The decision was taken quickly. I woke up one morning and I knew this was the day I was going to book around the world tickets. My budget was $3,000. A significant outlay for airline tickets, but considering around the world journeys can cost up to $15,000, I was swimming in the shallow end of the pool in terms of budget.
Luckily, the day I opened my laptop and began my search it was Black Friday and cheap international flight deals were plentiful. I used a combination of Skyscanner price alerts and multi-city searches to plot my route around the globe. You could do the same right now.
Last month, I completed my 30 day around the world flights, visiting Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bali, Tokyo and Los Angeles, with stopovers in London, Helsinki, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Reykjavík. The total flight cost was $2,938.78.
Here’s how you can book your international adventure.
Booking Round the World Flights
While the actual flight search took seconds to complete and the entire trip was booked within an action packed 20 minutes of online activity, I had been thinking about a round the world journey for the last five years.
In truth, it had been a daydream for much of my adult life, but the idea lingered during vacations in the United States and Europe. Things started to take shape during my first visits to Nepal and India. I was starting to be bolder with online travel bookings. The logistics seemed increasingly possible.
In the meantime, all around us there has been a quiet revolution in air travel. New international airlines have entered the market with modern fleets connecting popular destinations. Increased competition and the next generation of aircraft offering increased energy and fuel efficiencies that have further reduced long haul flight costs.
More expansive airline alliances has created greater flexibility in flight options and the ability to easily book your bags through to your next destination. The resultant surge in international travel has opened up next regions to visitors from other countries.
Most importantly, Skyscanner offers you a comprehensive view of the best flights available. Even a complex trip involving many different destinations can be booked with a few clicks on the website.
Around the world flights was traditionally considered complicated, specialist travel. Now it can be booked online quickly and transparently, leaving you in control of your own itinerary.
Step-By-Step: Booking Around the World Flights
I’m going to lay out how this all happened to me, then explain in some more detail about the Skyscanner tools I used to get the right price and journey.
I started with Hong Kong. My friend and his wife moved there with their son recently. I wanted to visit as it was an opportunity to spend time with them and take advantage of some local knowledge.
So I began looking at the range of prices for flights to Hong Kong International Airport and set up a price alert to monitor changes in prices. I had ambitions to go further around the world but I wanted to know the costs for this part of the journey first. I found an accommodations deal for the Crowne Plaza Kowloon East that matched my budget. I would be able to travel easily to Central Hong Kong on the MTR subway system.
Then I heard from a group of friends I got to know many years ago when I worked as a lifeguard in New Jersey for the summer. It transpired that they were going to Bali for a surf trip and could meet me there for five days in April.
I now had dates locked in. Start in Hong Kong, move on to Bali. Contrast a mega-city of soaring skyscrapers and rooftop bars with serene beaches, mango smoothies, plates of nasi goreng and temples. This was becoming a plan. What next?
Tokyo seemed like a fascinating destination. I imagined it to be quite different from anywhere I’d been before. That would take me further on my journey and give a sense of purpose for me continuing east. I started asking everyone I knew for Tokyo tips and gathered some useful recommendations on social media.
The Metropolitan Marunouchi near Tokyo station and the Imperial Palace would be my base if I could figure this all out and make it there in time for spring blossoms, ramen, sake and sushi. It turned out to be my favourite part of the journey.
By spending time exploring the east coast of America extensively, I have neglected the west coast. So I settled on the idea of flying to Los Angeles to get me across the Pacific.
I was advised to decide whether I wanted to be based near the beach, the hills or downtown. I decided Santa Monica was for me and a stay at the Hotel Shangri-La. Nothing was booked yet, but I had put some pins in the map and things were starting to make sense.
I set up some more price alerts, just to get an idea of cheap flights for each part of the journey. That’s when I decided to add in Jakarta as there were regular cheap flights from Hong Kong to the Indonesian capital, and I figured a few days there would be an interesting introduction to the country before flying to the island of Bali. Still nothing booked, but getting closer.
Then came Black Friday. Airlines were publishing flight deals at a ferocious rate. Now was my chance. Seize the day.
