Are round-the-world plane tickets good value?

Heading for Europe or North America? How about adding a couple more continents to your itinerary – Europe plus North America plus Asia perhaps – at about the same price as a return ticket to Europe? The key is a round the world (RTW) ticket.

RTW tickets can be fantastic value provided you buy from the right seller, and the price varies enormously. Many airlines sell them and so do Star Alliance and One World, the two big airline partnerships. You can also take the DIY approach and work out your own multi-stop itinerary with an online travel agents' search engine, but this might not be the best option. "It's complicated," says Mark Trim, managing director of Roundabout Travel, an Adelaide-based agency that sells nothing but RTW tickets.

"We have clients who will take 10 or 20 hours online to do what we can do in half an hour and we'll come back with a better price. They don't have a system access that we have, nor the expertise. A client might start out with 10 cities, maybe hopping around Europe, for example, and we'll be the first to say 'Leave those out. Fly into Milan and get a discount airfare to Sicily, get the ferry from there to Malta, get another discount airfare to London and take the train from there to Paris. You need to have your finger on the pulse to get the most value out of an RTW ticket."

RTW tickets cost no more in high season but they are subject to availability. To get a good deal you need to book well in advance.

Travel is in one direction per continent, and must be completed within 12 months.


You can cruise for as little as $70 per day if you're prepared to wait for late-breaking deals as cruise operators scramble to fill empty cabins. Go to the websites of major operators such as Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises and sign up for special offers.