Back in 2012, I took off on a solo trip around the world. Circumnavigating the planet is known as an “RTW Trip.” (I have no idea why nobody calls them “ATW.”) Back then, I went from Paris to Copenhagen to Malmö to Cape Town to Hong Kong to Sydney to Auckland and Queenstown and home. I did the whole thing in 34 days.
It was a life-changing experience. Immersing myself in almost constant change was incredibly challenging and rewarding.
Let’s fast forward to today.
Next month, I have a meeting in Porto, Portugal. I’ve never been to Portugal and, like most of my work-related travel, I decided to tack on time for a bit of personal exploration. After pouring over maps and talking to friends, I decided to venture outside of Portugal to visit Seville, Gibraltar, and Marrakech.
But, then I looked at my schedule and considered the “portability” of my current projects. I realized that, based on what I have going on, I can work from anywhere during the month of July.
So, I decided to book the “long” way home.
For a great in-depth guide to RTW Trip planning, check out this post from Nomadic Matt. If you’re interested in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, keep on reading…
Step One: Book an RTW Airline Ticket
Most airlines are part of an Alliance of many airlines, which gives their customers access to many more destinations. The big three alliances are SkyTeam, OneWorld, and Star Alliance.
One of the many benefits of these alliances is that they each have websites that make it relatively easy to book RTW tickets with their member airlines. Since I’m one of Delta’s biggest fans and they’re part of SkyTeam, I went there. Now, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t always make sense to book an RTW airline ticket for your RTW Trip. It is worth doing some research to determine whether it’s more efficient (and/or cheaper) to book individual flights.
Want to plan your own RTW Trip? Or just play around with the tool? Click on the SkyTeam logo below:
This time, an RTW Ticket made sense for me.
I began building an itinerary that got me to some off-the-beaten-path places I’ve wanted to visit for a while — Madagascar and Mongolia are at the top of the list. So that’s where I started. Then I filled in the gaps to break up the trip (knowing I only had about one month to do it)
When I settled on my stops, I booked the ticket! One of the many rules for RTW tickets is that you have to start and end in the same city. I chose Paris since it’s a SkyTeam hub and very near the meeting in Porto. Because I’d already booked the flights for the meeting in Porto, I pushed that original return flight from Europe back by a month. Yes, you read right: I fly from the US back to Europe only to return again. Why? Believe it or not, it was cheaper than not completing the RTW trip. The logic defies me and we’ll see how I’m feeling when I get to that part of the trip…
The Stops for my Solo RTW Trip
- Paris, France
- Seville, Spain*
- Porto, Portugal*
- Marrakesh, Morocco*
- Antananarivo, Madagascar [YES!]
- Kathmandu, Nepal
- Seoul, South Korea
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia* [YES]
- Okinawa, Japan*
- Anchorage, Alaska, USA
- Paris, France
*These stops are not part of the?RTW ticket. Instead, I’ll book separate flights to get to these cities. Why? Again, because of the complicated rules associated with RTW tickets. Each airline alliance is different, but generally speaking, you have to book it within a certain number of stops and mileage requirements. Someday I’ll do a separate post about these rules.
One of the many reasons I love travel is because I love airplanes and the airline industry. So this will be a treat since?I?ll get to sample airlines like Air France, TAP, Kenya Airways, Korean, China Southern, and – of course – Delta. All in, the trip will be 46,018 miles. Since the Equator is 24,874 miles, I’m practically flying around the earth twice!
What probably sounds awful to some people sounds like heaven to me!
So, there you have it: I leave for Europe on June 30, 2017, and return stateside on August 3, 2017.
Keep an eye here on GreenerGrass.com for updates as I continue prepare!
I love RTW tickets! They allowed my husband and I to take our first big trip together, back when we first started dating. People asked us how we could afford to go to so many countries and it was really the RTW ticket that made going to so many places so feasible. Have an amazing trip!
I bet that was a great trip! I agree — RTW Tickets are a little-known secret I wish more people would take advantage of!