Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First leg officially booked

After much scheming I've decided to go with individual flights and a South America pass instead of a round-the-world ticket. If you've never heard of a round-the-world ticket it's essentially a ticket priced according origin of travel, number of continents, mileage, and class of travel. The idea is that you leave your destination and travel in a single direction for up to 1 year before returning. There are 3 alliances of airlines that make up round-the-world networks and offer tickets: SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and OneWorld.

Sounds ideal, but when you dream up your itinerary there may or may not be airlines within the alliance that serve the area you want and some ping-ponging from continent to continent may occur which adds up miles (i.e. if you want to go from Capetown, South Africa to Livingston, Zambia you may have to fly through London). You are also limited in the number of flight segments you can take, both overall and within a region.

So after being told I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink my travel desires I decided to take matters into my own hands (with the help of the Internet of course). Thanks to amazing fare search engines like and and a regional fare pass from OneWorld, I was able to line up a set of fares to where I want to go and when that are comparable to an RTW ticket, but without the restrictions. I've booked the first leg and the rest will come later as I nail down more definitive time lines. You do run the risk of increased fares, however, with fare monitoring and flexible travel dates you can minimize any potential impact.

Fly on!