How much does it cost to prepare for a trip around the world?

When I first discovered that people were taking extensive time off to travel the world, I was amazed. As I did my research I found a lot of blog post about how much it cost to travel the world for X amount of time. They were great reports that gave detailed information, however one of the things I was surprised to not find was how much it cost to prepare for a trip around the world.

I am very good at keeping track of money and any expenses I may have. From the moment I knew I was going to backpack around the world I began to buy things that I needed. I wanted to buy the majority of the stuff I needed well before my departure date so it didn’t feel like I was spending a fortune right before I am about to leave.

I have managed to already buy everything I need for this trip. I have already shown you everything I am taking with me around the world. I am now going to list how much I spent on everything so if you are planning a trip around the world you can have a ballpark figure of how much it may cost you. I am only going to list things that I actually bought, something’s I already had and didn’t need to buy.


  • Clothes – $115

Includes 2 new shirts, 8 pair of underwear, 6 pair of socks, 2 pair of cargo shorts. I managed to buy all my clothes either on sale or clearance, that saved me a lot of money.

  • Toiletries – $15

Includes travel size shaving cream, shampoo, gel, hand sanitizer, lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste and Neosporin.

  • Passport Photos – $13

Includes 30 extra passport photos. TIP: Go take 2 professional ones and then go to Walgreens or CVS and scan them and make cheap copies of them.

  • Guidebooks – $36

Includes Lonely Planet Middle East and Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring.

  • Locks – $10

Includes 3 locks

  • Money Belt – $10

Includes 1 Rick Steve’s Silk Money Belt.

  • Packing Cubes – $ 15

Includes 3 slim packing cubes

  • Travel Towel – $ 20

Includes Sea to Summit Tek Towel – Large

  • Capsule Speaker – $ 17

Includes 1 X-Mini II Capsule Speaker

  • Cases for electronics – $20

Includes 13” Macbook PRO sleeve & external hard drive protective sleeve. Thankfully my sister works at an electronic store and was able to get me a great discount on these.

  • Memory Cards – $34

Includes 4GB memory cards x 2

  • Backpack – $183

Includes Deuter ACT Lite 40L + 10L Pack

  • Laptop – $1189

Includes 13” MacBook PRO I purchased it on black Friday so I was able to get $100 off.

  • Plane Ticket – $196

Includes a 1-way ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica.

  • Travel Insurance – $299

Includes 6 months World Nomads Travel Insurance.

  • Vaccinations – $327

A lot of vaccines are required to travel the world.. You can read about that here.

Total with laptop – $2303
Total with out laptop – $1114


I realize that everyone is going to have different circumstances when it comes to planning a trip around the world. I did this to give you an idea of how much it could cost you. I also realize not everyone is going to buy a brand new MacBook PRO so that is why I placed the two totals. I also know that not every one may be able to find a plane ticket that cheap to start their trip. You can replace that amount with whatever your first plane ticket cost you. The cost can also be a bit higher if you decide to book some tours in advance.

Please take this as an example of what it cost me  to prepare for my trip around the world and use it to give yourself a ball park figure of what it may cost and budget these expenses in. If you are planning or thinking about doing a trip around the world I hope this helps you see what your pre-travel expenses may be. I would also recommend to start buying things little by little so you do not feel the impact of it all right before your trip.

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  1. Your sums prove that it doesn’t take a lot of money to prepare for a round-the-world trip. Without the laptop, it’s less than $1000 – I think that’s going to shock a lot of people who aren’t familiar with backpacking. It’s not how much you have, it’s the usefulness of what you bring along with you.
    I’m thinking of purchasing a MacBook Pro myself – why did you decide to get that particular computer?
    Patricia GW recently posted..Bucket List 165- Paris American Academy Writing Workshop meet Rolf Potts!

    • Thanks Pat yeah it really doesn’t take that much to prepare fro a RTW trip. I did for get about vaccines so I edited that and it is now a lil bit over $1000 but it is still not that much.

