FAQs before


What is a surface sector? here

What is the tax that everyone keeps quoting - is it V.A.T? here

Do flights have to actually go round the world? here

When is the cheapest time to go? here

Is roundtheworldflights.com just another Internet start up? here

Why should I book with you? here

Are you ATOL and IATA bonded? here

How far ahead can I book?  here

Can I pre-book my first night's accommodation? here

Why do I need travel insurance? here

How much notice do I have to give to change my dates? here

Can I change destinations whilst I'm away? here

How much luggage can I take? here

What is the difference between a paper ticket and an e-ticket and what do I need to carry? here

When is the best time to start planning and purchasing my trip? here

Will I get a better price if I wait until the last minute? here

Can I make up my own itinerary? here

What Gear will I need? here

What is a surface sector?

A surface sector is when you travel independently between two flight points en-route to your final destination

What does that  mean?

This means you will fly in and out of a different city or country. In other words you will travel between them by other means, perhaps by train, bus or boat or occasionally a Low Cost Carrier more here

Do flights have to actually go round the world?
Not at all, you can do pretty much anything you want, although prices can vary hugely for the more complicated routes. Some round the world tickets will insist that you actually go round the world but others don't, so it's down to your consultant to find the route that most suits you. it is worth reading our How to Plan article

When is the cheapest time to go?
Generally after Easter and before the summer holidays - all airlines have different seasons - ask us and we can get the best deals. Many airfares are based on when you start your trip. The lowest fares occur in low season and the highest fares are in high season - Here is a very general guide: 

January - High / Shoulder
February - Shoulder Season 
March - Shoulder Season 
April - Shoulder / Low Season 
May - Low Season 
June - Low / High Season 
July - High Season 
August - High / Shoulder Season 
September - Shoulder Season 
October - Shoulder Season 
November - Shoulder Season 
December - Shoulder / High Season

It's worth reading our Chasing the sun: Where to go when on a round the world trip article

What is the tax that everyone keeps quoting - is it V.A.T?
No it is not V.A.T. The tax is airport tax, money that the airport is charging you to use its facilities. This used to be collected at the airports but is now payable in advance when you purchase your ticket. Up until the 1990's, taxes and airport security charges were only payable in a handful of developing countries. These were collected by very sullen looking people who sat in little Perspex windowed kiosks in airports around the world whose main source of job satisfaction seemed to be to insist that you paid in $USD if you only had local currency left and in local currency if you only had $USD on you.

One by one, during the course of the nineties, one by one, most other countries started jumping on this bandwagon. and started making these charges. As the 90's progressed, starting with the USA and South Africa, they decided it was too much effort to collect the ‘free money’ themselves and realised that the could get travel companies to collect their taxes for free. To be fair, if these taxes have to exist, it is simpler to pay them upfront rather then encounter a nasty surprise each time you leave a country

Whilst there are still a few countries in which all or some of your taxes are collected in the old fashioned way (The Cook Islands, China and Peru for example), these days, you pay most of your taxes up front with your air fare. On a more complex route with a dozen or 20 stops, taxes imposed by other countries can easily add up to over £500 per person. However, the biggest single element of your taxes is, yes you guessed it, your round the world leaving present from HM treasury, your UK departure tax.

As taxes and the other charges constantly change and new ones are introduced, the only way to advise you of the exact cost of the pre-payable taxes on round the world tickets with several flights, is to work them out when the booking is made.

The good news, unlike most countries worldwide, the UK has no VAT on flights! 

Is roundtheworldflights.com just another Internet start up?

Not at all, roundtheworldflights.com is now in our 21st year.

