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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 03-06-14, 08:17 PM   #1
nashbartourer
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Touring on a budget, any tips and tricks?

Ive done weekend trips on my bike and have a little bit of experience but I am leaving for a cross country tour in May. Any tips and tricks on how to budget your money well? Also, I was wondering if it is possible to not use campgrounds along the way? Thanks! -Josh
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Old 03-06-14, 08:43 PM   #2
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Welcome to BF. This subject has been extensively discussed here and at www.crazyguyonabike.com. You can do subject searches on both sites and glean a wealth of info.

Depending on how disciplined and skilled you are, you can tour on as little as $15/day, by never paying for a campsite(stealth camping.) Practice the craft by doing a few overnighters. (Bums on bikes tour on even less, but that's another subject.) Oh, check out www.warmshowers.org.

Have fun.
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Old 03-06-14, 08:44 PM   #3
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I hate to think I become a bum on my especially frugal days... Where does the line get drawn?

Burning questions without answer.
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Old 03-06-14, 08:54 PM   #4
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I hate to think I become a bum on my especially frugal days... Where does the line get drawn?

Burning questions without answer.
When we see you packing a short handle hoe for fishing in dumpsters, we'll know you've crossed the line.
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Old 03-06-14, 09:10 PM   #5
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Thank you so much! Both of those websites are a big help!
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Old 03-07-14, 05:08 AM   #6
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Cut your luggage in half and double the amount of money?

Lot's of ways to go frugal. The best way I found to avoid blowing the budget was to log every penny I spent, then analyze it. I still do this it is amazing how much money can slip away on things like sodas, bottled water and lattes.

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Old 03-07-14, 05:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by nashbartourer View Post
Ive done weekend trips on my bike and have a little bit of experience but I am leaving for a cross country tour in May. Any tips and tricks on how to budget your money well? Also, I was wondering if it is possible to not use campgrounds along the way? Thanks! -Josh
I think we averaged about $5 per day for camping on the Trans America since we stayed for free most of the time. We found no need for stealth on that trip and camped for free in plain sight most of the time. Taking a major Adventure Cycling route like the NT, ST, or TA and using their maps would help you get a feel for what is a good place to stay since they list many free places. RGe maps may seem expensive but likely will actually save you money especially if you are new to long distance touring. After using their maps on the TA I found that on trips where I wasn't using AC maps I then had a better feel for this.

Also check out my article on that subject at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/frugal
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Old 03-07-14, 08:06 AM   #8
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Stear clear of private campgrounds if possible. They tend to be the most expensive compared to places like U.S.F.S. and BLM developed camgrounds. As noted, you can sometimes (if not often in certain areas of the country) camp for free in places like town parks. Just ask first if permission is not posted. Also, you can camp for free on most undeveloped U.S.F.S. land (it's called dispered camping) and, I believe BLM land.

Not buying booze/beer/wine can save you some coin.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:29 AM   #9
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Considering your user name, you're well on your way! (If you're like me, you'll meet cyclists on the road who spent more on shoes and pedals than you probably spent on your whole bike.)

Ditto the suggestions about documenting where your money goes. I keep a small column in my journal for daily expenses.

Those expenses vary widely among cyclists. I had one warmshowers guest who had been living decently on his bike, just above the bum level, for about five years, riding about 8000 miles per year, on about $5000 per year. That works out to less than a penny per mile and that's incredibly cheap. Others require well over $50 per day! I'm a $25/day cyclist on long trips--about $10 on food, $10 average lodging (a motel every week, free camping otherwise), $5 misc like museums, bike and gear replacement/repair. It can be much cheaper if you cut out the motels and engage in a little "freeganism."

Free camping is widely available across much of the country (except where it isn't). Don't be afraid to ask. A smile and respectful attitude will open lots of doors.

Good luck on your trip and have great fun.
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