Sherman, doing some boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona. Photo taken January 31, 2015.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? We're here at the park until late September!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What does it cost for five months of travel in Europe?

Well, it's not as much as you might think.

We spent $14,000 CAD ($10,800 USD) for the six month period between November 1st and now. An average of $2,333 ($1,800 USD) per month. That includes all flights as well as our return trip back to Canada at Christmas time.

That total also includes all of our expenses, because that's the only way that it's meaningful to anybody. It even includes our new Samsung smartphone. Yep. Everything.

Of course there are several reasons that the figure above is fairly reasonable. We spent two months traveling in a motorhome that we exchanged with another couple who came to Canada last summer and used our motorhome. Those two months came in fairly cheap at just under $2,000 CAD ($1,550 USD) each because we free camped quite a bit as we do when we're RV'ing over here in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. So we didn't have much in the way of accommodation expenses those two months.

I shop for really cheap airfares. This is so important because it's a big percentage of what we spent in total. So you really have to get the best airfare deals. We spent a total of $2,718 CAD (2,100 USD) on all of our flights. That's twice across the pond for two of us, as well as three flights within Europe and Morocco.

We did a lot of our own cooking. In fact, we spent three full weeks in Italy, and only ate out once! Many people might think that's ridiculous, but that's how we are able to travel the way that we do. Plus, Ruth is a good cook, and we like our own cooking. Also, it's quite a bit easier to eat gluten free when traveling if you can make your own meals.

Despite the fact that we really didn't eat in many restaurants for the entire six months, we still only averaged $364 CAD ($275 USD) per month on groceries. Romania and Moldova were really inexpensive in that regard, and Spain was very reasonable as well. Boy, we sure notice a difference now that we're back in Canada though. Groceries have become very expensive in Canada, so it'll be interesting to see how we do this summer back in Saskatchewan compared to previous years.

We kept our overnight expenses reasonable despite using (free) couchsurfing only one time the whole trip. Again, we did a lot of free camping while in Spain, so that helped as well. We spent an average of $500 CAD ($380 USD) a month on accommodation.

Various car rentals added up to $946 CAD ($725 USD). We've really decided that we like exploring by car, and so we'll have to factor that into the budget for future trips rather than taking public transportation. I expect that it will be a combination of the two in future trips.

Other expenses were never out of the ordinary. I mean you still have to do laundry and find ways to get on the internet. Entertainment was a big expense, but we include such a variety of items in that category, including meals out. I suppose we really should have a separate section dedicated to meals out. Maybe I'll take the time to adapt that into the budget while we're having some down time this summer season. Anyhow, we spent an average of $290 CAD ($225 USD) per month including everything from sightseeing to an ice cream on the street and meals out.

We spent an average of $116 CAD ($88 USD) per month on booze. Alcohol is cheap in most of Europe, that's for sure. Great bottles of wine, for only $2 a bottle. Beer for $14 a case. We didn't drink very much of the hard stuff, but I did enjoy the odd bottle of scotch at around $10 a bottle. It's definitely not expensive to drink in Europe!

So there you go. Anybody who thinks travel is expensive just needs to take some lessons from Travel with Kevin and Ruth!

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Big price drop on the popular Coleman Instant Screenhouse...

Coleman Instant Screenhouse




24 comments:

  1. Wow! You are so inspiring, thank you for sharing. We are also full time in our motorhome since 3 years and we mainly travel between Canada, USA and Mexico ... In fact we are presently proceeding to get our temporary residencia. I'm very interesting on what you did with the motorhome exchange in Europe. If you don't mind, do you have any website, or forum to suggest, so I can start so research. Gracias and safe travel! Christine

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    1. Sounds like you are enjoying your full-time RV living as well. Nice that you are working on getting your temporary residency status for Mexico. Do you have any particular location that you will be living at in Mexico?

      Our motorhome swap was set up by a mutual friend so we didn't use a website but there are sites on the web for this. Just try googling "motorhome swap" or motorhome exchange" and you will find a few sites that you could check out.

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    2. Thank you for hour Antwerpen Ruth - I Will check that for sure. About our stay in Mexico: for the winter period we plan to be in Lo de Marcos and summer in the mountain between Guadalajara and Morelia... With of course many little excursion: Oaxaca, Yucatan... Safe travel and hopefully our paths may crossed in Mexico one day!