I entered my my dates and destinations into the multi-city search for around the world flights. The first search wasn’t what I expected. I altered my dates slightly and the results were much better.
I’d need to fly through London and Helsinki to get to Hong Kong but it wouldn’t add much to my flight time. I would be going through Seoul to get to Tokyo but again it would be a short layover at the airport – just long enough to get some Korean fried chicken. I’d probably arrive before check in at a couple of my destinations so would wait around for my room at the hotel. There were early flights in most cases, meaning earlier rising to get to the airport.
These were all compromises I was prepared to make. Each detail of the journey was laid out in front of me. The airline, the flight times and duration, the airports.
The price was right. Deep breath. Click. I was delivered through to the booking page. I added some details and the 12 flight month of country-hopping was a reality.
Skyscanner Price Alert
Preparation is the key to making an informed decision. It’s easy to be spontaneous when you know what you are looking at. You may only be toying with the idea of booking long-haul or round the world tickets, but there’s no harm in having the latest information available.
Be ready to make the right travel decision with Skyscanner price alerts. You can find out more by reading this article.
If you have a flight route or a number of journeys in mind, setting up a free email alert with Skyscanner will instantly notify you when there has been a change in price. This information lets you know the best time to book and gives you an overview of when there might be savings to be made.
Before I stitched together my itinerary and decided on destinations I was tracking flights to destinations including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bali, Sydney, Seattle and Hawaii.
Skyscanner Multi-City Search
Here’s where things get interesting. On the Skyscanner home page or within the Skyscanner app you can select round-trip, one way or multi-city flights to search for. With multi-city, you can select up to six flights. Having decided when you are going, just pick the dates to decide how long you will be in each location.
The itinerary above is similar to mine and would bring you round the world in 30 days, besting Phileas Fogg’s record from the Jules Verne book by some margin. You would have a lot of fun along the way, experiencing the idiosyncratic cities of London, Hong Kong and Jakarta with their distinctive cultures, the temples and beaches of Bali, the glorious food scene of Tokyo before returning to Los Angeles.
When you have settled on an option you like, click search flights and you will be presented with a variety of travel options.
The search results page offers you other tools to refine your search. You can select the number of stops you are prepared to make on each leg of the trip. You can adjust departure times to allow for travel time to the airport. If there are multiple airports at a destination, it is possible to select which you would like to fly from and to. If you want to limit the total duration you are prepared to fly in a single journey, simply adjust that section.
This should bring you closer to booking the best possible journey at the right price.
Before you Book your Round the World Flights
It’s an exciting moment: reaching the point where you are ready to book a trip that will take you round the globe. Some things to consider before you click that button.
- Be realistic about the maximum amount of time you want to spend on a plane. Use that as a basis to plot out your journey between destinations – it might be right to drop in a destination between two places you would like to visit, and that might actually reduce the flight price.
- Make more than one search. Try different date options or look at a range of destinations. It can ultimately change the price and open up better alternatives.
- Cheapest doesn’t always mean the best for you. I compromised with multiple connecting flights between destinations. If you are prepared to do that then you will spend more time in airports but you will probably save more money. On the plus side, you may get to add some more countries to your itinerary.
- Ensure your connections look like they will feasibly allow your bags to be transferred between flights and that you believe you and your traveling companions will be able to move from one plane to the other. If you need to, search for details of where the airline arrives and departs from in individual airports.
- Start your hotel search now! Make sure you have a clear idea of the type of prices you will be paying to stay in the destinations you have selected so you have a clear idea of your total travel budget. You can use the Skyscanner search box below.
Start your Next Travel Adventure
I selected my round the world trip based on places I’ve longed to explore and people I could meet along the way. It turned out to be a rewarding, uplifting, fascinating and at times bewildering experience.
Everyone has their own idea of their ultimate travel adventure. Skyscanner makes it easy to find the best flights and complete your itinerary with confidence. Try Skyscanner multi-city search and begin your own round the world adventure. You won’t regret it, or ever forget it.