Prepaid RTWs vs LCCs


 

There's been a lot of debate, some rather vehement on various forums, over the last few years, about whether it's cheaper to book a round the world (RTW) before you go or just buy Low Cost Carriers (LCC) as you go. Well we sell both types of tickets and this is what we know from our experience....

 

 

1. A lot of LCC carriers have gone bust recently. We're being polite, this can affect your plans. This article from 4 years ago from The Times should really act as a warning. Two of those big long haul LCC carriers have since gone under: Oasis and Zoom For a full list click here

 

2. There's been a lot of natural and unnatural disasters over the last two years (SARS, Ash Clouds, Strikes, Tsunamis, Riots, Earthquakes, and Floods). This is when a decent travel agent can be worth their weight in gold. Remember in the UK, a good RTW carrier, is responsible for getting you on your flight ASAP after a disaster. A LCC has no such responsibilities and usually the limit of their liability is to refund you. This can leave you up the creek without the proverbial paddle.

 

3. A lot of countries need a ticket out before you can get in. Don't try to enter the US on a one way ticket. Unless you're a US citizen you will not be boarded. The same can go for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Mexico.... etc

 

4. Oh I'll buy a ticket when I'm out there. Okay flights from South America to Australia or North America can cost the same as a basic RTW. It could end up being the most expensive travel mistake you will ever make....

 

5. Okay so where would I use low cost carriers? Well I use them all the time within Europe (expect basic service, good prices and a lot of extras) and there are a few great carriers within Asia (which we can book for a small admin fee) that give some great options at great prices.

 

6. Are Low Cost carriers safe? Safety-wise yes. It's just sometimes the economics of the routes don't make sense, so they do sometimes go under. Again I will refer you to this article in The Times

 

7. Okay but I need flexibility? Well all our RTWs allow date changes. The more expensive ones are usually FOC, and the cheaper ones £30-£120. Most also allow re-routing. So if you do break your leg in Australia, the airline will allow you to re-route your ticket (for a fee) to fly straight home. You also have our free Travel Concierge service, which is rather popular.

 

8. I want cheaper! Well look at some of our RTWs under £999. They will give a lot of the same options as the more expensive RTWs, with the security benefits of date changes, re-routing, a Travel Concierge, a UK ATOL bonded agent, decent carriers, and the most experienced RTW travel agent out there roundtheworldflights.com

 

9. I've done a RTW before but I want to go back to Australia to visit some mates, with maybe a stop in Vietnam. Well talk to us - we've got some great point to point multi-stop deals that you won't find online.

 

10. I want to go for more than 12 months, Chat to us - we have one way tickets and sector fares you won't find online. Plus sometimes a RTW can be cheaper than a one way...

 

11. Bonded Our our RTW trips are ATOL bonded. 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.

 

by Stuart from roundtheworldflights.com

Defunct LCCs

 

As we've mentioned before on our blogs, there's been a lot of debate, some rather vehement on various forums, over the last few years, about whether it's cheaper to book a round the world (RTW) before you go or just buy Low Cost Carriers (LCC) as you go. Well we sell both types of tickets and we do advise travellers to be cautious. Or they could have a fairly misreable and super-expensive RTW year....

 

 

Why? Well below is some of the Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) that have gone under in the last few years (the full list is over 100). We also suggest you read this article - Prepaid RTWs versus Pay As You Go Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) here One thing to mention that every RTW that we sell does have SAFI (Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance) and is covered by ATOL or IATA. Also no major RTW carrier has gone bust in our memory....

 

So if you want a carrier that will still be around in 12 months, with a Travel Agent who specialise in RTWs then give us a call on 020 7704 5700 for a quote. We're open 7 days a week. And we know what we're talking about...we've sent over 70,000 folk around the world and we're mentioned in over 50 guidebooks here

 

 

Argentina
LAPA

Australia

Air Australia/Strategic Airlines
Compass Airlines
East-West Airlines
Sungold Airlines

Brazil

BRA Transportes Aéreos

Canada

Air Canada Tango
Canada 3000
Greyhound Air
Harmony Airways
Jetsgo
Vistajet
Wardair
Zip
Zoom Airlines

Finland

Flying Finn
Air Finland

France

Air Turquoise
Flywest

Germany

DBA

Hong Kong

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

Indonesia

Adam Air
Mandala Airlines

Ireland

JetGreen Airways
Jet Magic

Italy

Volare Airlines
Club Air
MyAir

Macau

Viva Macau




Mexico
Aero California
Aladia
Avolar
Lineas Aéreas Azteca
SARO
TAESA

Nepal
Cosmic Air

New Zealand

Kiwi Airlines
Freedom Air

Poland

Air Polonia
Centralwings
GetJet

Uruguay

U Air

United Kingdom

Debonair
Duo Airways
flyglobespan

United States

ATA Airlines
Hooters Air
Independence Air
Kiwi International Air Lines
MetroJet
Midway Airlines
National Airlines
Pacific Southwest Airlines
Pearl Air
People Express
Safe Air
Skybus Airlines
SkyValue
Southeast Airlines
Tower Air
United Shuttle
Vanguard Airlines
Western Pacific Airlines

Vietnam

Indochina Airlines




For a full list see Wikipedia here

Surface Sectors

 

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.

