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  1. #1
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    How much did your tour cost?

    Looking for as little or as much info as you want to give! I'm always looking into cost when I plan tours, as a function of distance and time. Region is also going to be a huge variable, so list those too!

    Here's mine, for starters:

    Tour Area: Northeastern U.S.
    1500 miles over 30 days
    Tour Cost:
    -Food: $550
    -Bike Repair: $225 (broken drivetrain)

    GO!
    Ultralight Gear Lists and Reviews... MAXTHECYCLIST.COM

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The Girl Friend . She had abandonment issues .. when I got an opportunity to do an AYH trip ,
    as a subsidized Volunteer, Trip Leader, through several Countries,
    Hostel to Hostel in Europe, or a few weeks..

    Subsequently, the relationship went down in flames, right before I left, and so,
    I was No good an being the Jolly companion, leader, to the trip members, either.

  3. #3
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    28 days on a Walmart bicycle... about $400 total from Leesville, SC to Abilene, TX...Only bike repair was getting new tubes. Didn't spend a single night in a hotel. $300 on food (estimate), $50 on batteries for my toys and GPS unit, $30 on 4 tubes... If I wasn't addicted to gas store sodas, i could have spent less. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/i...oc_id=858&v=5r

    I donated the bike to charity at the end of the tour and took the greyhound back.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Ummmm .... it depends.

    Some of my tours have been quite inexpensive ... others have been quite expensive. It just depends on what we used for accommodation, where we ate, what other forms of transport we used, what we did for entertainment, etc. etc. etc.


    For example, my 3-month tour of Australia in 2004 cost somewhere around $6000 including airfare, the 1200K randonnee I did in the middle of the tour, and all the usual tour stuff.

    But a weekend tour to Pine Lake in Alberta in 2006 cost about $10 (each) for accommodation, and we brought food from home which we would have eaten anyway ... part of the regular grocery bill.

    Our hub-and-spoke tours can cost about $200-300 for 3 nights accommodation, plus a bit extra for food.

    It all depends on what we want to do.

  5. #5
    Garlic
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    Machka has a good point. I did five days in my home state for $5 recently, with groceries from home. But my Northern Tier ride last summer took 55 days and $1500, nearly $30/day, about half in groceries and half in camping/lodging, not including travel to/from termini. Bike maintenance cost less than $25 (one chain and one spoke) after spending about $150 on the 20 year-old bike before leaving. I was pleased with how little it cost--I had budgeted over $1000/month (my average cost on long hiking trails). I'm not sure why it was so much cheaper than expected, about $750/month.

    I had a warmshowers guest the other week who is spending about $5000 a year on a three-year trip so far, riding about 7000 miles per year, at a per mile cost of about 8/10s of a penny. That's amazing. He was healthy, happy, and had great gear.

  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Mine vary pretty widely was well. I think the range was something like $12-35. I could go a little cheaper and I could spend more, but I don't think I am too likely to go very far outside that range unless I did a credit card tour. My trips are generally in the 2 weeks to 3 months range and may or may not include some motel stays.

    Travel to and from the tour are not included in that cost.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Subtract the cost of staying home from the cost of a tour, if that'll make you feel better. Longer the tour, lower the net cost.
    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

  8. #8
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Subtract the cost of staying home from the cost of a tour, if that'll make you feel better. Longer the tour, lower the net cost.
    On one tour, my wife commented that since I wasn't buying gasoline for a long commute, I was spending less than when I am at home.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Subtract the cost of staying home from the cost of a tour,
    if .. you move out of your place, & dissolve your household, before you go..

    I had to sell stuff and put the 'keepers' in Storage .. then .. it was less than staying home, cost.
    rent, utilities, etc.

  10. #10
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    From my Pacific Coast (Portland to Sacramento area) tour in 2008, roughly 1100 miles and 27 days, $41.74 per day, pretty close to a dollar per bike mile:
    $125.00 - Amtrak
    $320.22 - Motels (6 nights)
    $420.00 - Groceries, camp fuel, beer/wine and misc supplies
    $114.71 - Dining out
    $ 50.00 - Bike Repairs (shifter)
    $ 97.00 - Campgrounds (21 nights)
    ---------------------------------
    $1126.93 - Total

    No records from my other tours. In all cases they could have been less expensive than they were if I had really tried, but my focus wasn't on minimizing expenses beyond a reasonable amount. Some treats along the way are worth it for me (occasional motels, some dining out, etc.).

