Running the Numbers: The Forgotten Costs of a RTW Trip

There are about a million “how much does it cost to travel around the world” pages out there on the World Wide Web, and I’m finding many of them really helpful in estimating how much I’m likely to spend per day while on my trip. Bloggers break down their costs by transportation, food, lodging, and miscellaneous (souvenirs, admission prices, etc.). This is what I’ve been concentrating on when figuring costs, but lately I’ve run across blogs that point out the non-daily costs essential to any RTW (round the world) trip–gear, insurance, immunizations, storage facilities. Let’s take a look at what some of these might cost me.

Travel Insurance
The most recommended travel insurance I’ve seen is World Nomads, which specializes in covering emergency evacuations, health costs, and even baggage loss. I considered not buying any, but the possibility of being stuck in a medical emergency halfway around the world without access to healthcare, or finding my trip interrupted for some reason and looking for compensation, I gotta go with coverage. I ran a basic search for one year starting in September 2012 and came up with a $900-$1200 quote.

Immunizations
Immunizations for a broad travel itinerary can run fairly high ($550 according to one estimate), but that can include things like meningitis, which I think I got covered in college (Mom?). Also, I’m hoping that my health insurance with my current job will cover some, so I’ll be taking advantage of that as the departure date grows closer. So this might cost me more like $200.

Storage Unit
A lot of RTW bloggers write about selling all their worldly possessions before heading out on the road, which makes sense if you can make money off your belongings. I don’t think I’d get much for my bed, bookshelves, and dining room table, but the cheapest Chicago storage unit I found that would actually fit that bed is $48 a month. Let’s say I’m gone for 15 months; that’s $720! So I’m still undecided on whether to go this route.

Visas
Apparently the way visas work is much the same way the rest of international relations work–you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. So the US lets citizens of some countries enter the States paying no or little visa money, and those countries return the favor for US citizens visiting them. Other countries don’t have such generous arrangements with us. For example, South Africa and New Zealand don’t require a visa, but China and Russia both cost upwards of $150. I added up the visa fees for all the countries I’m planning to visit, and I’m looking at $700.

Add those all up, and I’m looking at about $2800 before I even buy a plane ticket. Yikes! Next time I run the numbers I’ll be looking at gear and clothing, so check back for that.

2 thoughts on “Running the Numbers: The Forgotten Costs of a RTW Trip

  1. Whoa! Glad you’re getting immunized and insured and all that. Safety first, last and always!

    I can’t wait to read about gear and clothing!!!

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