Pile of money

Our Complete Pre-trip Cost Breakdown

We knew that our travel adventure wasn’t going to come cheap – that’s why we’ve been saving for this trip for three years. It’s also the reason why I’m securing freelance work before I even leave the country to ensure we continue to make a tiny bit of cash while we’re on the road.
Pre-trip travel costs
Nevertheless, we still weren’t quite prepared for the amount of money we’d spend pre-trip, before we’d even stepped on a plane. After finally buying the last items on our packing list this week I’ve totalled up the final cost of our pre-trip expenses – here they are.

Pre-trip Travel Costs – Packing

Since we’re going to be on the road for an indefinite period of time we thought it was important to buy quality backpacks. The backpacks we chose are quite small so we also invested in a lot of packing aids which work well to separate and condense our stuff – we’ve already road tested these on our summer holiday to Italy and are happy with the results.

Osprey Aura 35L backpack


Osprey Atmos 38L backpack


2 Eurohike compression sacks for dirty clothes


2 Vango  small compression sacks


2 Vango large compression packs


Eagle Creek packing cube


Dry sack 25L


Regatta pack away day bag 20L





Pre-trip Travel Costs – Electronics

We are lucky enough to have had a camera case, external hard-drive and a kindle each given to us as presents. Despite this, we’ve still ended up spending quite a bit on travel gadgets, even though we tried to keep the amount of electronics we carry to a minimum.

Panasonic Lumix GF3 camera


16gb Sandisk camera card


Acer Aspire 11.1 inch laptop


Laptop sleeve


Antivirus software


Blog domain and hosting for three years





Pre-trip Travel Costs – Flights, Documents and Vaccinations

This is by far the most expensive category. Although we opted not to buy round-the-world plane tickets to give us flexibility, to be granted travel visas for New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia we have to have proof of onward travel, which means booking flights in advance. However, we were lucky when it came to travel vaccinations as we got most of these for free on the NHS; we’ve also opted to buy our malaria pills and get our Japanese Encephalitis shots in Asia to save money.

Travel documents & flights for two peopleCost
London to New Zealand flights


New Zealand to Melbourne flights


Gold Coast to Indonesia flights


Indonesia to the Philippines flights


Rock-boat tour New Zealand


New passports (42 pages)


Rabies vaccinations


Indonesia 60-day visas


International driving license x2


1 UK driving license renewal


New Zealand 1 month car rental deposit


New Zealand accommodation deposits





Pre-trip Travel Costs – Clothing

I didn’t realise how much we’d spent on clothing for our trip until I totalled it up. It’s worth pointing out though that we hardly ever shop for clothes (or anything else really), so the prices below probably comprise 90% of our total clothing costs for this year.

2 pairs of Havaiana flip flops


2 pairs of trainers


Montane featherlight marathon jacket


Montane singletrack jacket


2 Regatta micro fleeces


Other clothing





Pre-trip Travel Costs – Miscellaneous

Toiletries  and medicines


Six month supply of contact lenses


2 micro towels


Skross World Travel Adapter 2


2 cotton sleep sacks from TrekMates


4 combination locks


Head torch


Notebook and pens




Pre-trip cost total = £4,527

How much do you spend on pre-travel expenses; do you think we’ve gone overboard?

Our complete pre-trip cost breakdown

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  • Charlie
    Posted at 01:50h, 04 January Reply

    Love reading your cost breakdown posts for your travel prep, so useful! We haven’t started thinking what we need to buy yet, but I’m preparing for a bigger bill than we expect. Reading posts like this are so helpful for making spending predictions before the spending actually begins. So thanks for sharing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:42h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Charlie, glad you found it useful. We had no idea our pre-trip costs were going to be so high; I just hope we haven’t also underestimated what our actual travel costs will be once we hit the road!

  • Patti
    Posted at 06:33h, 04 January Reply

    I have never traveled for an indefinite period of time as you are about to do, so I have no comparison, but I think your list seems reasonable. And the fact that you bought quality will hopefully keep you equipped for a good long while. I think it’s also personal preference. I’m sure there are those who would spend less and those who would spend more, you have to go with what works for you!

