all online or somewhere in between, there’s a lot of back and forth and waiting and tweaking and waiting some more.

What if I told you that you could do it all in less than 30 minutes?

From the initial search to booking, assuming you know the route you want to take before you start, you can search, tweak, change, and find the perfect trip for your situation in under a half hour.

Let’s look at two separate examples:

Saving time and money

First test was a 7 month, 16-stop trip (9 flights, 7 overland segments) originating in the US. I am always saving for my next trip and while I budget carefully and usually feel comfortable with it, I’m always happy to save a few bucks.

Here is the 1st route I searched:

I searched this route on Indie, entering all destinations and dates and getting an immediate, bookable price with the click of my mouse.

  • The initial price was $5130, all taxes and fees included (you can get an immediate, bookable price on your trip by registering for a free account).
  • The total travel time for this trip (9 flights) was 125 hours, 35 minutes.

RTW from New York - Original Search

“A fair price,” I thought, but I’m always looking for ways to lower it. I also wants to look at travel times and see if I can change any of these flights – 125 hours is a long time to be in the air!

Using Indie, I can look at each individual leg of this trip, make my dates flexible by searching the 3 days before and after it, then sort by things like price, number of stops, travel time, airline, and departure and arrival times. I can change any of the selected flights to fit my needs.

RTW from New York - Custom

 

After spending 15 minutes optimizing all 9 legs, I was able to lower the price to $4774, a $356 savings! While the extra $300 will go a long way in places like India and Thailand, the time I saved is even more important to me as I have a young child. Less time in airports and in the air works!

The travel time in my initial search was 125 hours:35 minutes. Once I went through each leg to optimize my route, I was able to knock that travel time down to 73 hourS, 7 minutes, saving over 2 entire days of travel (52 hours)!

 

RTW from New York - Custom Route

Who likes layovers anyway?

Stops suck for me. Just the act of exiting a plane annoys me, with those people who unbuckle, jump up, grab their bag, and crowd the rest of us as if they are going to be able to go anywhere. Then once you get into the airport you’re subjected to crappy, overpriced food and drinks.

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I like to minimize my layovers as much as possible. So when searching for a multi-stop trip, I wanted to find a way to travel on all nonstop flights, as long as it was affordable (meaning I was willing to pay a bit extra, but I certainly didn’t want to add 25-50% to my price.

Another test route
The second route I was looking at originated in Sydney and was a 5-month, 8-stop RTW trip.

 

Here are the initial details after my first search for this route on Indie:

  • The initial price was $3330USD, all taxes and fees included.
  • The total travel time for all 8 flights was 82 hours, 40 minutes. Out of the 8 flights, 4 were nonstop.

RTW from Sydney - Original Search

 

I felt like $3330 was a fair price for an 8-flight itinerary that took me clear around the world. Average price of flights came out to $416/flight – not bad considering nearly every flight was international and there are a few long-haul ones in there.

One thing I wasn’t fond of; however, was the travel time and number of layovers. When I used the flexible dates feature and the flight picker, my goal was to get as many nonstop flights as I could without significantly increasing the cost of the trip.

This took a bit more time than the first example, as I spent a half hour tinkering with the options. But in the end, I was able to obtain nonstop flights for all 8 legs of the trip and cut out 30 hours of travel time!

RTW from Sydney - Custom Route

 

The cost did increase from $3330 to $3617, a $287 (or 8%) increase in the total cost. Cutting out an entire day of plane travel, and not having any layovers, was worth a few hundred bucks in cost to me.

What did I learn?

The first route was the very first time I played around with Indie’s flexible dates feature and flight picker, and I’m not going to lie – I was surprised that the price and travel time was able to drop that much. The tech team communicates with me about these changes since we launched in January, but I didn’t realize how quick and easy it was.

Obviously all routes are going to be different (as you saw by the second example) – some you won’t be able to save money, some you’ll be able to save hundreds, and in some cases, $1000+.

But the real value comes with the flexibility and possibility to cater to my specific needs. Some people have a more flexible budget and want to minimize the number of layovers and travel time when flying. Some want to fly business class or only with a certain airline. Some only want the cheapest price. All are possible when using the flexible dates feature and flight picker (note: these features only work on trips with 5 legs or more).

Try it out! Register for a free account, and you can build, save, price, tweak, and book as many routes as you want.

If you used our new features, I’d love your opinion below. We are not aware of any other place on the web or in the world that this can be done besides Indie. 

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Leave a Comment

  • Lisa Scrimmager said at 2014-03-20T12:33:46+0000: Does the "edit" option that allows you to compare the prices on different days for each leg of the flight always appear? It does not appear on my search.
  • iputmylifeonashelf.com said at 2013-08-14T13:00:24+0000: I spent sooooooooooo much time pricing flights and trains. I do it from my job so in theory I am getting paid to do this hard work! It is so worth it. Every penny I save is a penny towards my next trip.
  • Colleen Friesen said at 2013-08-21T17:06:32+0000: Looks like a great way to search for flights.
  • Wynne Gavin said at 2013-08-13T23:13:58+0000: I wish there was a tool like this for train travel through Europe. I spend DAYS trying to price out times/routes to determine whether to get a rail pass or go point-to-point. It was painfully tedious and if I never see another train website again it'll be too soon! Unfortunately, I haven't even left yet, so there will be lots of pain ahead. Sigh.
  • Tony Chan said at 2013-08-14T04:36:00+0000: $3000 is an awesome price for RTW flights. When I put in my RTW route into Indie, the price came to $15,460 for 9 flights.