In India, world tour trips are taken by top business companies across the continents. Free independent travelers and high net worth individuals are indulging in it.
“Several factors like high income, discerning travel palates, and early retirement have given a spark to such travels.”
RTW as a concept offers the start and end of the journey in the same country.
The number of stoppages you take can vary from five to 16, and backtracking between continents is often restricted. Kiran Vaidya, 33, and their wife Chandni Roy, 31, are currently pursuing their dream of navigating the planet.
They started in Toronto, Canada, where both were working with information technology firms. Their first halt is Europe, at Portugal.
They will travel to Asia, Africa, Oceania, South America, and back to North America.
Further, an RTW trip involves an excellent planning process, and it can quickly get difficult to stick to a budget. When a person prepares a budget, they should account for flight costs, accommodation, local travel, tickets for sightseeing, food, and cruise or extraordinary train journeys.
Further, the duration of these trips can be up to 45 days. However, it depends on you as to how long you wish to travel.
Vishal Suri, chief executive, tour operating, Kuoni India, says such trips are complex, and one should start at least four months prior; the earlier, the better. Book most things before starting.
Booking from your country of residence will save you from carrying considerable amounts in cash and swiping cards.
This will also ensure travelers are not adversely affected by currency fluctuations. He suggests one carry foreign currency-denominated cards.
After you are done with the itinerary, you will need to start searching for flight tickets. For this, one can look at global airline alliances such as the Star Alliance, Oneworld, or SkyTeam that offer RTW tickets, which can work out to be cheaper than the usual fare.
Then, some companies focus on RTW tickets, such as Bootsnall and AirTreks. However, you can book your tickets on your own too.
These options have advantages and drawbacks. Airline alliances, for example, allow you to redeem airline miles and accrue miles that can help in future travels.
However, they might also restrict your journey to, say, 16 destinations, including stopovers from where a traveler would take connecting flights.
Also, rescheduling of flights attracts a higher fee. In the service that Bootsnall and Airtreks offer, the ticket cost works out to be cheaper than via airline alliances. Also, one can reschedule individual flights, and it will attract a smaller fee.
Leena Bansal, 29, traveled to 32 countries on an RTW trip after quitting her job. She says airfares can be a significant expense, and that’s why she took a plane only to cross a continent.
“All the other travels were overland. Buses, trains, and ferries in most parts of the world are very cheap.”
A seven-destination trip such as Delhi-Istanbul-Milan-London-Chicago-Bangkok-Delhi can cost a traveler around Rs 300,000 if booked through an alliance. You can bring this cost down by 25 percent using dedicated RTW services.
Doing it on your own can work out to be even cheaper if you combine overland travel and take flights only between significant destinations, using budget airlines such as Ryanair, Fly540, or Air Asia.
Traveling on an Indian passport is not easy. However, many countries allow visa-on-arrival for Indians.
Such as Jordan, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Try to include such countries in your itinerary. Some countries provide you with visas online, like Bahrain and Kenya. For a Schengen visa (to European Union countries), travelers usually opt for countries tourists don’t frequent, reducing the waiting period. Vaidya opted for Portugal as it was a walk-in and the processing time was a week.
Countries offer visas for different periods. Some might give it for a month, others for three or more. You will plan the itinerary accordingly.