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Old 08-12-07, 09:01 AM   #1
ZeCanon
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Students lost in Europe

Hello Everyone! My brother and I are beginning the planning process for a bike tour through southern Europe (Portugal/spain/france/italy, mostly) next summer and I need some help from all of you experienced tourers in terms of finance.
Basically, I'm a poor college student and he's just finishing highschool and we want to know how much we should budget, per day or per weak or whatever you find is easiest, for a fully loaded trip through this area of the world. We'll be camping everywhere, I'm a good cook with a camp stove, and things like expensive art museums are of little interest to us. We are both competitive cyclists but want to step away from racing for a bit and just enjoy our bikes and the world around us. Our primary expenses will be food and camp sites, I think. It's really hard to enjoy either while riding as fast as you can. My parents spent 6 months touring Europe for their honeymoon, but their finances from 20 years ago are not exactly useful to us today.

So, how much can we expect to spend for about 2 months of touring? Per week? Per day? We honestly don't even know where to start when it comes to cost, and because we don't have unlimited resources cost will be the deciding factor for how long we are able to ride.

Thanks!

Oh yes, and I should mention that I'm not so interested in other costs for the trip - bikes, plane tickets, racks, bags etc. Those are all things I can research pretty easily on my own. I am basically just looking for a sort of cost of living number while living on a bike in southern europe.
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Old 08-12-07, 11:10 AM   #2
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Camping in high season you can expect to pay around 20 euros a night (2 person, small tent). Some places could be a bit more.
Add another 10-20 for food, water or something stronger to drink.
My wife and I spend around 25-30 euro's a day, camping, food, water and a couple of beers included (low season).
On our last tour we went over budget in Italy but made it up in Greece where most things like campsites, food and drinks were half priced.
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Old 08-12-07, 12:07 PM   #3
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Thanks! When exactly is "high season"? We can move our trip around a bit if it's going to make everything cheaper.

Also, anyone have a tips on finding the cheapest airline prices? Where to fly into, where to fly out of... I'm in Vermont, USA so I can easily fly out of Boston, New York, or Montreal.
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Old 08-12-07, 01:09 PM   #4
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You need to look into student specials for things like hostels and campgrounds. Also, you really need to check out http://www.couchsurfing.com and also http://warmshowers.org

Free is good!
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Old 08-12-07, 01:30 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=ZeCanon;5052805]Thanks! When exactly is "high season"? We can move our trip around a bit if it's going to make everything cheaper. QUOTE]

In most countries on the Med. the high season runs through July and August. I don't know if you want to change your plans for a couple hundred $'s in savings, for students especialy, high season is the best time to go there (all night beach parties and so on). You can save some money by pitching your tents on quiet beaches or stealth camping (when possible) I hear it's easyer to do this in southern Italy and most of Greece.
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Old 08-12-07, 01:36 PM   #6
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Have you seen the movie "Hostel"?
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Old 08-12-07, 01:45 PM   #7
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Have you seen the movie "Hostel"?
Well, I didn't. Can you tell why?
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Old 08-12-07, 02:24 PM   #8
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We do plan on doing quite a bit of 'stealth camping' as you put it, where we can. We are trying to go on the cheap, because not only do I have to have enough money for the trip, I have to have enough money put away to pay for at least one semester of school once I get back. I can't work while riding...
All we really want to do is ride our bikes in new and interesting places, meet some cool people, and have as much fun as possible while we're at it

Thanks for the tips Becnal, I will definitely check those out. The warm showers list looks fantastic
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Old 08-12-07, 11:46 PM   #9
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Have you seen the movie "Hostel"?
DON'T go there!
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Old 08-13-07, 02:20 PM   #10
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Have you checked Lonely Planet's website? Just do a search for what you're looking for and you'll probably find some info in the Thorn Tree section.
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Old 08-15-07, 09:58 AM   #11
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Personal experience of touring in Portugal is not great from a bad traffic not-used-to-cylists point of view. It did get better the further I got from Lisbon however. I've done more touring in Spain which I have found a lot better (from this point of view, don't get me wrong, Portugal is a great country.)

You could consider doing the Camino de Santiago in Spain- if you do, and get a pilgrim passport, you can stay in refuges (like hostels but cheaper) which generally cost around €5. It is also a really great route indeed.

Campsites are very cheap in France if you stick to the municipal ones, cheaper than Spain. In Spain they tend to be more popular along the coast.

Other than that Spain and Portugal will be a lot cheaper than France and Italy. I would estimate cost descending in this order: Italy-France-Spain-Portugal (especially if you are touring in northern Italy.) Rural areas and small towns will be a lot cheaper than cities, while the north of all countries will be more expensive than the south, particularly in the case of Italy and France. Cost will drop over the Spanish border and further decrease as you head west to Galicia (recommended, especially in summer) or south to Andalucia (cycling in central Spain prob not a great idea in mid-summer.) Portugal will be cheaper still.

Generally pensions (guesthouses) will be cheaper than "backpacker hostels" in Spain and Portugal and you will get your own room (e.g. you can pay as low as 20-25 for a room sleeping two in a pension, but 20/person for a dorm bed.) Ask for one without a bathroom (or TV) if you are trying to negotiate the price down!

How long are you going for?
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Old 08-16-07, 12:58 PM   #12
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Camping in Spain , Italy, France, and eastern Europe is cheap, about 15- 20 euros, add another 10 euros, per person, for food including good table wine. If you are a good cook as you say you will make great meals as all the ingredients and cheap and really good as they are fresh. I would, well this is the way I do it. I plan my route, i.e. where I am going to travel, plan what mileage I expect to do. 80 + on the flat and 60 miles if I am going to climb most of the day. Then I get a piece of string and mark of the mileage on it, in accordance of the map e.g. x amount of cm = x amount of miles. This I lay on the map so I can see half way stop for lunch and what mileage I have left. The other factor is as I know what route I am going to take so I check out the whole route on goggle earth. This tells me if around my 70 to 80 miles mark I am going to pass a forest. I pencil this in on the map and so I know I can stealth camp there. Where I am exposed then I search out campsites on goggle, list it down and if need be I have all the options available.
This helps cut down on expenses or save them up to blow on some fancy restaurant. Most of the time asking a farmer police is always helpful. That way at worst if they say they cant help you then they know you are in the area and if you get reported chances are nobody will come to see what you are up to. Till now I have always been shown where I can camp up and that way you are not that much of a stranger and have had people joining me for breakfast etc. Any way best of luck
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