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How much did it cost?

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How much did it cost?

Old 10-22-13, 09:26 AM
  #1  
Juan Foote
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How much did it cost?

I have been playing with the idea of doing a short self supported tour. In preparation for this I have been reading quite a bit of blogs from other tours. I see a lot of reference made to pricing camp sites, motels, food, etc. but I haven't seen anyone do an actual cost breakdown just mention that it's expensive.

I understand there are a lot of variables at play and it would be impossible to say it was going to cost "this" much, like a plane ticket. I am just trying to get an idea of a realistic budget for a week long tour. The places I stay will have a big influence and know that the cost of that will come down mostly to researching the area and finding deals on rooms or campgrounds. The part I am really curious about is food. Eating out is expensive anyway and adding a need for calories from cycling...

Would you mind sharing what your average daily costs were while out on a tour?
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Old 10-22-13, 09:29 AM
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Ten or twenty bucks worth of food (noodles, tuna, gorp, clifbars). Lightweight camping gear I already had. Guerilla camping. Large meal at a family coutry style diner/restaurant $15. Minty Raleigh Alyeska from eBay: about ~$350.

Daily cost can be $20. Mostly food, fuel, and stealth.

If you're doing motels and campgrounds, then call ahead, plan your itinerary, and calculate.
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Old 10-22-13, 09:35 AM
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breakfast $8
convenience store food $3
lunch $6
convenience store food $4
dinner $6
convenience store food and 2 large beers $7
camp site $12 or free depending on location.

total $46 (wow! I had no idea)
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Old 10-22-13, 09:46 AM
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On a side note, what resource did you use to find campsites? Is it "google search"?
I have found much of the ACA stuff to be pretty useless for GA. unless you are on the coast.
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Old 10-22-13, 09:47 AM
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I too am planning short tours - weekender's, multi-day, week-long tours, but this'll be next year.

I wish you luck on your planning stages and execution of your tours!
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Old 10-22-13, 09:50 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
On a side note, what resource did you use to find campsites? Is it "google search"?
I have found much of the ACA stuff to be pretty useless for GA. unless you are on the coast.
I tried to plan ahead but it doesn't really work that well. A simple state map is all I use anymore. A county park is usually best. They are everywhere but not listed on state maps very much. I just arrive in a town and ask a local cop. I usually sleep for free using this method.
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Old 10-22-13, 09:58 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
breakfast $8
convenience store food $3
lunch $6
convenience store food $4
dinner $6
convenience store food and 2 large beers $7
camp site $12 or free depending on location.

total $46 (wow! I had no idea)
$8 for breakfast? I wouldn't spend half that, especially if you knew that you were going to be stopping a t a c-store mid morning for a snack.
Lunch and dinner $6? Dollar menu for sure, you could do lunch and dinner for maybe $4 each. But I agree with the two large beers after the days ride, it's your reward.
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Old 10-22-13, 09:59 AM
  #8  
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Food $5-$100 a day, I usually average $15. Camping from $0-$45 a night, hotels $Free-$125 a night. Being out on the road enjoying myself? $Priceless.

Small towns and asking where is a good place to camp works quite well. I have camped behind VFD's, police departments, churches, cemeteries, even in the mayor's side yard in one small town.

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Old 10-22-13, 10:05 AM
  #9  
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I camp and have a small stove and basics for food. Make breakfast, oatmeal, raisins, dried apples and those little shelf stable creamers. Buy lunch, usually a sandwich. Buy some kind of meat for dinner, cook up with couscous or pasta. Buy some beer, drink, rest and repeat. Most camp sites(MA) are $ 12-35.00. Or camp for free. Lots of woods and such.
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Old 10-22-13, 10:33 AM
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Cost to exped tour with my son? Priceless.
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Old 10-22-13, 11:30 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
On a side note, what resource did you use to find campsites? Is it "google search"?
I have found much of the ACA stuff to be pretty useless for GA. unless you are on the coast.
When I have an idea for a route, I map it out using a program like Bikely. Then I estimate daily mileage based on terrain. Let's say I decide 60 miles/day is a realistic average. For Day 1, I pick a town 60 miles from the start then go to Google Maps and search "campgrounds near [name of town]". If I don't get any hits, I zoom out. In doing so, I make sure to look for state parks, which are noted on the map but sometimes don't show up as campgrounds. I then check to see if any state parks that do show up allow camping.