Why should I book with you?
The list is endless; we hardly even know where to start! In short it's because this is an area that we specialise in. Our consultants spend hour upon hour, day upon day just working on round the world enquiries. During this time they come across new airline routes and unusual schedules and services. This enables them to help you get just that little bit more out of your round the world ticket. All our consultants are well travelled and are in touch with regular travellers every day. We can often give you a good idea of what to expect in most parts of the world. For example overland travel is a magnificent way to see more of a county. The most popular overland journey has to be “Thailand to Singapore” and we would highly recommend this choice. However if you were thinking of travel overland from India to Thailand, we would strongly advise you against this. Travel through Myanmar is extremely difficult due to visa and boarder restrictions. The link to the Foreign Office website is constantly updated and widely accepted as giving excellent information. You should certainly follow any advice given here. 

Is my money safe with roundtheworldflights.com?

Absolutely. The company has an Air Travels Organiser’s License (ATOL - 6283) granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out checks on the tour operators and travel organisers it licenses, and requiring a financial guarantee called a bond, which is lodged with us.If a tour operator goes out of business, the CAA will make a refund to you, or if you're abroad, we'll arrange for you to finish your holiday and fly home. For further information please visit the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk. The company is also a member and is bonded by the International Air Travel Association (IATA - 91257073), which allows us to issue tickets on our premises in Islington. All RTW airline tickets also include Schedule Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) - which will be added to your invoice if scheduled airline flights are booked. RTW Travel insurance is strongly recommended at all times more


How far ahead can I book?
You may book airline seats up to 11 months in advance. As a result the travel dates towards the end of your itinerary may not necessarily be the ones that you intend to travel on - we call these dummy dates. You will normally change these dates at a later date before you go, or at an airport half way through your trip. It's worth reading 
Booking your round-the-world adventure: The nine Step Plan article 


Can I pre-book my first night accommodation? 
Booking the first 2-3 nights accommodation can make all the difference. Check out our roundtheworldflights.com brochures online - from 3 star to 5 star luxury!

Why do I need travel insurance?
Well if you break your leg in Cambodia on a scooter and you have to be flown home then that can cost £150K plus - 10 times as much in the States - so unless you've got very very rich parents (we're talking Sunday Times Rich list Top 100) then get a decent travel insurance - not one from a chemist or local butchers - use a specialist that offers a policy that provides high medical expenses, repatriation and good legal cover at the very least. You don't have to buy it through us but you'd be a village idiot not to get insurance from somewhere. If you are cost conscious or don't plan on taking much of value with you, we have negotiated rates that include and exclude cover for baggage and money from 1 month up to 12 months. We believe that the rates and cover that we offer are among the best you will find. See details here 

How much notice do I have to give to change my dates? 
If you do not intend to take a confirmed flight, you must change your dates before the flight departs. Failure to do so may result in the airline cancelling your remaining flights. As a rule of thumb it is important you change your flight dates at least three days before the flight is due to depart. Don't forget when you book with us you get an Exclusive RTW conciege

Can I change destinations whilst I'm away?

In most cases you will be able to re-route your ticket although this will cost a little more (GBP£75-£250 plus any changes in taxes or any increases in fuel surcharges) and involve you going into an airline office or at an airport to have the ticket re-issued. Please note this procedure can take a while as the airline in the country you are in has to contact their office in London to get the ticketing details. Also the tickets we sell are quite complicated and it can take longer to reissue a ticket in Ulan Bataar that it would at Heathrow. 

How much luggage can I take? 
The most common system used, is the weight system. This allows you to take the following amount of luggage at no extra cost to you. 
• Economy Class 20-23kg (depending on the airline)
• Business Class 30kg
• First Class 40kg

If you travel via the North America then you are sometimes allowed to take two pieces of luggage, each piece up to 62 inches (158cm) in total dimensions (length + height + width) and maximum weight 20kg each. 

If you have a ticket with several flights, bear in mind that the same baggage allowance may not apply to each flight on your itinerary! If you plan on taking more than your allowance, we recommend that you contact the airline in advance so that you know what excess baggage charges to expect. At the discretion of the airlines, you may be allowed extra baggage allowance for certain items such as sports equipment, including golf clubs, skis or a surfboard. It is essential that you confirm these details with the airlines you will be travelling with. Children (paying 50% or more of the applicable fare) will receive the adult baggage allowance. Infants (paying 10% of the applicable adult fare) will be permitted a free allowance of one checked in bag, not exceeding 20kg.

