While I was cycling around Europe, a number of people asked me how much I have been spending, what is the budget, how much does it cost etc. Well here it is. The exact total cost of my 101 days bicycle tour from London (26th Aug) to Athens (4th Dec) is £1976.88. This includes everything. By everything I mean everything from food, accommodation, transport, bicycle maintenance, repairs, replacement parts, visa fee, entrance to tourist attractions, cigarettes, drinks, some new equipment etc. Luckily I used a single Credit Card throughout the tour so it was pretty easy for me to figure out the total cost.
Obviously the costs vary from country to country. I cycled through 19 countries from very expensive ones in Western Europe like Switzerland, Germany, France to very cheap ones in Eastern Europe in the Balkans like Albania, Serbia and Romania.
- Total Cost: £1976.88
- Total No of Days: 101
- Cost Per Day (1976.88/101): £19.57
- Paid Accommodation (hostels, hotels and campsites) : 6 Nights
Following are some approximate costs throughout the tour that are part of the exact total cost but I could never keep track of them accurately on the road:
- Accommodation (only 6 nights in hostels, hotels and campsites): £60
- Transport (like Ferries, buses and subway while in the cities): £48
- Equipment (that I bought on the Road like Saddle, Water Filter, kick stand etc): £375
- Bike Service & Maintenance (like replacing brake pads, chain etc): £186
- Visa Fee: 0
- Sightseeing: £10
- Travel Insurance: 0
- Food: A lot, basically everything Minus all of above (£1977 – £679) = £1298
I camped almost 80% of the trip. I camped along the rivers, coasts, lakes, roadside, on the cliffs, hills, in forests, farms, peoples gardens, vineyards, churches, mosques, even inside a castle 🙂 Basically anywhere where I felt it was safe and away from the crowd. When I was not camping, I was staying at local people’s houses either through the fantastic Warmshowers platform or just knocking on doors randomly. I used Warmshowers extensively. It’s very similar to CouchSurfing but exclusive for cyclists. It’s an incredible way to meet locals and learn more about their culture, food, history and above all making amazing friends in the process. Warmshowers and Couchsurfing platforms are both free to use. Throughout the whole trip I only paid 6 nights out of 101 mostly when I stayed in cities or couldn’t find appropriate place to camp or if it was too cold. It was about more or less £60.
Even though I was on a bicycle, there were times when I had to pay for transport, mainly ferries for crossing rivers or using public transport like buses and subways while staying in big cities. I spent more or less £48 in total.
Equipment on the Road
I started my tour with basic necessary gear and picked up some extra and replaced existing gear as I felt necessary. Some of this stuff was pretty expensive like a Brooks Saddle (€115), Water Filter (€50), Head Torch (€50) along with other not so expensive stuff like frame bags to organise my stuff a bit, a wind-breaker top, carabiners etc. I also had to replace some stuff because of wear and tear, broken, lost or simply because I didn’t like them :). These were things like shoes, Air Mattress, kick stand, camping light, glasses etc.
Bike Service & Maintenance
When you are on the road for that long, you quickly build a lot of mileage. A bike is a machine after all and like any other machine some parts will wear out eventually and needs replacing like brake-pads, tyres, chain, cassettes, sprockets etc.
The best thing about cycling through europe on a british passport is that there is no visa fee at all.
Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions
The only time I had to pay, as far as i remember, for a tourist attraction was a photography exhibition in Thessaloniki. Apart from that I didn’t feel the urge to visit any attractions where I had to pay, mainly because I was already seeing so much while cycling between the towns and cities. When I was in the cities, usually I was taking tip based free walking tours which are available in every big city.
I didn’t have any travel insurance except the European Health Insurance Card. However, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to travel without an appropriate travel insurance.
I spent a lot on food, nearly £13/day. Mainly on Coffees :). I was not carrying any sort of cooking equipment and I never felt the need to buy any on the road either. Maybe because I was just too lazy or couldn’t be bothered. I was mostly eating cold food from supermarkets like Porridge, milk, yogurt, bread, cheese, nutella, peanut butter, other spreads and sauces, tin food (lentils and beans), sandwiches, bakery items. Every now and then I would eat hot food like local street food like kebabs, gyros, souvlaki. I was also getting hot meals when staying at people’s houses through Warmshowers or cooking pasta myself in their kitchens.
Everyone has its own way of living and spending while traveling. The above are just my costs. In London I was paying £600/month rent just for the room. Here, on the tour, I spent more or less the same but for everything. It is just to give you an idea and possibilities of venturing on such a trip. You can spend way less or way more depending on your needs and priorities and can be really flexible with it. For example you can spend less on food by carrying cooking equipment and preparing most of the meals yourself or you can stay in hotels more often if you have a healthy budget.
Apart from the above costs, there are some other costs before you start your bicycle tour. These include things like the cost of your bike and camping gear if you don’t already have one, panniers, plane tickets if you are not starting from home, necessary vaccinations etc. But these vary from person to person and the type of trip. I will write about my bicycle and equipment in another post. For now if you have any sort of questions feel free to get in touch.