I am looking at PA Bike Route V for next spring or summer. I have the paper maps and have mapped it electronically. I have searched for campgrounds near/on the route and have noted their locations on the paper maps.

I used the same approach for last month's tour on the GAP and PA Pike Route S. During that tour, I actually started to keep a record of every penny I spent and what I spent it on, but I lost interest after maybe 3 days. A few things stuck in my mind, like the $40 campsite, the $10 campsite and the free campsite, but any attempt at estimating a daily budget would not be much more than guessing.

My philosphy is that it's my vacation. While I don't go out of my way to spend as much mioney as possible, I am not going to deny myself something I want just to save money. If there is a choice between a crappy city park for free and a private campground for $30, I will opt for the latter. Last spring I shelled out $25 or so to tour a wolf preserve next to a campground where I spent a night. A few years ago the GF and I stayed at a bike camp in MT. The place had a grill and charcoal. The grocery store had salmon steaks. It was July 4th. Couldn't pass up the chance to BBQ. Other people do it on the cheap for one reason or another. I will take advantage of cheap options if available and suitable. During that same tour we stayed at a really nice BLM campground for only $6.

Again, a lot of it is regional. $8 for breakfast out (say a full stack of pancakes, meat, coffee and a tip) is actually reasonable in many parts of the northeast.

Finally, keep in mind that when you are not touring you are spending money on food, so food expenses on tour are not 100% extra costs. And when you are touring you are likely using fewer utilities, like water and electricity, and possibly gasoline, so there are some savings on that side of the balance sheet.
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Old 10-22-13, 11:33 AM
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Dumpster diving , AkA "Freeganisim" , can lower your food costs.. "It's still Good"


Put my stuff, in a storage locker, gave up my Apartment..and all those bills .

so it seems it cost less than staying home and watching the cable TV and owning a Car.

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Old 10-22-13, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I tried to plan ahead but it doesn't really work that well. A simple state map is all I use anymore. A county park is usually best. They are everywhere but not listed on state maps very much. I just arrive in a town and ask a local cop. I usually sleep for free using this method.
I wish that approach worked (legally, anyway) in my neck of the woods. One reason I love touring out west and in the midwest. I did ACA's Northern Tier tour we stayed in several city parks and similar places (e.g., fairgrounds) while riding through WA, ID, MT, ND and MN. I think only the fairgounds in Republic, WA charged a nominal fee.
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Old 10-22-13, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
I have been playing with the idea of doing a short self supported tour. In preparation for this I have been reading quite a bit of blogs from other tours. I see a lot of reference made to pricing camp sites, motels, food, etc. but I haven't seen anyone do an actual cost breakdown just mention that it's expensive.

I understand there are a lot of variables at play and it would be impossible to say it was going to cost "this" much, like a plane ticket. I am just trying to get an idea of a realistic budget for a week long tour. The places I stay will have a big influence and know that the cost of that will come down mostly to researching the area and finding deals on rooms or campgrounds. The part I am really curious about is food. Eating out is expensive anyway and adding a need for calories from cycling...

Would you mind sharing what your average daily costs were while out on a tour?
Don't know your route or area but I'm a warmshowers host and the touring cyclists I host use warmshowers as much as possible to keep costs in line.

As a host I enjoy meeting other cyclists and hearing their stories as most are from other counties. For me, it's been fun to host cyclists. This is the site:

www.warmshowers.org

Sign up and see if there are any hosts along your route.
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Old 10-22-13, 02:03 PM
  #15  
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My last cross-US tour ended up costing $25/day, not including travel to and from termini. That included paying for indoor lodging once a week, paid campsites maybe once or twice a week, a handful of warmshowers hosts, and the rest free camping. Food generally cost $15/day, mostly buying groceries.

I went on one five-day trip from home and it only cost $5 total, for one Subway footlong. I carried most of my food from home and received some free meals from new friends along the way.