 

What's so good about that?

By choosing the right overland journey you can see and experience more of a country.  A round the world trip should be more about seeing things you’ll never see again, rather than rushing through airports and sitting on buses ‘just to get there’.  Really “see” the countries you go to rather than just “visit”.

 

Is it cheaper?

Can be, but by embracing a slower form of travel and using local transport, you can get a much larger feel for a country or continent. Also your money tends to stay local rather than straight into the hands of some massive and rapacious multi-national corporation. We think this is a good thing. Whatsmore they don’t usually cost any more than single stops, so you can get more destinations out of your RTW for a similar price. Also by doing some sections of your RTW journey overland, you can visit regions &  countries that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible at the very well-priced fare you have paid!

 

 

See countries not airports

Airports throughout the world are fast turning into homogeneous shopping malls with a distinct lack of seating. By and large they’re not great.  By travelling between two airports you can experience the country, talk to people, and embrace your inner traveller.

 

An environmentally friendlier way to travel

Surface sectors are environmentally friendly. By doing part of your journey by local train or bus, you will be responsible for less CO2 than by doing your entire trip by air (usually)

 

Isn't flying quicker?

Yup it is, and we do recommend it for long distances for most people but speed isn't always the point. Until you've slept overnight on the Chiang Mai to Bangkok Express how will you ever know the smells, noises and experiences you'll stick in your memory bank...It's also a great way to blag more countries

 

What are the most popular surface sectors on a RTW?

 

  1. Bangkok surface Singapore
  2. Hanoi surface Bangkok
  3. Sydney surface Cairns
  4. Lima surface Santiago
  5. Christchurch surface Auckland
  6. New York surface LA
  7. Moscow surface Beijing
  8. Saigon surface Hanoi
  9. Nairobi surface Cape Town
  10. Delhi surface Kathmandu

 

Is it not more dangerous?

Well crossing a road in London is dangerous, but there are certain safety considerations to take into account. We suggest you read our Health and Safety section especially the sections on Female safety and Security and safety

 

Rubbish surface sectors

We strongly recommend that you take heed of what the FCO say. They have long experience of travellers being killed or taken hostage in dodgy parts of the world. The whole world is not open to visitors. Don’t be naïve or pretend to be so. If you don’t take the FCO’s advice or indeed our hints, then you can be killed. Not sure we can put it any more plainly than that. Here are a few surface sectors currently off limits

 

Hiking on the Afghan/Pakistan border – not so much

India to Thailand via Burma – not open yet

Panama to Colombia – unless you really know what you’re doing then that’s a no no

 

The best surface sector

Well it’s The Trans Siberian. Most of us at roundtheworldflights.com have done it and we’ve got loads of stopover options in Siberian and Mongolia. Tis a great trip to build into your RTW. 9001km of real travel.

 

And finally

Because it’s proper travelling

Essential Visas

 

 

Passports

A passport is an essential document that you will need to legally enter and exit any country on your RTW trip. You should check that your passport is valid and that the expiry date is at least 6 months after the date you intend to return home. There should also be plenty of empty pages in your passport for the countries you plan to visit (entry and exit stamps for some countries may fill two pages each).

 


Do not take risks with your passport validity. If you are in any doubt whether your passport will expire or fill up with stamps while you are away you should get a new one before you start the trip. Visit the UK Passport Office website for more information. 

 

Get your visas online

 

Alternatively you can use the services of a visa agency. We recommend, because we've used them a lot ourselves, Visa Central, a CIBT company; They are an online agency, who will arrange all your visas for you. You liaise with them directly for visas and also pay them directly. This is the link here We now book clients from all over the globe and are happy to advise you how best to go about obtaining the visas whereever you are based but we do not obtain the visas, you need to do that yourself. Click here to start

 



Visas

Many countries insist on visitors having an entry visa or travel permit as a condition of entry.  For some it is a way of making extra money from visitors while for many it is part of their internal security system. Either way you have no choice but to comply with their requirements: no visa, no entry.

Visas can sometimes be obtained at the point of entry (airport, land border, sea port) but in many cases you must apply for a visa to the country’s embassy or consulate in your home country.  There is nearly always a cost and this varies widely between countries and even for different nationalities visiting the same country. Your consultant will be able to advise you on visa costs and in many cases can will give you contact details of the relevant embassy.

