Finding a decent price for a flight is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Check out these cheap airfare options to get you packing…
Round-the-World (RTW) Plane Tickets
Round-the-World travel packages can be the single best way to see the world. I have known many people who have taken the plunge (and have had the pleasure going myself), and must say it’s not only a great way to save money; it’s a life changing event.
The most common round the world tickets (RTW) are offered through airlines or specialty providers such as Airtreks.com. By purchasing a RTW, you get to visit between five and ten destinations for the price of two or three. When I was a student I traveled through Sydney, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, London, Toronto and San Francisco for less than $1300 (granted, this was in 2000, so don’t expect a deal that good). On www.Airtreks.com there is a travel package that contains nine countries in Southeast Asia (from San Francisco) for $2699.
The beauty of RTW tickets is that many of them offer stopovers in countries you weren’t planning on visiting affording you the opportunity to see more of the world for less. On my first trip I hadn’t intended to visit Singapore, but since I had a free stopover, why not?
If your have budgetary concerns, stick to major cities. The main hubs for round the world travel packages tend to be San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangkok and Sydney. Australia in general is a standard inclusion in a round the world ticket, and provides you the option to travel overland from northern Oz to East Timor, Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Additional cities to consider are Barcelona, Delhi, Mumbai, Auckland, and Paris. Notice that Africa and South America are completely left out? For some reason, adding these continents can really drive up the price of round the world travel tickets. A few notable exceptions are Rio de Janiero and Buenos Aires in South America, and Johannesburg in South Africa.
Bottom Line: If you plan on spending a significant amount of time abroad (i.e. more than five months) AND want to see more of the world for less, think about purchasing a round the world ticket. You can find cheap multi destination flights for the same price as round trip.
If you are interested in purchasing a return ticket only, look into buying a wholesale ticket from airline consolidators.
Discount Plane Tickets
Airline consolidators provide some of the greatest deals on international tickets. Rather than buying a RTW ticket, which limits your flexibility, you can purchase an open jaw ticket – an airplane ticket that arrives in one city and departs from another. If you intend to travel overland, this option will provide more flexibility and may actually be cheaper in the long run.
So how do airline consolidators work? Generally, they purchase large amounts of tickets to cover the world’s most popular routes, which they then resell to travel agents and the general public. Keep in mind, however, that many tickets purchased through consolidators are nonrefundable and may have high change fees.
Here’s a short list of airline consolidators I’ve used in the past:
Low Cost Airlines
While I’m a strong advocate of overland travel, flying can not only save you time (flying to Lukla from Kathmandu can save a week’s trekking in the Himalaya) it can also be cheaper. Thanks to the introduction of local low cost providers around the world, travelers are finding it easier- and more economic- than ever to see more of the world.
Here is a list of low cost airlines that can save you a bundle:
- Priceline (www.priceline.com): Make use of the bidding feature for true bargain hunting.
- CFares (www.cfares.com): Well known for providing consolidator rates for international flights; as a travel agent, I used them a lot.
- 1-800-FLY-EUROPE (www.1800flyeurope.com)
- Discount Airlines for Flights within Europe (www.ryanair.com www.easyjet.com)
- Discount Airlines for flights within Asia (www.airasia.com)
- Round The World Specialists (www.airtreks.com
In addition to low cost providers, air passes are a great alternative if you need to cover a lot of ground quickly. Air passes are offered by airlines or the alliance they belong to, and offer deep discounts for multi-segment flights within a given region. Remember, while they provide cheap tickets, most air passes come with high restrictions, though most can be changed if need be.
A caveat: air passes must be purchased outside the region you intend to travel in. They are not available in their own region; for example, Asian air passes cannot be purchased in Asia.
Check http://airtimetable.com/airpass.htm for a complete, up to date listing of air passes around the world.
Featured Image Credit quapan