Costs of this trip and taking stock – Six month review

We drove away from our old home and left it to its new owners at the end of September 2017. Today is Easter Sunday, April 1st 2018 and we have been on this current adventure for six months. We still have a month to go before we return to Scotland so I’ll save the writing about the highlights of the trip until then. So far we have driven 5000 miles taking in Scotland, England, France, Portugal and Spain.

Several people have expressed an interest in the impact of the GB Pound to Euro exchange rate on the costs of travel, so this seems like a good time to do the maths and tell all about how much we have spent. These figures are only partly helpful to anyone else planning such a trip as there are so many variables. For instance, our van gives us close to 30 mpg, many others give a lot less than that. We buy and eat mostly fresh food and try to avoid processed foods where possible. We are also meat and fish eaters so our food costs are probably higher than most. There is certainly a lot of room for money saving in the grocery bills if necessary. We like to eat out a couple of times a week giving an average eating out cost of about 80€ a week and this includes, coffees, ice creams or indeed anything that we don’t prepare in the van. To some, this will seem outrageously self-indulgent but it’s something we enjoy, it gives us the chance to enjoy local cuisine, meet local people and take a break from cooking.  If you want or need to do a trip like this on a budget there is plenty of wiggle room.

Our aim was to live on our pensions without breaking into our capital. We have managed that quite easily due partly to the fact that we don’t own a house at the moment so ongoing house running costs don’t need to be factored in.

So, here goes. The following budget includes the basics of eating, travel, overnight stays, food, fuel, laundry and wifi. Other expenses have been missed out because they are either incidental or individual, such as the costs of feeding and taking care of the dogs or having some work done on the motorhome. We also haven’t included entry fees or other entertainment costs as these vary so much from person to person. If you are budgeting for a trip, I suggest you take the necessary costs into account then add money for pocket money. Now halve the number of clothes you are planning to take and double the pocket money budget and you’ll be about right. 🙂

General Spending
Groceries 2,526.00€
Eating out 1,977.00€
Diesel & petrol 965.00€
Campsite fees inc. aires 1,463.50€
Ferries & car hire 986.00€
Utilities/wifi 170.00€
Laundry 193.50€
LPG 203.00€
8,484.00€

Therefore, monthly outgoings for basics average 1414€ or at today’s exchange rate £1240. This works out at £20 per person per night. Put like that it’s pretty amazing don’t you think? Bear in mind that the longer you are away the cheaper it gets as ferry costs get absorbed into the budget.

Too much to eat but so much fun

Most people could cut the food & eating-out bill by a third or more easily. We didn’t need to do that and chose not to. Our average cost of overnight stays is 8€ per night. This is because we spent about ten weeks of the 26 weeks on campsites. We also choose to use some paid motorhome parking areas and some free ones. If you are on a serious budget you can find many more free nights than we did. In fact, we have met people who have never paid more than 3€ a night. and some who manage to find entirely free stops for their whole trip. Once again, the choice is yours.

What would we do differently another time? We would spend a lot less time on campsites and we would cook more vegetarian food.

So there you have it. You could do a trip like ours in a motorhome on a budget and still have a fabulous time. You can extend your budget to include the things you love to do and still live on a reasonable budget. Many people we met spent a lot more than us. An awful lot more people spent a lot less. The subject of how cheaply you can do this is of endless fascination to motorhomers. Our advice would be to keep a record of what you spend even before you leave home so that you can make a good comparison and then relax a little.

Poppy spreads the fun of a run in the mud. Good thing that grey leather is so easy to clean.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Costs of this trip and taking stock – Six month review

  1. Thanks for the budget advise, you both seem to be having a great time and building memories and you can’t put a price on that.

    1. You are so right David. The experience is priceless. Glad to see you’re still here following us! M

  2. Thank you for the very informative breakdown of your costs. We have been following you through your whole trip and enjoyed it along with you. Hope it won’t be long before you’re ‘on the road again’, money isn’t everything so go spend it and enjoy! AGAIN!

    1. Thanks so much Alex. We’re always delighted to hear from people who follow us along the way. It makes the experience extra special. I completely agree about money. It is a tool to use not an end in itself.

  3. This is really interesting and I’m grateful to you for sharing this with us. Might not be something other non motorhomers would feel comfortable asking about. I love the thought of doing this sometime in my life and you inspire me with your attitude and adventure. Of all the things you can spend money on, this has got to be at the top for experience and memories. As you said, you can’t put a price on that! ❤️ Love to you both and pups xxx

    1. Thank you Nicola. We’re always happy to share anything practical that will help others have some of the fun we’re having. This can only ever be a snapshot but it’s interesting and it surprised us when we realised how much wiggle room there is to cut costs further. Travel is definitely a more lasting joy than ‘stuff’. x x

  4. Thanks for this. We have sold our house and my husband can take early retirement in a couple of months and our plan is to tour in a motorhome with our two children for at least a year. We will definitely be on a tight budget so this is really useful for us to use as a basis for discussion!!

    1. I hope it helps. There are a lot of other ongoing costs involved with the upkeep of a motorhome that I didn’t mention in this post because it was only related to a six-month trip. Enjoy the planning and I hope it all goes well. M

  5. Thanks again Margaret and Shirley for sharing your travels, l have been following as we head off from Rosslaire to Cherbourg in 2 weeks, for 3 months down through France into Portugal and then across to Spain. Great reading, keep travelling. Anne Marie

  6. Thank you so much Margaret and Shirley for my favourite travel blog of all !…full of information,inspiration and FUN…wishing you many more motorhoming adventures to share with us.

    1. Hi Denise! Thank you so much for your kind words. We love hearing from the folk that follow us on our travels. On our last three weeks now and having very mixed feelings about the trip ending but we’ll keep blogging as we try to find a house for the other half of our life. M

    1. Thanks – we’re wondering what’s next too. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine being in a house again, sometimes we’re really looking forward to it. Good luck with your UK travels. You will love Scotland. M

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