These are some tips that I came up with during my extensive research and planning of my Round the World Trip 2014.
- When booking a One World Award, it’s based on mileage. I created a spreadsheet of my city pairs and used Web Flyer’s Mileage Calculator to calculate how many miles I was flying. It helps to see where you can save miles on maybe shorter legs that don’t warrant cashing in award miles to pay for. This literally saved thousands of award miles by milking every little bit possible from my itinerary.
- Pick an award program and stick with it. I researched a lot, and I still don’t understand why the One World Award isn’t everyone’s go to for flying around the world with miles. I may be missing something, but I can’t see it yet.
- Understand the timeline of when you need to do things. Start making appointments for ensuring your plan is executed. For instance, I know you can only book tickets 330 in advance with AA awards, so I have timed out when I need to move my bookings to ensure I get the tickets I want during the dates (quite a bit in the future) I want to come back.
- Know how far in advance you can get visas–or if you even need one. I use Visa HQ to see where I am required to obtain a visa.
- Think strategically on when to buy a plane ticket vs when to use awards. A lot of intraAsia or European flights can be had for <$100 by budget airlines, which would make using mileage a loss. Keep your mileage for a big award, or ocean crossing.
- Figure out your cell phone situation. If you’re leaving the US, you’re in luck, T-Mobile is the way you should go–unlimited data in 140+ countries, and they usually kick in great promos every so often, like Europe 4g speeds for free during the summer.