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RTW Ticket Costs: Your Originating City Matters

We’re on the cusp of booking our RTW tickets…and it’s causing a little anxiety. It’s a huge amount of money. Not much, when you consider where we’re going, and what we’re undertaking, but as a single purchase, yeah, it’s a lot.

I’d read that when booking RTW tickets the originating city makes a difference in the cost. South Korea, where we happen to be living and departing from, turns out to be one of the cheapest places to start a RTW journey from. I’m not entirely sure why, but my guess is that the level of administration/bureaucracy is relatively low here, and that the efficiency gets passed onto the consumer.

For example, if I need a government document here, I simply walk into my neighbourhood government office, show my ID card and request the required document. It usually costs less than $2 and is looked up on a computer and printed off and stamped while I stand there waiting. Getting anything done in Canada is super time consuming and expensive. For example, I emailed the Ministry of Transportation to find out about renewing a drivers license from overseas, and it took them 6 weeks to write me back!! And as any Canadian will tell you, getting any piece of government issued documentation is costly. Prepare to take several hours out of your day and spend a lot of money.

This efficiency seems to spread through the entire society. Need to see a doctor? Walk into an office and get an appointment immediately. Driving test? When, next week? Sure. $20.  It’s one of the things that I truly love and appreciate about Korea! Though I must admit, it has made me rather impatient when in other countries with less efficient systems.

The point of all this, is that I decided to run a little comparison on the cost of RTW tickets, where the originating city was either Vancouver in Canada, or Seoul in South Korea. I plugged in the exact same route, just started in a different city.

The results shocked me. I had expected some difference, but this is crazy.

If your route is: Vancouver – Houston – Bogota – Sao Paulo – Montevideo overland to Buenos Aires – Johannesburg – Dar es Salaam – Istanbul – Amman – Cairo – Mumbai – Bangkok – Seoul – Vancouver, the estimated cost for 1 traveller is $8,267.50!!! If you fly the exact same route, but instead start and end in Seoul, the estimated cost is $5,344.00! A difference of almost $3,000!!!! 

$3,000 is over half what it costs to buy a second RTW ticket departing from Seoul. A big deal when you’re a couple and buying tickets from the same bank account!

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. That is crazy!! Good to know. This gives me a good excuse to contemplate planning a RTW trip when my teaching contract in Korea ends 😀

    November 17, 2014
    • It is crazy!! When I discovered it, I was SO happy to be departing from Seoul. It’s really the ideal place to leave from. I even read some articles that suggested it was worth paying for a flight here to start a RTW, cuz overall it would still be cheaper!

      November 18, 2014

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