This is the question many of you have asked and I bet many of you wanted to, but didn’t want to invade our privacy. So we are just going to share with you all of our 8 week European Road Trip Costs. Don’t worry, if you have a question for us, just ask! We are sharing our experiences, stories, budgets with all of you. This one gets a bit tricky, so pay close attention.
Not only did we keep the financial records for ourselves, but we also kept them to share with you. We are hoping it is inspiration to help you prepare, plan or even think differently about your dreams and desires. Okay, so now let’s get into the 8 week road trip costs as we traveled around Spain and France.
A bit if boring housekeeping – The Euro € & USD $
Our budget is about €2600 ($3000) a month to live in Spain in our normal regular daily lives. Sometimes we come in well under the budget, but then something like eye glasses, a broken this or that consumes what we saved. So on average it stays about the same. For the summer, we estimate a higher budget to allow for more travel! We usually budget more per month for the 2 months of summer.
One bonus for us for the past year is that the USD $ is doing far better than it was when we first moved to Spain. For the purposes of this post, I am going to be listing everything in Euros, as that is the currency used in Spain and France. I will make note of the current USD $ value alongside. For this post we will use a set exchange rate to show the $ amounts. June 25 – Aug 22, 2016, the average exchange rate was €1 = $1.11.
One big disclosure
We want to be very transparent with you, so you too can plan your amazing European road trip. This time we had quite a few sponsored opportunities with accommodation, activities and more. We will point out when we received something at no cost or a discount. We can only share with you what the retail value would have been if we paid full price. So when I list any totals for our trip they will be organized using the terms Price and Value, like this:
Total price we paid in Euros (USD$) – this is the money we spent out of our pockets.
Total value in Euros (USD$) – this is the total value combining the money we spent, plus the retail value of sponsored items.
Taking our lives on the road
I know when we lived in the USA, we would have a limited amount of vacation time a year. Once a year, we would take a big trip for 1-2 weeks and spend about $4000-$5000 for just 1 week. We were aiming to have 2 months of constant travel in Europe, for less than that same amount per month.
It may sound inexpensive to some of you and crazy expensive to others, but just remember we are taking our daily lives on the road. So in reality, many costs are just slightly higher than normal. We aren’t leaving loads of bills and maintenance behind. We just take our home on the road and try to live a similar lifestyle. That said, when we travel fast-paced like this, we do eat out far more often compared to when we have a home base.
As you will see in our breakdown below, some costs are the same and other costs are much higher. Do you remember our 6 week costs from our road trip in the summer of 2013? We spent €6,627 ($8,682 with the exchange rate at the time of 1 euro to $1.38), for our 6 week road trip, so we are shooting for about the same or a bit more for our 8 week trip.
Just a reminder, I love spreadsheets and analysis! So we are going to get into some pretty boring stuff for some of you. Just look at the pictures and you will get the general idea. If you are a number cruncher like me, read the text. Okay, let’s dig in!
Where did we go?
In 59 days we covered a great deal of Spain and a touch of Southern France. Here you can see the 8 week detailed map and plan for our European Summer Road Trip.
Green is where we stayed over night.
Yellow was a day trip.
Orange was a stop by, on driving day.
Total – 8 week European Road Trip Costs (59 days)
Total value €10,714 (USD $11,893)
what we paid + approximate retail value of sponsored items
Total price we paid €6,965 (USD $7,731)
- This is for a total of 59 days for a family of 4 during the high season of Summer 2016. We left June 25th and returned Aug 22nd.
- We drove our own car about 6,558 km (4,074 miles). We rented a car for 1 week on the island of Mallorca. We also included flights to Mallorca.
- The Euro to USD exchange rate during our trip June 25 – Aug 22, 2016 varied from $1.09 – $1.13 to one Euro. For these calculations I am going to use $1.11.
- Food – This total includes eating out as well as standard groceries. The groceries also included any items we would purchase for daily living (i.e. shampoo, toilet paper, plastic dishes as well as food). Travel days usually included eating out 1 or 2 times.
