(P1)Hack into travel – How to travel around the world

(P1)Hack into travel – 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.

  1. Price your trip as an “Around-the-World” ticket. This will be much cheaper than booking a dozen one-way flights. 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. To put that in some context, 290,000 miles (470,000 km) will get you roughly 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 get, the more destinations you can see and vice versa. Each pass is allowed 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 start and end in the same country, though not necessarily in the same city. (There are also passes that are limited to geographic regions in the world.)[1]
    • Oneworld offers two different kinds of passes: one that is segment based and another that is mileage based. Global Explorer is Oneworld’s more conventional, mileage-based ticket. There are three levels – 26,000, 29,000 or 39,000 miles in economy class as well as a 34,000 in business and first class. Just like with the Star Alliance mileage-based RTWs, all miles are counted, including overland segments.[1]
      • Air travel is generally the most expensive way to travel. Use flight comparison websites such as Travelsupermarket, Skyscanner and Kayak or flight brokers like Travelocity, Expedia and Opodo. Pay close attention to restrictions. Many “Around-the-World” tickets mandate that you must always be going in the same direction, ex. L.A. to London to Moscow. You could not go L.A. to Paris to London. This takes significantly more preparation.
  2. Travel Around the World Step 2

    Get into the frequent-flyer mile credit card deal. If you have good credit, some savings, and aren’t afraid to use credit cards, you can score thousands and thousands of miles to pay for your airfare.

    • There are tons of offers out there–most banks have some version of a credit card that has partnered up with an airline, like the American Airlines Citi card.[2]You have to spend a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time, but the rewards can be huge–tens of thousands of miles. You’ll need around 120,000 to get a RTW ticket.
  3. Travel Around the World Step 3

    Consider alternative methods of travel. For most of us, frequent flyer miles just aren’t an option. It does require a lot of forethought and, well, money. Luckily, there are plenty of cheaper options — and they’re often more interesting and lead to more memorable experiences.

    • For train travel: In the US, you can travel by rail with Amtrak (if booked far in advance, it can fit any budget). For non-EU citizens in Europe, look into Eurail passes; for EU citizens, Interail passes are a good bet. In Asia, the Trans-Siberian railway goes from Moscow to Beijing where you can connect to Shanghai then Tokyo.
      • A Global Eurail pass is around $500 (€390) and will get you to 24 different countries.
      • Moscow to Beijing on the Siberian railway (with stops in Irkutsk and Ulaanbaatar) costs $2100 (€1635) for the no-frills, 16 day trip. For each extra person, the cost is a bit less.
    • For bus/coach: Greyhound is the line to travel by in the US. The European equivalent would be Eurolines — where you can travel between 50 or so cities. And Megabus actually operates on both sides of the lake, going intercity only, however.
      • All Greyhound buses are equipped with air conditioning, an on-board restroom, reclining seats with headrests, footrests and tinted windows. In addition to stops en route, buses make rest stops every few hours, and meal stops are scheduled as close to normal meal times as possible.[3]
      • Lille to London through Eurolines can be as little as $36 (€28) one-way. If you’re only visiting a handful of cities, it can be a good alternative to Eurail. They also offer a free luggage allowance of two medium-sized bags.[4]
    • For ship/ferry travel: Cruises can be a frugal option of you think about the money you’re saving on accommodation and food. Cunard operate transatlantic cruises; New York to Hamburg (feel like you’re on the Titanic!) is currently around $1400 (€1090).[5] TheCruisePeople compare cruise prices, much like Kayak or other airfare websites.
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    Know if you need a visa. The last thing you want to do is to get stuck in Saigon getting yelled at by a small man in broken English telling you that you have to go back to Hong Kong. In certain countries, you’ll be able to pay an exorbitant fee to get a visa immediately, but it’s hands down best to know what paperwork you have to have.

    • The length of your stay and your citizenship are both important factors. For most Westerners, it gets easy to assume you can go wherever you damn well please; unfortunately, that’s not the case. Do your research well ahead of time–it can take weeks to get a visa approved. And if you’re exiting and re-entering a country, know that process, too. You may need a different type of visa.


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