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Daily costs

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Daily costs

Old 02-04-13, 08:55 AM
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Daily costs

Hi everyone. So my buddy and I are still planning this trip across the US for this summer and we're trying to figure out expenses. We've pretty well gathered all of our equipment and now we're trying to figure out a base budget for our daily expenses.

What can we plan on needing? So far I'm coming up with food, water, possibly camp sites (if know a good way of finding free camp sites I'm up for that too) and day to day maintenance but I don't know if that's everything or how much to budget for it all.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-04-13, 09:38 AM
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Daily cost can vary pretty widely depending on your choices, your route choices, and your camping preferences. Food, water, and camping are the biggest items that you need to have, but remember that in food you need to include a lot of snacks as you will be burning a lot of calories. Also remember that you will likely be wanting a lot of cold beverages. Those do add up. Still it is possible to eat fairly well on $10-15 per day (some manage on less and some spend much more).

On routes like the Trans America, the Northern Tier, or the Southern Tier it is especially easy to keep camping costs low. There are tons of places to stay for free so it wasn't hard to keep our average under $5 or so per day for camping. That was in 2007 and there were three of us sharing expenses so you might go higher, but I think that is a ball park figure if you are kind of a cheapskate like we were on that trip. That meant a lot of camping for free in town parks, some stays with hosts, and some sleeping in churches. and very few stays in more expensive campgrounds. We managed to do that with no need for stealth on that trip. Using an AC route helps some with that, but you can do similarly with a bit more effort with your own route.

Since then I have been more inclined to splurge on a room once in a while and that jacks the daily cost up quite a bit.
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Old 02-04-13, 10:04 AM
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cost me about $1000 for a six week cross country trip. both times.

as for camping....ask a cop. small town cops are the best source for free camping.
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Old 02-04-13, 11:06 AM
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My latest 4500 mile X-C tour cost about $25 per day, from $10 to 15 for food and the rest for camping, lodging, maintenance, etc. I mostly free-camped--as mentioned above, that's surprisingly easy. Many days I had a bag of groceries from the day before, camped for free, and spent nothing. Then maybe I'd splurge on a buffet and motel the next day. I was pleased at my spending. I'd heard $30 to $50 is most common.

I just had a warmshowers.com guest who is spending $5 per day for the last three years So much cheaper is definitely possible. But he says he has been known to salvage venison steaks from roadkill....
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Old 02-04-13, 01:37 PM
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Bicycle touring is one of those activities that if you have to ask how much it going to cost? . . . well you can probably afford to do it anyhow and not break any laws in the process.
On a trip you've got worry as a companion, for you're always concerned about what happens next and sticking to an itinerary. . . . on a journey you never have to worry. Something always happens next.

- Gordon Hempton: One Square inch of Silence
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Old 02-04-13, 01:47 PM
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I don't see beer on your list.

Re: free camping, in addition to city parks and the like, you can practice what's called "dispersed camping" on National Forest land unless otherwise prohibited:


Some states forests allow the same practice.
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Old 02-04-13, 01:53 PM
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I did most of the trans-am and spent about $25 or $30 dollars a day, but i'll admit that I ate well. I was in a group with two friends and we stopped at restaurants every other day. We would regularly stock up for 2 days at a supermarket when we hit one and would buy snacks like ice cream when we ran into them.

I didn't pay for camping or a hotel the whole ride. Mostly we stealth camped and I found a few warmshower.org hosts who allowed us to sleep in their homes or on their yard.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to budget some extra money in case of equipment failure. I just did the pacific coast tour and had to replace my wheel and a cable unexpectedly. You never know what will happen.
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