This post brought to you by Emirates Airlines.
Creating a round the world trip itinerary can be frustrating, challenging and exhausting. But it doesn’t need to be. Follow some simple rules, and you can be jetting off to your dream destinations while earning yourself rewards that you can use to treat yourself to flight upgrades, future holidays or indulgent experiences.
Step one: Where, when and how much
First of all, sit down with a map of the world and list all of the places you’d like to visit. Whether your ultimate RTW trip includes taking a luxurious Emirates flight to India to see the Taj Mahal, jetting off to Sydney to watch a live performance in the Opera House or touching down in Mauritius to dive the coral reefs, you need to create your own list of places and experiences to include on your bespoke journey.
It’s not possible to see and do everything on a round the world trip; nobody has an infinite amount of time or money to spend, and some places don’t naturally connect. It’s worth remembering that less is more when it comes to travel; to get a real feel for a place you need to allow yourself time to submerge in the local culture. Also, travel is exhausting, so you need to build in time to chill out before you burn out on a long trip.
Think about how much time you have free to go traveling, and let this feed into your budget planning. How much money you need to allow yourself per day varies from person to person – some people are happy with a bed in a hostel dorm, others prefer more comfort. When planning your itinerary, think about the cost of living in each country – can you afford to spend time in expensive areas like Western Europe or the US, or would cheaper destinations like Southeast Asia allow you to travel for longer. It’s a balancing act to make your budget stretch as far as possible, while making sure you don’t skimp on your adventure.
Step two: Register for air miles
Register with Emirates Skywards, the award winning frequent flyer programme of Emirates Airline, before you make your booking. This will give you access to exclusive benefits designed to allow you to get more from your travel. As a member, you’ll earn rewards when you fly with Emirates and global partner airlines as well as banks, hotels, car hire and other companies. Your Skywards Miles can be used to purchase rewards, and Tier Miles can be collected to allow you to move up the membership tiers (blue, silver, gold or platinum).
By registering in advance of booking your flight, you can login on the Emirates website to make sure you’re getting the maximum rewards from your booking.
Step three: Understand the benefit of different flight types on the Emirates website
Skywards Saver Fares are cheaper and have certain eligibility restrictions (such as minimum/maximum stay or limited periods in which you can purchase the ticket). You can increase your collection of miles by booking a Skywards Flex Fare. These cost more but aren’t so restrictive, and when you’ve built up your miles, you can upgrade Flex tickets for fewer Skywards Miles. Flex tickets also allow you to earn Bonus Miles and Tier Miles, and the dates can be changed for a small fee, making them useful for fluid travel plans typical of RTW trips.
Being flexible on your travel dates, which is something all RTW travelers want, the Miles Accelerator allows you to search for flights with Bonus Miles from a wide selection. These can be checked up to 11 months in advance, so even if you are at the beginning stages of your planning, you can start searching now.
Step four: Plan your route
Emirates fly to over 130 destinations, with partner airlines opening up your travel options to over 300 other cities. Whether you’re looking for a traditional RTW route, or you want a long haul flight with a stopover or two, the website can build your personal itinerary.
Have a look at the route map on the website and play around with the ‘multiple destination’ planner, where you can add each leg of your journey to the list. Booking your entire journey through one airline – rather than booking lots of individual legs with separate carriers – gives you the benefit of one point of contact for customer service and it gives you a guarantee (according to your fare rules) that one delayed flight, or a flight missed through no fault of your own, won’t derail your entire journey. It also means, in most cases, your luggage will travel through to your end destination without you having to collect it and check it back in (although there are some exceptions to this, so do make sure).
When you’ve built up your list of flights and clicked through to the next phase you’ll be presented with a list of options for each flight. The list highlights the times, dates and duration of the flight, the carrier (if it’s a partner airline) and the type of aircraft. The results also show you what class is available and whether there are any Skywards Bonus Miles available which might make a particular flight more attractive. You just select which flight most suits your journey and the website collects your itinerary together and presents this as a summary at the end.
As you build your itinerary, if you have any questions you can call your local Emirates office to speak to a real person. It can be a relief to know there’s a person waiting at the end of the phone after staring at a computer for a while.
When you’re happy with your RTW itinerary, make the booking! You can then manage your account online, including checking in online for certain flights and upgrading using your Skywards Miles.
Step five: Boost your air miles
When you’ve made your booking, make sure you maximize your Skywards Miles by checking out other places you can collect them. You can earn miles from car hire, hotels and attractions, so it’s easy to earn on things you’ll be paying for anyway. The companies signed up to the scheme are based around Emirates flight destinations, so there’s a good chance they’re relevant to your trip. Keep your sights on your next flight upgrade!
Don’t forget to use your miles within three years before they expire. You can top them up by buying miles on a special offer rate to use a reward if you don’t quite have enough.
Step six: Have fun!
Enjoy your trip of a lifetime, safe in the knowledge that you’re flying with the winner of the 2013 ‘World’s Best Airline Award’.