If you have always toyed with the idea of taking a sabbatical from the rat race to travel the world – and by that we really mean to circle the globe – there’s no better way than to purchase a Round the World ticket. Thanks to airline alliances such as Star Alliance and OneWorld travelling around the world has become much more convenient and affordable as airline connections expand to cities further off the beaten track. Here’s a guide to around the world flights and the best options for the global traveller.

Star Alliance Round the World Fare

With 28 member airlines serving 1,172 destinations in 181 countries, Star Alliance is by far the leader for sheer number of cities and easy connections. Fares are classed under four possible maximum mileage levels: 26,000 miles, 29,000 miles, 34,000 miles or 39,000 miles. The fare is available for Economy, Business and First Class and allows you up to 16 flights for the duration of the ticket. Each ticket is valid for up to 12 months after the departure of your first flight. If you can’t decide on the exact routing of your entire trip, you may book subsequent segments after your first flight at any time. Backtracking, surface travel, and transits all count against the mileage total.

Good: Incredible geographic coverage.

Bad: The fare is limited to the mileage purchased.

Major airlines: Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, United Airlines, ANA, Air New Zealand and many others.

Planning tool: http://www.staralliance.com/en/booking/book-and-fly/

For more information, visit http://www.staralliance.com/

OneWorld Explorer and Global Explorer

The 11-member OneWorld alliance has two Around the World offerings. The first is OneWorld Explorer which is limited to 11 airlines that serve 700 destinations in almost 150 countries. The journey must include at least 3 continents, but there is no maximum mileage limit and you can travel up to 16 flight segments in any class of service.

OneWorld also offers the Global Explorer, which expands flight networks to several non-alliance airlines. The fare is similar to Star Alliance in that you choose from 4 mileage tiers: 26,000 miles, 29,000 miles, 34,000 miles and 39,000 miles. You can travel on Economy, Business and First only on the 34,000 mile fare and the others are limited to Economy Class.

Good: More flexible than Star Alliance in terms of travel distance.

Bad: Fewer destinations than Star Alliance. Weak in certain regions such as Africa and the South Pacific.

Major airlines: American Airlines, JAL, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas

Planning tool: http://www.oneworld.com/ow/flight-info/plan-and-book-your-itinerary

For more information, visit http://www.oneworld.com/