Scientific meetings, conferences, field schools and workshops provide essential networking and training opportunities for early career researchers, but in highly international fields like polar sciences, attending these events can involve extensive travel. We surveyed Association of Polar Early Career Scientists members and other early career members of the polar science community to investigate the geographic and international variability in travel support relative to costs across the early stages of a researcher's career (Masters students, PhD students, post-docs and those in faculty or permanent research positions). 190 respondents from 38 countries answered questions on the perceived availability of different types and sources of travel funding and described up to three events they attended over the last two years. We found that the cost of attendance prevented nearly three-quarters of respondents from participating in at least one career-relevant events in the preceding two years. Due to insufficient research funding, early career researchers frequently have to top up partial support with personal funds. Increased event-based travel support would help to reduce out of pocket expenses, as would the timely notification of a travel award to benefit from early bird registration and cheaper travel and accommodation. Replacing the more common practice of travel reimbursement with a travel advance would remove another barrier to attendance. Large disparities in what kinds of expenses are covered exist between geographic regions and funding mechanisms. Addressing the disparities in travel support for career-relevant events will promote diversity and foster inclusion in the next generation of polar scientists.