The Full Cost of Round the World Travel

(Note: this post was updated in 2019)

Did we really just commit to taking a month off from work, taking our daughter out of school, possibly renting out our house, and budgeting for this grand round-the-world trip?

Yes. Thus, the details began to kick in.

We thought we should check into where we would need Visas and shots. Quickly we learned that we would need Visas for China and Russia and shots for China. So I began to research Visas. First up was China.

Getting China Visas

China Visa rules change like the wind. Currently, if you are to stay in China longer than 72 hours, you need a tourist Visa. Our stay is 96 hours. Thus, we need Visas. After researching this a bit, we learned a few things. We cannot mail our passports into the Chinese Consulate. We either have to bring them ourselves or pay a service to do it for us. If we pay a service, the total price for the three Visas is about $600. Learning this, we began to rethink our itinerary. What if we were to leave Beijing a day earlier? We could save ourselves the hassle and expense of the Visas.

I called Delta to attempt to change our tickets. Not only would it cost $450 for the change ($150 for each ticket), the agent was not confident she could find three seats again according to the rules, and the change would also affect other legs of our trip. So we categorized this experience under, “We Should Have Thought this Through More,” and I hung up.

Getting Russian Visas

Next up was to check out the Russian rules on Visas. They’re a bit more straight-forward. Anyone traveling to Russia needs a Visa. And like China, it’s the same scenario. We are looking at another $600.

Here’s the catch. Not surprisingly, Russia and China see the US differently. Based on where you live, you must use the Consulate that’s attached to your state. We live in Colorado–ask an American where Colorado is geographically, and most would say the west. Well, China attaches Colorado to their Chicago Consulate, and Russia attaches Colorado to their San Francisco Consulate.

Thank Heavens for Travisa

We finally decided to use Travisa to take care of our Visas. It was a bit of a knuckle-biter, wondering whether paying the Travisa service fees would be worth it. With a bit of foreshadowing, I have to say it was well worth the price, but not without some anxiety.

Next up, divvying up the cities to each family member to find housing, transportation, and things to do.