Travelling with Individual One Way Tickets
Travelling on individual tickets does not actually say anything about where you are going, it only indicates how you are travelling. While an RTW ticket definitely gets you around the entire world, Individual One Way Tickets can either do the same, or they can take you on a multi continent trip. These multi continent trips are usually circular trips in which not every single longitude is crossed and, instead of being only East or West bound, you travel rather in a kind of big loop.
When to use an Individual One Way Ticket
Usually IOW tickets are great if you are already a little more experienced in world travel and would like to have more flexibility. Technically you could still pre-arrange all the tickets from home, but the true purpose of the Individual One Way Tickets is of course that you arrange everything while you are travelling and when ever you see fit. This gives you the true flexibility that makes world travel so exciting.
Travel with Individual One Way Tickets, allows you not only to decide when to take the next flight, but also from where you want to take it. This makes overland travel a lot easier because, while you are in a country, you get to decide how much more you want to see, before you move on to the next place further away. While this flexibility is great, it also sometimes requires some sort of destination flexibility from your end. Because you are basically buying flights last-minute, you might find yourself in situations where you find a really cheap flight to a destination that was not the one you originally had in mind. But if you are flexible enough, this can be a great adventure.
While this flexibility is great and desired, the down side of the Individual One Way Tickets is that you can not plan the cost in advance. You might end up with really cheap flight arrangements, or you might run into situations where you have to buy a ticket and no budget flights are available. In this case, choosing to fly less and use ground transportation whenever possible might influence the final cost of your trip significantly.
My personal Individual One Way Tickets
By the time I left New York and started my second world trip, I had only one fight ticket in my pocket, New York to Bogota in Colombia. After doing quite a bit of research I found the cheapest ticket that got me to a destination in South America that I had not been to before. So for 125 dollars, I started my trip in Colombia.
From that point on, nothing was really set in stone. Besides seeing a little bit more of South America, my wish list included South Africa and India. Since the biggest hubs to leave South America for South Africa were Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, all I knew was that I needed to get to either one of these places from Colombia. Ideally I wanted to cover the entire distance overland by bus, but because I ended up traveling for six weeks north in Colombia, I decided to buy one extra flight from Santa Marta down to Arequipa in Peru.
From Arequipa to Buenos Aires I went entirely by bus and from there I caught a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. I travelled onwards overland to Cape Town and then left for Kolkata, India, via a stop over in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. From India on, most of my travels were overland, or with really cheap individual flights. Since fights within South Asia and Southeast Asia are so cheap, Individual One Way Tickets turned out to be the perfect option and they still allowed me to keep a good handle on my budget.
The Individual One Way Ticket in actual use
After using an RTW ticket for one year and realizing that you constantly have to travel in little circles and buy extra tickets to get back to the original destinations, it was a great relief to finally travel in a straight line. During the entire trip I never had to go back to the same destination and so naturally I always left by plane from a different city. In terms of travel feel, as no backtracking or extra flight cost was involved, this was absolutely perfect.
The only downside to Individual One Way Tickets was that during the trip I had to allow for enough time to research cheap flights whenever I felt ready to leave a country. Since I never finalized my plans and bought a ticket until I was certain that I wanted to carry on, there were for instance between Buenos Aires and Cape Town, when I simply couldn’t get a cheap flight. On the one hand, I probably waited too long to buy a ticket, but on the other there were very limited airlines flying this connection, so all I could get was a ticket to Johannesburg instead of Cape Town. The price, however, almost made me question if my Individual One Way Tickets were really feasible.
What did make the individual tickets feasible was the fact that I could easily extend what was supposed to be a 6 months trip up to a 15 months trip and add as many destinations as I desired. I was also not limited in the number of stops within each continent, the number of miles I could travel, or the airlines I could use.
So even if the Individual One Way Tickets should not turn out to be a whole lot cheaper than the RTW ticket, depending on how many flights you need to add, it will definitely be worth it in terms of flexibility. You only have to invest some time into researching flights and becoming comfortable with that little amount of uncertainty when your next flight to the next destination will actually be.
Pros and Cons of the Individual One Way Tickets
Total flexibility and no fixed travel route
Not limited to one year travel only
Linear traveling possible with no backtracking
Overland travel can be the main focus of the trip
Travel East and West possible
No limitations of stops within each continent
All airlines including local budget airlines can be used
No planning required before the trip starts
Constant search for cheap flights while traveling
Flights can be more expensive if not bought in advance
No onward tickets can be presented at immigration
Can be really expensive for remote connections
No set flight cost at the beginning of the trip
Flight changes are subject to additional cost
- Map with Travel Route
- Highlights of third World Trip
- Travel Diary Table of Contents
- Links to all individual Diary Pages