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One of the most difficult parts planning a round-the-world trip is figuring out how to cross the Pacific Ocean. If you have a big budget that's not a problem, but if you're trying to save each penny it could be the most expensive part of your trip.

To answer my question, let's assume we are in Australia or nearby countries and want to get to any country in American continent (North or South America). We can fly or take any sea transport. What's the cheapest way to do it?

NOTE: I've put the "stable" adjective to ensure that the answer will refer to a stabilised route with a non-volatile price, it is, it's not an special offer, a route-code trick or something similar. In other words, it means that anybody can find this price or similar any time.

Given all this, my best price is to fly from Sydney to Honolulu (Hawaii) and then to Las Vegas:

SYD-HNL from ~$400 
HNL-LAS from ~$200
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    Voted to close as 'too broad'. There are many different 'cheapest' fare at any given time of the year and therefore too many possible answers. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jun 20 '15 at 10:20
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    That's why I specified "stable" route: no big changes on different year dates – Ivan Jun 20 '15 at 10:38
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    If it's cheaper I have no problem to stop, but it's not necessary. To clarify, I'm looking for a reliable and cheap way to cross from Oceania or south of SEA to anywhere in the american continent (north or south). No problem if this imply a lot of stopovers or I have to take a ship + some flight. – Ivan Jun 20 '15 at 11:23
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    Well, I'm not looking for a ship only, a flight is ok. The question is: which is the cheapest way to cross the Pacific flying or by sea? – Ivan Jun 20 '15 at 15:49
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    Las Vegas seems the best option, as a destination. There are also cheap flight from Bangkok (Thailand), which is better if you truly want to save pennies & avoid super expensive Australia. – Adrien Be Jun 21 '15 at 3:13
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I've done NZ/Aus to North America a few times, and spent ages and ages trying sneaky routes and tricks to get cheaper deals. Time usually doesn't bother me, so I really go for cheapest.

Firstly, remember that seasonal trends, changes, random spikes, holidays and promotions change the prices all the time. So asking for the 'cheapest' is not going to get an accurate answer, as it's in flux.

Saying that, generally I've found you have a few options:

  • findacrew.net - if you're really lucky, you might find a boat going when and where you want it, for the cost of perhaps food and water, plus some work on the boat. I have a couple of friends who have done this across large bodies of water. It's not for me though.
  • cruise ships - too expensive by far.
  • cargo boats. This has been considered often on here, but it's frequently impractical for time and often is more expensive than one might imagine.
  • flying. This is pretty much it. So at this point I've played with routes through SE Asia, Japan, many, many Pacific islands and occasionally through Europe. What it comes down to usually is a few small routes that interchange for the cheapest:
    • through Bangkok. AirAsia, more recently cheap flights on Malaysian, and Jetstar specials have made this a much more feasible route. You just need that great flight between there and North America.
    • through Honolulu. AKL/SYD/BNE to HNL (Jetstar has great deals on their new 787 for example), then an onward flight to LA/SLC/SEA with Air Alaska, Hawaiian or other.
    • through Fiji. What used to be a great route with Air Pacific, was rebranded as Fiji Airways, and I've not managed to find better prices since. They'd fly AKL->NAN(Nadi, Fiji)->HNL, and then onwards with Alaskan or others.
    • weirdly, through Dubai. I've seen this once or twice - amazing deals with Emirates and partners from Sydney, via Dubai, to North America. Go figure. I've yet to use it though, but dream of the air miles...
  • Through Dubai would probably not count as "round the world" in most people's naive opinion. It could be part of an itinerary by the "route crosses its own antipode" definition if you continue to South America after that trip, though. – Henning Makholm Sep 18 '17 at 23:44

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