One day I started noticing how many cheap long haul flights there are.
Norwegian and WOWair opening flights from USA to Europe for $149. Air Asia was flying to Europe, which they stopped, but they still run flights from SE Asia to Australia for $100 or so.
Also, there are really cheap flights within Europe and Asia.
Then it dawned on me.
I bet I could put together a round-the-world ticket for the price of some international roundtrips. And so I did. I was able to piece together a string of flights to Europe, Asia, and Australia for $573. (And price them out with realistically combined dates).
Then I realized that oneway flights from Australia and New Zealand to the USA are much cheaper than flights that go the other direction. This post is about piecing it all together.
And the crazy thing is how much cheaper this is than a flight to most destinations in SE Asia. If you go to Kayak… Well, let’s do it.
Just now, from DC to Bali, searching with flexible dates, it’s about $1,300. Yet, below I’m going to outline how I can get to Kuala Lumpur with different airlines for $412. And upon checking, Air Asia consistently has flights from KL to Bali for $57.
In other words, by piecing together cheaper flights one can get a oneway ticket to Bali (with stopovers in Europe and Asia) for $469… which is less than half of $1,300.
I’m definitely taking “the long way” to Asia, but it’s only because the post is entirely about doing a round the world ticket. So I’m sure it can be done for much cheaper.
But what’s going on here?
In short, I think regional flights and airlines are undervalued. Or maybe they are just better at having lower costs. Maybe it’s because there are land transit competitors. I don’t know, but I’ll show multiple 8 hour flights that are ~$100, and yet, 6 hour flights across the Atlantic are $600 on many airlines.
Also, I want to note a really great point, I just noticed, by ucipass in my last post. The fuel surcharges in my latest British Airways Avios round-the-world trip idea could add up. So why use Avios?
I still think there is huge value in Avios, like you could get up to 26 oneway domestic from the newest BA card’s bonus… but I think there’s a good point. What if I could do it all for super cheap without points?
Finding Cheap Long Flights
WOW to Europe = $149
With discount airlines going across the Atlantic, getting to Europe can actually be pretty cheap. Here are some of the deals with WOW Air.
Middle East and Sri Lanka
Believe it or not, I’m able to find tons of cheap flights from Europe to different places in the Middle East. Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, and a few others.
Then it seemed that getting to East Asia was a little more expensive, so I tried to figure out how to get half way. And Sri Lanka is an amazing country to stop at half way. Sri Lanka is amazing and probably one of my top few favorite countries. And flights to East Asia from CMB are less than $100. So Europe to Middle East to Sri Lanka to South East Asia for $200 to $300.
- Paris to Budapest = $22
- Budapest to Dubai = $81
- Dubai to Sri Lank = $80
- Sri Lanka to Asia = $80
Asia to Australia $135
Air Asia has been having big sales to get the Australians to come party in SE Asia. So flights for just over $100, and it’s an 8+ hour flight. A seriously good deal.
Australia to Hawaii = $200
I noticed once that oneways from New Zealand to the US were way cheaper than the reverse route. And they were quite cheap. Even one way Air New Zealand flights are only $445. But I found they are even cheaper to Hawaii, and it includes JetStar flights from Australia. It’s a pretty long distance
Actual Route, Actual Dates
Instead of just cherry picking the cheapest prices across a calendar, I decided to create an actual 6 weekish, round the world trip. I’ll give the quick outline and then share all the screen shots of prices I found.
- Boston – Paris = Oct 28, $149
- Paris – Budapest = Nov 4, $22
- Budapest – Dubai = Nov 12, $75
- Dubai – Sri Lanka = Nov 17, $120
- Sri Lanka – Kuala Lumpur = Nov 24, $71.17
- Kuala Lumpur – Sydney = Dec 1, $135.50
- Sydney – Hawaii = Dec 5, $324
- Hawaii – NYC = Dec 9, $282
Total = $1,179
It’s just proof- you can skip the picture part.
Boston – Paris = Oct 28, $149
Paris – Budapest = Nov 4, $22
Budapest – Dubai = Nov 12, $75
Dubai – Sri Lanka = Nov 17, $120
Sri Lanka – Kuala Lumpur = Nov 24, $71.17
Kuala Lumpur – Sydney = Dec 1, $135.50
Sydney – Hawaii = Dec 5, $324
Hawaii – NYC = Dec 9, $282
I want to note one detail…
Notice that all the flights up until Sydney are only $573.
That’s Boston – Paris – Budapest – Dubai – Sri Lanka – Kuala Lumpur – Sydney for $573!
That’s less than half the cost and more than half the flights. Incredible deal so far.
I know it’s cheating, but using miles to get back from Sydney, or back from Hawaii, could save so much money. Preferably the flight from Hawaii. Grab a Chase card, transfer the points to Singapore, and you can fly back from Hawaii for 17,500 miles. Way better than paying $300, half the cost of all the other flights. Check out the Cheapest Miles to Hawaii post.
I actually think the miles back would be a killer combo, but not the point of the post. But if you took 40,000 Alaska Miles, you could fly from Australia/New Zealand to the US with a stopover in Fiji (flying Fiji Airways). Yes, Alaska allows stopovers on oneways. (See List of Airline Stopover Rules).
That would bring you to a trip that is Paris, Budapest, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney, all for $573 (based on my pricing it out, but it could be cheaper). And then you can fly back with 40,000 Alaska miles and, oh yeah, stopover in Fiji. That is a lot of the world for $573 and 40,000 Alaska Miles.
Adding more flights
There are so many added options I left out that would only cost $30.
Flights within Europe on discount airlines can be really cheap. Also, flights from Sofia, Bulgaria to Dubai were actually cheaper than flights from Budapest. So you could add on a flight from Budapest to Sofia and it won’t cost anything extra, for example.
Flights from Dubai to Muscat, Oman are only $38, and Muscat is super cool.
Flights within SE Asia on AirAsia can be super cheap. I’ve seriously flown within Indonesia for $10, and to Singapore for $20. It’s crazy.
Really, the cities listed above are the hard parts. Adding Berlin, Bangkok, or Muscat, could be $30 each. All three could be under $100. Not including the fact that you can open-jaw!
Why not fly into Vienna and take a $28 train to Budapest? Why not bus from Paris to Lyon? Why not tack on Italy?
I really think the value of these intra-Europe and intra-Asia flights are undervalued. So even if you’re using miles to Europe, or using United Miles to stopover in Europe on the way to Asia… you could be tacking on very cheap flights within the region.
I’ve talked about Discount Airlines a bit, but in short, just use SkyScanner.com. It not only searches discount airlines, but is very flexible with its searches. You can search from one city/country to “everywhere”, or to a country, or to a city with flexible dates. In terms of finding cheap discount airline flights, it’s the best.
I really think it’s possible to build an incredible round-the-world itinerary just picking cheap flights, for under $1,500.
$1,200 is a lot of money, but realize, that’s about how much a roundtrip to Bali costs for most people anyways. If you have the time, you can fly all over earth and then cherry pick the cheapest Air Asia flight to Bali.
Again, adding on cheap flights within Asia and Europe is not going to raise the price much. I’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
While flights are cheapish coming back from Australia, I think the best value is replacing that with a miles flight. Just one single credit card can give you enough AA or United miles for the Australia to US flight.
My favorite combo is still the following:
- Sri Lanka
- Kuala Lumpur
You can do all that for under $600, for sure! All the screen shots are above.
Then using 40,000 Alaska Miles to book a oneway back from Sydney, with a stopover (as long as you want) in Fiji.
Add Fiji to that bullet point list above…
That’s awesome, and all that for $600, plus the 40,000 Alaska Miles.