In the latest version of the Around the World Airfare Report, we shopped prices for RTW plane tickets from nine different companies and rated each company based on three criteria:
- Price: How much does it cost?
- Service speed: How long does it take to get a bookable price?
- Frustration factor: How frustrating is the process of building and pricing a multi-stop route?
Note: Keep in mind that we searched these flights all at once. In a typical Round the World scenario, the traveler would be booking flights as he or she went, and we all know how prices fluctuate, so use this only as a guide. We also only searched Kayak, so there could be better deals to be had on smaller, regional airlines that Kayak doesn’t cover.
Here is how the cost of searching all one-way flights on Kayak compared to other companies for each of the three routes we searched:
- Route 1: Lowest price out of 9 options
- Route 2: 2nd lowest price out of 7 options
- Route 3: 2nd lowest price out of 5 options
Here is how the speed of searches compared to other companies we searched.
- Route 1: 5th fastest out of 8
- Route 2: 2nd fastest out of 7
- Route 3: 2nd fastest out of 5
Note: This is not an accurate comparison to a real searching scenario for long-term travelers, as most who choose this option for their airfare want flexibility and don’t want to search and book all their flights in advance. In most cases, travelers will be doing these searches while on the road, possibly with their own computer in a hostel or maybe in an internet cafe, where internet speeds will vary. Keep that in mind when making your decision.
This option obviously provides the most flexibility in terms of route and dates because the traveler ultimately decides when he or she wants to book. The main downfall is that if you wait too long, the price could go up dramatically. But on the flip side, you can also find last minute deals.
Choosing this method gives you the ultimate flexibility in routes. But it pays to do some research before leaving. For example, getting from South America to Southeast Asia or Australasia can be complicated and expensive even when you do it on your own, so it pays to know ahead of time which routes/destinations may be pricey.