What is the difference between a paper ticket and an e-ticket and what do I need to carry?

E-tickets are the future of air travel and are issued in approximately 95% of all cases with round the world itineraries – this figure is increasing on a monthly basis and the day is not far off when we will have all tickets issued as e-ticket. 
Why not yet? – simply because smaller airlines and airports are not yet ready to issue and accept them due to the necessary technology not being present.
With a paper ticket – you must have this with you whenever you check in for a flight just as you always have had to.
With an e-ticket – you just need your passport and a smile! We will also send you a booking confirmation - this will have all your flight details on it - We recommend that you always keep an itinerary with you or on your hotmail or gmail account to remind yourself of flight dates and times.

When is the best time to start planning and purchasing my trip? 

4-8 months before your first planned departure date. This will ensure that you get the best prices and that there is seat availability.

Will I get a better price if I wait until the last minute? 
No. Last-minute fares are usually the highest fares for people who have to travel regardless of the price. Seats on the airlines that offer the best value, and seats allocated to the lowest fares, are usually the first to sell out. We can often get discounts even for last-minute travel, but we can almost always get even better prices on the same airlines and routes if you can plan and purchase your tickets further in advance.

Can I make up my own itinerary? 
Yes, absolutely. The sample routes and prices on our Web site are only examples of the endless number of possibilities for your RTW- rarely do any of our clients follow the same route. Please visit “Build your own flights” and you can create your own customised route and get an instant online price estimate.

What Gear will I need? 

These three articles are excellent on the philosophy of packing:

The Art of Round The World trip packing

RTW packing for girls

Ten items to take

And see our latest RTW packing list here


By Stuart of roundtheworldflights.com


Guide to airport lounges


David Whitley takes a look at how to get a bit of extra peace and quiet (and food) before the flight.

No-one really likes hanging around in airports. Even the better ones such as Singapore Changi and Vancouver are merely relatively pleasant rather than unmitigated hellholes. But there are cordoned-off parts of airports that make the experience of waiting for a flight a bit more pleasant.

What are airport lounges? The lounges are separate from the generic departure lounge, and access to them is restricted. Usually, entry is permitted only for those with the right sort of ticket (business class or above), the right status with the airline (gained through taking gazillions of flights) or paying.

Generally, you can’t pay to get into the ones run by airlines – these are reserved for those with status or the posh seats. But you can pay to get into those run either by the airport or third parties given the space by the airport to run a lounge there. Names to look out for in the latter category include Aspire, No 1 and Swissport. 

What can I expect inside? Standards vary pretty wildly. Some will basically be a few seats with a fairly dismal selection of free food and drink – sometimes little more than a few drab sandwiches, biscuits, a coffee machine and some cans of Sprite in a fridge. Others are considerably more lavish, with cooked to order restaurant-style meals, a big choice of wines and spirits, showers and even spa treatment rooms. The ones run by airlines tend to be more plush than those run by airports.

How much do they cost? Price varies quite a lot too, with the cheapest lounges available for about £20 and the more expensive ones nearer £50. For regular flyers, it might be worth joining a lounge access scheme like Lounge Pass or Priority Pass. The latter has various schemes, but you can pay £69 to access all 1,200-plus lounges in its networks for £15 a go, or £259 for free access to them all. 



Are they worth it?

An awful lot depends on what you want from it. If you were going to buy food in the airport or on the plane anyway, then it’ll probably not cost too much more to go into the lounge. And this is particularly the case if you were going to have a couple of drinks with it. The ones with showers can be invaluable if you’re about to go long haul after a hot, sweaty day. And sometimes just being able to find somewhere to charge your phone – lounges tend to be pretty well equipped with plug sockets, although this is by no means universal – tips the balance for the lounge being worth the cash.

As for the annual passes, whether this is worth it depends on how many flights you take, although it’s probably a good deal if you take more than 15 to 20 flight legs per year.

by David Whitley