I have an RTW ticket in my hand with a start date 4 months from today Sept 13, 2009 first flight departing London’s Heathrow 08:00 on BA 762 to Oslo. That date is set in stone but all onward flights open jaw just have to be back in London in 12 months.
Anyone interested in an RTW don’t even waste your time going to a travel agent because as mine said “it’s not worth it” meaning too time consuming for the compensation. Solution do it yourself by starting at the Flyer Talk forum; http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/global-airline-alliances-391
It’s going to take a bit of work & time just to figure out what they are talking about as they use airport codes & terminology but unlike most forums the information is valid & the forum hassle factor nil & in the end you will have a tailor made itinerary with the satisfaction of having done it yourself, it will take time & won’t be easy but then nothing worthwhile in life ever is.
I used the One World alliance & the Explorer 4 continent package because it fit the trip I wanted the best & AA (my favorite airline) is in that alliance while AC (which I hate) is in Sky Team. Some swear by Air Treks but for my itinerary they were a $1000 more than OW.
I also found booking through AA was cheapest as was originating the flight in London with the added bonus that Canadians (only) can pay for the ticket at the AA counter at Pearson in Canadian funds. If doing so (for an out of country point of origin) be prepared for a long wait (took me 3 1/2 hrs) as the computer software won’t print the tickets & the agent had to hand write them. Hey it works & I now have tickets for 4 months away at the price I like otherwise would have had to wait until I arrived in London to pay the price at that time.
My itinerary, dates changeable free, destinations changeable but with a healthy fee, is; 1) make my way to London by Sept 13, possibly via Iceland & Greenland
2) London to Oslo then a 5 day Scanrail pass taking me to St Petersburg via Lapland
3) a couple days in St Petersburg then onto Moscow & The Trans-Siberian to Vladavostock with stops at Lake Baikal & a detour to Ulan Bator (travel agent presently working on this so subject to slight changes) nonstop train 7 days
4) Ferry to Japan with a couple day lay over (Japan expensive) then flight to Delhi 9 1/2 hrs, visit Taj Mahal then train to Kathmandu (have absolutely no interest in touring India so see Taj & make tracks for Nepal
5) Once in Kathmandu arrange for overland tour via Everest to Lhasa (web sites not accurate & weather unknown so make arrangements on site)
6) Here we start the follow the wind section, have no time frame for anything except finish up Beijing area & Great Wall & head for the warm weather ASAP, have contacts at 4 different schools in China for things to see in area. side-trips to Korea & Philippines planed & make way mainly by rail through Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & Thailand (Siam) making sure to visit Angkor Wat, Hell Fire Pass & of course The Bridge over the River Kwai. Since the unconventional is the norm & I will be just next door a flight (can’t enter by land) to Myanmar (Burma) is a must, besides a traveler I met in Panama assured me it’s great & they really need the tourist dollars due to the scare propaganda of the Western media
7) Next will make my way to Bali & wherever in Indonesia I hear is worth seeing then back to Singapore for the flight to Perth Australia where will get an Australian rail pass or ticket whichever is cheaper to Alice Springs then there is a 30 day “Rock & Reef” tour at a reasonable price that takes in Ayers Rock up to Darwin across to Cairns the Barrier Reef & down to Sydney where I will make my way over to Melbourne hopefully a trip to Tasmania. Then over to Auckland New Zealand for a week or so depending on reports from fellow travelers even possibly Figi.
Back to Sydney for flight to Honolulu for a day or two then Los Angeles up to Seattle some how & either find cheap flight to Anchorage & cruise down the inside passage or cruise both ways. Have to take a side trip to Vancouver/Victoria to visit relatives. I will now have accomplished one goal, visited all 50 US states.
9) Back to Toronto for whatever-time is left until Sept & the end of my 12 months
10) Once back in London knowing what is left in my budget (if anything) I will proceed with a rail tour of the UK, Central Europe a stop in Vienna is a must on to Istanbul, Syria, Jordan, Israel a 21 day tour of Egypt over to Athens, Rome then rail through Southern France, Spain onto my finish in Marrakesh & back to where ever how ever.
Of course there is still all of South America & Easter Island but can do all that from home base in Antigua Guatemala once I have driven my restored Scout there via the 2450 mile “Will Rogers Highway” US Route 66 from Lake Shore Drive in Chicago IL to ALT US 101 in Santa Monica CA.