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  1. #1
    Wanderlust burtonridr's Avatar
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    How much do you budget per day for touring?

    When you plan a trip to tour what is your budget per day, per person, roughly?

    What is your style of touring? (ie. eat out everywhere, stealth camp, stay in a camp ground each night, hotels?)
    -Early 90's(maybe late 80's?) specialized hardrock, touring setup
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  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    $30/day, not including the flight to get where I'm going ... possibly as much as $50/day in places like Europe and the US.

    And my style is a mix of everything ... staying with friends, hostels, campgrounds, bush camping, grocery store food, eating out, etc. I also like to take in the sights along the way.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Less the cost of getting started, $25-30/day for comfortable touring. Mostly free camping, a meal or two a day in a restaurant, one night a week in a motel, occasional pay campground, few miscellaneous items. At least one WS host per week makes the tour extra fun. It can be done for less of course, but if you don't have to, why would you? Be spending nearly as much just staying home.
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  4. #4
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    pretty much already covered above... If I didn't solo tour most the time the cost could be less. I figure I could do pretty well on about $20 a day if sharing camping fee's and such. Never really toured any other way though. YMMV
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  5. #5
    Birds Exist heyisforhumans's Avatar
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    it should average out to $15 a day for me here in US. should not have to be paying for decent shelter

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyisforhumans View Post
    it should average out to $15 a day for me here in US. should not have to be paying for decent shelter
    Have you ever toured for a couple of weeks to check that out? 'Should' and 'does' are two entirely different concepts.

    $15 is about what it cost to buy 4500 balanced cals/day, unless you can stomach living off oat meal and peanut butter, have access to food stamps, or have mastered the art of dumpster diving. You're right about the shelter. You don't ever HAVE to pay. So, if all you plan on doing is eat, ride, and free camp, you probably can do it for $15/day as long as there are no complications.

    I did meet a 20 something riding from California to Florida whose cash expenditure was about $5/day plus $200/month in food stamps he somehow managed qualify for. He was Catholic and copped a few square feet of holy ground each night for his $30 Walmant tent. Tapped food pantries regularly. Seemed to be doing just fine. 20 somethings can tour like that a lot easier then us 'senior' members.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  7. #7
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Have you ever toured for a couple of weeks to check that out? 'Should' and 'does' are two entirely different concepts.

    $15 is about what it cost to buy 4500 balanced cals/day, unless you can stomach living off oat meal and peanut butter, have access to food stamps, or have mastered the art of dumpster diving. You're right about the shelter. You don't ever HAVE to pay. So, if all you plan on doing is eat, ride, and free camp, you probably can do it for $15/day as long as there are no complications.

    I did meet a 20 something riding from California to Florida whose cash expenditure was about $5/day plus $200/month in food stamps he somehow managed qualify for. He was Catholic and copped a few square feet of holy ground each night for his $30 Walmant tent. Tapped food pantries regularly. Seemed to be doing just fine. 20 somethings can tour like that a lot easier then us 'senior' members.
    come on cyclebum.. you're not living up to your name. hit those dumsters, foodbanks and holy ground!
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  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    $15 is about what it cost to buy 4500 balanced cals/day, unless you can stomach living off oat meal and peanut butter
    $15 per day is lots for food ... that's $105/week. Rowan and my grocery food budget for a week for the two of us is right around that amount. One person could live on $105/week and eat well.

    The trouble I have with limiting myself to $15/day on a tour is that it doesn't leave much for extras. When I toured Australia in 2004, I went on cruises and took in other sight seeing activities. These things cost money, but because I was fairly frugal when it came to eating, and most of the places I stayed were fairly inexpensive campsites and hostels, I was able to spend money on things like a catered day cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef, for example, and still remain within my $30/day budget.

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    And my style is a mix of everything ... staying with friends, hostels, campgrounds, bush camping, grocery store food, eating out, etc. I also like to take in the sights along the way.
    This is similar to what I do, and as a result I don't bother trying to stick to a budget when I'm on tour. In Western Australia a few months back, there were some nights where the weather turned absolutely horrible, and I just didn't feel like setting up a tent in that weather, especially as there were one or two campgrounds that didn't even have any grass to start with. I don't want to be moping around inside a cabin because I think I've "blown the budget", and nor do I want to push myself to uncomfortable extremes day after day because I didn't save enough to pay for a cabin one night.

    As far as I'm concerned, I can stick to a budget when I'm at home, but on tour I'm going to make sure I enjoy it.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  10. #10
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    free. touring is what i do when i don't have money.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    We worked the entire cost of our trip out at $23 per day, per person - that's including daily expenses, pre-trip costs and replacement kit/flights along the way.

    Read the details here

    Specifically with reference to food, I would argue that in some ways it's harder to eat on a budget on tour than at home. First, you want a lot more of it because you're burning so many calories.

    Then, you can't buy, carry and keep food in large quantities, so you end up paying more for a smaller amount. Also, if you're going through rural areas you naturally pay more in the smaller stores than the bigger supermarkets you might frequent at home.

    Having said that, it really depends on where you are. In some countries it was easy to buy 2 carrots instead of a whole kilogram and in Australia we loved the many local butchers, who would happily sell us just $1-2 worth of meat to make our evening meal a little tastier. Being flexible and willing to eat whatever is in season (or what you find alongside the road! we have found cabbages, onions, eggplants all freshly dumped off the back of trucks) helps a lot.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  12. #12
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    I generally tend to figure on about $30 a day, most of that on food.

