How to Travel Around the World

Traveling around the world at once is often a cheaper option than breaking it down into segments. The secret is to plan carefully and purchase the ticket well in advance. The cost is more than made up for by the amazing experience of seeing many places in a short period of time and the memories you’ll have for a lifetime. Here are some tips for how to travel around the world.

Price your trip as an “Around-the-World” ticket. This will be much cheaper than booking a dozen one-way flights.[1] The two largest airline alliances are Star Alliance and Oneworld. The Star Alliance is the bigger alliance.

  • Star Alliance is based on how many miles you travel and they offer passes in 29,000, 34,000 or 39,000 miles increments.[2] To put that in context, 29,000 miles (47,000 km) you will roughly get 3 continents (outside of the United States), 34,000 miles (55,000 km) will get you 4 continents and 39,000 will get you 5 or 6 continents. The more miles you do, the more destinations you can see and vice versa. Each pass allows up to 15 stopovers (a stopover is considered 24 hours in one destination) and you can get the ticket in first, business, or economy class. Star Alliance also requires passengers to start and end in the same country, though not necessarily in the same city. (There are also passes which are limited to geographic regions in the world.)[3]
  • Oneworld offers two different pass options: one that is segment based and the other that is mileage based. Global Explorer is Oneworld’s more conventional, mileage-based ticket. There are three levels – 26,000, 29,000 and 39,000 miles in economy class, as well as a 34,000 in business and first class. [4] Just like the Star Alliance mileage-based RTWs, all miles are counted, including overland segments. [3]
    • Air travel is generally the most expensive way to travel. Use flight comparison websites like Travelsupermarket, Skyscanner and Kayak or flight brokers such as Travelocity, Expedia and Opodo. Pay close attention to restrictions. Many “Around-the-World” tickets mandate that you must always be travelling in the same direction, eg. L.A. to London to Moscow. You could not go L.A. to Paris to London. This takes significantly more preparation.
    • Consider couch surfing or woofing. Though it may seem too good to be true, couch surfing has a huge following and is a completely legit form of travel. Couchsurfing can set you up with people just like you all over the world.
      • If you’re willing to stay a bit longer, consider woofing. You’ll work on an organic farm for as little as a couple of weeks in exchange for a roof over your head and a some meals. You can build up your skills and get much more into the culture than if you stayed in a hotel, frequenting your mini bar.

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