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Adventure Magazine

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The Plane Truth
Unless you have 80 days and a hot-air balloon, booking a long-distance trip means coping with the byzantine world of airline fares. Here are three smart approaches. By Doug Lansky

Go Big: One World (www.oneworldalliance.com), Star Alliance (www.star-alliance.com), and The Great Escapade (www.thegreatescapade.com) are airline consortiums that specialize in around-the-world packages. Most tickets are good for a year, allow on average 12 to 15 stops, favor travel in one direction, and cost between $2,900 and $3,600.
Upside: Change-on-the-fly flexibility and an armful of frequent-flier miles when you're through.
Downside: The high cost; mileage restrictions can limit your route.

Go Custom: If you can't be bothered with restrictions, consider Airtreks (www.airtreks.com) or Air Brokers (www.airbrokers.com), ticket consolidators that will customize the route of your choice. Prices usually start at $1,200.
Upside: You can tailor your route to be more cost effective.
Downside: The cheapest seats are less easily changed en route.

Go Off the Grid: Make up your itinerary as you go, combining bus, rail, and boat travel with cheap one-way air tickets purchased from local travel agents along the way. For the cheapest fares, look for agencies specializing in your destination (e.g., Taj Mahal Tours or Athens Travel).
Upside: Total freedom.
Downside: Unpredictable costs, availability, and, of course, reliability.

For all 79 tips for better indie trips, pick up the April issue.


Excerpts
From the print edition, April 2004

The American Icons
The Indie Traveler's Handbook
- Plane Truth: How to book your ideal indie flights


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Related Web Sites

Photo: ''First-Time: Around the World Travel'' book cover

First-Time: Around the World
Find writer Doug Lansky's unabridged indie travel tips in his Rough Guide to planning your first around-the-world trip. Stick around the Rough Guide site for up-to-date info on travel destinations, cool new products, and to swap stories with fellow indie travelers.

Doug Lansky's World Travel Show
Every spring and fall, writer Doug Lansky inspires the next generation of indie travelers by imparting his travel wisdom at college campuses from coast to coast. For a schedule of events or to arrange an appearance near you, check out www.douglansky.com.

The Great Adventure Circuits
For 33 ways to explore the world on your own, start exploring with these veteran-tested adventure circuits.



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April 2004



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