Around the world,  Before the World Tour,  Our Itinerary,  Preparations,  TDM

Travel Nation: Review on buying round-the-world tickets with an agency

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]This post isn’t sponsored

Travel Nation is the English agency we went through to buy our round-the-world tickets. It was recommended to us by Caroline from the blog Voirlemonde, who told us how reactive this agency was, even during the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, to quickly find a solution and postpone the flights

Aside from the very competitive price, I wanted to highlight Travel Nation’s exceptional service, especially that of our consultant Solly

A dream route for an optimized cost

I contacted Travel Nation to get a quote for a round-the-world ticket, with a more or less disjointed travel plan

Note: For those who don’t know how a round-the-world ticket works, I wrote a detailed article here.

I had three problems

(1) I wanted to cross the ocean, from Singapore to Easter Island… but there was no direct flight. I didn’t know where to stop in the middle
(2) I wanted to add South Africa and Cuba to the itinerary, but all the simulations gave me quotes like €10,000 per person
(3) I had a very vague idea of my journey in South America

Clearly, I needed the help of a specialist

Our consultant Solly, a French-speaking consultant, who has himself been around the world (all the consultants of this agency are necessarily world tourists), called us several times on the phone to discuss the itinerary together

He made several simulated quotes to solve my problems

(1) I wanted to cross the ocean, from Singapore to Easter Island… but I didn’t know where to stop in the middle

Solly proposed two additional stops: Auckland in New Zealand and Papeete (Tahiti, French Polynesia). Those who know the principle of the round-the-world ticket know that for such a distance, the addition of 1 or 2 extra stops does not increase the score that much. And the fact of linking New Zealand, Tahiti and then Easter Island without ruining us too much seduced us particularly. Now that we have visited these two destinations, I can tell you that they are among the Top 10 experiences of our world tour. All those to whom we told this anecdote are too jealous (especially those who have the round-the-world ticket but who made Auckland -> Santiago direct). In short, without Solly, we would never have been able to swim with the sharks in Moorea

(2) I wanted to add South Africa and Cuba to the itinerary, but all the simulations gave me quotes like €10,000 per person

After several simulations & quotes, he suggested we buy a round trip Paris – Johannesburg instead of including it in the round-the-world ticket. For Cuba, it’s the same thing, but as we don’t have any dates yet, we decide not to book this round trip with Travel Nation but to book it separately, when we’ll have more information about the dates

Indeed, the addition of Havana would have cost us 1700€ more in the round-the-world ticket vs. 500€ for a return ticket from Paris
And the detour to South Africa, paid separately, is 600€ vs. 1800€ in a round-the-world ticket

If the agency wanted to pocket a lot of money without being ethical, it would have included these destinations in the round-the-world ticket, instead of bending over backwards to find us a cheaper alternative.

Moreover, for Paris – New Delhi, instead of going through the boring Amsterdam, Solly was force of proposal by putting us Doha in Qatar, a Gulf country in the middle of Ramadan. There too, enjoying an iftar-barbecue in the middle of the desert is one of the Top 10 best experiences of our world tour

(3) I had a very vague idea of my journey in South America

Knowing South America very well, Solly advised us to take the bus rather than flying. Super useful advice because it allowed us to refine our itinerary in South America later (when we are on the continent actually) and to be a little more spontaneous (so spontaneous that we added Paraguay and Uruguay on a whim)

Final Itinerary

Here is my final itinerary with Travel Nation. The // correspond to the overland trips that we do ourselves without using the ticket

Paris-Johannesburg-Paris-Doha-Delhi// Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Auckland-Papeete-Easter Island-Santiago//Buenos Aires-Rio-Paris

> Budget : 3800€/person ( rate in February 2016)

And here is the complete itinerary of our round-the-world trip (I only put the names of the countries in red for the trips outside the round-the-world ticket)

Paris-Johannesburg-Paris-Doha-Delhi//Nepal-Thailand-Burma-Vietnam-China-Philippines-Vietnam//Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Auckland-Papeete-Easter Island-Santiago/Argentina-Chile-Bolivia-Peru-Paraguay-Argentina-Uruguay/Buenos Aires-Rio-Paris//Cuba-Paris

Note: At one point, I regretted putting Buenos Aires in my round-the-world ticket (I would have liked to put Iguazú instead), but finally I was able to rework my trip in a very logical and economical way, allowing me to add two other countries with very little tourism: Paraguay and Uruguay that are worth visiting. Moreover, these are two countries that I won’t necessarily have the opportunity to visit later, except on a world tour.

