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How much does a tour cost?

Old 01-17-11, 11:18 PM
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How much does a tour cost?

In 2012... I'm planning on leaving my Westbrook, Maine home... Cycling down to Yorktown, VA, and cycling the Transamerican trail.

What I'm wondering. Is how much should I save? I'm not planning to bring a grill at all. So I'm going to be eating cold foods, fruits, sandwiches, etc... I'm also planning to stealth camp as much as possible, and staying at some places listed on Warmshowers.org. I'm only going across country one way, and I expect the trip to last 45-60 days. So with that said, How much should I save? I hope to get respondes from people who have done this. I'm sure there are other expenses I haven't thought about!
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Old 01-17-11, 11:53 PM
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How long is a piece of string?

You won't be able to determine your own costs unless you go and do some practice tours beforehand with your completed kit and in the manner you intend to travel.

You have summer 2011 to do this. They need only be weekend or three-day trips or even a week-long one.

That is the time to start recording what consumables you have taken, how much they cost, what you actually did consume, what you didn't and won't need in future, and the need for running repairs (you will need to budget some indeterminables that you won't discover on your practice trips, such as tyres, chains, cogsets, brake pads, etc).

You should get a real feel for costs by the time you finish doing that.

You will need to consider that stealth camping is not as easy as it might seem, and that your accommodation costs will depend on your desire to revitalise yourself every few days with shower and maybe a comfortable bed, and whether there are in fact warmshowers hosts where you intend to stop.

Others undoubtedly will provide you with daily dollar amounts, but regard them as guidance. Only you can determine your daily budget based on your experience.
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Old 01-18-11, 12:16 AM
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We're leaving on the same route in 2012, starting the first few days of May. I have budgeted $4,200. Much of the first half of our trip (through Kansas at least) includes many free places to camp/stay. Places such as churches, fire stations, city parks, and Warm Showers hosts. We're planning motel stays probably once a week, but there is a minimum of two of us to share in lodging costs. We're cooking a lot of dinners, the majority of our lunches are planned from our panniers. Only breakfasts will be eaten out (cafes and such) most mornings.

I've already ridden from Yorktown, VA to Carbondale, IL, so I'm way ahead of the game concerning what to expect to the Mississippi. After that it's all new riding terrain for me. We're riding to Florence, and then turning south to San Francisco along the coast. My budget has to include an Amtrak ticket back to Illinois.

I plan to be as frugal as possible. Last trip I was managing pretty well in that respect...until my bike broke necessitating a new bike...and a busted budget. It's built back up now and I'm ready to go again, but my ride mates won't be ready until 2012.

If you haven't already, start reading some of the TransAm journals at www.crazyguyonabike.com you should. Many of the stops I have used and those I plan to use, others have written about in their journals. Another source is the TransAm Trail map sets from Adventure Cycling Association. https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/index.cfm They list many, many places to camp, and over night stay on their maps.

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Old 01-18-11, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley
We're leaving on the same route in 2012, starting the first few days of May. I have budgeted $4,200. Much of the first half of our trip (through Kansas at least) includes many free places to camp/stay. Places such as churches, fire stations, city parks, and Warm Showers hosts. We're planning motel stays probably once a week, but there is a minimum of two of us to share in lodging costs. We're cooking a lot of dinners, the majority of our lunches are planned from our panniers. Only breakfasts will be eaten out (cafes and such) most mornings.

I've already ridden from Yorktown, VA to Carbondale, IL, so I'm way ahead of the game concerning what to expect to the Mississippi. After that it's all new riding terrain for me. We're riding to Florence, and then turning south to San Francisco along the coast. My budget has to include an Amtrak ticket back to Illinois.

I plan to be as frugal as possible. Last trip I was managing pretty well in that respect...until my bike broke necessitating a new bike...and a busted budget. It's built back up now and I'm ready to go again, but my ride mates won't be ready until 2012.

If you haven't already, start reading some of the TransAm journals at www.crazyguyonabike.com you should. Many of the stops I have used and those I plan to use, others have written about in their journals. Another source is the TransAm Trail map sets from Adventure Cycling Association. https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/index.cfm They list many, many places to camp, and over night stay on their maps.
$4200 seems steep. But you said that was for two people. I was hoping to get away with $1000-$1500ish. I was thinking I'd like to cover 100 miles a day. But I think the wiser way to look at it is spend roughly 10hrs on the bike a day, and see how quickly along that get gets me. I'm sure that might change when the Rockies come along. I also figure if I'm not on the bike for 10hrs... I'd get pretty damn bored sitting around my campsite. I'll bring a book to read, and buy more along the way. I'll also try to read a USA Today each day, or as often as I can find one.
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Old 01-18-11, 01:18 AM
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solo... $15 to $50 for fully loaded touring. Depends on what you consider comfortable. Your biggest expense will most likely be food and you will eat much more during the tour than while at home.

