Traveler's Almanac, 1999 Annual Travel Guide
Columbus had the right idea. If you're traveling to Asia or the Pacific, instead of making a U-turn, just keep going. Depending on the route, round-the-world fares often are cheaper than round-trip fares or run just a few hundred dollars more — and you'll be allowed numerous stopovers along the way.
Here's the trick: Don't simply pick up the phone and call the airlines, because they'll put together an itinerary using just their worldwide airline partners and you'll often end up paying much more than you need to. A better idea is to contact High Adventure Travel (800-428-8735/www. highadv.com), Council Travel (800-226-8624 or 212-822-2700/www.ciee.org), or Air Brokers International (800-883-3273/www.airbrokers.com); these companies construct round-the-world itineraries using the least expensive point-to-point tickets for each leg of the trip. (They also can assemble itineraries that allow overland travel for some legs, which lets you get out and explore while making the ticket even cheaper.)
Let's say you're planning to fly from New York to Delhi in January. British Airways wants $2,400 for the trip (or $1,498 if you can stay 14 days). An around-the-world ticket (New York to London to Delhi to Bombay to Sydney to Los Angeles to New York) using their worldwide partners Qantas Airways and American Airlines will run about $3,189. But Air Brokers will ticket the above routing, plus allow you to add stops in Bangkok, Bali, and Auckland, for $1,899; High Adventure Travel's fare is $1,925.
For round-trip economy airfare from New York to Auckland via Los Angeles on Air New Zealand during January's high season, you're looking at $1,778. An around-the-world fare on Air New Zealand routed from Los Angeles to Auckland to Singapore to Bangkok to London and back to Los Angeles is $2,600. Air Brokers can do the same route for $2,199, and you'll get Sydney and Delhi thrown in for free.
Copyright 1998, Outside magazine