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.
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%)
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