So that being said... $1500 should get you all the way across as long as you don't have many mechanicals, theft or other mishaps. That would be about $25 ish a day if you took 60 days.
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Old 01-18-11, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by undisputed83
$4200 seems steep. But you said that was for two people. I was hoping to get away with $1000-$1500ish. I was thinking I'd like to cover 100 miles a day. But I think the wiser way to look at it is spend roughly 10hrs on the bike a day, and see how quickly along that get gets me. I'm sure that might change when the Rockies come along. I also figure if I'm not on the bike for 10hrs... I'd get pretty damn bored sitting around my campsite. I'll bring a book to read, and buy more along the way. I'll also try to read a USA Today each day, or as often as I can find one.

1. How much do you ride every day now? Distance? Time?

2. What is the longest distance you've ridden recently?

3. What's wrong with sightseeing when you arrive at your evening's destination?

4. Have you done ANY sort of tour before?
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Old 01-18-11, 01:42 AM
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Just to give further demonstration of how variable touring costs are, I toured for 26 days on less than $200. It would have been less, but twice severe weather spooked me into expensive campgrounds.

I ran into three fellows once who where about midway through the northern tier, and hadn't paid for camping yet - but they had started from the west.
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Old 01-18-11, 01:55 AM
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I have never toured before. Just read a lot of blogs. Usually its people who are a bit more well off than me. The longest ride I did was 145 miles last year. I went from Westbrook, ME to Orono, ME. I did 145 back to back days the first time. The second time I rode up to Orono in a car with my girlfriend because she goes to school up there. Then rode back the next day. That particular ride was my quickest of the three. Took me 10:35 to complete it. I don't plan on covering that much ground on any single day of that tour. And I know it will be a different ball game with the gear I'm carrying.

I hope to carry everything on the back of my bike. Two panniers to carry all my gear except my tent and my sleeping bag. Both of those will be rigged to the top of my Rack. I'll have two large waterbottles and my tools will be in my seat bag under my seat.
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Old 01-18-11, 02:36 AM
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When I get hungry and thirsty on tour I stop at every convenience store I see. You would think I had shares in Gatorade, for all the product I drink. And I camp in campgrounds. End result $40 to $60 per day.
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Old 01-18-11, 03:42 AM
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10 hours on a bike, day after day, even 100 miles day after day is a big ask of anyone, even experienced riders.

Your optimism is admirable, but you really should extend your itinerary somewhat to ensure you get enough rest and maybe reduce your daily distances somewhat. That will impact on your budget, obviously.

Is this ride about the "achievement" or are you aiming for something else out of it?
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Old 01-18-11, 03:51 AM
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I did a coast-to-coast bicycle trip, 75 days, and it cost me $17.50 per day average. That includes campground fees, food, bicycle repairs (tube, chain, brake pads) and three motel days. I stealth camped about half the time and was hosted about five days. If a campground is expensive I try and find someone to split a site. I cook most of my food but did eat some restaurant and fast-food too.

I'm NOT including transportation home, although I could, because it cost me nothing driving someone's car back east for them. Also NOT included is health insurance, and cell phone.
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Old 01-18-11, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by undisputed83
I have never toured before.
We can tell!


Originally Posted by undisputed83
Usually its people who are a bit more well off than me.
Well off? How much does it cost to load a few things onto the back of a bicycle and ride out to the campground of a neighbouing town? You don't have to be rich to do some weekend tours!


Originally Posted by undisputed83
The longest ride I did was 145 miles last year. I went from Westbrook, ME to Orono, ME. I did 145 back to back days the first time. The second time I rode up to Orono in a car with my girlfriend because she goes to school up there. Then rode back the next day. That particular ride was my quickest of the three. Took me 10:35 to complete it. I don't plan on covering that much ground on any single day of that tour. And I know it will be a different ball game with the gear I'm carrying.
That was one back-to-back trip. How are you going to feel doing that day after day after day? Since you are not planning to do the longer tour till 2012, I would suggest getting out there and riding a century a month (perhaps as a part of the CAM challenge in the Long Distance forum). I would suggest riding back to back centuries fairly regularly too.

