People often ask the question:
"How much should I budget for walking the camino?"
The answer depends on many variables.
1: Are you a poverty stricken student
2: or a middle - of - the - road traveler?
3: Are you an affluent traveler?
4: Are you a budget traveler?
Pilgrims who need to watch every cent can do the camino on a daily budget of about 15 euro. This will mean staying in the 'donativo' albergues - and giving a small donation of about 3 euro (please, give a small donation if you can!): not eating in restaurants or cafe-bars: buying wine, beer or cold drinks in supermecados or markets: preparing your own food in the albergues or eating mainly bread and pasta for a month: not paying to visit museums or other monuments (there are many places that give a pilgrim discount when you produce your credential) and not buying chocolates, ice-creams or other luxuries. Frugal, but it can be done.
If you don't want to stay in the albergues, prefer to eat in restaurants, and can afford hotels, visits to the museums and Cathedrals - your pilgrimage could cost about 100€ a day: 3€ for breakfast: 5 - 10€ for lunch: 10 - 15 € for dinner: 30 - 45€ for a hotel room: plus extras such as wines, beers, cold drinks, sweets, museum and cathedral entry fees.
If you are a middle-of-the-road traveler watching your budget, you'll need to decide on these questions:
Will you be camping, staying in refuges or in hotels? Check my post on Refuges/Albergues here
Will you be walking alone or with friends? (If you spend an occasional night in a hotel or fonda [inn] it is cheaper to share a room.)
Will you eat in restaurants or be cooking your own food?
If you intend staying in the refuges (albergues) and eating frugally, there is a way to estimate daily costs.
1) It is cheapest to eat at the bar.
2) You could pay €1 – €1.50 extra to eat at an inside table
3) .. and a further €1 - €1.50 to eat at a table on the terrace outside.
Pan (bread) is often free but some places will put it on the table and then charge you for it if you eat it!
Small shops open from between 0830 and 0930 (or earlier for food shops) until between 1300 and 1400 and from around 1700 until between 1930 and 2100, Monday to Friday, then from 0930 until 1400 on Saturdays. In some areas shops are closed on Monday mornings. In south
Markets: You have indoor markets, called mercados, permanent street markets and traveling open-air street markets that move from area to area. Often prices can be 20% lower than in shops and remember to take along your bargaining skills!
Markets usually operate from 0900 until 1400 and sell a variety of goods such as: food, flowers, clothes, shoes, crockery, , cookware, linen, ceramics, cassettes/CDs, arts and crafts, household wares, carpets, jewelry, etc. Watch out for well name brands though, as they are usually fakes<!--[endif]-->
An exception is the
Primitive Way which is cheaper: 3 euros per day for lodging, 23 euros per daily costs.Total: 26 euros per day during the 11 stages of the Primitivo del Camino. You must then add the 2 - 3 final stages on the Camino Frances to your costs. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->
There are fewer pilgrim refuges in France and your lodging will be in Youth Hostels, Gites, pensions, Chambre d'Hotel etc. Some hotels chains offer cheap accommodation - eg: Formule 1 or Logis:
http://www.gites- de-france. com/gites/
Thank you to KiwiNomad who passed on this advice:
"One of the best websites I know for accommodation on the Le Puy route is this one:
I have done 4 pilgrimages of between 4 and 6 weeks duration. I take 500 euros in cash: have 500 euros in a TravelMoney card, and have money available in a credit card.
I keep large denomination notes in a money belt and small denomination notes and coins in a wallet which is attached to my waist bag with a lanyard. This means that I can't leave it on a counter or put it down somewhere.
A TravelMoney Card:
"The Visa TravelMoney card has the security of travelers checks and the convenience of a Visa Debit card designed especially for travelers". (http://usa.visa.com)
It's a prepaid Visa card, which means you can spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. You can shop in stores, online, over the phone, and by mail order. You can get cash at Visa/PLUS ATMs worldwide. Each time you make a purchase, the amount of that purchase is automatically deducted from the card.Visa TravelMoney can be used at Visa/PLUS ATMs around the world. ATM functionality varies among financial institutions and countries. To get cash at an ATM you should first follow any on-screen directions. If asked which account to access, try selecting “checking”, and if that does not work, use “credit.”
NB: You cannot use the card to hire a car as it is not personalised (it does not have your name or signature on it) but most car hire companies will be happy for you to make your final payment with the card when you return it.
Credit Card: You can use your credit card to pay for any hotels you might stay in, to book transport, to pay for meals in restaurants, and to withdraw cash if needed. Credit cards incur charges that the TravelMoney debit card does not so try to use your cash or withdraw money from your TravelMoney card rather than your credit card.