Once you’ve decided upon the destination for your bike tour, the next step is to create a budget. Unless you’ve got more than enough money to go around (I know I sure don’t), you’re going to want to know how much your bicycle adventure is going to cost.
If you are planning to take a guided bicycle tour where the cost of the tour includes food, guide fees, transportation, etc… the budget isn’t going to be hard to figure out. The price of the tour is how much the trip is going to cost. You might have to add transportation to and from the end points of the tour, but that should be relatively easy to figure out as well.
On the other hand, if you are planning a self-supported tour where you will be determining both your route and your budget along the way, coming up with a detailed list of probable expenses is a bit more difficult.
I’ve already shared in a previous article that when planning for my own bicycle adventures, I typically just look at home much money I’ve got to spend and then work backwards to determine that kind of luxuries I can afford once I hit the road. In this case here, I suggest you do the same.
To start, look at where you plan to go. Let’s say you are planning to go to Europe. You’ll first want to look at the cost of flights. That is going to be a major upfront expense. Then look at the cost of hotels, hostels, and campgrounds. Based on the money you have available for this trip, what kind of accommodations can you afford? Do the same for food, leisure activities, and anything else you think you might spend money on when traveling with your bike.
Most people when planning a “vacation” think that the trip itself is going to be more expensive than what it costs them to stay at home and live their normal life. But based on my experiences (and the experiences of many world travelers I know), traveling can actually save you money! But you’ve got to be smart!
There are ways to live far below your means when traveling by bike and I’ll share some of these techniques in a future article, but for now, just keep in mind that your bike trip does not have to be an overly expensive getaway. If you stick to a budget based on amounts of money you can actually afford to lose, you can have an incredible life-altering experience by bike and not have to spend an arm and a leg along the way.
If after determining the cost of your trip you realize that the cost of airline tickets, food, lodging, fun activities and more is going to be out of your price range, figure out a way to find the money to make the tour possible.
On most of my bicycle tours, it is the airplane tickets that set me back the most. If traveling to Europe, I might need an extra $500 – $1,400 dollars just to get there. If I don’t currently have this much money to spend, I create a plan to make that much money before I leave home. I might sell one of my bicycles, get rid of my car, work overtime at my job, take on a second job, or try and raise the money through some other means.
You should never let a couple hundred (or even a couple thousand dollars) hold you back from making your bicycle touring dreams a reality. It may seem like a lot of money right now, but once you get out on the road and realize that you are living the dream, you’ll be glad you worked hard and sacrificed that small amount of extra cash to make your dream come true.
Besides, the reason I have you planning this tour six months in advance is so you have the time to create a plan that will provide you with the means of making your bicycle tour actually happen. If you don’t have the funds right now, figure out a way to get the necessary money so you can live the life you want to live.
Remember: It’s only money! You can always make more money, but you can never get back the time you have right now.
Remember: People don’t regret the things they do. They only regret the things they don’t do!
To recap, once you decided where you are going to go on your big biking adventure, figure out how much money you currently have, how much money you think it will cost for the tour to actually happen, and then do whatever you can to make up the difference.
Once you actually sit down and write out your projected expenses, you’ll begin to realize that things are not nearly as expensive as you think.
That’s it for now. Stay tuned for the fifth and final installment in my series on “How To Plan A Bicycle Tour 6 Months In Advance.”
One thought on “How To Plan A Bicycle Tour 6 Months In Advance: Step 4 – Create A Budget”
i enjoy reading of your adventure. couple of questions –
1. do you do any ‘stealth’ camping? if so how has it been?
2. how much did it cost you to take your own bike? i see you have one of the high dollar ‘bike friday’ type bikes. totally out of the question, money wise, for me.
last year when i went to Germany i rented a bike for 10 days. but for a 3 week trip that could be very costly.
hope you continue to have a good trip.
mt. airy, nc USA
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