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Why We Chose the One World Explorer Ticket

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Based my admittedly non-extensive research, there appear to be three main ways to ticket a round-the-world trip:

  • The first is to book tickets as one goes, taking advantage of the skills of local travel agents, trusting on one's ability to obtain visas, and generally being willing to be flexible. This method appears to be heavily endorsed by Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, and I can see its attractions, but I believe that had we tried this method the uncertainty and risk would have quickly driven me mad.
  • The next option is to contact a round-the-world specialist travel agent, such as Airtreks or Air Brokers. This approach is favored by the author of The Practical Nomad. We looked at these, largely because I was attracted to the idea of having an experienced agent who had a vested interest looking out for us as we traveled, and to whom we could send questions. But these operations did not seem to be price competitive for the trip that we wanted to take.
  • So in the end, we decided to try booking a RTW ticket with an airline alliance, in this case One World. Of the various options, they seem to have the best coverage in the southern hemisphere, and although their options in Africa are limited, this appears to get us most of the way around the world in one package.

At least according to the One World Explorer list of terms and conditions, this ticket has a few advantages that we couldn't get otherwise. Besides traveling to most of the places we wanted to visit, only the first leg of the journey needs to have a set date. The rest of the tickets can be left "open," (although it appears that this involves paper tickets and various difficulties related thereto).

Second, the Canadian Exception will hopefully save us some money on our tickets. We're driving through Canada anyway before we head to Ecuador, so it should be easy to purchase the ticket while we're there. And the price for the Ecuador ticket is much less than the same ticket starting in the U.S.

Of course, any of these best-laid plans could go wrong....

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