Embassies can take a long time to process visas and may even require you to visit their office in person. It is best to apply well in advance so as to avoid any last minute panic. Most people have no problems in getting the visa they require although if you have a criminal record or have been deported from any country previously you may encounter difficulties.


Country by Country Visa Guide

Australia

Every visitor to Australia requires needs a full passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the completion of your trip as well as a visa. The visa is an electronic document - called an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) – that permits a visit of at least 3 months over a 12 month period. The ETA is available for short-term tourists and business travellers and the fee is £15 (business visas incur a higher fee). Without a valid ETA you will be refused entry at Australian Immigration.

Roundtheworldflights.com can issue your ETA within minutes over the telephone, or by post. All we require to issue your ETA are your passport details:

Full Name
Male / Female
Nationality
Country of Birth
Date of Birth
Passport Number
Passport Expiry Date


12 month work visa

Working holiday visas are available to people aged between 18 to 30 years (always check the current situation before applying). Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply: Ireland, the UK, Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Malta, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Canada, France, Italy and the Republic of Cyprus. An Australian 12 month Working Holiday visa currently costs £136.

If you are entering Australia for any other reason you will require a traditional visa in your passport. These are available directly through the Australian High Commission.


New Zealand


British passport holders do not require a visa to visit New Zealand but please make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your intended date of return

Cambodia and Laos

We recommend that you obtain Cambodian and Lao visas in advance either in your home country or in a neighbouring country (i.e. Thailand or Vietnam). Sometimes it is possible to get your visa on arrival, but in both countries the situation can change at very short notice. If you plan to do this it is very important that you contact your nearest Cambodian / Laos Embassy or Consulate shortly before you travel to get the latest information. Note that a visa on arrival may be available at some border crossings into Laos and Cambodia and unavailable at others.

China

Be aware that entry into Hong Kong from the mainland is treated as an exit from China. Anyone planning to re-enter the mainland must have a double entry visa or re-apply for a new Chinese visa in Hong Kong.


Sri Lanka

The government of Sri Lanka has decided to discontinued the issuance of visa on arrival to Sri Lanka with effect from 30th September 2011. As a result  all passengers travelling to Sri Lanka on or after the 01st of October 2011 would require an Electronic Travel Authorization, which could be obtained online with a fee applicable. All passengers are required to obtain this authorization by visiting http://www.eta.gov.lk/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US , filling the required information and paying the visa fee applicable. It is advised that all passengers carry the authorization approval form when arriving to the country at which point the visa would be stamped.


United States

All passengers travelling to the United States must have Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) in their booking, as well a valid ESTA. Failure to do so will mean you will not be checked in and refused permission to fly to the US.

APIS
You are required to provide the following information in your booking at least 7 days before departure:

Full Name (must exactly match the name on your passport and flight ticket)
Male / Female
Nationality
Country of Birth
Date of Birth
Passport Number
Passport Expiry Date

If you email your consultant with this information we will gladly add the APIS onto your booking.

ESTA
As well as APIS, the USA has introduced the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) for all non-US citizens visiting the US. You will need prior authorisation to enter the country before you board the plane. To gain this ESTA authorisation you must submit details online before you travel. The ESTA is issued immediately and is valid for two years. The current cost is $14. To get your ESTA authorisation go to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta.

 

Visa Chart

 

This visa chart is a guideline only - you must check with the relevant embassies for up-to-date information.

 

roundtheworldflights.com and Global Village take no responsibility for out-of-date information on this page.

 

 

Country
UK Passport
Irish Passport
EU Passport
Argentina
N
N
N
Australia
Y
Y
Y
Belize
N
N
N
Bolivia
N
N
N
Botswana
N
Y
N
Brazil
N
N
N
Cambodia
Y*
Y*
Y*
Canada
N
N
N
Chile
N
N
N
China
Y
Y
Y
Costa Rica
N
N
N
Croatia
N
N
N
Cuba
Y
Y
Y
Ecuador
N
N
N
Guatemala
N
N
N
Hong Kong
N
N
N
Fiji
N
N
N
India
Y
Y
Y
Indonesia
N
Y
N
Japan
Y*
Y*
Y*
Laos
Y*
Y* *
Y
Malaysia
Y*
Y*
Y*
Mexico
N
N
N
Mongolia
Y
Y
Y
Namibia
N
N
N
Nepal
Y
Y
Y
New Zealand
N
N
N
Philippines
N
N
N
Peru
N
N
N
Russia
Y
Y
Y
Singapore
N
N
N
South Africa
N
N
N
Sri Lanka Y Y Y
Tahiti
N
N
N
Tanzania
Y*
Y*
Y*
Thailand
N
N
N
The Cook Islands
N
N
N
Tibet
Y
Y
Y
Tonga
N
N
N
Uganda
Y
Y
Y
Uruguay
N
N
N
USA visa waiver program or ESTA (see below)
ESTA
ESTA
N/Y/ESTA
Vietnam
Y
Y
Y
Western Samoa
N
N
N
Zimbabwe
Y*
N/Y
Y*


Important:

The information above is only a guide and all visa information is subject to sudden change without notice. You MUST double check your visa requirements with your visa service or nearest relevant Embassy or Consulate before you travel. If your nationality is not listed please check your specific visa requirements with your nearest relevant Embassy or Consulate.