- Misc– We purchased SIM cards in France and this was just part of our misc calculations. We also needed to buy a new bathing suit, shoes, socks, LUSH products, and random items like that. They all fell into this category.
- Accommodation – Our priorities were 2 bedrooms, AC and WiFi. Then it was location, and sometimes pool was a requirement. See where we stayed on our 8 week European Road Trip. We share the cost of each and every hotel, campground, guesthouse, apartment.
- Average costs per day a value of €181 ($200). Our actual spend was about €118 ($130) We counted everything from a tube of toothpaste to a new pair of socks for Lars. Every toll, activity and ice cream is in here as well.
Now Let’s Get Into Cost by Category
This is a rough guide as it includes our sponsored activities as well as accommodation. I will try to call out any anomalies.
The cost of 8 weeks of Accommodation
We will have a detailed post on Accommodation. We stayed in 17 different locations in 59 days. 10 days were sponsored accommodation and 8 days were a free house sit. We stayed in a luxury villa on the island of Mallorca and usually rented apartments. There were just a few times we stayed in a hotel. We did try and kick our accommodation level up a notch or two, compared to previous travels.
Total Accommodation Value: €3,896 (USD $4,324)
- Accommodation Total (what we spent) €2,566 (USD $2,848)
- Accommodation Sponsored Total (exchanged for our work) €1,330 (USD $1,476)
- House sit (free) €0
The cost of 8 weeks of Activities
Total Activities Value: €2,745 (USD $3,047)
- Activities Total (what we spent) €326 (USD $362)
- Activities Sponsored Total (exchanged for our work) €2,419 (USD $2,685)
As you can see, there was no shortage of activities on this road trip. Most of which were sponsored, so there is some benefit to being writers of a popular travel blog. We were able to work with City Discovery, Trip4Real, Valencia Tourism, Devour Madrid and so many more. So at this time, I would like to stop and take a moment to Thank You!
Yes, we are so thankful you follow along with our adventures, that you trust us and keep on coming back for more. Without you, we would be able to do all of these sponsored activities. The more you come back to read what we have to say, the more items we can “try out” for you and let you know what we think.
One memorable moment in Valencia
By Alan: So a very interesting thing happened to us at the Mercado Central (Central Market) in Valencia. We are waiting for our Paella Class instructor to meet us there, as we would be buying the ingredients for our paella at the market. Three people come up to us, and ask us if we’re the Wagoners. We said, “Yes”, thinking they were with the class somehow. But no, they were fellow Americans from Denver, and they said that they followed our blog. How cool is that!?
To put this in perspective, we’re visiting Valencia for a few days. Our fellow travelers the same. They recognized us and came over to say hello! Just as we were speaking with them, our contact from the Valencia Tourism board came over to meet us. We explained what had just happened and then he went on to inform our entire paella class that we were famous in Spain. Ha!
The likelihood of that happening has got to be so incredibly small that it boggles my mind. Very cool though! To our fellow travelers from Denver, I’m sorry we didn’t grab a quick picture with you. Safe travels to you all. If you are reading this, please send us a photo to include!
Here is just a little snippet of some of the activities we experienced on this road trip. Check out our full post on the things we did on this trip.
The cost of 8 weeks of Food!
Total Food Value: €2,543 (USD $2,823)
- Food Total (what we spent) €2,543 (USD $2,823)
- Food Sponsored Total (what was provided to us as work) €0
Technically we experienced a few food related activities, like our paella cooking class and our Madrid food tour. Al of which were calculated into the activities totals.
We certainly did our fair share of eating on this road trip. As the budget watcher, I was a little more relaxed with allowing us to eat out on this road trip. Lessons learned from the past, the family doesn’t like Mom when I am in strict control of the budget. I did my very best to just accept that eating out on travel days was just going to happen and sometimes twice. Just to give you an idea, we may eat out once every two weeks when we are at home in Spain.
While it is almost double our normal day-to-day spend on food, this total isn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. I think it was nicely balanced by those many days in France, where all we ate was delectable french bread with cheese or peanut butter for dinner. I am hoping the family noticed that I allowed a few more ice creams and was a little more relaxed with the food budget, but I still can’t be that person to rationalize and say “Oh have what you want we are on vacation”.
