Author Topic: Costs of Touring  (Read 4503 times)

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Offline JLMcK4

Costs of Touring
« on: December 25, 2012, 01:59:12 am »
Sorry if this has been asked before, but I was just curious as to how much a tour like the Trans Am or other cross country rides are. I am interested in riding the Trans Am at some point in the future and I want to save up enough money to cover it. I know this is a pretty broad question and varies greatly between each person, but I'm just trying to get a good ballpark number so I have some kind of idea. Thanks!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2012, 07:39:09 am »
Do you plan to camp the whole way?  Get a room every night?  Something in between?  What/where do you plan to eat?  Do you drink much alcohol?

Those factors can make the numbers swing a long way either way.

I know that on different tours I have averaged anywhere from $15-30 per day.  It is possible to go a little cheaper and also possible to spend a lot more.  I have heard some folks say they spent over $100 per day.

We took 73 days to do the TA and that is probably a fairly normal number of days.  I think that I could fairly comfortably manage to do a camping only (and no fancy restaurants) TA on $1500 not counting air fare or any pre trip expenses.  That said I'd plan to have $2000 or more available even if I didn't intend to spend it.  It is much more pleasant to have more time and more money than you need.  Budgets and deadlines suck!

One nice thing about the TA is that you can pretty easily manage to camp for free (with no need for stealth) a pretty good percentage of the time.  I think camping averaged about $5 a night, but we did save a bit by sharing a campsite between three of us some of the time.  The savings by sharing were not huge though since many places charged per person.

Offline JLMcK4

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 11:45:52 am »
Thanks for the response! I think the debate between camping and getting hotels every night would depend on how expensive it would be to do either. I wouldn't mind camping every night, but there undoubtedly would be a few nights where I'd like to stay at a hotel. I'd like to get a beer or two a couple times a week, but I'm not a huge drinker. For food, I'd like to eat at local places, but nothing too fancy. Probably a lot of granola bars, fruits and other food to help me go each day.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2012, 06:01:31 pm »
I did the TransAm solo on $16 a day ($14 a day for food and $2 a day for lodging). I did the Northern Tier solo on $33 a day, mostly because campgrounds were considerably more expensive there.

It depends on many factors: your dedication to finding free (but legal) places to sleep, your willingness to eat our of grocery stores (which are about half as expensive as restaurants if you buy ready-to-eat food), etc. Cooking (which I did not do) can save you even more. Free and legal places to sleep are plentiful on the TransAm. Avoiding paying to sleep is the most efficient way to save money.

You didn't say whether you are going solo or not, but sharing expenses can save even more.

I only count expenses from wheel-dip to wheel-dip. Obviously the cost of buying equipment, getting to the start and getting home from the end can drive up the costs.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 06:53:29 am »
Thanks for the response! I think the debate between camping and getting hotels every night would depend on how expensive it would be to do either. I wouldn't mind camping every night, but there undoubtedly would be a few nights where I'd like to stay at a hotel. I'd like to get a beer or two a couple times a week, but I'm not a huge drinker. For food, I'd like to eat at local places, but nothing too fancy. Probably a lot of granola bars, fruits and other food to help me go each day.
Based on that my best guess would be $30 per day or a bit more, depending on your food/drink choices and how often you get rooms.

Offline DaveB

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2012, 09:10:57 am »
Thanks for the response! I think the debate between camping and getting hotels every night would depend on how expensive it would be to do either. I wouldn't mind camping every night, but there undoubtedly would be a few nights where I'd like to stay at a hotel. I'd like to get a beer or two a couple times a week, but I'm not a huge drinker. For food, I'd like to eat at local places, but nothing too fancy. Probably a lot of granola bars, fruits and other food to help me go each day.
Based on that my best guess would be $30 per day or a bit more, depending on your food/drink choices and how often you get rooms.
That sounds low to me, particularly if you expect to stay in motels even occasionally and eat out even once a day,  I would think an average of closer to $50/ day will be needed.  If you use all motels and restaurants, the cost will be in the $100/day range.  Those reports of under $20/day require a very spartan life style and being able to camp at no cost almost exclusively.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 11:18:49 am »
Thanks for the response! I think the debate between camping and getting hotels every night would depend on how expensive it would be to do either. I wouldn't mind camping every night, but there undoubtedly would be a few nights where I'd like to stay at a hotel. I'd like to get a beer or two a couple times a week, but I'm not a huge drinker. For food, I'd like to eat at local places, but nothing too fancy. Probably a lot of granola bars, fruits and other food to help me go each day.
Based on that my best guess would be $30 per day or a bit more, depending on your food/drink choices and how often you get rooms.
That sounds low to me, particularly if you expect to stay in motels even occasionally and eat out even once a day,  I would think an average of closer to $50/ day will be needed.  If you use all motels and restaurants, the cost will be in the $100/day range.  Those reports of under $20/day require a very spartan life style and being able to camp at no cost almost exclusively.

