Money, money, money…

5 Months of travel in a motorhome, visiting France, Spain and Portugal, chasing the sun, exploring new places and learning about new cultures. We share all the details of our travels in this blog, on our facebook page and via instagram. Although we’ve been back a little while, we finally have the summary of the numbers of our winter tour ready to share with you, including the all important financial numbers. How much did it cost to travel for 5 months?

We often hear people suggest that we must be ‘rich’ to be able to live this lifestyle, and we feel we are ‘rich’, but ‘rich’ in happiness and life experiences rather than financially rich. We made a conscious decision to make do with less in our lives, understanding that it means we can’t do all the things we used to do and that we have to make different priority calls with regards to our finances in order to fund our lifestyle. Quite possibly, this is one of the hardest things for people to understand about this lifestyle. For us, however, it makes perfect sense and our new priorities come naturally when we think of money in terms of ‘travel weeks’.

So how much did we spend while out on the road?

We had planned to limit ourselves to £1000 per month budget. We didn’t know how this tour would go, what we would do or where we would go. We couldn’t foresee exactly what would matter to us while on the road, and how much we would want to spend to experience a country as best we could. This planned budget number was based on other travellers blogs, conversations on travel forums etc, but it was in no way an exact science for us.

From day 1, we kept a log of every penny or eurocent we spent. We now have a very detailed log of our expenses which will be really useful to help us plan budgets for future tours, as well as to see where we perhaps could spend a little bit less.

In the end, we spent a little bit more than the original £1000 per month budget, with the total coming in at £5,783 for the 5 months (see the detail at the bottom of this post). We feel like we haven’t missed out on anything and that we’ve been able to experience these wonderful countries to the full.

As you can see from the chart below, our biggest expenditure was Groceries. We enjoyed shopping at Lidl, Mercadona or Pingo Doce, as well as a few trips to overseas British and Dutch supermarkets. We also enjoyed buying lovely fresh produce at local markets. We tried to keep our costs down whilst buying enough for 3 meals a day, every day.

Total cost of our tour

Even so, our second biggest expenditure was ‘Eating Out’. This isn’t just meals out, we’ve also included in this category any coffees while we’re out, pastries, cakes, alcoholic drinks out etc. We started out having coffee out every single day, until we bought our own little coffee machine and coffee and we started have coffee in more frequently. It turns out that this is an area which is important to us; tasting iberico ham, Portuguese pastries, tapas, fish bbq’s or having the odd beer on a sunny terrace. It is a sociable and cultural part of our experience, and a nice way to mix with the locals, as well as giving back to the communities we stay in by spending money in those communities.

Unsurprisingly, fuel was our third largest expenditure. This is diesel for the 5,378 miles (!) we covered. In France and Portugal, fuel was expensive at around €1.40 per litre. In Spain it was much cheaper, often around €1.11 per litre. For future trips, we’ll budget more for diesel in our first & last month of travel to account for potentially long drives which are more likely when we might be trying to get to a destination, rather than just plodding along. It’s a great, flexible resource, easy to save on when money gets tight by simply moving less.

Aires & Campsites was our next largest expense, probably an area where we spent more than planned due to a few campsite stays which were longer than planned. Even though we only spent approximately €5.35 average per night, this is probably an area we can make some savings. We used free sites as well as ACSI campsites. Mostly EHU was included on ACSI sites. Generally we don’t need or use EHU as we have good batteries and solar, but on one occasion we did splash out all of €3.50 to have EHU.

We use a gaslow system for our LPG, which we find very economical and efficient. We only had to fill up a few times, but there is a very clear difference in use when we’re in colder areas. Running the heating makes a very big difference to our LPG use, but while we were on the warmer coasts we didn’t use much at all.

The miscellaneous category includes things like dog toys for Luna, fishing tackle and bait, some new clothes, shoes, accessories etc. We hadn’t really planned on needing to buy things like this as we brought enough with us, but in some cases we really did need new things, and in some cases we found good bargains compared to cost in the UK so it made sense to buy it abroad even if we didn’t really need it.

Things not included in this breakdown are insurances (travel, vehicle, breakdown etc) and annual costs. This cost breakdown is related to our spend on this tour specifically.

Total Categories6,523.785,783.42
Eating out1,548.421,377.50
Aire / Camping812.48718.55
Ferry / Tunnel188.56165.40
Public Transport61.0054.27

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6 Responses

  1. Johnfitzpatrick says:

    What a detailed and honest account of your travel costs and I have no doubt that this will help other travellers to look at there own travel costs. and you are right being able to spend a little when in those villages makes all the difference to the villages and towns as regards an income and of course this makes your part of the travel experience all the better. I must say I really enjoyed your blogs and site sheets for all of us to plan to travel and who travel. Keep up the great work. Your geat Vlog and the Motoroaming Vlog are two of the best Vlogs out there, so well done and can’t wait for more of your adventures.

    • CynthiaMO says:

      Thank you so much, that’s a very big compliment! Yes, spending a little in places is a great way to give back to the communities who so kindly host us. And we love experiencing cultures in this way. Happy Travels!

  2. Cheryl.Buckley says:

    That’s about the amount we usually budget for about £1000 a month but it is getting more expensive due to cost of fuel.Our last six month trip 2017 /2018 winter we averaged nearly £1200 a month but we did travel a lot.Loved your blogs by the way

    • CynthiaMO says:

      Thank you!
      Yes the fuel at times was so expensive! Makes it harder to cover distances… We’ll see how it goes when we next go. ?

  3. Mick Robinson says:

    Excellent read and some very interesting points. We have the ACSI cards and need EHU every time as we have a VW T25 Camper van. The cheapest campsite we found was 11.44€ inc everything with our ACSI card, not sure how you managed to get your average cost so low. Food costs are easily controlled, Aldi, Lidl and local markets help with all of that and avoiding tolls is another cost that can be controlled and you see better area’s of the countries you are going through.

    • CynthiaMO says:

      Those are great ways to keep the cost down.
      Like you say, ehu will push the overnight costs up as you will need a site. Very few free aires have ehu although there are a few dotted around. We managed to keep the overnight costs down by using mostly free aires and not using ehu. We have solar instead.
      Very impressed with the travelling the t25! How long do you go for?

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