Obama’s Kenya Flights Cost $6 Million, Tie Him for Most Total International Trips

President Obama will return from his most recent Africa voyage tonight tied with former President Clinton for the most international trips up to July in the seventh year of the Presidency.

New data from National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) study of Presidential travel, “Still Up in the Air”, found Obama has spent 161 days abroad during his presidency on 41 international trips.

This equals former President Clinton’s 41 trips. Though, Obama has tended toward shorter stays, falling shy of Clinton’s 178 days spent overseas.

The estimated cost of flying Air Force One on the latest trips to Kenya and Ethiopia: $5,983,773 with a total flight time of 29 hours.

Table 1. Presidential Travel Abroad Through July of Seventh Year in Office
PresidentTripsVisitsNumber of Days
Bush, G.W.38105157
1. Sources: State Department data, media reports.

2. Visits are defined as the number of countries traveled to during a trip (e.g., if the President spends time in 4 countries before returning to the U.S., that is counted as 4 visits).
The most recent estimate on the hourly cost of flying Air Force One from Fiscal Year 2015, verified by NTUF, is $206,337 per flight hour. This figure, obtained by Judicial Watch, represents a slight decline from 2013.

The additional costs associated with the Presidents travels in these particular regions of Africa are likely to be quite high. Recent terrorist activities will certainly have security at a premium. What’s more, it’s not just President Obama they’ll be watching out for, but 20 Members of Congress who are along for the ride.

Despite two prominent trips to Africa, President Obama has most frequently traveled to European nations, as well as Mexico, Afghanistan, and South Korea.

Table 2. President Obama’s Most Frequently Visited Countries
South Korea4
United Kingdom4
Saudi Arabia3
1. Sources: State Department data, media reports.
2. Fourteen countries tied with 2 visits: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Italy, Myanmar, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Vatican City.

Additional notable findings include:

  • Presidents continue to travel more in their second terms (during the jet travel era), even President Eisenhower spent 54 more days abroad during his second term than during his first, Obama continues this trend.
  • Vacation trips are considered official travel and thus funded by taxpayers.
  • In FY 2015 the Office of Management and Budget reported that the Secret Service was appropriated an estimated $852 million for “protection of persons and facilities” and $31 million for “international field operations, administration and operations.”
  • The Air Force will be moving ahead with replacing the current fleet of VC-25 aircraft (Air Force Ones), which could cost upwards of $1.7 billion over five years

Read the entire study and keep up with all the latest data from NTUF’s travel study project at http://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/still-up-in-the-air.