      I ended up going with a 13″ MBP because I have heard nothing but good thing about them. I also like it that it is sleak, thin and very durable. It is kinda heavy but the benifits out wieght that. I love it a lot, so glad I bought it when I did.

      • Yeah, it’s still very reasonable. I was shocked when I read your original post about getting your vaccinations; really didn’t realize how man you have to get in order to travel the world. But it’s worth it, when you’re faced with the choice of that or getting sick.

        It’s smart you grabbed a MBP on Black Friday… I’ll have to keep my eyes open for a good deal when the new version comes out. Thanks Jaime 🙂
        Patricia GW recently posted..Bucket List 165- Paris American Academy Writing Workshop meet Rolf Potts!

        • Oh yeah its A LOT of shots that you need to travel the world. Some or optional but some are required. It’s beeter safe than sorry. About the MBP I think this summer they are going to be releasing a brand new one. So keep an eye out for that.

  2. One big item we’ve started to pay for are vaccinations. I suppose they are optional, but if we get the works, it will cost over $2,000 per person in Canada. Fortunately we have insurance through work to cover a large part of that, but not everyone will.

    Thanks for posting your packing list by the way. I’m going to start getting serious about shopping in the next little while. Like you, I managed to get my laptop on sale during Black Friday. Ended up going for the Lenovo X201.
    Mike Lenzen recently posted..Dining on a Dime

    • Thank you Mike very much I forgot to include vaccines. I just went in to include them so it did change the totals a bit. Sorry to hear its that much to get shots in Canada. Ours are expnsive too, but what I did was go to a city clinic to get them cheap.

      YES, start shopping and buying things little by little. I really feel like i didnt spend anything for all this because I started buying a long time ago. It didn’t effect my budget at all. Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to help you!

      • No problem. I think we can get shots a lot cheaper in Canada by going to a family doctor for a prescription, picking up the shots from the pharmacy, then getting your public health nurse to jab you.

        The travel clinic is a lot more convenient, but more expensive. Because we had insurance we went for the convenient solution.

  3. Neat! We’re going to do a similar post as we get closer to our RTW departure. I’m amazed at how cheap your ticket is! That’s such a good deal. Which airline is it with?
    Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..25 Strangers- 1 Cabin- and A New Reality Show not really

    • Jill, I think more people should do post like this to give people an idea of what it would cost. I know it is going to be different for everyone, but it will help people planning one to budget in for it.

      I got the ticket through US Airways. I had been searching and searching for a 1-way ticket anywhere in Central America and everything kept coming up in the $800 area and I didn’t want to spend that much. When I saw this pop up I jumpped on it.

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us! I’m at the point where I really need to start studying everyone’s packing lists & pre-trip to do lists. So excited for you!!!
    Ali recently posted..Planning a Trip to Antarctica – My Guest Post

    • Yes Ali, start early so that you don’t have to rush it at the end and spend so much money. Do your research on different blogs with list and info you need, thats what I did. I hope you have been cleaning out that house of yours and getting rid of stuff. Keep at it little by little and you will make it happen.

  5. Nice round up, a lot of people forget about the money it takes to go. One thing you should also consider is that unless you can move back into your parents home you also need a resettlement fund.
    ayngelina recently posted..Peru seduces with pisco sours

    • Ayngelina, I agree most people do not include the pre-trip expenses in the budget. I hope this helps them. As for having a resettlement fund I guess the reason I didnt include one is because I will moste likely be moving back in with my parents when I come back. If I ever do, because I’ve thought about maybe moving to Hawaii…who knows a milliong things are possible now.

  6. You got some REALLY great deals on stuff. you won’t regret the investment in that computer. Apple rocks!
    The NVR Guys recently posted..NVR Toolkit – Give Back

  7. Wow, that’s not a lot of money at all. I was curious to see how much a one way ticket would be now, and I found one to Costa Rica for $260. I’m so freaking temped to just buy it….LOL
    Sheryll recently posted..My Northern California Road Trip

    • Sheryll, it really isnt that much money at all. Cut back on a few things and you can afford all your pre-trip expenses. Oh girl if you found one that cheap I say BOOK it. Go for it… BREAKAWAY!!!