    For me one of the joys of touring is the huge appetite that goes with riding all day, and being able to appreciate every bite. So I eat whatever I want, and I want a lot of food. I like breakfast restaurants, and I tip very good when I get good service. I also like to eat a steak in the late afternoon if I can find one, and they ain't cheap. If I didn't have to eat while on a tour, I'd probably only average a buck or two a day.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    This is going to be off-topic, but I avoid setting an amount per day. I try and start a tour with plenty of money, economize when I can, but spend what I want/need. If I can do a whole tour without staying in a motel, great, but if I need or want to stay in one, I do and don't worry about the cost. Some days I'll have a sandwich for lunch from a deli. Some days I'll have a nice meal in a restaurant.

    I usually end up with surplus money at the end of a tour. I start the tour with plenty of cash reserves, and because I'm fairly thrifty most of the time, I don't spend it all.

    Then I go home and spend it on projects from my honey-do list.

  14. #14
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    $20 a day. That's food, stealth camping, and a campground w/ shower about every 5th day.

  15. #15
    Bicycle Student bokerfest's Avatar
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    $8/day

    Food: Staple diet of Bread, Beans, Bananas and Sunflower seeds.

    Lodging: Tenting it (no stealth) Ask people "where to pitch tent for free"
    Also use couchsurfing.org and warmshowers.org.

  16. #16
    two wheeled accomplice
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    10 months in, 36 USD a day so far (for both of us). we haven't made it to southeast asia yet though! (i expect our average to drop precipitously after that)

    enough details to make your head spin: http://db.goingslowly.com/
    Last edited by Kazer; 02-04-10 at 11:42 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by burtonridr View Post
    When you plan a trip to tour what is your budget per day, per person, roughly?

    What is your style of touring? (ie. eat out everywhere, stealth camp, stay in a camp ground each night, hotels?)
    The answer to both questions depends entirely on the country I'm touring in.

  18. #18
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We spend around $50/day for the four of us. It's a mix - cooking our own food and restaurants in cheaper countries; camping in expensive places and hotels in cheaper. It's definitely less per person when the group size is larger!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    I'm a solo bird, and I do a mix of stuff on a tour from camping to motels. But you have to figure about $10 to $20 for food a day depending on if your going to make food from scratch or carrying those freeze dried ready to eat camping meals or eat out-not at fancy places.

    Then you can find plenty of places that will let you camp for free, but if you end up in a camping site the cost would average about $8 to $15 a night for a tent site, and $40 plus for motel. But some schools, fire departments, city parks, etc will let you stay for free if you ask and get permission. Also a lot of people will invite you into their homes for free including food if they see you riding by because their interested in what your doing and where you've been. You can do stealth camping but be careful because trespassing violation might get you free food and room at the local police department.

    And if you read survival books, they will show you all kinds of food growing wild that you can eat for free.

    If you over budget then that will leave you spare cash in case of mechanical problems etc.

  20. #20
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    http://bygonebicyclist.com
    Penny-farthing adventures, touring & collecting

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    It can vary widely depending where you are and the choices you make. My preference is to not budget at all and just have more than I need available. I am a cheapskate so I don't spend much, but I prefer to limit my spending by choice rather than because of a limiting budget for the trip.

    Time is the same way. A trip is much more fun if you aren't worried about a schedule or budget. It is nice to have at least a week and a thousand dollars more than you actually need. That way you can just take things as they come. Too bad that is not always possible for all of us.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
    $20 a day. That's food, stealth camping, and a campground w/ shower about every 5th day.
    +1, I was hoping for $10 a day, but with how much I eat while touring, and since I can't buy bulk, frozen, etc, this is what I've found works for me. I'm working on changing how I eat on tour so I can save money.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    I'm working on changing how I eat on tour so I can save money.
    I tend to think that; how well you will ride while on tour, and how much you will enjoy your riding, is going to be directly proportional to how well you eat and rest. If you are a very social person and plan to spend a lot of time visiting tourist draws and whatnot, you might be able to get by with very little food. If you love to ride and plan to spend a bunch of time in the saddle on your tour, you're going to need food/fuel. If you don't eat well, you're going to be miserable if you want to cover any distance.

  24. #24
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    It can vary widely depending where you are and the choices you make. My preference is to not budget at all and just have more than I need available. I am a cheapskate so I don't spend much, but I prefer to limit my spending by choice rather than because of a limiting budget for the trip.

    Time is the same way. A trip is much more fun if you aren't worried about a schedule or budget. It is nice to have at least a week and a thousand dollars more than you actually need. That way you can just take things as they come. Too bad that is not always possible for all of us.
    This is so true! We try to live fairly cheaply, but still do the things we really want to do. We have a rough budget, but certainly don't stick to it - many, many days are way cheaper than planned and others are more. And as far as time - absolutely! We could have done this trip in 1.5 years but decided to go with 2.5 so we have plenty of time to play!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  25. #25
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting breakdown of touring cost for a couple. Even compares bicycle vs car. 4 times as much/mile on a bicycle as in a car.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=137418&v=f
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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