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Balancing the Global Budget: Camino de Santiago

Well it took us thirty-five days of walking, and Shawna and I are well aware of the impact the Camino had on our minds and bodies, but the more important question of course… how much did it dig into our budget?! :)

Our hope is to prove that as a couple, we can travel the world on under $100 CDN per day, while still experiencing everything we want to experience. We put the focus on being safe, healthy and enjoying ourselves, as opposed to just being cheap and hanging in a 18-bed dorm for two weeks, eating nothing but noodles. That’s just lame.

So far Europe, hasn’t quite allowed us to stay under $100…keeping us closer to $120/day, but we know that Europe is pricey and that costs should drop after this. However with the Camino, you would think that average daily costs should begin dropping…I mean, how much can it cost to walk anyways, right??

As always, we are using Budget Your Trip, as the site which keeps track of all our expenditures. Although there are still a few features that I would like them to add to enhance the site, it has definitely served its’ purpose.

Camino de Santiago Spending

Total # of Days – 36
Total Dollars Spent (CDN) – $3,911.58
Daily Average (CDN) – $108.65 (or 78€)

Sometimes even pilgrims have to splurge a little...

The Lowdown

This is the total of all of our spending between August 6 (the day before we left, which actually was our most expensive day) to September 10 (the day we arrived in Santiago).

I admit, I was surprised with these totals…I thought they would be quite a bit lower. But there are a few pretty sizable expenses which did pump up our daily average pretty quickly:

  • We spent $108 sending some of our luggage forward to Santiago.This probably isn’t a normal expense for most pilgrims, but if the Camino is just a small part, you will most likely want to shed a bit of weight before walking across the country.
  • As a couple, dorm beds tend to get a wee bit tiresome after awhile. Not only did we “splurge on our own rooms from time to time, but we also went crazy and stayed in hotels instead of the pilgrims’ hostels. Paying $80-$90/night for accommodation instead of $25 raised our costs a little, but we will pay extra for this privilege every once in awhile.
  • I was down and out with a 36-hour bug at one point. Shawna, being the loving wife that she is, forced my ass to the doctor because she was sick of me whining. A fifteen minute checkup ran us $104. (We do have insurance, but there is a $500 deductible)
  • And then of course there was the nickle and diming of coffees in the early morning, and pop or cold water in the heat of the afternoon…both of them absolutely necessary, but wow can you spend alot on caffeine when you start walking at 6AM every morning!!!

So there you have, we are up-to-date on how much money fell out of our wallets while we were in Europe. Next budget post will be for Morocco in about 3 weeks! (And I will give you a heads up, our costs are slowly going down!)

Have you backpacked through Spain? Walked the Camino de Santiago? How does this compare to your expenditures?

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19 Responses to “Balancing the Global Budget: Camino de Santiago”

  1. Stephanie Weiss October 7, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Just wanted to wish you both a Happy Thanksgiving weekend!!! Any chance yous will have the chance to indulge in some turkey & all the fixings??

    • Shawna October 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Stephanie! Happy Thanksgiving to you too! There are lots of little chop shops in the streets that sell rotisserie chickens so we thought we’d have one of those for Thanksgiving. They actually have pumpkins here and they taste quite lovely so I’m going to see if maybe one of the bake shops will make us up something special : )

  2. RenegadePilgrim October 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I walked the Camino last year and my daily budget was 30 Euros/day. I very rarely went over that. I walked the Camino for just about 1000 Euros over 5 weeks. This does not include having to buy new shoes or a knee brace and some other incidentals. I ate one or two breakfasts, lunch was a bocadilla or something from the store, and dinner was usually either something I cooked or whatever the menu del dia was at the local bar. I stayed in pilgrim hostels and once I got a room at a pension in Melide because the hostel was closed and I didn’t feel like sleeping on a gym floor. You can do the Camino as cheap as you want or as expensive you want. I imagine traveling as a couple it is quite different. As a solo traveler, it can be done for under 1000 Euros if you are careful. :)

    • Skott October 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      I think 30 Euros a day is really good, and I suspect that there are quite a few pilgrims who are around this daily average. We were about 30% more than that per person, BUT our average DOES account for a couple of incidentals…like sending luggage forward and the doctors appointment. I think a big thing for us that I didn’t mention above, is the eating….for lunch we did always try to eat healthy… a bocadilla was definitely fine once in a while, but we felt there was a LOT of white bread in Spain, which isn’t really our thing….and it is true that it does cost a little more to eat healthy – at least from our experience.

      But yes, I have no doubt that the Camino can be completed for less (or more) than we did it for….it’s is great to hear what others were spending.

      Thanks so much for commenting Heather!!!!

      • RenegadePilgrim October 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

        True, lots of white bread on the Camino…however, that didn’t stop me from losing about 15 lbs walking across Spain! :) I found a few health food stores in bigger cities, like Astorga and Burgos, but found the selection to be small and expensive, much more so than even back home in Oregon where health food is much more a part of the norm. I am always interested to hear how people budget for the Camino too. I am heading back to Spain this coming week to go to Santo Domingo de la Calzada to serve as a hospitalera….I am sure I will have more thoughts on the Camino after that experience. Oh, and you guys should try to find “The Way” a new movie by Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen…it’s about the Camino. Fabulous movie! And of course, you should also check out “The Camino Documentary”, a film I am helping do social media outreach for. It’s also fabulous!
        RenegadePilgrim recently posted..Thailand: The Good

        • Skott October 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

          We do very much want to track down “The Way”. Even watching the trailer was a huge motivation for us, so I can’t even imagine the impact the movie will have. Congrats on going back as a hospitalera….cool idea…..very awesome way to give back to the Camino!

