Choosing the route

As I said in my previous post, we booked the tickets some months ago now. But how did we come up with the route? It can certainly be quite mind boggling when you look at a map of the whole world and think “right, where are we going to go?”.

To begin, we knew that we would be going to Australia. My parents are planning to be in Brisbane for 3 months and we wanted to meet up with them. We also wanted to go to Brazil, because we’ve learnt some Portuguese in the past and none of us has ever been to South America. Plus our former teacher has moved back to Rio, so we’d be able to meet up with her. I have relatives in New Zealand and the only visit any of has made there was when I went there aged 12. So that got added in. None of us has been to Japan or Hong Kong, so those looked like interesting stops on the way to Australia. Finally, all flights to South America from New Zealand seem to go through Santiago, so Chile was added to the list.

As it turns out we’ll be leaving on the second day of the World Cup and every country we visit will be taking part (except Hong Kong & Macau). Obviously I’ll be supporting England, but it may be difficult to catch the games (especially as we’ll be in the air for the first one). Apparently one of my New Zealand cousins used to play football with a member of the NZ World Cup Squad, so he’s hoping to be flying out to South Africa to cheer him on (and the rest of the All Whites).

Buying the tickets

We bought the round-the-world tickets back in October. We bought them with OneWorld, which is an airline alliance including Qantas, BA, JAL, Cathay Pacific, American, Finnair and (importantly for us) LAN from Chile. We wanted to go to Brazil and if your route includes South America, then your options are definitely reduced. The other airline alliances, Star Alliance and SkyTeam, don’t include a South American airline, so they weren’t any good for us.

Initially we went to the local Trailfinders shop in Oxford – they were the ones who pointed us at the OneWorld Explorer ticket. But on our second visit it was mentioned that they would be charging us £125 fee per ticket. Which would be £500 on top of the ticket cost. Gulp! If it had been £10 per ticket it wouldn’t have been a big problem, but sorry, that is an awful lot of money for something you can book yourself.

So we decided that we’d book it online using the interactive booking tool. I spent countless hours building the itinerary. When it came to the moment of booking though, availability had disappeared for our flight from Auckland to Santiago. It seems that there are limited seats on certain planes for RTW ticket holders and this was one of the ones that fills up early (10 months ahead in this case!) In a panic we made a new itinerary, including longer in South America, so that we could catch a flight one week earlier. Then we pressed the button and bought the tickets. We really were doing it.