In order to prepare for our 4-5 year trip, we had to invest in all the clothing, gear, and electronics we would be taking with us. We spent several months accumulating everything we needed in order to take advantage of coupons, sales, and discounts.  Following is a list of everything we brought with us and the initial costs.

Total pre-trip equipment costs: $4,461

  • Clothing: $974
  • Electronics: $2,853
  • Gear: $634

Additional pre-trip expenses:

  • Travel insurance (6 months): $516
  • First plane flights: $100 (we purchased our flight from Seattle to Ecuador with Alaska Airline miles so this represents only the booking fee/taxes)
  • Travel clinic: $35. Our vaccinations were covered by insurance, but we did buy some antibiotics to take with us. Had we realized how easy it would be to get them in South America – and for a much cheaper price – we would not have done this.

Antarctica: $10,926

  • Before leaving Seattle we had the opportunity to save 35% on a trip to Antarctica. We didn’t want to pass this up, but it was well outside the range of our trip budget. So we did what anyone who really wanted to see penguins on million-year-old glaciers would do: We took on extra jobs to pay for it.
  • The trip to Antarctica was paid for before we left out of the funds from this extra work, so if you want to take a similar “biggie” trip within your trip you may consider doing the same to keep from withdrawing 3-4 months’ worth of expenses at one time to pay for a 2-week adventure. Because that would probably cause physical pain.