How much does it cost to go bike touring? Well, I guess it depends on the person(s). Some people can travel for next to nothing by eating store bought food rather than at restaurants and by stealth or wild camping wherever they happen to end up at the end of the day. Websites like CouchSurfing and Warm Showers connect travelers with people who are willing to provide a couch or a yard or even a bed.
Russ over at the Path Less Pedaled recently did this interview with Heidi Beierle who rode her bike across the country and wrote her master’s thesis on looking at bicycle tourism as an economic development tool for rural communities. While not specifically about how much it costs to do a bike tour she does delve into that aspect.
My recent 6 day and 5 night ride from Portland to Idaho broke down this way:
Food – $116.00
Mostly from grocery stores, with the occasional restaurant stop thrown in. Works out to about $19.30 per day.
Camping – $34.00
The most expensive night was $24.00 for a KOA. Two nights of wild camping for nothing and two nights in state parks at $5.00 per night. Average = $8.50 per night.
I also bought some fuel for the stove and some batteries and a memory card for the camera, but if I amortize those expenses over the life of those items it works out to pennies a day. For this trip I FedEx’d the bike to Portland and that cost $67.83. Shipping the empty box back home cost $30.35. The cheap airline ticket to Portland, bought far in advance, was about $60.00.
So the total cost for the six day vacation with all the expenses thrown in was about $300.00. If I just look at the time when I was on the bike, and don’t count the flight and shipping expenses, the six days cost me about $150.00 or $27.80 per day. Pretty cheap therapy methinks.