Quick and free modifications

During our world tour, we had to change dates for two flights: Buenos Aires – Rio and Rio – Paris. These changes were requested by email and were made very quickly (2 working days, for a non-urgent request)

Note: Changes to the first flight of the round-the-world ticket may incur fees. But for the remaining flights, 0 fees, provided you go through the agency, and not with Air France for example

Flight modifications added as “dry flights”, such as Paris – Johannesburg – Paris also incur costs. It is important to discuss with your consultant to know exactly which flights are part of the round-the-world ticket, and which flights have been added as “dry flights

Moreover, for flights crossing the oceans, there is a limited % reserved for round-the-world tickets, if you want to change the dates, you have to do it early enough

I put an extract of the general conditions here for your information

Before departure :
Changing the date and/or time of your first flight is permitted with a fee of £250 plus any applicable taxes, fuel surcharge and fare difference if applicable on unused areas. The change of itinerary after the full payment for tickets but before departure costs £250 per ticket plus any tax increase, difference tariff and fuel surcharge. If you remove one of the flights from your itinerary it will imply the total reissue of the ticket applying the above mentioned fees. Changes to flights booked after the first intercontinental flight are possible before departure but could involve an increase in taxes at the time of booking. If you wish to change your first flight, the the new date must respect the validity of the ticket, i.e. one year from the date of issue of the original ticket.

After the departure :
Once your trip has begun, date changes are possible (subject to availability) at no charge with Travel Nation or directly with the airline for a penalty of $25 USD. Any change of itinerary after the first flight made is possible with Travel Nation. The fee is £175 plus tax increase on fuel surcharge for unused flights. If you delete one of the flights from your itinerary this will be considered as a change of itinerary and will imply the re-issuance of your electronic tickets and the payment of the above mentioned fees. Please note that airline offices at abroad aren’t entitled to re-issue the new routes.
If you do not show up on a booked flight, the airlines are entitled to cancel your entire round-the-world ticket.
However, it is possible to rebook your seats with a £175 reissue fee plus additional taxes per person. Depending on the availability on board, it is possible that the original seats may not be available at the time of the flight reservation. You will have to book another date or a different time.
Please also note that if you make a change directly with the airline company we may be in inability to access your reservation and consult your new itinerary. In these circumstances the airline company takes full control of your ticket in their own reservation system, which means that in the future, any changes to your ticket will be made by the the airline company will manage the trip, so you will have to contact them directly.
General Information: Please note that changes in dates are subject to availability of seats on board. We will however, it is advisable to make your changes as soon as possible, especially for flights during busy periods the year. Especially for flights that aren’t daily.

An irreproachable customer service

When we call Solly on the phone (or his replacement when he is on vacation), he is either available right away or he calls us back the same day. I haven’t seen such responsiveness from competing agencies. And that reassures me a lot, I tell myself that if ever there is a big emergency, I can always count on Travel Nation

At the time of booking in February 2016, some flights couldn’t yet be confirmed (too far away, in April 2017). We completely forgot to remind the agency to confirm these flights, but the agency thought about it by itself and confirmed the flights for us a few months later, as soon as it was possible

In addition, during our stay in New Zealand, there was an earthquake, blocking access to the very touristy town of Kaikoura and paralyzing the ferry service between the two islands. Again, knowing that we were in New Zealand at that time, the agency took the initiative to send us an arm’s length email to explain the situation, the evacuation of tourists by helicopter, the ferry service, safety instructions etc. and spontaneously propose to modify our plane tickets if necessary

Meanwhile, the car rental company in New Zealand, to whom we paid a fortune to rent a car, didn’t bother to send us an email and ask if we were alive

Emergency number available 24/7

We have never had to call this number (fortunately) but it is important to have an agency available 24/7 like Travel Nation

Because we heard aboutanother agency that only answers urgent requests between 9am and 6pm and from Monday to Saturday (not Sunday). And when you are under stress, when your visa has expired and you absolutely have to take your plane, believe me, you will need your agency to be available 24/7

I put here the information concerning this emergency number

At Travel Nation, we are at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have an emergency outside of our hours to open, please call our emergency number in English at +33 (0)xxxx and leave a message on the answering machine, available at all times. We will call you back after doing some research in the next 30 minutes to solve your problem. Please note that this number is for emergencies only. All non-emergency requests will be handled during our regular business hours. You can use this number for
1. Any involuntary urgent flight change if
you travel within 24 hours (e.g. natural disaster, strike or illness)
2. Problems at the airport during your

Very good rates

Of course, after I had established my final itinerary, I asked for quotes from other agencies, I compared prices myself using Google Flight and its “multi-destination” system, I entered the itineraries on the 3 airline alliances… I tested several combinations of dates, in all directions. But Travel Nation remains the cheapest!

What more could you ask for? An intelligent itinerary and attractive rates. I recommend Travel Nation with my eyes closed and especially Solly who, thanks to her experience as a globetrotter, has given us unforgettable experiences. [/vc_column_text][/vc_row]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *