How much for 8 months on the road ?

We can’t believe how little it has cost us to live as we travel in Europe, especially when we think of how much money we spent each month while living in the uk

Property prices in Devon, are crazy and grow daily.

On top of that, there were expensive grocery bills, utility costs, vehicle costs , fuel, insurance, council tax, etc etc.

We calculated that we spent around £2000 per month in the Uk, on necessities alone!

That’s not including any entertainment whatsoever.

That’s simply what we needed to live in a house, eat, pay bills and get to and from work every day, ok I did drive a large Chelsea tractor which did somewhere around 10mpg , but still …….

Since packing in our consumer driven lives and tripping off around Europe in a motorhome we’ve been able to live and travel in some epic countries, immerse ourselves in the places that we’re visiting, and live the lifestyle of our dreams. Eating, drinking, living, travelling, exploring, all for a lot less than the cost in the uk

Now, that’s a good deal!

Everyone is different, but costs will mainly depend on three things:

▪ Where you sleep (campsites, aires, car parks)

▪ Where you eat (restaurants or at the van )

▪ How far you travel (every day and overall)

Before we left we read loads of other blog posts on what people spent, all different as everyone spends differently….

My best piece of advice if you are thinking of doing something similar and want to know how much you will need is to start tracking your own spending. That way you will know where your money is going and what things you like to spend it on !

Also these figures do not include servicing, MOT, insurance etc for our van as they focus solely on this trip.

Where to sleep.

Some people will wax lyrical about how they Freecamp all the time, but it might not be for everyone.

Yes we did our fair share of Free camping, enjoying some epic views like this UFO in Bulgaria,

But we also stayed on Aires and when it was needed or we fancied it campsites…

Many of the Aires/ Sostas we used we’re free or very low cost, and offer an official and designated parking area, usually with a place to empty and fill the van ..

Our mix was based more on where we wanted to be rather than where we could park, safety is the number one factor, so we’re not going to stay in a random carpark in the centre of Rome, instead we stayed on a campsite at €2O per night

Where to eat.

We ate out alot ! Normally once a week,plus a beer or coffee everyday ….

Generally if a country was cheap, like Romania where the most expensive thing on the menu would cost about £10 for the two of us with drinks we ate out more, if it was expensive we cooked in The van and treated ourselves with a special meal out once a week.

How far.

We drove most days. Europe is a huge place and there is so much to see, I get restless after a couple of days in any one place and crave more sights and smells!

Some days we only drove 10 or 15km, others it was hundreds, our route planning wasn’t the best as it was more based on the things I wanted to see or do!

To toll or not to toll that is the question, we met many many people who would never use a toll road, but personally I’m not completely against them, with a surprise Christmas uk return planned we need to make our way as quickly as possible from Spain, the sat nav proudly announced that it could save us 3 hours drive by us using the Toll road, so for less than €30 we saved time and probably fuel as we cruised at 90km an hour in 5th Gear.

In total we spent £326.09 on tolls and vignettes in the whole 8 months that’s about £1.35 a day ……

In our time away we caught 3 ferries starting off with Dover to Dunkirk, then from Greece to Italy and finally from Roscoff back into Plymouth – spending a Total of £549.81 or 6% of our spend.

Where we went

We spent a night (or more) at each pin

We had no planned route, just a vague idea that it would be nice to see some sunshine, in the end we made our way towards Greece taking in a lot along the way, if you’ve never been to Eastern Europe, you must ! , but in the end hopping onto a ferry back towards Italy and then on down into Spain . In our time on the road we covered 9954 miles and averaged 31.2mpg !

We tracked what we spent everyday and popped it into a spreadsheet, The spreadsheet does some magic, converts it in pounds, rounds it up for me to a weekly view against budget and a monthly view.

The information is all there, after the first few weeks we didn’t spend time studying it.

We have a quick monthly check to see that we aren’t massively overspending. We also don’t bother spreading costs out, like when we use a campsite which spreads over different weeks, so we know some weeks we’ll be up, others we’ll be down.

And most importantly, we never let the budget control us !!!

If we wanted to go and see something- we did !

If we wanted to eat in a restaurant- we did !

If wanted to buy something- we did!

So the burning question is how much ?

We filled up with LPG 15 times and burnt 171 Litres, so poping that into our Gas pay back calculator we still have a way to go to pay for the system.

We filled with diesel 33 times. Our most expensive diesel was £1.30 a litre in Italy which was on the motorway as we were trying to outrun the sleet and snow we had just encountered.

The cheapest diesel was in Bulgaria at £0.85 a litre,we filled to the brim, surprisingly at only €0.99 a litre when we filled in Austria, which made up for the school boy error of arriving in Luxembourg with a full tank !

Supermarket shopping, includes everything from food, wine, cleaning products and dog food, if it came from the supermarket it’s in this category, we mainly shopped in Lidl’s as it’s pretty much the same Europe wide, unless we could find a local market as the fruit and veg was much fresher and usually cheaper !

We shopped loads, buying fresh local produce where we could and spent £1940.84 Or a daily average of £8.12 per day for two adults and a rather large dog.

Our overnight costs varied, we chose to mix up free camping, aires and campsites depending on the location we were staying, the one rule we all go by is “we must always feel safe” – this category was the biggest shock to us, we roughly worked out what we would spend based on English campsite prices so when we managed to only spend £5.48 a night on accommodation we were chuffed monkeys !

Almost everyday we stopped for a coffee or a beer and then we would eat out at least once a week, with somewhere like Greece where we almost never paid to stay overnight we eat out a lot more ! – eating and drinking out eat up 23% of our total spend at £2059 or £8.62 a night

Our total spend for 239 nights on the road, was £8538.70 or £17.86 per person per night all inclusive

Now that’s cheap !

Luckily for you guys we broke down the cost per country to give an idea if your planning a trip…..

……

If, no,when we do it again our travel style will probably change, since one of the biggest costs (16%) was fuel and we will definitely travel at a much slower pace. This new slower, snail travel will allow us to immerse ourselves further into the cultures that we’re exploring.

We will try to stop having a beer out each day, as the meal always felt like it added to the experience, but just stopping in a bar is nice but the total cost of a few euros here and a few euros there really did add up and in the end our biggest expense was eating and drinking out (23%)

Paul.

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30 comments

    1. We worried to start with that if we didn’t keep an eye on it, we would just spend spend spend, but after a couple of weeks we almost had to force ourselves into spending money ….

  1. Have just read your post, very informative and interesting . I too would love a copy of your spreadsheet please, thanks

  2. Great Paul.
    As you know we did a similar trip at the same time as you. We can confirm our costing was similar to yours .
    We are now on a three month tour of Morocco now two weeks into the tour and our costing are similar.hope this helps others , many people we have spoken to are frightened of venture into countries like Bulgaria and Romania
    Like your experiences we didn’t have a single issue thanks for your post Paul Enjoy.

  3. Hi that was great to read could I please have a copy of your spread sheet .We have followed your travels love to do something like that.

  4. Great posting and been following your trip. We are off for 6 months in March so your costings are very useful.
    Could you also send me a copy of your spreadsheet?
    Many thanks, Paul.

  5. Really enjoyed this very down to earth our plan is 4 years from now work is currently getting in the way. I am going to track all our spends from now as you say it is about 2k per month here in uk. Could I have also have a sample copy of your spreadsheet when you have a moment please.

    Also do you still have a home in the uk that would mean you still have utilities to pay we are thinking down sizing and renting out still a bit of a pipe dream but getting there

  6. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
    We are planning UK and Europe 2019 in our Yet to buy motorhome/campervan.
    Whilst tidying up here in Oz I do realise we have much to learn before we arrive and that there will be changes post Brexit. However we have worked hard all our lives and feel it’s time to live the dream! Our two little dogs will be with us also. Your costs are amazing. Here too in Oz the cost of living is on par with the UK! It’s time to take it easy.
    I’m sure you have been inundated for sample of your spreadsheets. Please May I too request the same?
    Thank you Ann
    You are now in my favourites 🙂

  7. What a great read. We are looking to do exactly what you have in Oct – Cant wait
    Feel cheeky asking but a copy of your spreadsheet would be much appreciated.
    Thank you for sharing such useful information for other would be travellers.

  8. Thank you this was just what my husband needed. We are setting of in April and our budget is going down rapidly as we discover expenses we hadn’t thought of . However after reading this I know that we will be fine. Please would you email me a copy of the spreadsheet.
    Many thanks

  9. Very informative and interesting, thanks for making this available. My wife has already asked you for the spreadsheet and I look forward to seeing how we fair.
    Thanks again and happy travels.
    Warmest regards

    Richard

  10. What a great article, thanks for sharing. We’re just getting a van converted and should be ready to start travelling in March/April so could I join the queue please and have a copy of the spreadsheet?
    Happy and safe travelling.

  11. Excellent read and thank you for providing so much detailed info.

    Could I please add my name to those who would love a copy of the spreadsheet?

    Many thanks and safe driving.

    -Nigel-

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