Fly Around the World for Less – Like Santa

I’ll be blunt: reindeer can’t fly. You can though. But can you fly around the world like a certain jolly old elf? You can come close with a few airline tickets, and I’ve got some ideas on how to accomplish this feat–making an around the world flight trip more affordable.

Flexibility is Key to Cheaper Flights

As always, the key to finding the cheapest flights – whether you’re flying across the country or around the world – is flexibility. If you’re serious about a big trip, tinker with your schedule, talk to the boss, and get ready to travel. Then, investigate these methods:

1. Round the World Airline Tickets

It may take you weeks or months but round the world travel can be done. These fares are literally referred to as “round the world” and you can purchase them from some of the larger airline carriers or from an airline alliance like Oneworld or Star Alliance. Rules and restrictions vary. Here are some examples:

  • Generally, you must fly continuously in one direction, continent to continent.
  • The number of flight segments are limited (OneWorld caps it at 16 segments).
  • Round the world travel must typically be completed within a few months to a year  (Note: Round the world travel is not necessarily cheap, but it’s often cheaper than figuring it out on your own, airline by airline – and it’s a priceless experience).

2. Serial Getaway Flights

You can travel round the world – at your own pace and at the time of your choosing – with the FareCompare Where-to-Go Getaway Map. Try this:

  • Make a list of your dream destinations; use the Getaway Map for inspiration.
  • Set FareCompare real-time airfare alerts for all those destinations.
  • Wait for alerts on price drops to come in and create your own itinerary.

3. Use Those Frequent Flier Miles

Travel to your dream destinations for less by using miles from your frequent flier program to purchase flights. Don’t have enough miles? You could join the mileage runners in their end- of-the-year race for miles. If that’s too drastic, note that some miles programs allow you to buy more miles, or travel one-way with miles and the other way with conventional payment. Check with your program(s) for further details.

More from Rick Seaney on ABC News:

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Published: December 22, 2010