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Find the Cheapest Round-the-World Itinerary, Win $10,000

Find the Cheapest Round-the-World Itinerary, Win $10,000
Anya Kartashova

MIT Senseable City Lab developers of the travel tool Great Escape are back at it again, and this time with $10,000 in hand for a lucky technology tester. The team is offering the cash to one random traveler who puts together the least expensive around-the-world itinerary using the travel search engine.

The rules of the game are quite simple. Build a multi-city itinerary with one stop on each of the six continents (except Antarctica) and share it with a friend. You don’t actually have to fly the itinerary, but if you do, consider it a bonus. Twenty-five people who build the most affordable global trips will each win a free flight (up to $500 in value), and the grand prize winner will receive $10,000.

“You’ll see that using this search engine is so much fun!” the tool’s lead developer Mohit Shah said in a press release. “You can fly to every continent in the world and back home for as low as $2,000.”

I tested the tool myself and built a round-the-world itinerary beginning and ending in Salt Lake City for $1,868. Not bad for a multi-continent itinerary.

The Great Escape Challenge runs until March 15, so open up the map and start planning your imaginary, or maybe real, trip.

The tool offers a map-based approach for users to visualize the best possible flight prices to any given destination. This is especially useful for adventurous travelers who don’t care where they go as long as it’s a bargain to get there.

The map is color-coded—green means cheap, and red means expensive—and is easy to read even for a novice. The data is pulled from online travel agencies Skyscanner and Kiwi. Simply hover your mouse over a region, and it’ll automatically show you the least expensive flights.

Be careful, though. The game is addicting, and you might fall into the wormhole of daydreams and fantasy trips while creating the least expensive journey around the globe.

Have you played with the Great Escape tool? What kind of interesting itineraries have you been able to build?

View Comments (3)


  1. javabytes

    February 29, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Their search engine is absolute garbage. Shows flights between destinations at $264. Once you accept that destination, the flight becomes $429. $22 becomes $79. $246 becomes $326. $18 becomes $75. $259 becomes $352. $34 becomes $97. $175 becomes $211. All real examples. Not one single destination I selected actually priced at what they initially advertised. And to top if all off, the site was plagued with problems that completely kill your search, and present a blank white page that simply says “An unexpected error has occurred.” Not even a link back to the home page to start over.

  2. thedon

    March 1, 2020 at 1:41 am

    Apart from the previous comment, which is a bad trait of Skyscanner, the whole thing seems very amateurish. Website is devoid of information. There are no competition rules. Etc.

  3. kkua

    March 1, 2020 at 8:09 am

    I agree. The search engine is biased and does not owrk. I often string together 2 R-T-W trips for about USD3500 combined (under USD4000 to fit in all continents). The value I get is far better than the price of a single R-T-W itinerary. Please stop promoting this waste of time.

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