• Lauren-Nicole

nickels & cents

You ever get that song that just pops into your head because the lyrics vaguely relate to what you're thinking about? It can be the worst song in the word & all of a sudden it's stuck on repeat renting space in your thoughts.

"it's all about the money money money...."

Any way.

Let's get down to brass-tax for a moment here. The thing that people don't really want to talk about is always the money. Maybe it's the way we were raised... how it's not polite, or maybe the idea of revealing what we splurged on is embarrassing... Who can say for sure. I'm not one to shy away from the uncomfortable conversations though.

First & foremost, before we did anything else this year, I signed us up for a REVOLUT account. The reason being, they offer the best exchange rates without any weird fees. I did this because the majority of the Balkan countries are NOT on the Euro, & I didn't want to loose a whole bunch of money exchanging currencies every time we crossed a border, or find some ridiculous €10 euro charge on my card every time we paid with plastic. My sister told us about this app, & seriously, I worship the ground she walks on because of it.

Now that that's out of the way, what I know is, it's hard to know how to plan for a trip when it comes to finances. Generally my equation for estimating a trip is as follows:

€25/day - camping

€50/day - food & coffee breaks (& the occasional beer) €20/day - tolls

€20/day - misc expenses

& then I calculate gas by this equation: (*note - you would have to do this equation for each bike)

(Total KM of the trip) ÷ (Average KM per full tank of gas) x (current cost of filling up your tank)

e.g.: 6,500km ÷ 350 x €25 = €464.29

That gives me a starting figure for what I think I need to save for the whole trip over the course of months preluding to the actual adventure. Then at the end of it I like to tack on another €1,000 for an "incase of emergency" situation.

Of course, expenses are not a hard & fast rule. Ultimately, it all comes down to the level of luxury that you need in order to feel comfortable. For example we always choose to pay for camping so that we have access to a hot shower & a little electricity at the end of the day, but others prefer to camp in the wild & some choose hotels. The same can be said for food, where as we always grocery shop each day & do our own cooking, others may choose to eat at restaurants for convenience or just because they are too damned tired (& that's perfectly acceptable). & the same goes for gas.... how many KM do you want to be covering each day?!

When it comes to travelling, there is absolutely no judgement here for how you choose to do it. To each their own, right?

Another factor is, that not every country is the same. The Balkans this year were really cheap. On average we were spending €80/day for two bikes. That's two sets of tolls, two sets of gas tanks, two fees at the camp grounds, etc etc etc... where as last year for 1 bike, we paid on average €120 per day going through Western Europe.

So to stop your head from spinning, here is what our actual expenses for this year were:

The two expenses not included in this list are:

1. €120 - dog care for our overgrown pup that we left behind

2. €200 - phonebill.... even with the new standards in place for roaming, we still paid a fortune.

& to explain how we ride:

1. We never push ourselves too hard with our ground covered every day. For us, it's all about the journey & not the destination, so if we're rushing to cover 700km in a day, we both end up feeling like we haven't really seen anything.

2. Unless it's winter, we always camp. Generally it will be in an organised camping ground for the reasons I explained previously, but on the odd occasion we'll just throw caution to the wind & set up wherever it's beautiful.

3. We always cook for ourselves. Panagiotis might sit & have a pizza once in a while, but generally with my food allergies it's just safer & easier for me to whip us up a meal each night.

4. Where ever possible, we choose the path less taken, so unless a country has a Vignette system, or we hop on the national road for a brief spell, tolls aren't too much of an issue.

5. stopping for a coffee at a nice place is our one real luxury. That & the occasional sticker or small touristic ferry crossing when the mood arises.

I hope this information helps you plan your trip!

Safe riding everyone.

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