Recently, whilst sitting in my office and glumly staring out the window at the lashing Scottish summer rain, I got itchy feet and begun daydreaming of exotic lands.
By the end of the week, I’d productively managed to find a way to travel all the way around the world for less than £600 (A comparable RTW trip from STA Travel costs over £1,600). And with more preparation, you can go even lower.
EDINBURGH, UK → AMSTERDAM, Holland → DUBAI, UAE → MANILA, Philippines → SYDNEY, Australia → BRISBANE, Australia → HONOLULU, Hawaii → LAS VEGAS, USA → LOS ANGELES, USA → OSLO, Norway → EDINBURGH, UK
- Edinburgh – Amsterdam (Easyjet) £27
Pack the rucksack, sublet my room for a couple of months. Say adios to work and go!
- Amsterdam – Dubai (Tranavia) £101
Enjoy late Autumn in Amsterdam, along the canals.
- Dubai – Manila (Cebu Air Pacific) £45
A quick stop in Dubai – most risky part of trip as only a few hours to connect.
- Manila – Sydney (Cebu Air Pacific) £36
Three glorious weeks to explore the Philippines, island hopping between the islands including Palawan and Bohol. (Additional internal flights costing £40)
- Brisbane – Honolulu (Jetstar) £150
Take the tourist route in a car or campervan from Sydney to Brisbane along Australia’s famed East Coast.
- Honolulu – Las Vegas (Allegiant) £100
A few nights on the beach before it’s time to leave the relaxation behind and hit the frenetic all night entertainment of Sin City.
- Los Angeles – Oslo (Norwegian Air) £110
Take an All-American road trip from Las Vegas through Death Valley to the sprawl of Los Angeles.
- Oslo – Edinburgh (Ryanair) £14
Swap the smoggy fumes of LA for the delights of picturesque Norwegian fjords and valleys. And then home again. What an adventure.
⇒ TOTAL FLIGHT COST: £583 / €815 / $900 ⇐
So It’s That Easy?! Yeah right…
There’s a literally hundreds of combinations you can choose from. Low Cost Airlines have popped up all over the world in recent years but aye, it’s true – it’s not so straight forward.
It takes alot of planning to do this. It’s not as simple as booking with an established carrier such as Lufthansa or Cathay Pacific. All the flights listed above are with low cost airlines so there are no frills at all – which mean means:
- No checked in baggage: Checked in baggage would add an extra 30% to the cost of this trip.
TIP – I’m packing one 30 litre backpack (55CMx40CMx20). I’ll be in warmer parts of the world for the most part so I should survive (till I get to Oslo!).
- Meals and drinks cost extra: – think about this when flying LAX to Oslo (over 14 hours). You’ll be starved, only to find onboard costs are crazy!
TIP – Best is to cook some food beforehand, or grab some fast food and pack it in your bag. They can’t stop you eating your own food 🙂
- Cannot carry any large liquids: Nothing over 100ml (deodorant, shampoo, aftershave). Most toiletries are available under 100ml in discount stores (even cheaper in Asia). Remember that you can take anything that is exactly 100ml, not just under 100ml.
- No Comeback on Missed Connection: As the flights are with separate low cost airlines, there’s no code share. So if flight A is delayed, and you miss flight B – there’s no comeback. It will be up to you to reorganise the journey. Your travel insurance will cover you but of course you must pay up front first. Which, as it will be last minute, will be a extortionate price.
TIP – I’d advise not booking connecting same day flights as there is always the chance of a delay.* It’s best to stay at least one night, and sure there’s no point in flying somewhere if you’re just going to stay in the airport. Get onto Couchsurfing and find a cool host to show you around the canals of Amsterdam, the skyscrapers of Dubai or the hills of Hollywood.
*Nonetheless I’m taking this risk in Dubai…fingers crossed it all goes to plan!
So Tell Me – How?!
It’s all down to the best website for any traveller – Skyscanner.net – which compares flights all around the world. Prepare a cup of tea or coffee, because it’s alot of work and can get confusing!
- Check out key hubs around the world – such as London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York. Then check the cheapest flights from these hubs by choosing “Everywhere” as your destination.
- There will most likely be a Low Cost Airline flying also from your city to one of these key hub airports – for instance I found flights to Manila from Dubai. And then I searched for cheap flights from Amsterdam to Dubai.
- Keep doing this, and you’ll soon realise that certain airlines are prolific in certain areas – Ryanair in Europe, Air Asia in, well you guessed, Asia, Allegiant Air in Western USA.
- Regularly check their websites for flash sales. Air Asia have frequent sales across Asia and Oceania, saving hundreds on flights to Australia.
- Crossing the Pacific is the most difficult part – which makes Hawaii (Honolulu) the perfect midway stop. A number of airlines fly from Australia to Hawaii. Then catch a cheap flight from Hawaii to Western Canada or USA.
This is just step one, I’ll be revealing more in the near future so keep an eye out 🙂