And spend a week doing a 10-hour-a-day tour somewhere.

If you want an inexpensive 10-hour-a-day tour, do a hub-and-spoke tour of your local area. In other words ... each day for 6 or 7 days, ride out a different direction from where you live ... ride out 5 hours and back 5 hours. Then stay overnight at home. Load your bicycle up with the kinds of things you might take with you on a longer tour so you can practice with how the weight handles. Also, make notes on how much you spend on food each day ... and add $20 to the total for nightly accommodation. That'll give you an idea of how much you might spend in a week, which you can multiply out for the length of your trip.

If you feel a bit more adventurous ... ride out 10 hours, camp overnight somewhere and ride back 10 hours, stay overnight at home, then ride out 10 hours in another direction, camp overnight somewhere and ride back 10 hour, then ride out 10 hours in another direction, camp overnight somewhere, and ride back. That might give you an even better idea of how much things cost.

And a hub-and-spoke tour of some sort would be a great way to really get to know the area where you live. Enjoy!!



(PS. My tours usually run me anywhere from $30/day to $50/day. So that would be $1350 - $2250 for 45 days and $1800 - $3000 for 60 days ... plus airline fees.)
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Old 01-18-11, 05:26 AM
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This is the story of a overnight tour Rowan and I did back in 2006.

https://www.machka.net/short_tours/2006_PineLake.htm

We had the bicycles, we had the equipment. But our equipment isn't tremendously expensive ... we've collected decent quality stuff for good prices from many different sources over many years.

I can't remember how much the campground cost, but I'm thinking it was something like $15. I'm pretty sure we had something to eat once we arrived at the campground, and then pancakes for breakfast. That wouldn't have cost us $10 or so. So for approx. $25 we did a tour ... a beautiful, memorable tour.

You don't need to be well off to enjoy touring, you don't need to have lots of time to tour, and you don't need to do something "epic" to have a wonderful touring experience.

Last edited by Machka; 01-18-11 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 01-18-11, 05:56 AM
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I did 64 days and 3600 miles around Europe a couple of years ago for a grand total of 700 ($1100) but the year before that I did 90 days around Europe for 2600 ($4000) and late last year I toured for two weeks across Spain for 140 ($220). About 10 a day seems about right for me if I'm wild camping.

Touring can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.
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Old 01-18-11, 06:03 AM
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When planning both time and money the best thing is to allow a lot more of each than you will need. Then enjoy the trip using as much of both as you need. It is so much nicer to not sweat a schedule or a budget.

We found 60 miles a day (including rest days) was about right for us on the TA. Your mileage will vary, but I think ours was pretty normal. If I were to second guess anything about out trip it would have been that I might have taken some time off to see a few places we were within range of.

We averaged something like $4-5 per day for lodging, but we saved by splitting the cost 3 ways in some cases. Probably a bit more than half the time we stayed free. We only paid for one room, but did wind up in expensive ($20-40) campgrounds a few times. We stayed in town parks, churches, and with hosts when we could. We had no desire to "stealth camp" though.

Food will vary widely in cost, but you will be hungry and food is one of the joys on tour so I don't advise eating nothing but instant oatmeal and ramen noodles the whole way. Spend enough to enjoy your meals whether that means $5 a day or $30 a day or whatever.

Remember that you will be hungry and thirsty and will need stuff like sunscreen. Sports drinks, snacks, bug dope, and sunscreen added up to a lot more than I would have guessed.

My preference would be to budget a total of at least $30 a day even though I might only spend half that. For mileage/time I'd do something similar.
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Old 01-18-11, 06:04 AM
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You could maybe do it for $1500, but that's a big maybe.

I'd say, at the very least, have access to a lot more money than that. Lots of things can happen, that's a long trip. Have a pot that you can dip into at your disposal, just in case things don't go exactly as planned.
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Old 01-18-11, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
You could maybe do it for $1500, but that's a big maybe.

I'd say, at the very least, have access to a lot more money than that. Lots of things can happen, that's a long trip. Have a pot that you can dip into at your disposal, just in case things don't go exactly as planned.
It isn't that big of a maybe $1500 is a pretty do-able number. How do-able depends on how frugal you are.

