The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

Round-the-world tickets are commonplace, but the vast majority of itineraries involve a southern hemisphere stopover - usually in Australia. The Independent Traveller has identified two new airline developments in the northern hemisphere that mean that globetrotting travellers could, this summer, circumnavigate the planet at a lower cost than ever - while visiting a series of superb cities.

The key to the new opportunity is provided by Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, which flies daily between Gatwick and its home base in Hong Kong. From June, the young carrier plans a transpacific link from Hong Kong to Oakland airport, in California - just across the Bay from San Francisco. Bookings have not yet opened for the new link. But the eastbound flight is likely to be scheduled to take just under 12 hours, the same as the Gatwick-Hong Kong link. If the fare structure is similar, then a flight from London to San Francisco - the long way round - should cost under £500 one-way. The fare includes meals, but not drinks. A low-cost business-class option is also available.

From Oakland or San Francisco, cheap flights to New York are widely available on Southwest and JetBlue. For advance bookings, fares are on offer at $200 (£110) or less.

The final leg, from New York back to London, has revealed some intriguing options for summer travellers. Fares on the world's busiest intercontinental air link are normally very high in July and August but, through online agents, one-way tickets are on sale for as little as £221. This fare applies on the Irish airline Aer Lingus for flights via Dublin. Yet for only 30 per cent more, you could fly in business class on the upmarket airline Maxjet. The standard one-way fare is $716 (£380) but, through online agents, the carrier is offloading seats for as little as £288.

Travellers with an internet connection could therefore put together a northern hemisphere trip, involving a total of 36 hours in the air, for under £900 - including a business-class flight on the last stretch and a carbon-offset contribution. It hinges upon the Oasis link across the Pacific; the airline's chief executive, Steve Miller, told The Independent that three Boeing 747 aircraft have been bought for the route.

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