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Kampala, Uganda; Oct 17, 2004

gear & cost

gear: How does one pack for a year-long trip? In a word… sparingly. Figuring out what to bring entailed many hours of research and an intense, short-term relationship with a scale. In the end, admittedly, our final total weight is somewhat arbitrary. Many airlines have a 15kg or 20kg limit for the weight of a single checked bag, so that’s a good guideline. Carry-ons supposedly have a weight limit, too, but they’re rarely enforced. Our checked baggage totals almost 30kg (65 lbs) and our carry-ons total about 15kg (33 lbs). We simply throw or give things away if we don't need them, and once in a while we send a package home (keepsakes, etc.). We’ve divided our stuff into four categories:

Jump to: gear & cost intro | luggage | technology | clothes | everything else

cost: Okay, okay; we submit! Lots of people have asked us about the cost of our trip, so we're adding this section. In a nutshell, we're averaging somewhere under $4,000 US/month (our costs fluctuate greatly, however, depending on our location). That includes airfare, accomodations (hostels, friends' homes, monthly rentals, and every hotel discount we could wrangle), food, and everything else that we need along the way. The only things that it doesn't include are gorilla-trekking in Uganda and our Tanzania safari (these were large one-time costs). For more info:

Jump to: gear & cost intro | more details | airline tickets

© 2004-2007 susan & grace, all rights reserved

-- comments from readers --


Your website is a diamond in the rough. There are too many budget travel blogs out there that talk about the travels, but nothing of preparation. Thank goodness for your gear & cost page!

--Beverly (San Francisco, California, USA); May 22, 2006


We have a question about how you managed your finances on teh road. Do you use online banking? If you do have you taken any precautions against such nasties as "keystroke loggers" - unscrupulous internet cafe owners stealing travellers bank details. (then you wake up in a bath full of ice).

--Nick (New York, United States); Apr 7, 2006

Luckily, we arrived home with all our organs!

We did use online banking on the road without any problems but we used our own laptop to plug in so we didn't have to worry about "keystroke loggers." Sorry. One thing we did do to make our lives easier was consolidate accounts and only use one credit card/atm card/account while abroad. We let our bank know that we were traveling and we always checked our statements online to monitor against any "suspicious" activity. We did have a couple companies in foreign countries charge our credit cards twice ("accidentally" of course) and we just took care of those problems through our bank. So, I guess our best advice is to try to limit the number of accounts you check online and then be conscientious about checking your statements.

--Susan; Apr 17, 2006


What immunizations did you all get before you left?

--John (Texas, USA); Jan 9, 2006

We went to the local immunization clinic and they had information about what we should get for each country. So obviously, for your own trip, you should do similar research. In our case, we chose to get vaccinations for Hepatitus A, Hepatitus B, Typhoid, Measles/Mumps/Rubella, Polio, and Yellow Fever. We elected to skip Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis. We also took Malaria pills for our jaunt through Africa (we were also supposed to take them in Vietnam, but we stayed mostly in the cities so we didn't since they made us feel not so well).

--Susan & Grace; Jan 9, 2006


Hi, great site, very detailed! Wondering about your cost figure. You have roughly 4,000 U.S. dollars a month, is that for both of you or per person?

--John (USA); Oct 03, 2005

Thankfully, that figure is for both of us.

--Grace; Oct 3, 2005