Most round the world tickets are a series of single tickets with a number of airlines from the two main alliances - The 'One World" alliance and the "Star Alliance". Most are mileage based and the fare you pay obviously rises as your maximum mileage allowance increases, though there are tickets that are continent or region based.
Both alliances have their strengths and weaknesses - for example, the Star Alliance tickets can offer a wider number of destinations in South East Asia compared to One World, but because they don't include Quantas, internal flights within Australia can be limited.
We chose the Oneworld Explorer 3 Continent ticket which gives us up to 4 flights in both S.East Asia and Australasia and 6 flights in N. America (inc. Central America). As with all Explorer tickets, you can have a total of up to 20 flights, including 2 within the continent of origin and also the intercontinental flights. We found this one to be the best value for our route as there are no mileage or backtracking restrictions.
You can find more info about the ticket here
It took us a long time to decide where we wanted to travel, bearing in mind the restraints of the air tickets, time and money. Although we had a rough idea of a few of the places that we must see, we need advice as to what possible routing were.
We went to the major companies that deal with independent travel e.g. Travel bag, Trailfinders and STA, often visiting more than one of their London branch. The quality of the staff varied considerably - often they would just provide you with a quick quote and were not really in a position to make some suggestions.
We finally met Jen at STA's Soho branch, in April 2003, who listened carefully to us and spent an awful long time helping us shape our itinerary. Not only was she able to make suggestions on possible different routings, she had been to a number of the places that we intended to travel to and give us some detailed information. Not only that, she was happy to listen to any suggestions or routes that we had found ourselves on the airlines' timetables. She has been great help throughout our preparation and we can recommend her, although it is important that you find the agent that understands you and is prepared to spend time with you - persevere!
Well, where do we start? We traipsed around most of the outdoor shops in Central London. Although most were helpful, some had staff that were more knowledgeable than others - we can particularly recommend Itchy Feet on Wardour Street.
Rucksack - we both decided on the Karrimor Global 50-70L which seemed to have the right compromise between size and, because it's a travel bag style, the harness can be zipped away to save it from getting damaged by airline baggage handlers.