BootsnAll indie travel guide

Open-Jaw Flights

When you’re on a long-term trip, whether you’re going strictly all the way around the world or not, chances are very good you’re not flying back and forth out of and back into one airport. What kind of sense would it make, therefore, to buy a bunch of round-trip tickets in order to see all of the places you’ve got on your itinerary?

Thankfully, there are things called open-jaw flights to make your life easier.

An open-jaw flight is any route that isn’t a simple round-trip itinerary. In other words, a round-trip itinerary assumes you’re returning to the city you left from – Point A – and flying in and out of one airport – Point B. So while a round-trip itinerary looks like A to B to A, an open-jaw flight incorporates at least one more letter of the alphabet.

There are two kinds of open-jaw flights travelers get – tickets that allow them to return to a different city than the one from which they left (A to B to C), and tickets that fly out of a different city than the one they flew into in the first place (A to B, then C to A). Both kinds can be useful to RTW travelers, for different reasons.

Long-term travelers can string together a series of open-jaw flights in order to make their way around the world, combining those flights with ground transportation when applicable. Your itinerary could look like A to B to C, then D to E to F, then G to H – and so on and so forth – until you finally decide to come back to A.

Alternately, if you’re departing from one city and you have no intention of going back to that city at the end of your trip – maybe you’re taking a 4-month RTW trip before starting school or a new job in a different part of the country – then you’ll appreciate the flexibility of having open-jaw flights that not only don’t require a round-trip itinerary but also don’t require you to return at any point to your original point of departure.

With all of those stops, and with all of those flights, you might be thinking that open-jaw flights are way more expensive than round-trip tickets are. The reality is that open-jaw flights are always much cheaper than buying a bunch of round-trip tickets you’re only going to use half of, and can be about the same price as a series of one-way tickets would be. Open-jaw flights are definitely a convenient option for RTW travelers that are worth looking into for your trip.

image from Wikimedia Commons

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