  11. #11
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Long-term reason for asking: I may want to live on the bike for a year or more in another country before I'm 30. I'm 22 now, and I'm itching to go. My venue looks like South America. 5,000 a year is a great amount, and I think it might be possible to go even lower. That's pretty inspirational.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I know the following about myself:

    1. I am happy on a diet of bananas, CLIF bars, peanut butter, farmer's market veggies, and the occasional Milky Way Midnight Dark.

    2. I am happy to camp 100% of the time.

    3. I am easily bored. I need hills, interesting towns, beautiful scenery, forests, beaches, or amazing roads. That translates into train or plane tickets to make sure I'm in good areas. I had a wonderful time on my NE tour, except for Route 2 across Maine, which was just a highway through dull towns.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    28 days on a Walmart bicycle... about $400 total from Leesville, SC to Abilene, TX...Only bike repair was getting new tubes. Didn't spend a single night in a hotel. $300 on food (estimate), $50 on batteries for my toys and GPS unit, $30 on 4 tubes... If I wasn't addicted to gas store sodas, i could have spent less. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/i...oc_id=858&v=5r

    I donated the bike to charity at the end of the tour and took the greyhound back.
    Wow, that's cheap! It might be worth your while to some kind of a battery charger so as not to spend so much on batteries.

    Edited to add: Just read your journal. Enjoyed it very much.
    Last edited by Ekdog; 01-20-13 at 03:39 PM.

  14. #14
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    My trip last summer, NH to St. Louis round was more expensive than it should have been simply because I didn't have the camping gear I was hoping to be set up with before the trip. As a result I had no camping stove with me. Also I didn't have a sleeping bag(mid-August-mid September trip). The lack of a sleeping bag tossed me into a hotel room two of the four nights I spent in a hotel. I knew what I had for sleeping clothes would get me easily down to 50 degrees but I knew I didn't trust it any lower than that. 2 nights of the trip had temps forecasted down in the low to mid 40s, I bailed and headed for a hotel room for safety. Another night I was recovering from a rather abrupt case of stomach flu and pretty much took a short 24 mile day and grabbed a hotel to see if i could get enough of a recovery to make good ground the next day(ended up with 146 miles the next day). The fourth night was simply getting into town with rain for the past 45-60 minutes and it was already after dark and I didn't have a campsite found yet and I said the heck with it and went straight the hotel. The trip was 2600 miles in 22 days. I the first leg of the trip(742 miles) I was pretty much eating on bike style food only. The remaining trip I ended up eating out pretty much everynight for supper and then again for breakfast.

    Total cost: $501.08
    4 nights in the hotel: $239.18
    Average cost per day: $19.29

    If I would have had the sleeping bag and the stove my cost would have been significantly lower. I could easily see being able to get it down to under $5 a day, quite easily. That's stateside cost. You get someplace outside the US it could be even cheaper...at least once your there.

  15. #15
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    I would be interested in knowing how much people have spent doing the trans-america trail. I don't plan to stay many nights in a hotel. . . maybe 5 - 8 total nights.

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    if .. you move out of your place, & dissolve your household, before you go.
    At least in my case the home still remains necessary since my spouse is still there. Car payments, insurance, and a lot of other items remain the same, but I figure I can deduct what I would have spent on gasoline, lunch at work, food I would have eaten at home and a bunch of other things.

  17. #17
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    I would be interested in knowing how much people have spent doing the trans-america trail. I don't plan to stay many nights in a hotel. . . maybe 5 - 8 total nights.
    I know that we found that TA to be an easy route to camp for cheap or free much of the time. I think we averaged about $5 per night for camping (with no need for stealth). Rooms vary, but much of the way they can be pretty cheap ($30 at the lower end, and 60 is pretty common).

    Food will depend to a large extent on your choices, I'd say that $12 per day requires some frugality, $20 per day is really easy, and more is pretty luxurious IMO.

    Bottom line is that quite a few folks probably manage to be in the $20 or so per day range for all of the day to day expenses, some are more like $30, and a few spend a lot more.

