Flights will be one of our major expenses. When we began planning, we looked into various world tickets. There are many options but each one behaves differently, so pay attention to details folks!
Most programs are based on distance flown. To cater to the number of countries and continents we want to visit, One World Alliance has a program called OneWorld Explorer, which is best suited for us since it does not have the mileage restriction. With One World Alliance, pricing is based on the number of continents you will pass through. In addition, there are a few major rules:
1) You have to pre-book all your flights in advance so a lot of upfront planning is required.
2) You can change your flights but it is based on availability and fees are applied.
3) You have to travel in one direction so you cannot backtrack to a continent you have already visited.
4) You cannot have more than 6 stops in the same continent which includes stopovers.
On the One World Alliance website, they have a very useful itinerary planner tool. It will show you the stopovers and help you understand the restrictions.
After reading a few travel blogs, we found that if we purchase the tickets starting in London, it will help save a significant amount of money. The grand total with One World Alliance for the OneWorld Explorer 5 continents package is around $5,500 each person (at time of research). Note: This pricing is just for major stops. We will have to purchase additional local flights within each continent.
Also, the One World mileage program allows us to earn miles within the program and by the time we finish our world tour, we may probably have enough points for a free flight.
Purchasing Flights As We Go:
Before we commit to 12 months of travel dates, we want to do some more research to see how much it would be if bought flights as we went instead of the world ticket. From using kayak.com and bing.com flight search tools, we are surprised to see the total is less than the world ticket.
Since this is only an approximate, we may end up paying more when it comes time to booking our actual tickets, but we will have greater flexibility. Also, flight costs may remain low due to the bad economy.
We will not purchase a world ticket and book only a one-way ticket to our first destination, Bangkok. We’ll see at the end if we come out better or not.