You are 100% right that having access to a good bit more is a good idea though. The peace of mind is a good thing and also you don't really want to come home broke.
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Old 01-18-11, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Only you can determine your daily budget based on your experience.
Another thing the OP can do is try to live on his proposed diet while still at home. That way, he can see how realistic it is, especially since he'll be eating it in higher volume while on his tour.
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Old 01-18-11, 09:26 AM
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I've never kept track of how much money I've spent on tours. When I started I spent as little as possible. Now I don't worry so much. How much one spends on a bike tour can vary wildly, depending on the individual.

The one expense that seems to be fairly common to all is food. I don't mean we all spend the same amount on food. I mean we pretty much all develop enormous appetites on tour and eat significantly more than we do at home.

On my first long tour - 4 weeks - that was a surprise. I had some sort of budget goals (I can't remember the specifics) and my food costs were far more than I anticipated.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:00 AM
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My buddy with whom i usually do my rides with, will not tour with out enough money to outright replace his bike ontop of the daily expense. Im not sure if thats a little overboard but then again you never really know whats going to happen over the course of 60 days
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Old 01-18-11, 10:04 AM
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Riding with a partner significantly cuts expenses. You can split larger packages of food, rather than buying individual packages which are always more expensive. You can also split campsite costs, room costs, et cetera, which makes a huge difference.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:07 AM
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First off, I want to thank everyone who has put in their two cents. I know the trip won't go exactly as I outlined, but I do feel encouraged that I'm not too far off from my original projections. This is my tentative packing list.
Sleeping Stuff:

Pillow
Sleeping Bag
Tents

Clothes:

Three Bibs
Three Jerseys
two short sleeve shirts
two pairs of regular cargo shorts
six pairs of socks
Sweat Shirt
Sandals
one towel
Cycling Shoes


Hygene:

Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Soap
Small bottle of shampoo
Deoderant
Sun Screen
Bug Spray


Bike Stuff:

Spare Chain
Spare Tire
Chain Grease
Emergency Pump (on the bike)
Six spare tubes
Spoke Wrench


Misc:

Trash bags
Cell Phone/Charger
Plate
Fork
Spoon
Small First Aid Kit
Two Extra Bungee Cords (For Rigging Tent/Sleeping Bag)
Book
Writing Paper
Pens


I'm hoping to fit all of this into two large panniers for the rear of the bike. I don't want front Panniers if I can help it. I think this is doable. If I run out of room, I think I can buy a large duffle bag to put the tent and sleeping bag into, and then squeeze a few things into the duffle bag with them. One might argue that I only need one set of regular clothes, but I want an extra that I can have on hand that way I'll have osmething to wear while I'm doing laundry. Aside from this, is there anything else anyone thinks I absolutely need or don't need?
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Old 01-18-11, 10:20 AM
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I would say rain gear, but that really is preference as you'll be doing it in the summer, do keep in mind up here in the mountains it still gets cold in the summer.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:26 AM
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20 to 60 dollars a day? Damn, you guys are some big spenders!
20 dollars a week I would consider more reasonable.
Personally, I wouldn't be spending even that much, aside from the unavoidable mechanical mishaps...
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Old 01-18-11, 10:26 AM
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At the pace you're planning (which is unrealistic for most of us, FWIW), you're going to need to keep it very very light.

Add:
Sleeping pad (thermarest or foam pad)
Rain gear, hat, gloves, long pants/tights & shirt/jersey to ride in
bike multi-tool w/ chain breaker & allen wrenches
patch kit
Knife
shorts/swim trunks
Something warmer/lighter than a sweatshirt to keep you warm - i like a down jacket, others like fleece sweaters

Subtract:
3 pairs socks, 1 pair pants, sweatshirt (replace w/ fleece or down jacket) sweatshirts are heavy and dry slowly, don't bring cotton pants/shirts
1 bib, 1 jersey - hand wash bike clothes every night, dry on top of rack next day while riding.
Most of the chain (just bring a few links)
3 tubes
Plate

Also, the less you cook/less food you carry with you, the more it costs, so you're going to have to balance carrying capacity for food with cost. It's nice if your panniers are not stuffed to the max, so you can add a loaf of bread or whatever along the way.

anyway, there's a ton of gear lists on crazyguyonabike.com, look over there for ideas, and do a shakedown tour.

Also, with regard to cost of tour, it does vary a huge amount, but please, please, do NOT abuse the hospitality you are offered along the way. Personally, I think it's important to be able to take care of yourself and pay your own way, not rely on handouts and hospitality. If those come your way, accept with gratitude, but never expect something for nothing.
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