Traveling on a Round the World Ticket: Conditions and Rules


[Mike Watson] / [moodboard] / Thinkstock

There are plenty of ways to get yourself around the world and it’s never been easier than right now. For as long as anyone can remember, humans have been walking, riding, sailing, rafting, and hitchhiking just to get around the world. If you have plenty of money, but no time, you can hire yourself a private jet or set off on a series of first class jaunts from one airport to the next. If you’ve got plenty of time, but not much money…don’t worry. There are still plenty of options. The best one being the infamous Round the World (RTW) ticket. With this ticket, you can head in one direction around the world, stopping at various destinations until you return to your original one. Sound interesting? Well, it is, but like anything there are a few catches.

One Way Only
You have to pick a direction (east or west) and stick with that direction. Often the direction will be decided based on the continent you depart from and you can’t cross an ocean more than once.

You Must Return to Your Departure Point
You have to use the ticket to return to your point of departure so if you leave from San Francisco, you have to fly back into San Francisco once your around the world trip is over.

No Backtracking
It doesn’t matter how much you might love a certain place, once you’ve been there, you cannot go back using your RTW ticket.

Limited Number of Transfers
There are a minimum and maximum number of stops allowed. This will depend on the airline alliance and the cost of your flight. The minimum number of stops is usually three and the maximum number of stops can be anywhere from five on up depending on the ticket price.

Time Limit
Usually you have up to twelve months to complete your trip, but you’ll need to check the details when you purchase the ticket.

Mileage Limit
The ticket usually has a mileage limit that can be anywhere from 26,000 – 40,000 miles. Again, the exact limit will depend on the type of ticket you purchase with the more expensive tickets allowing for more mileage. Land travel is usually included in this limit so if you decide to take a train or walk across a country or continent, the distance you traveled will still be subtracted from your total mileage allowance even though you didn’t fly.

Must Plan Ahead
You will need to submit your itinerary ahead of time. While you are usually allowed to change the dates, once you’ve selected your route, you cannot change it without having your ticket reissued and this will cost money.

If these sound like conditions you can live with, the best way to start planning your trip is to head to the Star Alliance Booking Page and start exploring Round the World options.

By Nikki Hodgson