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I have heard that the price of around the world ticket varies greatly depending on the country you are booking from and that sometimes it is better to buy a cheap flight to another country and an around the world ticket for that country. From Australia (Sydney in particular), would it be worthwhile considering starting from another country, perhaps in Asia?

Being specific now, the current route we are considering is Sydney -> Dubai -> London -> New York -> Los Angles -> Hawaii -> Sydney. Of course, we may decide that's too much and simplify.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Depends(tm).

For Star Alliance RTW tickets, which are probably the single most popular choice (but not necessarily the cheapest), prices do vary considerably by country, although this is largely due to currency fluctuations and you need to do a bit of legwork to figure out how much you can actually save. Here's a thread discussing the prices, including a handy spreadsheet showing the prices equalized into US dollars as of Jan 2011:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/star-alliance/908183-updated-rtw-spreadsheet-updated-1-jan-2011-a.html

So a year ago, a YRWSPCL (the cheapest option) would have cost you US$3282 in Australia, but US$2646 from Malawi. Problem is, it'll cost you a lot more than $600 to get to Malawi and back, and as far as I can see none of the countries you can cheaply reach from Oz have much of an edge: NZ is only marginally cheaper at US$3059 and eg. Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are all more expensive.

Edit: Here's a nifty tool that shows current prices for a crapload of RTW fares from points around the world:

http://www.wandr.me/RTW_Fares.aspx/

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If you look at New Zealand for YRWSTAR2, then it was about $3700 as compared to $4500 and the difference goes up to about $1000 for YRWSTAR3. Tickets to New Zealand are pretty cheap –  Casebash Mar 7 '12 at 1:20
    
The original poster's itinerary is 24450mi, which fits very comfortably within the 26000mi limit of YRWSPCL. YRWSTAR2 is 34000mi and way more than they need. gcmap.com/… –  jpatokal Mar 7 '12 at 10:38
    
I just wanted to add that information in case anyone else looks at this thread –  Casebash Mar 7 '12 at 12:50
    
Oops, didn't realize you were the original poster! –  jpatokal Mar 8 '12 at 12:00
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