Channelling Jules Verne: Chart your own amazing race around the globe

It was a popular tome during the golden era of adventurers. In the past centuries, explorers had discovered a whole new world. David Livingstone combed the jungles of Africa. Robert Peary and Ronald Amundsen braved the extreme cold of the poles. Lindbergh and Earhart aggressively pushed the boundaries of early flight.

In short, it was an exciting time to be alive.

These days, emulating Jules Verne’s epic circumnavigation can be anticlimactic. After all, you can easily do it on scheduled flights in little more than 80 hours. If you forego flying, though, it can still be an engaging challenge. 

Betway blog has created an interesting infographic showing exactly how you can get it done:

By sea

Before scheduled air service became reliable and affordable, this was how people skipped from one continent to the other. However, then as now, this method is ponderously slow. According to figures pulled together by, the average round-the-world cruise takes 72 days to sail 28,000 miles.

Most do this via cargo ship, as it is much less expensive than cruising. However, it isn’t the rough-and-burly experience you think it is. Their rooms are clean, the food is home-cooked, and crew members are salt-of-the-Earth people you won’t soon forget.  

By motor vehicle

Strictly speaking, it’s not possible to circle the world in your automobile. However, with the assistance of vehicle shippers, it can be done. The first part is the easiest – it takes 30 hours (or three straight 10-hour days behind the wheel) to get to Moscow.

From there, the going gets tougher. Russian roads leading east are narrow, notorious for potholes, and are rife with aggressive drivers. Technically, it takes 50 hours to get to Almaty, Kazakhstan – plan for at least ten days to get there, days off included.

Conversely, the roads in Kazakhstan and Western China are rapidly improving. The new WE/WC (Western Europe/Western China) Expressway is under construction, and will radically improve travel in the region. Still, plan on spending 38 hours, or about five days, to make your way to Beijing.

To cross the Pacific, you’ll need to ship your vehicle to San Francisco – allow 30 days, on average. In America, you can make to New York City in 44 hours, or five days, via Interstate 80. Finally, complete the loop by shipping your car home to London – this journey takes an average of 21 days.

In total, your vehicle can circle the globe in roughly 74 days. Betway calculates 48 days, which doesn’t take the final ocean journey into account. 

By train

Of all the methods mentioned in this article, rounding the Earth by rail is by far the most romantic. Departing east from London, it would take about two days to reach Moscow. After taking a day or two to stretch your legs, take the Trans-Siberian to Vladivostok. Prepare provisions beforehand – you’ll spend seven straight days chugging throughout endless wilderness.

After flying to Seattle, continue your journey on Amtrak’s Empire Builder. This schedule takes a little under two days to travel to Chicago via the Rocky Mountains. Finally, the Lakeshore Limited will take you to NYC in 20 hours.

Total time around the world: about 18 days with a few days off mixed-in. Those holding true to Jule Vernes’ journey will spend 41 days in-transit, connections between rail lines included.     

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