  18. #18
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    Probably not as relevant in this age but touring nealy 40 years ago went like this: Camping was cheaper as 1/2 the time was in the brush (wherever including porches, ski hills, dugouts, hobo camps, rest areas, and fields & forests along the way) and 1/2 the time in campgrounds. 6 people in one camping space made accommodations cheap as did hostels. Didn't stay in hotels, motels or eat in restaurants, thus we were essientially backpackers on bikes. Probably didn't eat as well as I should've as I lived off raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, bananas, apples, peanut butter, bread, ice cream, honey, milk, for weeks (sounds tasty now that I think about it). Travelling out of mainstream routes meant folks we met considered us unusual, interesting, thus we were invited into homes, given food, rides, drinks, hot showers and...a big part was travelling with the ladies as womenfolk were sympathetic to them. Return trips (bus & air) and ferries were the largest single costs as where some bike repairs.
    Amerika, Land of the Very Brief.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Cycle touring is a expensive way to cover territory relative to motor transport. Thus a sort of obsession on how to do it 'cheaply.' I can travel 50 miles in my car for about $5 in fuel cost. I can pedal 50 miles on the fuel in a jar of peanut butter(3000 cal/16 oz)for about the cost of the gasoline. Of course, I'm not likely to fuel myself with just peanut butter, so the cost of 3000 cals is going to be significantly higher than the cost of gasoline for equivalent mileage.

    In the car, I can cover 10 times the distance in a day than I can on my bicycle. That means 10 overnight stays vs 1, with the attendant cost, unless wild/stealth camping all the time. Thus the necessity for frugality with overnighting expenditures.

    Add to this all the misc cost like batteries, entry fees to whatever, bike repairs, souveniers, feel good snacks, etc.

    $25-100/day for reasonably comfortable touring, depending on your definition, minus the cost of staying home. Probably net of about $15 for the basics.
    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

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A few here have mentioned that their touring costs don't include travel to and from the start, but I do include that in my touring costs ... that's part of it. If you've got a $2000 flight, that's part of the touring cost. You wouldn't be spending that money if you weren't going on the tour.

    And mdithey, if you're planning a tour of South America, I think you'd better consider modifying your diet plan. I'm not sure that Clif bars will be readily available, and peanut butter can be quite expensive in some places. When I tour, I eat whatever is available and preferably whatever is available at a reasonable price. You've got to be prepared to go into grocery stores, look around and select whatever you figure you can work with (both in terms of budget and what you like to eat)

  21. #21
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    The bike tour I have under my belt was a giant loop, so we didn't have travel costs. We did, however, spend about 12 bucks each taking a train through Boston to avoid danger (not all of us were experienced cyclists).

    And yeah, machka- goes without saying. Eating local is part of the experience. My point was, I'm not picky and I don't need fancy restaraunts or cooked meals every night to be satisfied and happy.

  22. #22
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I couple of buddies of mine toured coast-to-coast of the US on $5. They still argue about who ordered the coffee. They went across twice, that time being the cheaper. They also toured from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego without funds, stopping and working when they had to. There is essentially no limit either up or down. It just depends on the person, their adaptability and self-promotional social talent. My wife and I spent about $1700 on our three week Czech tandem tour, counting art and other purchases, not counting the plane tickets, which were another ~$3,000 including tandem bike, etc. We camped some but took no stove, as eating locally and talking to the locals was part of the experience we were looking for.

  23. #23
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    A few here have mentioned that their touring costs don't include travel to and from the start, but I do include that in my touring costs ... that's part of it.
    Good point, I forgot all about that. I guess I need to add the cost of a Greyhound ticket from Abilene, TX to Columbia, SC.... About $100 back then although I got a week pass during that time on Greyhound for around $180 and visited Baltimore and New York then went back to Columbia. And I guess the cost of getting a new bike from Walmart when I got back because I donated mine to charity in Abilene.

  24. #24
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    This past summer I spent 85 days away from home. I toured the TransAm (E-W), I pedaled for 70 days, I had eight rest days (3 of those in Pasco, WA). When I got to my destination I hung around for an extra week. I spent $3,600 all together. I most surely could have spent far less...but I had the budget and spent when I wanted to. I think half of that went for food...I was eating all the time and still lost 25 pounds! The cost also included shipping my bike back home, and me and my gears transport to my starting point in Yorktown, VA. My flight home was first class, (I felt I deserved it!) but I used my frequent flyers miles for that! My next trip I think I will try to hold the costs down a lot more.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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  25. #25
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Cycle touring is a expensive way to cover territory relative to motor transport.
    I don't know the AAA puts automobile travel costs at $0.75 per mile, which equals $37.50 to travel 50 miles.
    Last edited by Western Flyer; 01-21-13 at 01:27 AM.
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