What It Cost: Worth Every Penny! - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 19, 2011

What It Cost: Worth Every Penny!

Lots of blogs have an occasional mention of costs:for a campsite, for a coffee, or for some other part of the trip. But none seem to tally the whole of the expenses. We think this could be quite useful for anyone planning their own trip and wondering if it will be affordable.

Of course, everyone's trip is different. Some will camp in the rain where others would hide in a motel. Some (like us) will buy a danish or croissant for $2.80 and come back the next day for more.

So you have to read the rest of this blog to understand who we are, and so to compare places where we spent or saved money to what you might do.

There are two other limitations on the numbers we collected. First, we did not track what we spent on equipment prior to the trip. On the other hand, it would be fairly easy to look at our equipment list (or anyone else's) and cost it out with some major internet retailers. (A big variable in this will be bikes. We had a used hybrid bike and a Costco ladies comfort bike, beefed up with good tires, one new wheel, and kitted out with all new cables, brake pads, etc. etc. Others could spend one to four thousand dollars on the base bike.)

The other limitation is in categorizing the expenses. Three quarters of what we spent was paid for by credit card, so we have a record of where those dollars went. The other quarter was in cash ATM withdrawals. We did actually track where these funds went, but we have not yet tabulated those results.

So here is the deal: For groceries, restaurants, motels, campgrounds, ferries and trains, gear and repairs while on the road, and miscellaneous, the trip cost was about $12,000. This excludes any extraordinary costs while we were hanging out in Montreal, but does include some groceries and restaurants. So using the whole 140 days of the trip (including the many rest days in Montreal and even Missoula) the cost for us both was about $86 per day.

Motels turned out to be a larger cost than we had anticipated. We stayed in motels for about 38 days and spent about $3000 on it. That's about $80 per night. A typical cheap night would have been in the $60s, which the high end would be just over $100. Our most costly night was $177, in the only B&B we could find in the rain in Port Hope. This did, however, include a luxurious breakfast.

Since we mailed back our cooking stuff on Day 4, restaurants also figured pretty large. Total here was about $1600. We recorded 52 restaurant meals on the credit card. However, this would be a place where those $3500 of cash would have come most into play. A best guess would actually be 125 restaurant meals at an average cost for the two of us of $30. So that would put the total restaurant cost at $3750.

The final major cost area was gear and repairs. This category for while we were on the road included $500 in Winnipeg for bike overhauls, and a new wheel in Missoula. The total included replacements for things that failed, like bike computers and sleeping mat, and came to $1500 in total. This of course does not include the many many dollars spent buying cooking gear, trailers, tires, cycling shorts, netbook, GPS, and the zillion things that seemed appealing in MEC, REI, Cabela's, and online. Often we would have one strategy or one equipment pick, go for it, and then see something better. Sometimes we could return the first (shorts, or UV resistant shirt, or whatever) and sometimes not. We had about 8 months of fun with this before we left , so maybe the cost of this fun was not too much on a per day basis!

Another category of "cost" is the need to pay "forward" the many kind people who helped us on our trip. We began modestly, finding two cyclists on the highway while we were out for a 30 km jaunt. We dragged them home and provided them with meals and rooms. We will stay alert for other such opportunities.

Phil and Osun at our place, helping us to "pay it forward".
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Finally we set our mascots up with cosy places on a shelf. Thanks for keeping us company, Algy and Roslyn!

Although from different regions of Ontario, Roslyn and Algy have become fast friends.
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