What many people may not consider are the pre-trip expenses that come with travel. It’s easy to override the amount of money you will throw down before even boarding your plane. Afterall, there is so much excitment and planning emphasized on the actual travel part of the journey. Below, I have shared the pre-trip travel expenses that you should also consider when planning that backpacking trip of yours. The amount of time you will be travelling for and where you will be travelling will determine if you fall into the lower or higher end of the spectrum:
Your backpack is most likely to be your most expensive purchase that you make pre-trip (after your plane ticket). I would highly recommend to invest a good amount into a backpack because this travel companion is going to be the home that you lug around with you for as long as you plan on travelling for. If this means working a few extra hours to pay for a great bag, do it!
Most backpacks come with a life-time warrenty which means if a zipper breaks or you get a tair somewhere, you can get it fixed or even a brand new one at no extra cost. Now I know that the whole “lifetime warrenty” can be a headace sometimes, but I’ve had several friends exchange their bag for a new one at no extra cost and no questions asked. Needless to say, I have had the same backpack for 8 years and put it through some pretty tough situations without a tare to be found.
When you are shopping for a bag, make sure to try on a bunch until you find the right one for you. Also, do yourself a favor and buy yourself some good locks to protect your big investment.
Toiletries & Supplies: $50-$150
You don’t have to go overboard in this category. You will find that other countries around the world do in fact sell shampoo, conditioner, bars of soap and even toothpaste. All you really need are a few travel-size items that will get you off to a good start.
TIP: I prefer to bring gotoobs with me on my travels which I continue to fill up along my journey. Sometimes hotels, hostels or guesthouses have shampoo and conditioner provided for you which I refill.
You know what really sucks more than getting a needle or two? Getting sick on your travels. I have been to a hospital on four of the six continents…and really it’s nothing to be proud of and something that can be avoided. In most cases, you will need at least one type of vaccinations before you head out on your trip. The best things to do about three months before you leave is check out your goverment runned site on health safety while travelling. You should be able to find the country (or countries) you are travelling to and a list of recommended vaccines for each desintation and even specific regions.
I would then call up your local travel clinic to book an appointment with a desease specialist who will walk you through all of the vaccinations and health precautiouns you should be considering. This is usually followed by actually getting the vaccinations. Some vaccines actually offer a two-in-one which will save you some money. But, don’t skip out on getting jabbed because getting protected can potentially save your life.
This will most likely be your largest trip expense. However, there are ways to save on flights which I’ve shared in other videos and posts. If you are heading out on an around-the-world trip, I would see if purchasing one ways as you go or booking a RTW ticket is the best option for you. My top tips for booking your plane ticket is to do it no earlier than 6 weeks before departure and be flexible with your dates. Why? It has to do with the computer modeling. For exmaple, the airline knows how many people flew on the same flight you are trying to book the at that same time last year and they make their projections of the load based on that. Outside of that 6 week window, most airline computers aren’t programmed to give you any kind of deal. I would also suggest to book your flight early on a Wednesday (Around 1AM). I have found myself that flights are generally cheaper on this day of the week. Apparently most low airfares seem to appear between Sunday night and Monday night. And then, when people book those fares, they have 24 hours in which to purchase them. At midnight Tuesday, all the discount fares that weren’t purchased come flooding back into the airline’s computer systems.
No matter how long your trip is, get travel insurance! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have travel insurance. I’ve had a close friend of mine break his back in the Amazon jungle where he was then evacuated, taken to a Peruvian hospital and then air lifted back to Canada on a private plane. If he didn’t have travel insurance, then this would have set him back at least $100,000. Luckily, he did have travel insurance and he was covered and taken well care of. Now this is a man who does adventurous activities for a living, but do you want to know how he broke his back? He was walking back his boat to get a camera lens when he slipped and fell flat on his back. He was literelly…walking. Anything can happen to anyone. Make sure you get yourself covered!
A visa is a special stamp that is put into a blank page in your passport for the country you are travelling to. Whether or not you will need a visa will depend on which country you are from, where you are going and how long you are going for. Either you will need to get the visa before you fly to the country or you get it upon arrival. I would recommend checking out that goverment travel website once again to see if a visa is required for your stay. If it is, be sure to give yourself a few weeks before you leave for your trip to send out your passport to get the visa. If you can get the visa on arrival, be sure to bring the required size photos that you will need (they look like passport photos but varry in size) with you to give to customs along with the required fee.
Passport & Photos: $100- $130
Do you have passport that is valid for at least 6 months from when you RETURN home from the country you are visiting to? If you answered no, then you may need to get yourself a new passport. Some countries have a strict 6-month validity rule in place if you want to enter. If your passport expires within 6 months of your date of arrival you will be turned away at immigration and sometimes even at your departure airport. If you do need to renew your passport, you will also need to get passport photos taken.
Now tell us below, where are you travelling to next?
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.