There are lots of variables including locale and personal preferences so DaveB could be right, and only you can really say what will work for you.

FWIW, we averaged something like $5 per day for lodging on the Trans America due to staying for free a large percentage of the time.  It really wasn't hard to manage that.  I think we only paid for one room though and split it three ways.  We did avoid the more expensive campsites and asked for a cyclist discount where we did pay.  On the other hand we did stay in pay campsites more than absolutely necessary.

Food can vary a lot as well depending on your choices.  That said I can see $10 a day for food as doable and $30 a day as pretty plush.  I do generally have a fairly spartan touring style though.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 02:26:37 pm »
Mayber I am an oddity, but things like fruit, nuts and granola bars are the snacks I eat between the meals I eat before, during and after each day's ride. Breakfast at a local cafe or diner (say pancakes, some meat and coffee) is probably going to run me $7-8 dollars with a tip. Lunch probably $6-$7 dollars if I just get a sandwich, chips and a drink. I usually cook dinner, but if I don't, I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks. Then there is the cost of snacks. That piece of pie or ice cream you cannot resist. Then there is camping costs if you cannot find a place to stay for free. (You can reduce costs by looking for public campground like local and state parks or U.S.F.S. campgrounds, which are often less expensive than private campgrounds.) And don't forget to budget for repairs and/or replacement parts like tubes and tires.




Offline csykes

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 03:20:02 pm »
Don't forget that you will probably be saving money on what you would normally spend at the grocery store and gas station if you were at home; that can offset the trip budget a little.

Offline DaveB

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 04:07:17 pm »
Don't forget that you will probably be saving money on what you would normally spend at the grocery store and gas station if you were at home; that can offset the trip budget a little.
Sure, it's not free to stay home and while you are traveling by bike your home expenses like gasoline and utilities will be a lot less so the daily cost isn't all a gross payout.   Nevertheless, you will need a certain amount every day to tour.  How much that is depends greatly on where you sleep and eat. 

Offline John Nelson

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2012, 04:59:54 pm »
I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks.
An $8 sub sandwich at Safeway is two pounds and provides me the better part of three meals.

don't forget to budget for repairs and/or replacement parts like tubes and tires.
I consider bike repairs to come out of my emergency funds, and I don't typically count them in my daily expenses. I count tires, tubes and chains as equipment costs. I figure out what tires, tubes, chains and pads I'll need for the whole trip before the trip, buy them ahead of time (on sale), and then either carry them or have them mailed to me. It is often difficult to find good parts on the road (especially tires appropriate for touring).
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 05:01:34 pm by John Nelson »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 01:25:44 pm »
Breakfast at a local cafe or diner (say pancakes, some meat and coffee) is probably going to run me $7-8 dollars with a tip. Lunch probably $6-$7 dollars if I just get a sandwich, chips and a drink. I usually cook dinner, but if I don't, I count on least $12 with a tip for dinner not including drinks. Then there is the cost of snacks. That piece of pie or ice cream you cannot resist.

Don't forget the cost of Gatorade / orange juice / V8 or whatever your drink of choice is, and those snacks.  I'll often eat and drink my way through $2-5 of fluids and snacks a day.  Water is usually free, but I like to buy something if I get it from a convenience store just so they don't think (and I don't feel like) I'm a freeloader.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 11:08:36 am »
It's been asked before here and many other places; touring expenses is a topic that's easily researched.

As noted, too many variables. You've been presented a ten-to-one range of <10 to >100 US$/day. That's impossible to reconcile but it is easy to average or find a median which you are comfortable planning for. Let's say $30/day for 70 days (which is spartan and depraved but entirely doable and, from what we hear around here, possibly pleasurable)--$2,100--but call it $3,000. If you budget for $60/day (which includes camping mostly, cooking mostly, layover or storm days in motels and an occasional restaurant, that's $4,000-5,000.

Regarding the idea that you're not spending money at home, you may be paying your rent or mortgage while on the road, paying someone to house- or pet-sit and, if you're leaving family behind, they're still eating and driving the car around. ONe trick is to find someone who will pay you to stay in your home while you're on your bicycle tour. Dicey, that.

Visit your local library and find everything you can on bicycle travel. The vicarious experience is a fun way to spend your winter and you can learn much from mistakes already made. The biggest hurdle to a long bicycle tour is simply committing. ONce you've decided you're going, planning is mechanical.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 03:39:33 pm »
In summation, within certain upper limits and lower limits depending on how you conduct your tour, it can cost about as little or as much as you would like to pay.

Offline Gif4445

Re: Costs of Touring
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2013, 06:04:11 pm »
I like to think I live pretty average at home.  But when I tour, I'm probably on the expensive side by what I have read here.  Credit card touring, with motels averaging around $60.  Most of these places provide a breakfast and I eat pretty light, but often during the day.  Evening or dinner time is when I like a good steak or equivalent.  I'm on of those that would probably crowd that $100/day.  Guess I figure it is a vacation.