What It Would Actually Take to Drive Around the World Like This 'Jeopardy!' Winner
Austin Rogers, everyone’s latest trivia darling on "Jeopardy!," is planning a trip around the world with his winnings.
Well, that’s easier said than done.
Rogers, a sassy, formerly scruffy bartender from New York who has won $411,000 so far, might also win $250,000 more on Thursday night’s show. Rogers has expressed that once he’s done answering all the trivia he can possibly answer, he plans to take his money and drive — yes, drive — across the world in a 1991 Mercedes-Benz W124 300TE 4MATIC wagon.
He’s got it all mapped out in his head. The plan involves driving from New York City to South America, then up through Africa to Europe, across to Vladivostok, Russia, then back through India, jumping over to Australia, and then over to Alaska before driving back to New York City.
Of course, he doesn’t plan to drive over water. He will be shipping the car to his destinations if he cannot drive there.
However, Jalopnik took the liberty of mapping out Rogers' plan as best they could while also estimating the cost.
The drive from New York City to South America is fairly easy, with plenty of stops for gas, food, and lodging available. Rogers will most likely need to stop in Colón, Panama, where he will need to put his car in a shipping container bound for Cartagena, Colombia, as he cannot pass the Darién Gap (the break in the Panamanian Highway) by car. This will cost him an estimated $1,800 just for the shipping. So far, he’s traveled 4,500 miles in about three and a half days (at the very least).
From Cartagena, Rogers will probably be driving to Buenos Aires. This does not account for a stop in Rio de Janeiro, which we think maybe he’d like to go to. But, we digress. Rogers has gone another 4,700 miles in 110 hours at this point. From here, he has to put his car in another shipping container (estimated at about $10,000 this time), and it’s on to Africa.
Since Google Maps suggested a very dangerous route that sent him through the Sahara Desert, Jalopnik mapped out a different route that goes from Cape Town, South Africa to Tangier, Morocco, which takes you on the Atlantic side of Africa and through lots of amazing cities and countryside. This takes about eight days of driving and over 8,400 miles.
From there, Rogers takes a ferry over the Strait of Gibraltar and then he’ll be in Spain. The ferry costs about $100, not accounting for what he’ll have to do with the car. From there, he’ll drive a grand total of 8,600 miles to get to Vladivostok, Russia, on the coast of the Sea of Japan. Probably a dream road trip, all in all, but hugely expensive.
Are you exhausted yet?
After Russia, Rogers backtracks through Asia, across China and Nepal, where there may or may not be places to stop for gas or food — though plenty of gorgeous views. Let’s also hope he’s keeping maintenance up on the car. Eventually he will reach Chennai in southern India, and finally make his way to Australia. Another $10,000 for shipping.
After driving the width of Australia, it’s finally time for Rogers to come home. But even that’s a little tricky. Jalopnik found one company that will ship his car from Australia to the U.S., but only to California, so he’d have to ship it again to Alaska — which means even more money spent.
But once he’s in Alaska, he’s in the clear. From there he drives through a lot of the beautiful Canadian countryside and the northern part of the United States until he finally gets home to the Big Apple.
Jalopnik finally broke down the numbers as best they could, taking in that gas is incredibly expensive abroad, and food and lodging can vary greatly depending on where you are. By their estimate, Rogers may have to spend at least $25,000 on shipping his car, and at least $4,000 on gas — and that’s a conservative estimate.
He’s definitely going to need all the winnings he can get to make this trip all it can be.
It’s possible the Rogers could get better mileage with a different vehicle, since a 1991 Mercedes only gets 19 miles per gallon. Still, we wish him happy trails.
The full details of Roger’s trip, as estimated by Jalopnik, can be found here.