• Sunday , 21 January 2018
Expense Report: Europe

Expense Report: Europe

The RTW trip we are currently on can be done for less (or more) money but we are choosing to take the middle road. We offer these expense reports as a baseline for others to plan with.

We spent a total of $7,398.97 on living expenses and $4,207.62 or one-time expenses. We spent 113-nights in Europe and drove 7,685 miles. We camped 49% (55-nights), stayed in hotels 14% (16-nights), and stayed with friends 37% (42-nights) of the time. We traveled through 15 countries: Belgium, UK, France, Spain, Andorra, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, and Bulgaria. The information below is for the total time traveled in Europe. We did track by country, and we have that data, but don’t believe it is as useful as the only country where we spent more than two weeks was Spain so that costs per country would be skewed. We purchased groceries in one but ate that food in another.

Total – US$ Daily Average* Percent of total
Living Expenses
Fuel 1,716.72 15.19 23.00
Grocery/sundries 1,064.38 9.42 14.00
Prepared Food 1,173.07 10.38 16.00
Camping 990.78 18.01 13.00
Hotel 551.80 34.49 7.00
Communications 228.78 2.02 3.00
Incidentals 1,673.44 14.81 23.00
Living subtotal $7,398.97 $65.48
One-time expenses
Border 1,210.46
Repairs/maintenance/parts 1,077.91
Shipping 594.33
Other 1,324.92
One-time subtotal $4,207.62
Fuel price per gallon $4.89
*Camping and hotel average is per night based on number of nights camping or hotel.

The average exchange rate we received was .89 euros per US dollar. We use ATMs to retrieve our funds and we do not have ATM fees as they are reimbursed to us (Charles Schwab checking account). We also kept track of the average exchange rates for the countries that don’t use Euros, these numbers are all per one US dollar: .71 British pounds, .96 Swiss francs (this was per 1 Euro), 6.76 Croatian krona, 109.96 Serbian dinar, 3.99 Romanian leu, 1.75 Bulgarian lev.

The average daily spend was $65.48 ($32.74 per person) that was above our $55 ($27.50 per person). We lowered our goal budget as we entered our second year of travel without any additional research but realizing that we want to spend less so that our funds go further. We didn’t think we would be able to reach our goal budget for Europe so overall we are okay with the amount we spent. Interestingly is you deduct funds for fuel we spent $50.29 per day, which is pretty good for a European adventure. The reason we were able to keep our spending as low as it was is because we were hosted by so many wonderful people. We were given 42-nights accommodation and that was almost always accompanied by many meals – so a huge thank you to everyone that hosted us along the way. Not only did those people provide a place to sleep and food in our bellies but fantastic friendship, laughs, and suggestions of places to see.

Our food and sundries expenses comprise about 30% of our spending and housing whether was 21%. This was the lowest percentage we have spent on food and sundries throughout our two year trip. We did cook for ourselves the majority of the time and really limited our purchase of prepared foods. Housing was also very low as a percentage of total spend as compared to other countries which is due to our high percentage of camping; if you deduct the nights hosted then we camped 77 percent of the time in Europe. Costs for camping are much higher in Western Europe (with the exception of the French Alps where municipal camping was priced fairly) than Eastern Europe. If you are using this data for planning here is an important breakdown for average price for camping: Spain ($19.46), France ($20.50), Switzerland ($33.8/night), and Italy ($31.86). Furthermore, most campsites charge based on a menu system, which means paying for two people, two motorcycles, and a tent. Often we were charged more than two people in a camper car (at one campground in Spain we paid 8 Euros more per night). We did some wild camping to help defray camping costs. Food in Eastern Europe is also much less expensive.

We purchased two SIM cards during our Europe trip. The first was in Belgium with some credit. We then purchased another in the UK (my three) because that SIM would continue to work throughout Europe. They had a pretty good deal in most Western Europe were the data was on a 30-day plan and then in other EU countries data was very inexpensive. In non-EU countries the data was prohibitively expensive. We also topped up on Skype credit.

Our incidentals were higher than usual but this was accounted for with some unusual spending. We spent $601.38 on transportation costs for metro/train cards and tickets, Belgium-UK bus tickets, and Venice boat/bus tickets. We often park the bikes and then get around on public transportation. During our time in the London area we relied on public transportation as our bikes were in Belgium. Furthermore, we spent about $113.64 on toll roads. While in France we received word that Mike’s father was gravely ill and we moved up our flights to get home (we flew from Madrid, Spain) and in order to make great speed we used toll roads. We were invited to a special event in Spain that was hosted at a hotel (included most meals) that we just couldn’t say no to and that dinged our spending for $516.96. That leaves $441.46 (6 percent of total) spent on the usual mix of postcards, stamps, entrance tickets, laundry, and the like.

Our one-time expenses
Border ($1,210.46): Motorcycle insurance for two motorcycles totaled $1,210.46. The nine-month Green Card insurance for two motorcycles was $974.87 and we spent an additional $235.59 for Serbian insurance (we couldn’t get through the border without it).

Repairs/maintenance/parts ($1,077.91): We purchased four tires, motor oil for two oil changes (plus two liters of spare), two chains, 2 rear and 2 front sprockets, one set of front and rear brake pads, and additional chain lube and WD-40.

Shipping ($594.33): We had to change our flights to Seattle and returning two times due to family circumstance.

Other ($1,324.92): We had a variety of expenses during this period including motorcycle storage in Spain ($269.25), website work ($60), motorcycle registration in the US for both bikes ($292.50), donation ($50), fees ($75), apps for phone and music ($6.88), and shopping ($571.29).

Fuel consumption: These numbers are estimates, as we don’t track per motorcycle but a mixture of both and not every fuel purchase did we have full information on mileage/liters purchased though we always had amount spent. We purchased 338.55 gallons of fuel and drove 15,416 miles for both bikes combined. This means we have an average of 45.54 miles per gallon per bike. Average cost was $4.89/gallon or $1.29/liter.

Miles driven: this is based on Zippy’s odometer and not the total miles of both bikes. Occasionally we ride two-up or Mike may take Donkey to do some errands and these additional miles are not accounted for. When providing miles per gallon averages this is an important caveat as we are not tracking both motorcycles odometers.

Living expenses
Fuel: petrol for two motorcycles and minor use of gas for our MSR camp stove
Grocery: food and incidentals purchased at grocery stores/markets/butcher that may include batteries, toiletries, etc. as well as food.
Prepared Food: anything that we haven’t made ourselves such as meals purchased at restaurants, food stalls, or prepared food from local stores.
Camp: camp ground fees
Hotel: hotel fee
Communications: local SIM cards, Skype credit, USB modems, recharging for minutes and data, internet cafes, etc.
Incidental: anything that doesn’t fit into other categories with notes made as to the actual expenses but anticipated as park fees, other fees, postcards, shopping, etc.

One-time expenses
Border: border fees for people, motorcycles, and pet as well as insurance required, and any other border expenses.
Parts/maintenance: anything purchased for the maintenance or repair of the motorcycles.
Shipping: expenses for moving ourselves and motorcycles between continents
Other: gear replacement, excursions, and other one-time expenses.

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