Yes you can! Around the world on low-cost airlines

Now travellers can go around the world on budget airlines.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Jules Verne's classic Around the World in Eighty Days ignited the wanderlust of many to travel the globe. Travellers today can do it faster and more comfortably than in a hot-air balloon, and you don't need a lot of money to do it!

Travel search site Wego has revealed how you can travel the entire world - using low-cost carriers.

"It is now possible to do an around-the-world trip solely flying on low-cost carriers, which means big savings for travellers," said Wego chief flights officer Dean Wicks.

"While aviation has evolved in so many ways over past decades, nothing has had a greater impact on the industry than the evolution of the low-cost carrier," he added.

The low-cost carrier model means that flying is no longer an unimaginable expense, and airfares can be as affordable, or even cheaper than, some methods of overland public transport.

To illustrate his point, Wicks said it's cheaper to fly from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur for the weekend - than take a taxi across town - on some occasions.

However, he believes that travellers still aren't taking full advantage of the world's growing network of low-cost airlines.

"It's a backpacker's dream come true, the opportunity to travel further cheaply, is now open to all. Yet some travellers may not be aware of local low-cost carrier brands in India or South America, which is why it's important to be aware of the local budget alternatives available," he said.

"With a little forward planning you can save an enormous amount of money on flights and see more countries in one extended trip," Wicks added. Today, six out of 10 of the world's most awarded budget airlines hail from Asia, including India's Indigo.

"Making your bookings as far in advance as possible equates to even more savings," Wicks said. "Flights between major Asian hubs, for example, can be as low as US$35 (S$50) if you're clever with timing your searches. Low-cost airlines also discount their regular fares periodically and the bargains can be incredible."

While low-cost carriers initially focused on short-haul destinations, Wicks pointed out that it's now possible to obtain budget airfares on many long-haul routes.

"Indonesia AirAsia X has just announced direct flights between Sydney and Bali, and AirAsia X has hinted at the possibilities of future flights from Australia to London and Hawaii. Scoot flies from Singapore to Australia, and Jetstar carries 8.5 per cent of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia to 17 international destinations in seven countries across Asia, North America and Oceania," said Wicks.

"Another great example is Norwegian Air, who fly from Bangkok to Europe, connects Europe with the United States, and has just announced flights between the US and the Caribbean, beginning this Christmas," Wicks added. "In the UAE, FlyDubai now serves a total of 94 destinations and has expanded with flights to home destinations of many guest workers including Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Kathmandu and Muscat."

"There are enormous savings to be had if you become more familiar with the budget airline network, both in the countries you're visiting and their long-haul options. Today you can fly around the world and back again, for much less than you ever imagined."