I met one fellow cyclist who had been out for three years and was spending just over $5000/year to maintain his lifestyle, cycling nearly 8,000 miles per year. He was not a bum, either--good gear, good health, had all his teeth. He was an accomplished freegan.

It's very easy to exceed $100 per day if you want to.
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Old 10-23-13, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
breakfast $8
convenience store food $3
lunch $6
convenience store food $4
dinner $6
convenience store food and 2 large beers $7
camp site $12 or free depending on location.

total $46 (wow! I had no idea)
Convenience stores are the worst places to get food. I was shocked to see 2 boiled eggs for $3+ here in NJ. Air and chemical filled cakes were over $2 for each little piece.
Pre-made sandwiches and salads were $5+ and the size was so small.
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Old 10-23-13, 04:20 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
On a side note, what resource did you use to find campsites? Is it "google search"?
I have found much of the ACA stuff to be pretty useless for GA. unless you are on the coast.
Tourist Information Centres
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Old 10-23-13, 04:26 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
I have been playing with the idea of doing a short self supported tour. In preparation for this I have been reading quite a bit of blogs from other tours. I see a lot of reference made to pricing camp sites, motels, food, etc. but I haven't seen anyone do an actual cost breakdown just mention that it's expensive.

I understand there are a lot of variables at play and it would be impossible to say it was going to cost "this" much, like a plane ticket. I am just trying to get an idea of a realistic budget for a week long tour. The places I stay will have a big influence and know that the cost of that will come down mostly to researching the area and finding deals on rooms or campgrounds. The part I am really curious about is food. Eating out is expensive anyway and adding a need for calories from cycling...

Would you mind sharing what your average daily costs were while out on a tour?
Cost breakdowns have been made here several times in the past.

I've toured for as little as about $20/day and as much as about $200/day. You're right ... there are a lot of variables.

And food is just as variable. You could stop in at a decent grocery store in the middle of the day, and buy your lunch, dinner, and breakfast ... much like you would at home. Or you could bring a bag of rice and a bag of oats from home and just eat that. Or you could eat at convenience stores, fast food places, bakeries, markets, fancy restaurants ........

How much or how little you spend is up to you.
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Old 10-23-13, 06:00 AM
  #19  
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Thanks for all the input. I knew it was going to be variable, I just didn't imagine it to be THIS variable.
I have intention on looking into Warm Showers. In the blogs I have been reading it seems to be a great resource assuming there are hosts in the area I am looking to go. Plans are very fluid right now. My intention is to do a "state park tour" of a circle fairly near the house for my first time out. I want to act like I am on tour and unsupported, but an easy day ride or couple of hour drive to retrieve me should anything not go as planned.
My biggest concern for the tour, aside from the funding, is keeping my residual limb clean, dry, and happy. I have a specific need to wash that area a couple of times a day and feel like it will be the biggest obstacle in the way of my camping. I used to enjoy doing so very much but haven't been since my accident in 07.
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Old 10-23-13, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
Thanks for all the input. I knew it was going to be variable, I just didn't imagine it to be THIS variable.
Why not?

My $20 to $200 includes variables such as ...

Free camping or camping in inexpensive campgrounds + grocery shopping for dinner .... vs .... staying in a nice hotel + eating at a nice restaurant + doing tourist activities (i.e. cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef)

And let's not forget about non-cycling transportation. Planes, trains, and ferries cost money. $20 would be a tour with no non-cycling transportation, but depending on what sort of non-cycling transportation you use, the price could vary widely.

It's all up to YOU!
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Old 10-23-13, 06:11 AM
  #21  
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If you don't already know how, learn to cook.

Then take a stove and use it.

Alternatively, learn how to assemble cook-free meals... schedule a time of the day to collect and eat perishable foods from supermarkets or other stores. That will help reduce your food costs.

The rest such as accommodation, depends on how creative you are in free-camping or finding people to stay with on lists such as warmshowers.

The real answer, of course, is to jump in and start doing it with an overnighter, such as an out-and-back. As you learn what to look for locally, even scoping out by a motor vehicle if necessary, you'll get the confidence to go further afield. It's what most of the older hands here have done.

