Why We Didn’t Buy Our RTW Tickets with STA Travel

Due to the nature of our trip and how much of an organised control freak I am, we knew we wanted to get a round the world ticket. We have tight deadlines to keep to meaning that all our flights are pretty much finalised, so rather than buy flights as we went we wanted to have them all booked and sorted (we will let you know whether or not this was a good idea once we have done it!).

The first thing we did was book an appointment at STA Travel. Why? Becuase we’d heard of them and they pop up everywhere when you search for anything ‘gap year’ related.

We turned up for our appointment feeling really excited. For us this trip is just as much of a financial commitment as putting a deposit on a house or getting married, so we were really keen to get started.

Travel planning

Before we had even taken our coats off and sat down the representative had already started asking us about our trip. The way this had gone in my head was her saying something along the lines of “Hi I’m X, wow an 8 month trip- how exciting! Let’s have a cup of tea and have a chat about it“. I know they do this day in day out, but for us this is once in a lifetime and we were feeling deflated before we had really begun. They didn’t even offer a glass of water.

The meeting did get better and was useful. I can see why lots of people us them because they have a great brand and offer so many packages. I wasn’t convinced though and needed to do more research.

I came across and sent a brief email off to get a quote, really just as a comparison without thinking too much about it. I heard back from a man called Sanjay who not only offered a quote which was cheaper, but far more bespoke.

For the cheaper quote I got an extra flight, could tailor the order of the flights and make them more convenient for us. For example, we are now able to fly into Auckland and out of Christchurch, rather than leaving from Auckland too.

Sanjay was also really knowledgeable about all the places we were visiting and took the time to chat through everything in detail. When we had booked the flights we then went to see him and he talked through each part of our trip in more detail, even regarding things like additional activities which were nothing to do with

We felt really excited and assured that our trip was planned the best it could be.

Top things to consider when buying a RTW ticket:

  • Speak to as many agents as you can to get a wealth of advice and options.
  • Do you need a RTW ticket? If you don’t have strict deadlines, could booking as you go be easier?
  • Make your ticket as bespoke as you can. Don’t settle for a standard route if it doesn’t suit you. It will end up costing you more.
  • How much will it cost if you need to change your flights?
  • Which airlines will you be using?
  • Are the flights at convenient times, or during unsociable hours?


Sarah has a thing for maps, so one of her favourite holiday pass-times is exploring a new city. Give her food and beer (and a map) and she'll be happy.

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