In short, yes, the skills you develop on one of the standard western mallet pitched idiophones (marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, and glockenspiel) will transfer to the others. All use the common pitch layout similar to a piano keyboard, and read the same music (although marimba and vibraphone do much more in the bass clef than the others).
Most young percussion students will learn first on glockenspiel (also known as orchestra bells), to develop pitched-note-reading facility. The cheaper price and simpler playing technique (usually single-line, on mallet per hand) makes them the logical choice for beginner students.
Xylophone would be my recommendation if you're serious about learning and can afford it; it's still going to be nowhere near the price tag of a marimba or vibraphone, and it demands the same skills as one would develop on glockenspiel. The reason to choose this over glockenspiel is a wider range, more pleasing tone (in my opinion), and better repertoire choices. The difference in decay prevents the glockenspiel from playing music with a lot of notes; they would just end up overlapping and getting muddy. The slight difference in playing technique requires tremolo sticking in order to sustain a pitch on xylophone; this is just not done on a glockenspiel due to the long decay and different quality of stick rebound. There is professional-level literature written for xylophone; not so for glockenspiel--it is primarily a large ensemble texture instrument.
The next level up would probably be the vibraphone. Here in a jazz context one can develop multi-mallet technique and harmonic understanding in order to comp chords for jazz tunes. An additional layer of technique is introduced with the addition of the damper pedal. Most of the professional-level literature written for this instrument is either jazz or very difficult contemporary classical literature.
The marimba has the widest range, and the players and composers are continuously pushing the limits of its playing technique. Only relatively recently have we seen the advent of insanely expensive five-octave marimbas, and repertoire written that requires six-mallet playing techniques.
So to summarize, I'd go with the xylophone as my first choice; only go with a glockenspiel if it's all you can afford, or if you're really not sure how much work you're going to put into it. Only if you're really driven towards jazz would I recommend a vibraphone, but the marimba should really be left to the professionals. Few players own their own until they've spent four or more years in college studying the instrument.