Should You Buy A Round-the-World ticket? Pros and Cons

For most backpackers this is their first and biggest expense, a RTW (round the world) ticket with 6 flights generally taking them through South East Asia, maybe Singapore, Sydney, New Zealand and the US. There are so many operators offering deals on RTW that it’s easy to see what it’s so attractive, especially with all those flashy adverts. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the RTW tickets:



Confusing signs
With a RTW ticket, your route will be pre-planned, removing the chances of confusion like this!


1)   No uncertainty. You know you can definitely get from A to B because you’ve booked it and you’re locked in.

2)   Planning: You can start planning all the awesome stuff to do in each vague destination because you know exactly what countries and areas you plan to visit.

3)   Save money on the road: You’ve effectively pre-paid for lots of your travel so you won’t have to fork out big sums to hop countries when you’re actually on the road.

4)   You can tailor your budget: You can budget accordingly because your trip is finite. You know when your return flight is so you have x amount of money to spend in x amount of time.

5)   Cost: A one-off payment which you can forget about once it’s paid. Very convenient and certainly a load off your mind when you’re on the road.



starbucks forbidden city
With a RTW you could get stuck following other backpackers around, never seeing the real side of the country

1)   Lack of spontaneity: You decide you love a country when you visit it, or you meet a cool group of peeps you’d love to travel with but you can’t because you have to fly to Hanoi in the morning.

2)   Stuck on the tourist trail: It’s an uncomfortable  truth but if you’ve booked this trip with ease, then so have 100.000 other people this year. You may struggle to get to the heart of the country when your following  a trail already set out.

3)   Missing out on seeing the country: Overlanding in local transport from A to B over a series of days, weeks and months is the best way to see, feel and experience a country. You feel like you’re ‘really’ traveling. This will open up more unique experiences than you can ever imagine.

4)   New Countries: You’ll be somewhere, you’ll see a cheap flight/boat/train to a place you’d never even heard of before, but sounds so legitimately exoctic that you have to go. With a RTW you mightn’t have the time to factor in a whole new country or two. This is particulary common for South East Asia where few people consider Malaysian Borneo, the Philippines and Indonesia – 3 of the coolest places you could ever visit.

5)   Cost: RTW don’t work out as cheap as people think, so why sacrifice the fluidity of your travels for $100 here or there over the coarse of a while trip?



MY ADVICE: Ok guys, so there are the main aspects to RTW tickets. In my personal opinion, I’d avoid them unless you’re really pushed for time (less than 3 months) OR if you want to cover every continent. Generally speaking, you can book the flights as you travel and it’ll be roughly the same cost, probably a little cheaper. Freestyle it and enjoy life on the road!


  1. Regarding your closing remarks, most countries require you to have an onward ticket in order to enter so ‘winging it’ in this way simply isnt an option.

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