In doing this, you can record the costs of your trips, and determine at what comfort level you are happiest.

And that is the reason why it's not possible to give you an accurate figure... the comfort level you are happy to sustain is something that only you know. And of course, that has to be related to how much you can afford to spend.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:36 AM
  #22  
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I was surprised how tasty Ramen noodle soup was for breakfast, I did that every morning for a short trip. Soup was $0.25 not counting cost of stove fuel to heat the water and cleanup water. Extremely fast and very light weight to carry. Some instant coffee or a few tea bags adds a bit more cost.

Knorr makes several rice dishes, when I am traveling alone I find that half of a rice mix packet with one can of soup or chili can be quite filling.

I usually start a trip with about 6 to 8 hard boiled eggs in my pack that I fixed up at home. How long they last in the pack varies with the weather, I avoid touring in hot weather so for me they last several days. They are a handy thing to have when you are craving some more food in the evening. But during the day while riding, you would want something with carbohydrates instead of an egg. Eggs after a day long ride can be a good source of protein to aid muscle recovery.

I will start a trip with a couple boxes of granola bars in my pack for extra calories during the day while riding.

For travel I am not a big peanut butter and jelly fan, but a gal I used to work with ate that a lot on her camping and kayak trips.

For a week long trip, if you do not keep up on all your calories, it is not a big deal. A multi-week trip is where it becomes more important to keep up on calories. When I did the GAP/C&O trail, I got home about 3 pounds lighter for a week long trip with no ill effects. I think that was caloric deficit, not salt depletion because my weight did not rebound within a week after I got home.

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Old 10-23-13, 07:41 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
For a week long trip, if you do not keep up on all your calories, it is not a big deal. A multi-week trip is where it becomes more important to keep up on calories. When I did the GAP/C&O trail, I got home about 3 pounds lighter for a week long trip with no ill effects. I think that was caloric deficit, not salt depletion because my weight did not rebound within a week after I got home.
For many of us, being a bit calorie deficient now and then can be a good thing.

Quite frequently, we eat the ramen noodles before randonnees and other long rides. They taste good, and they provide calories and salt.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:48 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
Thanks for all the input. I knew it was going to be variable, I just didn't imagine it to be THIS variable.
How much travelling have you done? I suspect that you know more about the cost could be than you think you do!

Cycle-touring won't generally be more expensive than any other forms of travelling. Much of your time is typically spent on the bike and that doesn't cost anything. You certainly don't have to eat out when touring. You don't even need to cook. (The cost for food doesn't have to be much different than your normal/reasonable costs for that at home).

If you are not spending a lot of time riding, you have to consider what you are going to be doing instead (and the costs, if any, of that).

The big cost is going to be cost for lodging. Hotels are going to cost more (exactly how much depends on where) but $100/night is a rough guess. Camping is costs around $20/night. (Of course, these things could be less.)

Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
My biggest concern for the tour, aside from the funding, is keeping my residual limb clean, dry, and happy. I have a specific need to wash that area a couple of times a day and feel like it will be the biggest obstacle in the way of my camping. I used to enjoy doing so very much but haven't been since my accident in 07.
This is going to be the big thing to work-out a solution for. I'd guess that you'd want to carry stuff to do this rather than relying on having facilities available. Ideally, anything you need for this would be easily purchased at a grocery store.

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Old 10-23-13, 09:20 AM
  #25  
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I can easily spend 50-60$ a day or more, not including transport to start and from end. I tend to have one restaurant meal a day, usually breakfast. Campgrounds in Canada costs 25-30$. I toured in southern Ontario this spring and all campgrounds were 40$+ for crappy sites among RVs. I got sick of that and ended up staying indoors for 60-80$. I free-camp occasionally but then a couple of nights in a downtown hotel more than makes up for it. Add C-store food, ice cream, ferries, entertainment, etc, and it cost goes up quickly. It's easy to keep cost down if you want to, but when the campsite is 10-15km out of town and I'm dead tired, riding on a street lined with motels and restaurants, that extra 10km is just too much.
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