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:45h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Patti, yes I guess it is down to personal preference. I hope that the gear we have bought will last us a while and was a good investment, we’ll see!

  • The Guy
    Posted at 13:51h, 04 January Reply

    It is amazing how things stack up cost wise. As long as you budget well it should be manageable.

    I bought a netbook as opposed to a laptop for my travels. It is just as good as my laptop at home, no to be fair it is better. It is really light, reliable and only cost me £200. I’ve used it a lot and don’t have any problem with how small it is. I went for the Acer Aspire One.

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:09h, 04 January Reply

      Yes, costs certainly stack up quickly. Since I’m taking on extra freelance work for when we are on the road we’re actually considering buying another laptop when we’re in Asia so We can both work at the same time – a Netbook could be the answer. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 04:40h, 05 January Reply

    I think your costs look dead on, and I don’t spot anything on your list that I would say was superfluous. We also have small packs and have found our packing cubes invaluable! They keep everything organized and also prevent our stuff from getting all wrinkled, so I think you’ll appreciate having them along. The one thing I wish we didn’t have to pack was our fleeces as our bags always seem so much emptier without them, but we have had to break them out a few times, so I don’t regret having those either!

    I still haven’t written about our pre-trip costs, but I think we were right around where you are now, so I think you’re right on track!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:56h, 05 January Reply

      Hi Steph, glad to hear the packing cubes are a good investment. We did start off with a lot more travel gadgets/items on our list which would have bumped up our costs but buying small packs has forced us to buy only the essentials in the end – I’m glad we made that decision!

  • Shane
    Posted at 12:53h, 05 January Reply

    With each purchase having to be justified for weight, cost and purpose deciding what to buy and what not to buy is a skill little appreciated by non travellers. Hanging around in travel stores is a great way to build up the anticipation for the adventure ahead. It’s a nice feeling buying new items and picturing how and, more importantly, where they will be used. Kudos for the small bags – ours are stupid big.

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:21h, 06 January Reply

      Yep, we’ve done plenty of lurking in travel stores that’s for sure! It’s nice seeing all our travel stuff waiting to be packed up too.

  • Matt @ LivingIF.com
    Posted at 14:25h, 06 January Reply

    Seems like a good packing list. We’ve been traveling continuously for two years and haven’t regretted carrying any of the things you’ve listed. We don’t use packing cubes though, we use gallon zip-loc freezer bags. This keeps our clothes dry when we’ve learned why they call it the “rainforest” and allow us to squeeze the air out of clothes when packing. It was shocking the first time someone showed me how much smaller clothes get in zip-locs!

    • Amy
      Posted at 17:23h, 06 January Reply

      Hi Matt, I like the sound of your zip lock bags actually, we didn’t even consider using those. There are still some other items we’re taking that aren’t listed – I’ll be posting our full packing list, with pictures, (I’m such a geek…) later this week.

  • Curious Nomad
    Posted at 04:30h, 10 January Reply

    Hi Amy. Did you buy all your airline tickets up front? I hosted a CS couple that is on a three year #rtw journey. They told me that they book three tickets at a time (i.e. entry into first country – exit out of first country – entry into second country) They said the flight were genrally cheaper this way. Has anyone else on a #rtw experience this too?

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:53h, 10 January Reply

      Hi, we initially just booked our tickets to New Zealand thinking we would buy others along the way. However, when we checked out the visa restrictions we realised we’d need onward tickets to be able to enter our first few countries, which meant we had to book flights to Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Consequently we spent more on flights up-front then we thought we would, we’ll definitely wait to book any more flights until we’re on the road.

  • Ally
    Posted at 11:27h, 12 January Reply

    Thanks for the breakdown, these are always quite helpful. I don’t think you’ve gone overboard. To save money on our pre expenses I’m trying to get as many things as possible as Christmas and birthday presents

    • Amy
      Posted at 16:09h, 12 January Reply

      Hi Ally, that’s a good idea; our kindles and external hard drive were generous birthday presents that saved us a lot of cash.