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    3. Both areas are really good places to stay. We tend to stay away from the beach areas but Lo de Marcos isn't too bad. We love the mountain area between Guadalajara and Morelia. One of our favourite places in Valle de Juarez near Mazamitla about an hour/hour and a half south of Guadalajara. Hope our paths will cross too! :-)

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  2. We concur on all of your budget saving habits while travelling. The thing is most people think travelling outside of their home country is expensive because we've been conditioned to view a short term holiday as a major budget busting activity. It need not be - especially when it becomes a lifestyle. We splurge on things we view as important, but that is countered by cutting back on other expenses. Housesitting helps with accommodation costs, and we prepare the majority of our meals because (A) John enjoys cooking, (B) he's quite good at it and (C) it's fun to grocery shop on a daily basis like the locals. When we do venture to a restaurant we go for lunch as it's less expensive than an evening meal. Overall, whether one spends the winters at home (in our case, Canada) or abroad the cost of day-to-day living is often the same (and sometimes less expensive). The key is do some research, set a budget and just go for it. As always, a great, informative post. Thanks!

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    1. Yep, there are lots of ways to save money when traveling and still do it with a small budget. Your eating lunch out occasionally is a good one, and we have done that ourselves on a number of occasions. Housesitting is another excellent one. Anything that can help you save on the big ticket items, such as airfare, land transportation like getting a great deal on a car rental and of course accommodation and that extra savings can help to prolong your travel or allow more money to spend on other categories such as sightseeing.

      We realize that everyone's budget is different and everyone has to work their's to suit them. We know that not everyone is going to travel as frugally as we do but if some of our tips can help to save money while we are traveling then we feel like we have done our job. :-)

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  3. I love how you refer to your working summer as 'down time'!

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    1. Well it is "down time" at the beginning of the season even though we are busy getting the campground ready for the campers but our high season sure isn't "downtime"! ;-)

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  4. Wow - three weeks in Italy and eating out only once! That would have been a challenge for me :-)

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    1. It isn't really a challenge for us because it isn't so easy to find gluten free options when you are in the country of pasta and bread/pizza! Actually being gluten free sometimes saves us money because it makes it easier to walk by some of those wonderful smelling bakeries and restaurants, which we might have otherwise stopped at. ;-)

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  5. Your excursions seem to me to be much cheaper than you indicated, as 1) you and Ruth would have purchased groceries even if you stayed put in Canada, so as we say locally "that's a wash" and 2) would your I-phone have screwed up just as easily in Canada as in Europe, necessitating another phone? JUST MAYBE, you might have found a sale in Canada on a phone which you would be pleased with. But you have one now!

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    1. You are sort of right on the fact that we would have to eat at home but we have proved that it would be more expensive to eat at home in Canada because our monthly grocery bill is much higher than what our monthly grocery bill was while in Europe and Morocco by at least $150 a month. And, yes whether we were in Canada or Europe we would have had to get a new phone, it is hard to say whether it would have been cheaper here or there but in the long run it wouldn't have been a huge enough difference to really affect the budget.

      Traveling aboard is going to be totally different for everyone but if some of our tips can help to save money for those traveling than we are happy to have helped. :-)

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  6. You are very right, you two are the masters at cheap travel. If you only got 2-3 weeks of holiday a year you might travel differently but since you have the time you do as you please. Another big factor is - it costs money to move around. It would be far cheaper to stay in one spot but by renting vehicles and flying you got to see and do so much, totally worth the expenditure. I can't believe how many countries you did this year!

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    1. Nope, our 2-3 week holiday wouldn't have been much different because we were frugal even before we started traveling full-time in our RV. We always sought out ways to save. When we spent two week in Portugal before selling the house we rented a cottage in the mountains and got a super good deal on a rental car for the two weeks and made most of our own meals and still did lots of hiking. Before that we did lots of tent camping with our kids.

      You are correct, we could have saved even more money by staying in one spot but that isn't the way we like to travel. We are realizing though that we need to stay put longer in one spot rather than just a few nights and do more day trips from that one spot. We really loved our week up in the mountains in Italy or our 5 days in Tangier, Morocco!

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  7. Thank you for your lessons on how to travel cheap. I appreciate the work and time you put into it.

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    1. Thank you Mina! We love to try and pass along our tips to others hoping to help other people out who think that maybe they can't do this.

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  8. There is so many ways to save money while travelling, especially f you like your own cooking, free camping and the occasional entertainment expense. You guys sure know how to do it!

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    1. Thanks George! Yep, there are lots of ways to save providing you feel comfortable with that type of living, not everyone is.

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  9. I'm surprised the dollar costs so much in Canada. I thought it had gone down. The dollar had fallen by over two pesos in the last two months.

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    1. The Canadian dollar is very weak right now and is hurting against most currencies around the world.

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  10. Frugal is good in my world. I always consider my impact on the environment, also, in what I use and in our consumption. That being said, we don't mind spending a dollar when we want to! Glad you guys enjoyed your European trip!

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    1. Frugal is the only way we travel now! :-)

      We throughly enjoyed our European trip and can't wait to get back there and travel in some different areas, hopefully in an RV again. We especially loved our time in the Louis over there.

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