We can take no responsibility for any traveller who is not in possession of the correct visas and no refund can be given if you are refused entry as a result of an incorrect visa. Visa costs are not included in the price of RTW trips.

 

Published by Stuart Lodge

Visa frustration

 

Getting a visa can be the trickiest and most tedious part of any trip. Just ask me.  After a month of stuffing about, I had to visit the Indian Visa office five times in two different cities, make a dozen phone calls and eventually sat in the office for 8 hours the day before my flight left to get my visa. It wasn’t fun. However, it was just one of those hoops I had to jump through to get my visa. And once I got to India, I largely forgot about the hassle.

 

Below is a list of issues you might run into when you apply for a visa, and a list of strategies for minimising the hassle.

 

The You-Give-My-Citizens-Trouble Factor
Some countries work on a tit for tat system. Basically, if your country makes it difficult for their citizens to gain entry, they'll make it difficult for you to gain entry on principle (They call it reciprocity, I call it spite). Another favourite trick of annoyed countries is to hike the visa price so high, it makes it cost prohibitive to go there. This was the case a few years back for a few English travellers on my overland safari, who had to miss out on seeing Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side as the visas cost over a £100 pounds more than everyone else’s.

 

The Notoriously Difficult Factor

Some exit and entry requirements are quite strict. Some countries demand an outgoing airline ticket or a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Others demand proof of funds. Which is fine, except some countries want proof of funds dated to the day of application, like the Brazilian visa people in Buenos Aires, who wanted a bank statement with proof of at least $1000USD in it. Which isn’t actually easy to arrange on when you’re the road.

 

The Bitch Factor

Speaking of Brazil, it brings me to my next point: sometimes people in visa offices can just be mean, bitter & nasty for the sake of it. There’s one woman in the Brazilian visa office in Buenos Aires whose reputation precedes her all throughout South America. As we walked in, we saw one American girl leaving in tears. The two people after that didn’t fare much better. Nor did we. Abused, yelled at and told to get our visa elsewhere- even though there was nowhere else we could get it.

 

The Incompetent Factor
Some countries are simply bureaucratic in nature and largely disorganised. My favourite tale is of the London embassy that ran out of visa stickers. Visas were being approved; there were just no stickers sitting in the stationary cupboard to actually approve them with.  Which isn’t great if you have to fly the next day.

 

So how do you avoid these sorts of problems? Below is a list of suggestions for avoiding Visa issues.

 

1. Be ware when in transit you may need a visa for the country you are transiting through. Similarly, if you're transiting through a country that doesn't like another country, they can make your life difficult (I had great fun at LAX a few years ago when transiting through to Cuba on a separate ticket).

2. Check whether you need certain vaccinations to gain entry (especially in Africa).


3. Don't leave getting your visas until the last minute

4. Whether you’re at a visa office or in the airport, you’ll need to stay calm, act dumb and be nice. Often whom you get and the mood they are in can dictate whether or not you will miss that flight. Don't get aggressive, as it’s just not worth it.


5. Don't overstay your visa: this can result in being banned from countries and deportation.


6. Rules, regulations, prices, terms and availability of visas can change on a daily basis. Roll with it.


7. Read the visa conditions of entry and fine print. Some visas start from the date of issue, others begin from the date of entry to the country.

 

8. Repeat: Some visas start from the date of issue, others begin from the date of entry to the country. I’ve seen people being pulled up many times who have visas already expired and almost done it myself on occasion.

 

9. Some professions attract extra visa queries, such as journalists, soldiers, etc. Be aware that if this is you, you may receive extra scrutiny and have to fill out extra application forms and possibly even pay more money.

 

10. Carry around a half dozen passport photos with you for applications

11. If your passport is damaged or even just slightly worse for wear, some border guards can be real stickler about it. If your passport is in a bad state, it can sometimes be worth upgrading to a new one.


12. Have access to your online bank accounts and have money in them so you can print off a recent statement if necessary.

 

And…

 

Once you’ve passed Customs and Border Control, forget about it and enjoy your trip!

 

 

 

By Shaney Hudson