There’s a lot of information out there about what kind of touring bikes to ride and which panniers to use, but it seems to be pretty difficult to find out how much a long distance self-supported bicycle tour actually costs. You hear people talk about how they’ve spent less than $20, $10, $5 and even $3.00 USD a day, but it’s hard to tell what they are actually spending that money on because these accounts are usually not backed by a detailed expense report.
Because this information is so difficult to find, I’ve decided to share with you exactly what I’m spending my money on while I am here traveling around Europe for the next five months.
I’ve been here for a little over a month now, so this is the first of five posts I plan to share with you. If you are a new reader and are not yet aware of what I’m doing here in Switzerland, you may want to read this article first.
So here it is:
I purchased a one-way ticket from Vayama.com for $505.40 USD (About 587.93 Swiss Francs (CHF)). That ticket got me, my bike and all my gear from Los Angeles, California to Zurich, Switzerland. If you are looking for good deals on one-way international flights, Vayama has some of the best rates I’ve ever seen.
Back in October I found an apartment to rent via the Internet in Luzern, Switzerland and paid for it way back in November ’08. Nevertheless, the apartment cost me 1,200 CHF (or about $1,025.70 USD) for the month. This price included the cost of the water, heat, electricity, etc… and this apartment served as my home base for my first month in Europe.
Once I landed in Zurich, I had to take a train from the airport to the city of Luzern where I would be staying. The train ticket cost me 27 Swiss Francs (or about $23.21 USD).
I didn’t go out to eat a single time this month. Instead, I kept my expenses low by buying all my food at the local supermarket. I usually went shopping about once every three days and spent a total of 168 CHF on my grocery bill (or about $144.42 USD)
While walking around town one day I strolled into a used book store and found a book that was written half in English and half in German. Because I’m trying to learn as much German as I can while I’m here (and because the book was cheap), I bought it. Total cost: 3 CHF (or $2.58 USD). This is the only luxury I purchased this month.
Finally, I did have to purchase a few toiletries once I got here. I brought most of the necessary toiletries with me, but I did have to purchase a bottle of shampoo and some hand soap for the bathroom. These items cost 8.50 CHF (or $7.31 USD).
And here are the totals for the month:
Flight – 587.93 CHF or $505.40 USD
Apartment – 1,200 CHF or $1,025.70 USD
Train – 27 CHF or $23.21 USD
Food -168 CHF or $144.42 USD
Entertainment – 3 CHF or $2.58 USD
Toiletries – 8.50 CHF or $7.31 USD
In total, I spent: 1,994.43 CHF or $1,708.62
If you divide that by 31 (because there are 31 days in the month of January), that would be an average of 64.33 CHF or $55.12 USD per day.
Planning For February
My plan for January was to stay as cheap as possible by 1) eating foods from the supermarket and 2) entertaining myself with day-long bike rides to the neighboring cities and towns around Luzern.
While I was able to stay relatively cheap in January, I suspect February is going to be a different story.
This month I have two friends coming to visit me here in Switzerland and each of them is going to be here for around a week. During their stays, we plan to travel around by train (thus requiring that I buy a train pass), go skiing (buy a lift ticket and rent skis) and go out to eat (pay for overpriced food).
While I won’t be paying for another airline ticket in February, I will have other items to pay for and I hope to keep my expenditures under $2,000 USD.
Tune in next month around this time to find out exactly how much I spent… and to see exactly what I spent my money on.
I hope this was helpful to you in some way. How could I make this information better? What more would you like to know? If you have any ideas, please leave your suggestion for me in the comments box below.