To us, this isn’t really a vacation. It is taking our daily life and putting on the road for a couple of months. We have plenty of vacation moments, but it is a different mind-set for sure. I think many people could save loads of money on their vacations and even travel longer with this type of thinking. I am curious how you are when you travel. Tell us in the comments below.
The cost of 8 weeks of Transport!
Total Transport Value: €1,441 (USD $1,600)
- Transport Total (what we spent) €1,441 (USD $1,600)
- Transport Sponsored Total (what was provided to us as work) €0
I am actually going to break this category down a bit further for you, as there were several things that ended up in the Transport category.
- Flights – We had 4 round-trip ticket from Valencia to Mallorca. Yes this was an 8 week road trip, but one of the weeks was on an island. We did have the option of taking the 10 hour car ferry over to Mallorca, but it just wasn’t cost-effective or time efficient.
- Car Rental – For 7 weeks of the road trip we used our own car. While we were on the island of Mallorca, we rented a car for the week. So if you are planning your own road trip, you will likely need to factor in more for transportation.
- Fuel – This will represent the total for the entire trip, including the rental car fuel.
- Parking – This will represent the total for the entire trip, including the rental week. Usually we parked in the city center when visiting a city and sometimes we needed to pay for parking at our accommodation.
- Tolls – When presented with the choice of taking the toll road or the free road, we usually opted for the toll road. In fact, I think we did about 95% of the time. There were just one or two occasions where the toll road was only going to save us less than 10 minutes. Tolls are very expensive in both Spain and France.
About the toll roads we experienced in Spain and France
Often times in Spain taking the toll road means the road is nicer, less crowded and higher speeds. In France, that wasn’t always the case. The toll roads were quite crowded. For both countries, we found the toll roads to be more off the beaten track. More often than not, there were only designated rest stop areas where you could purchase fuel or food, and use the rest rooms.
Of course the fuel and food options were at much higher prices compared normal prices. When deciding to take the toll road, you do need to factor in the extra cost of fuel and feeding the family. If you don’t opt for the toll roads, it may take you a bit longer, but you will certainly have more options for stopping in a town or village to eat.
So what do you think about our Road Trip Costs?
It is okay to tell us what you think, the damage is already done. We shared it all with you and this is a very vulnerable thing to do. We only do it because of the positive feedback we have received from our readers. So many people have contacted us just to say thank you and they appreciate using our road trip costs as a guide to help plan their own road trip. Please remember, no two families will have the same costs so don’t try to duplicate exactly.
Everyone has their own comfort levels with accommodation and food choices, so we can only share our choices with you. These may or may not work for you, but it is something for you to determine on your own.
Thanks again for following along and helping to keep us motivated to write more.
Other Road Trip Info:
Road Trip 2016
- An Epic 8 week Summer Road Trip in Europe!
- The 8 Week Road Trip in Spain & France Has Started!
- Alcudia Mallorca Things To Do With Kids
- 7 Things To Do In Valencia With Kids
- 17 Things To Do In Salamanca With Kids
- This Will Make You Want To Visit Galicia Spain!
- It’s Time To Visit Asturias, Get A Taste Of Northern Spain
- Double-Decker Santander Bus Tour
- 1 Wonderful Week of Rioja Wine in Northern Spain!
- When You Are Flat-Out Tired,1 Week In France
- 13 Fun Things To Do In Morzine France
Road Trip 2013
- 11 Tips and Tools For The Road Trip Planner
- Road Trips In Europe! – 6 Weeks Of Accommodation Reviewed
- Driving On Our Summer Road Trip Through Europe
- When Our 6 Week European Road Trip Took A Hairpin Turn in the French Alps
- Summer Road Trip Europe – 2013 “The Reality”
- Our Summer Road Trip Begins
- 6 Week Summer Road Trip Europe – 2013
- Are we there yet? 5 No Prep Travel Games for your Family Road Trip!