How To Come Up With A Budget For Your Bicycle Tour

I just received an email from reader, John Herr. Here is what he said:

I may have already asked you this, but how do you figure out the cost for your trips. Everybody talks about everything having to do with a bicycle trip, except how to figure out how much the trip the will cost. Thank you.

                                                                                                    – John –

This is a really good question and something I want to cover in more detail later, but in the meantime I thought I could use my current trip to Aruba as an example and show you how I planned out a budget for this short 10 day adventure.

The long version is just that – long. But the short version is this:

I have an envelope at home labeled “Play Account” and I use the money in that envelope to do things that I consider to be fun. My “Play” money is used for things like going out to the movies, going bowling with friends, and taking bicycle trips.

The secret to my “Play Account” envelope is that I can only use the money in the envelope for things I consider to be fun. When the money runs out, I can’t do any of these fun activities until I get more money in the envelope.

After purchasing my airline ticket to Aruba and my new Bike Friday folding bike, I only had $180 left in my “Play Account” envelope, so that was my budget for the trip to Aruba.

The way I plan my bike trips, I simply take a look at how much money I have and then try and figure out a way to plan a trip around that amount.

Instead of saying, “This trip is going to cost me $1,000” I simply look at how much money I have and how long I plan to be out on the road and then figure out my daily budget allowance based on that amount.

For this trip to Aruba, I had $180 in my “Play Account” envelope and my trip was going to be 10 days long, so I had a daily budget allowance of $18.00.

Another example is my first bike trip down the coast of California. I was seventeen years old and straight out of high school at the time. I only had a couple hundred dollars in the bank, so that was my budget for the trip. It wasn’t a lot of money, but I figured out a way to make it work.

If I had waited around and said to myself, “This trip is going to cost me $800, but I didn’t have $800 in the bank, the trip would have never happened and I would have missed out on an incredible opportunity.

So I always work with what I have. I try to get a sense of what I will need before I leave, but in the end, my budget is usually determined by what I have and not by what I need.

If you’ve toured in the past, how did you plan out the budget for your tour? And if you have not yet toured by bike, what are you biggest questions about budgeting? This is something I want to cover in more detail in the future, so I’d really like your feedback.

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