          And yes, I do hope that I hadn’t put anybody off by our Camino costs. As I mentioned, they were higher than I thought too, but once I took out the expensive nights, a doctors visit, and sending our baggage forward…I think we are more like 35EUR per person…additionally, we took a full 5 weeks (35 days) to complete it. I think 31-32 is more typical, which also will save you some dough.

          Thanks again, for commenting!

  3. PostcardFromBK October 9, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Thanks for the lead on! We’ve been using google docs on an iPad until now, but this looks easier and more useful.
    PostcardFromBK recently posted..Conquering Tangiers like the Portuguese

    • Skott October 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Not a problem…it has been a decent site…a few things I wish they would add. For example, I wish you to simply choose to be shown how much you have spent between a particular date range. But for the most part, it has been very helpful. Thanks for saying hi!!

  4. Jennifer October 11, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    I love the money updates. I more I read your posts the more I realize that comment I made on facebook about traveling the world is entirely possible. Happy travels you two!

    • Skott October 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks Jennifer! Be sure to let us know if you have any other questions…we will help however we can…but YES, I can assure you….if you want it bad enough, it is very possible!

  5. Trevor March 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Its great to find someone who didnt skimp. Almost impossible to find a site that can give a list of hotels along the way. They all these poor pilgrim saps who are on budget. Hey, I like my bed and a hot shower after a walk. Did you book beforehand or just arrive at the hotel and found something? If you book then you have to make the next destination! Just a rough estimate seemed to be EUR100 per person (4 of us) per hotel (very rough) which now looks ridiculous compared to what other people are talking about.

    • Skott March 16, 2012 at 9:56 am #

      I wouldn’t say we skimped…but we didn’t go insane with spending either…. with the exception of Burgos and Leon we were in pilgrim hostels all the way (and in truth I would not do it any differently). There is not much that beats the camaraderie of pilgrims on the Camino and so we liked to keep them as close as possible. As far as booking in advance, we only did that once, and it was for our first night in Orisson. For most albergues you are not able to book in advance, just show up…but Orisson was the exception. It is great to stop there because it cuts what would otherwise be a monsterous first day into two manageable segments

      If you are spending 100EUR per person per night simply on accommodation, you will be spending more money than nearly any other pilgrim – wow – that’s alot!

      Let us know if you have any more Camino questions!!! We could talk about that journey forever!

      • Trevor March 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

        Thanks Skott. Thats a good point you raised about getting in the camaraderie of pilgrims because thats what its all about. We overlook that as we are more anti social so we tend to move away from crowds! The other couple who is also anti social (family) {ok, its probably genetic } have now decided to do something else, even though i offered to pay for the hotels. So I have decided to do the pilgrimage with my wife, but differently. I have heard that the locals are very supportive to the pilgrims. What experiences have you had with kindness, hospitality ect from locals or anywhere else? What forms did it take? We would like to give something back to the community along the whole route. Did you come across poor communities or was the hospitality played out at the accommodation side. What do you think was needed the most there?
        Any comments would be appreciated!

        • Skott March 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

          Yeah, anti-social or not, you need to be staying in the albergues, IMHO…you will have plenty of time to walk alone during the day and I would think that even the introverted ones of us wouldn’t mind a friendly face or two at the end of the day. As far as the ‘giving back’ component goes… although you do walk through a lot of rural Spain, I would not necessarily correlate that with poverty. If you wanted to give back on the Camino, one thing you could look at is volunteering at one of the pilgrims albergues after your pilgrimage is complete? Or if you wanted to really do something different, carry a small plastic bag with you and pick up 10 pieces of garbage every day??? Just a suggestion.

          I would agree that locals are supportive of pilgrims….not over the top, mad insanity support, but they will be there to help you out. I do not recall ever having a negative experience with a Spaniard over the entire 35 days.
          Hope that helps?

          • Trevor March 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

            Ok. Thanks Skott.

          • Trevor March 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

            Sorry! Got your name wrong.

          • Skott March 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

            no prob!

    • RenegadePilgrim March 16, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Trevor, you must be pretty well off to have a budget of 100 Euro/day just for hotels! It is really not necessary to spend a lot of money to do the Camino. You will get your bed and hot shower if you stay in albergues. This isn’t the Middle Ages. :) Maybe you might be more interested in a tour of the Camino instead? There are plenty of excellent tour companies like Spanish Steps who can offer you a great experience, staying in hotels and whatnot…look into that as an option. It might come out cheaper in the end…
      RenegadePilgrim recently posted..Travel Resolutions for 2012

  6. Trevor March 16, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Hi. Thanks. Sometimes its difficult to sort through all the information so one just takes the easiest route in the beginning, then at least you know you have peace of mind. It does sound like an oxymoron, pilgrimage and hotels!

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