the 2/1/08 departure date is fast approaching and i still do not have an airline ticket. i have spent the past 2-3 months researching the various approaches to buying tickets for such a huge trip without spending my entire trip budget on airfare. it ain’t easy, folks, lemme tell yez. first, i have gone to the fabulous folks at Bootsnall’s recommended trip planner, AirTreks, and punched in the majority of the major destinations i want to cover and then see what the estimate comes up to. so far the quotes i have received have been waaaaaay beyond the budget (i hope to spend no more than about $6,000 TOTAL airfare, but i am not sure this is practical considering the way airfares have risen in the last year or two). if anyone reading this has any practical (eg, cheap) suggestions on how to shave off some $$$ in airfare, i’m all ears.
next, i have harassed my long-suffering travel agent mother for information and was referred to specific carriers for their Around The World options in order to maximize my travel dollars. i have yet to phone them but will follow up on that soon. the good news is, she really knows her stuff and has been EVERYWHERE herself (you wonder where i get my wanderlust from? well, wonder no more), so i don’t have to worry about them providing good info when i do contact them.
another source i have been using has been an agent at AirTreks who’s quoted me $6K for travel up through July 2008, and including many side-stops that i hadn’t planned on but find rather interesting now that i notice them.
the problem i’m finding with low estimated airfare is that my trip hops around in several directions rather than continuing along in the same direction from sf->world->sf. this side-tracking causes the price to rise significantly. i think the plan will have to be to go with the RTW ticket using the best company/agent offering the best fare and including as many flights as possible, then rely on overland trekking (trains, tuk tuks, buses, boats, hooves, etc.) and separate airline tickets from on the road for the rest.
next up: where to find a group of bicyclists in southeast asia that will let me join them for all or part of a journey through the rice paddies, etc., in springtime. all suggestions welcome, good readers.