What’s it Going to Cost?

One of the big questions when thinking about long-term bicycle touring is “What’s it going to cost?” And rightly so; as what you’re expecting to be able to spend directly controls both when you launch and what you will be doing along the way. Several long term bicycle tourists have claimed they do just fine on a mere $23/day. I was initially skeptical, and started trying to model how to pull this off. I found the results were both surprising and  encouraging.

Here are my assumptions:

  • camping/lodging: $300 (Minnesota State Park campgrounds are $20/night, assume free-camp half-time)
  • food: $300
  • health/insurance premium: $100
  • transportation: $30 (not-by-bicycle)
  • stove fuel (gasoline): $5.00 (1 gallon)
  • miscellaneous: $30

This gives me a monthly total of $765, for a daily average of $25.50.

I’ve based these figures on local prices and my own expenses over the last two years. Applying a little geoarbitrage (traveling through  countries with cheaper prices) would help bring this down substantially, allowing meals in restaurants and hotels instead of camping, and also freeing up money for other expenses like travel visas and the repairing/replacing equipment.

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