WEBSITES THAT CATER TO STUDENTS and Sometimes Teachers. Both require proof of attendance.
If you are a full-time student, teacher or under 26 (in some cases 30), you may not realize it but you are already getting a great deal as these tickets are heavily discounted. Not only is the price reduced, but so are restrictions on tickets. At age 25 and 11 months you could fly London – Mexico City – OVERLAND – Panama – London with American Airlines off-season for £425 with a $25 date change charge.
At age 26 the same ticket would cost £550 with a date change four times inflated. STA and other agencies specialize in these discounted fares. Under 26 is also the magic age for many discounted rail (particularly European) and flight passes. For those lucky enough to be under 26 what better reason is there to travel before you are no longer!
Charter flights are almost always return, returning normally 7 or 14 days after arrival and always from the same place. Charter flights generally fly from destinations in Europe to other European destinations. Long haul charter destinations are: Kenya, Cancún, The Gambia (good value and unusually on offer one-way), Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Thailand (Islands), Sri Lanka, Goa, the Caribbean (sometimes Cuba) and sometimes Brazil, UAE and Canada.
These are useful to look into especially if you want a cheap short independent break, although prices are never that wonderful unless you are leaving at very short notice (cheap last minute fights to Goa or Cancun are particularly famous) and in low season. If travelling from the UK, take a look at www.charterflights.co.uk for some ideas about prices and destinations. If you are looking to head to West Africa, charter flights will probably be one of your cheapest options. See the excellent www.point-afrique.com for schedules (all flights fly in and out of Paris to Francophone West African nations; site en Français).
ROURND THE WORLD TRIPS
Whether these are great or not remains the mother of all questions for RTW travellers, and the subject of much vitriol on many of the travel forums. People seem vehemently for or against a round-the-world ticket, with little room in between. I’m a big proponent of not buying a round-the-world ticket, mostly because some of the places I loved the most – and spent the most time in – weren’t even on my initial itinerary. A person you meet who tells you it’s somewhere you cannot miss, some article that catches your eye along the way; many reasons why you want the freedom and flexibility to do as you please, as you go. It could be more important to have the flexibility and freedom of being able to change your plans on a whim, than it was to calculate the aggregate savings of a RTW ticket. A RTW ticket would have run me less in terms of bare costs, but think of the fun you’ve had in being wholly spontaneous was a fair opportunity cost for those savings.
Many travellers set off on a round the world trip (RTW) with just that ticket. What round the world really means is Australia/Europe (depending on where you start) and back with stop-offs (in North or South America) and if you break this mould, you pay for it.
Worth knowing and little known is that some RTW tickets don’t require you to book all flights before departing and can offer extra flexibility to book as you go (although this can get more expensive).
All of the above RTW options are valid for one year and date changes are free or with a small charge. Changing destinations en route (if possible) will incur a larger charge – if you do this with Oneworld it can actually extend your ticket from that point (but that policy seems to vary office to office). All of these tickets are excellent value for money if you utilize them properly.
• Date changes are normally free or pretty cheap.
• Many feel secure in planning a grand route and knowing a schedule in advance. This structure can help and you can make changes.
• They normally work out cheaper and from London are bargains especially if on a simple Oz and back route in the low season.
• In most cases you are limited to 12 months to complete your travels.
• You are going to have to plan your route and lock yourself into it before you go. Route changes on the road will cost you.
• Best to have Australia as a focus (or departure point) of your trip.
• You will need to take some one-way local flights anyway and often back track for your next leg. No round-the-world ticket will cover budget airlines like Air Asia, Ryan Air or Southwest Airlines – which will be cheaper for smaller regional jumps.
• Limited to major hubs, you will have to take internal flights to get to the likes of Nepal, Vietnam (without back-tracking) and notably across the Darien Gap (South to Central America).
1. Star Alliance – Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, EgyptAir, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United, US Airways. RTW ticket is based on mileage (and not “stops”). Overland mileage between destinations counts toward your total.
They offer a round the world ticket and Circle Pacific ticket. Other recent members South African and Ethiopian really open Africa to round the worlders. TAM (Brazilian) jumped to One World in 2014 and LAN Chile is oneworld so not the best option for getting to South America.
2. One World – Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qatar Airways, JAL, Iberia, Lan and Qantas, offering either of a Global explorer or a Oneworld explorer, depending on the amount of continents and stops you want to include in your trip. Good for South America due to the inclusion of LAN in the OneWorld alliance.
This is often the ticket to get for a trip including South America, since LAN Chile and TAM (Brazilian) are members it has an excellent South American network and can get you to Easter Island as a stop off. The Explorer ticket is often the best value ticket on the market and is based upon the number of continents (continents defined by the airline, not in strict geographical terms) you choose to visit or pass through.
3. SkyTeam Alliance – Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern Airlines, Continental Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Northwest Airlines, Air Europa, Copa Airlines, Kenya Airways.
They offer various plans based on maximum miles/km with a limited (3-15) stops. They also offer Go packages for various continents (Africa, Europe, Asia) and large countries (USA/Canada, Mexico, Russia, China) so if you want to greatly extend your ticket to get around a region you can.
4. Airtreks RTW ticket options is another option. Used them for the a series of long-hauls or a set of open-jaw tickets when you know you have to be somewhere specific.
5. The Great Escapade (Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic). The Great Escapade is mileage based (29,000 miles, one Atlantic crossing, one Pacific crossing allowed) with unlimited stopovers (except in New Zealand).
South America is not included and South Africa is the only African stop. But if that’s not a problem for you and you want a basic ticketing.
• BootnAll’s travel planner is further option for planning round-the-world travel. A new offering from Bootsnall, you can use them to add custom build and price itineraries for your long and short-haul ticket strings.
• Nomadic Matt’s Travel Hacking Guide (primarily US-focused) on mileage and airfare.
• For the Canadians, Steven’s Travel Hacking for Canadians.
• Airtreks has a sample timeline for potential round-the-world travellers here.
Away from Round the Word (RTW) travel and tickets:
Remember not all trips have to be RTW or extended duration trips. Few have the luxury of time for this kind of travel. Regional or bi-regional trips for a few months are much more practical, cheaper and just as good (if not better). It’s the feelings of more than a few, that a year is too long to travel for unless working en route, and that a few weeks or one, two, three four month individual trips are more profitable and practical. Whatever you have time and resource for. Better to walk around a room than remain seated – no matter how far/long you go.