  • Dave
    Posted at 15:01h, 12 January Reply

    Man I remember these posts! So much money spent pre trip that people often don’t realize – important to factor into your budget!

    • Amy
      Posted at 16:11h, 12 January Reply

      Hi Dave, yep, there are definitely many costs that you just don’t foresee until you get around to seriously planning your trip. I’m glad we’re almost ready to move onto the actual travelling soon!

  • Lourika Reinders
    Posted at 09:22h, 10 February Reply

    Hi Guys, this was awesome.
    My boyfriend and I are also planning to travel around the world one day, for a year. We are currently living in Phuket, Thailand and we are able to save a lot more living here, than in Austin, TX (his home town) or in Windhoek, Namibia (my home town) – thank you for this cost break down – I’ll definitely come back to this when we start budgeting 🙂 Good luck with your trip!!!!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 19:30h, 10 February Reply

      Thanks Lourika, this was exactly the kind of thing we we’re looking for when we first started planning so it’s good to know other people find it useful. We will keep updating our costs once we are on the road too. Hope you get to start your trip soon too!

  • Steve Bailey
    Posted at 07:11h, 24 May Reply

    Hello Amy .
    We like your blog alot as its very informative ,easy on the eye and very much down to earth too.One of the other reasons being is that we did something very similar last year .
    We left our jobs , bought a round the world ticket and after an organised China Experience with intrepid travel , spent 2 months in NZ, 3 in Oz and 6 months in the USA. Since then we’ve not been back to our real jobs and spent th4 months in Turkey, then three skiing in Bulgaria.The travelling completely changed our lives and reality now is planning where we go next.
    If you check our blog out baileystours@ blogspot.com you’ll see we did similar things in NZ and Oz and you might be interested in what we got upto in the States .( We also hit Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas too – these were unplanned )
    Keep up the good work and enjoy !

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:40h, 24 May Reply

      Hi Steve, thanks for visiting and commenting. It sounds like you’ve had (and are continuing to have) an amazing adventure; I’ll definitely go and check out some stories on your blog. We’d love to go to the USA at some point so I’m sure we can get some great inspiration from you guys – I think we’ll have to stick to cheaper countries for a while though after breaking the bank a bit in NZ and Oz!

      • Steve Bailey
        Posted at 16:05h, 22 July Reply

        Hello Amy – thanks for the reply .
        For your information travelling the states was cheaper per day than both Auatralia and New Zealand , where we spent 5 months out of the 12 .
        I’m still completing my travel book, presently titled ‘ 139 beds in 338 days ‘ where all the details will be included .
        Have you two done bangcock, to Singapore ,then Hanoi ? We are thinking of going for 7 weeks in October -?Ny hints would b appreciated .
        Enjoy !

        • Amy
          Posted at 08:57h, 24 July Reply

          Hi Steve, your book sounds great! It’s funny but Andrew and I were just talking this morning about a road trip through America, possibly in 2015 – brilliant news that it’s cheaper than Oz and NZ. We’re off to Thailand in a couple of weeks and will also definitely be visiting Vietnam this year, we’re not sure about Singapore yet – we’ll be sure to share as many tips as we can as we go 🙂

      • dannyd
        Posted at 14:01h, 17 November Reply

        Indeed OZ/NZ seem to be really expensive. To me the pre-trip expenses seem to be too high..

        • Amy
          Posted at 14:18h, 17 November Reply

          Hi Danny, the costs aren’t too bad when you consider that it includes a laptop, camera and flights. If you take off the gadgets this will reduce the cost a lot.

  • Rob
    Posted at 21:38h, 27 June Reply

    Oooh I love a good spreadsheet! We are buying our travel goodies ready for our trip and it’s really exciting, but it’s also becoming epic! How you coping with your little backpacks? We have gone for small ospreys as well.

    • Andrew
      Posted at 03:14h, 28 June Reply

      Our travel checklist probably started off half the size it is now, we just kept adding things to it! The Osprey backpacks are doing good, we have been able to take them carry on with every airline so far. We have used the pack-away Regatta bag quite a bit too, it’s really handy to keep all our electronics in and carry with us if leaving our backpacks somewhere.

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