  8. Jamie, don’t you need to be able to show proof when entering CR that you have a way to leave (plane or bus ticket)?

    Also, no painkillers (tylenol, ibprofen) on the list? or hat? I also pack sunproof shirts/jackets- they are really small and lightweight.

    I wouldn’t bother with a resettlement fund either- or if I did, the cost of NOT having a storage unit (or a very small one) would more than make up the difference. I would however need a resettlement fund for wherever I showed up- can’t carry on enough sunscreen for more than a day or two 🙂

    Not including a plane ticket it would probably cost me under $500 to prep for a long term trip (which is currently not possible since I have a cat I am unwilling to give up 🙂 )- no vaccines, already have clothes and a compuer that would work. The biggest issue would be the amount of meds needed to carry on (and that they take up space since they need to be in original packaging).

    I am interested to see how much traveling costs you- most people think it is super $$ to travel,so I hope you can encourage more people that it is doable without costing an arm and leg.

    • Thank you Jenn, for reminding me that I left out one other thing. Man I will never wake up at 5am to write a blog post I leave stuff out…lol!!! I did actually get a bus ticket from San Jose, Costa Rica to Managua, Nicaragua. So I will have proof exit upon arrival.

      If you are not willing to give up your cat then save up as much as you can so when you are ready you can go on a trip like this. Looks you are pretty much prepaired anyway.

      About travel cost, i plan on keeping a detailed account of all the expenses. It is going to be very interesting to show people how cheap it really cost to travel the world.

  9. We’re not looking forward to doing our calculations – we’ve already dropped $1000 on one-way flights (but a great deal on long haul flights!) but other things are gonna be costly.

    You covered most of them here (travel insurance, vaccinations, etc) but another big killer is medication. Amy’s an asthmatic and I have a thyroid problem so we’ll both require a year’s worth of medication – not cheap! Plus things like contact lenses, lens solution, etc and things really start to add up!

    Looks like you’ve done great though – not long until you reach the fun part and actually start traveling! 🙂

  10. The vaccines are what varies wildly. I think Shaun and I spent over a grand between the two of us for ours. I haven’t bought our clothes yet but I’m relatively low maintenance and it shouldn’t be an issue. 🙂
    Erica recently posted..Throw yourself into Athens

    • Erica, I DM’d you what I did to get the cancelation fee waived for your cell provider. As for vaccines I would have to agree that varies from city to city & country to country. If you get clothes buy them on sale or clearance. After all they will be used to death and thrown out down the road.

  11. Glad to see it didnt break the bank. I am sure these posts help the passing of the final 12 days or so, but I am sure you are busting at the seams.

    Go get drunk, party it up and have a kickass time before you leave 😉
    Justin Hamlin recently posted..Navigate Focus Live Inspire

    • Justin, yeah I am glad it didn’t break the bank either. The blog & twitter have really helped me pass the time along with finishing last minute things.

      Yes I will get drunk and have a kickass time this weekend.

  12. I knew this stuff didn’t cost much…it’s the actual rtw tickets that take the $$$$ …do you have a post on here that discusses that and planning your route?

    • Hey Allison, no I do not have a post that discusses that. I’m sure down the road I wil. As for a RTW ticket. I would recommend not to get one. Not having one leaves your schedule complete open and it is normally cheaper to by the flights you need as you go.

  13. you didnt add airfare and how much you hope to be spending per day. but it seems you have kept a tight budget

    • Zablon, yeah I didn’t include that because its not part of pre-travel expenses. I do plan on keeping track of all the $$$ expenses & will be posting that on here,

  14. Good luck on your trip, I am definitely going to keep track of your progress. Do you speak Spanish or are you planning to learn while you are out there?
    Mike recently posted..Cefalù and Gelato- Sicilian Odyssey

  15. OMG you are a genius! I love this list, it’s amazing how you’ve pulled everything together with a brief description and price. And Rick Steve is awesome to watch, I didn’t know he had his own travel-friendly gadgets! If it has his name on it I put full faith in it! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Jasmine recently posted..Anniversary Gifts for Men

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