Simon Calder: Why a round-the-world trip makes strange sense in these chastened times
PERHAPS you know the sense of gloom: after a fantastic holiday in a fabulous destination, you board a plane home and within hours are back in the old routines. How different, when you turn up at Hong Kong airport, to be setting off on a new adventure to Bali or New Zealand or Japan rather than checking in for Heathrow. On a round-the-world trip, great experiences build upon each other, creating memories of cities, beaches, jungles and encounters that will last a lifetime. Your energy levels surge as you anticipate the next destination.
When the first round-the-world tickets were sold in the 1980s, it was because air fares were so high. Anyone with average financial resources who was keen to surf in Hawaii, sip a Singapore Sling or explore the deserts of Arabia needed to pack everything into a single circumnavigation.
For the first decade of the 21st century, fares fell so low (£152 return from London to Boston; £359 to Christchurch in New Zealand) that you could sensibly take in the wonders of the planet in a sequence of discrete trips. But now, with oil at over $100 a barrel, is the ideal time to buy a round-the-world flight. Rising air fares signal a return to the original concept of taking a life-changing circumnavigation. Time to get the globe out of the cupboard and start planning.