You always hear stories about how much effort people go to, to organise an overland trip… well, it's all true! The last few months prior to my departure have been absolutely crazy! I was still working full time and trying to organise everything in between. I didn't have time to do proper online research but I was lucky enough to host a few overlanders and get a lot of the information I needed first hand. Many thanks go to Rob Fothergill (Me, My Bike and I), Lea Rieck (Got 2 Go) and Steve Hamilton & Piers Hammond (Mudlifecrises) for your great tips and advice, I would be lost without you!
This post is a practical run-down of the preparations and costs involved in planning my Round The World trip. So here we go:
(All costs are in AUD unless otherwise noted)
I was recommended by my doctor to have six vaccines: Polio, Salmonella, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Cholera, Yellow Fever (required for Africa and South America). I had all of the shots within two months of my departure. The total cost was approximately $1000.
For health insurance I went with World Nomads who were recommended by other overlanders. I purchased a premium policy for one year at a cost of $909.
Carnet De Passage
In the first twelve months of my travels, Iran is the only country that required a Carnet. But visiting Iran has been at the top of my bucket list for a long time so I had to bite the bullet. The cost of a Carnet in Australia is $1420 of which $500 is refundable when Chillie returns to Australia.
The biggest headache! Well, a Russian one at least. It turns out that to enter Russia twice with flexible dates in a 3 month period, I will need a business visa. It seemed to be very difficult to apply for this sort of visa on my own so I contacted Tex Visas 4 months prior to my departure hoping this would be plenty of time to arrange it all. Tex Visas had organised a Letter of Invitation from a Russian company and informed me just before submitting my visa application that the Russian Consul in Sydney had changed the rules. I now needed an additional letter to prove I'll be undertaking some kind of business in Russia. I had to find a way to provide such a letter on my own. BMW Motorrad Australia came through with some great help again – they requested a letter from BMW Russia stating that I'll be doing some presentations whilst in Russia. Finally, two weeks prior to my departure when I was ready to apply for the visa, I unfortunately had to pay an extra fee for because it was now an urgent case - instead of $800, the Russian visa cost me $1119.92!
Tex Visas also applied for my Mongolian visa. Thankfully everything went nice and smooth this time. The cost of visa was $324.64.
For the rest of my visas I'll be applying from Kazakhstan.
I got a couple of quotes for bike freight but the only company that I could find that didn’t require draining the engine oil before shipment was Bikes Abroad. Although sea freight is half the price of air freight there's a lot of hidden port costs when shipping via sea. Based on other travelers experiences, the cost at the end can be more than air freight, so I decided to send Chillie on a plane. The total cost for crating and shipment to Seoul, South Korea was $1806.96. I was very happy with Bikes Abroad’s service – they are a very professional mob and I highly recommend them.
As for myself – I was shipped over on a plane as well at a cost of $800 ;)
I guess it's possible to clear the bike at customs on your own but the bureaucracy is a killer and it would be a quite a stressful job as not many people speak English in Korea or Russia. I used some recommended customs agents on both occasions and everything went very smoothly.
Wendy Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org) helped me in South Korea. I paid $340 USD for customs clearance and insurance. Wendy also booked me a ferry from Donghae to Vladivostok which seems to be impossible to do by yourself online. I also received a 30% discount and ended up getting a twin cabin for me and a spot for the bike for $640 USD.
Once I arrived in Vladivostok the bike was kept at customs for a day and Yuri and Svetlana from Links not only helped me with the customs clearance, but they also picked up all of us bikers from the ferry and showed us around Vladivostok. The next day they took us to customs as well. They provided an excellent service and were a great help! The cost of customs clearance and insurance in Russia was $242 USD.
Bike Service and Spare Parts
This is the scary part to write about! Although Chillie was pretty much ready for any adventure it turned out there were heaps more necessary costs I had to cover.
I spent about $4500 for the items below (Australia is a very expensive place!):
Major bike service (including valve clearance)
New fitted parts: chain & sprockets, tyres, wheel bearings, cruise control, bar raisers
Spare parts: clutch, air and oil filters, steering bearings, tubes
New accessories: tool kit, dry bags, tie down straps, hauling rope, fuel bottle, side case mounts, etc.
Set of new Continental TKC80 tyres sent to Mongolia - I ordered them online from Poland (www.motogumy.pl) as they were half the price compared to Australia (total cost with shipping $320)
So yeah, in total I spent over $13,000 before I even left, just to get there and I haven't even mentioned anything about the costs for new camping gear, cameras, SD cards, spare batteries, memory banks… :(
Gee, I'm starting to get an anxiety attack just writing this… so enough talk about the cost.
With a little help from my friends
Without the support of the On Her Bike partners I couldn't afford such a journey and I'm forever grateful for the generosity I've received from them over the years and in particular for this trip. These are the goodies I've received from my partners:
EnduroGuard Suit, Pro Summer Gloves, Aluminium Panniers with Inner Bags, Tank Bag and Luggage Roll
Sena 10C and Sena Prism
Engine guards and Skid Plate
7L auxiliary Camel Tank
VPS Handguards with LED Lights and Skid Plate