Just some of the receipts we
One of the most popular questions about travelling Europe we get asked is how much does it cost. We've decided that in the interest in helping others we'll publish our detailed trip statistics to show you how we did. We did this trip on what we perceived to be a tight budget - perhaps if you are retired then you'll want to do more or if you have more time you will want to do less miles, but with hindsight there is very little we would have changed about our trip. Because of our budget constraints we carefully monitored and recorded all of our expenditure to ensure that we weren't over budget.

First, some statistics from our trip!

We travelled 23,044 miles over a period of 334 days from 7th April 2011 until 6th March 2012. We passed through 21 countries (stopping in 18) consuming 3,805 litres of Diesel from 62 fuel stations and 280 litres of LPG Gas. We paid 19 road tolls14 ferries, 5 vignettes and 4 tunnels.

We 'Wild Camped' for 219 nights (66%), stayed on Aires or other recognised motorhome parking areas for 45 nights (14%) and stayed on camp sites for 70 nights (21% with 29 of those nights being in Morocco).

Food wise we visited 115 supermarkets or other food shops and ate out for usually for lunch but sometimes for tea 101 times.

Our average miles per day were 78 miles and our mode fuel consumption (taking into account number of miles travelled between the calculations and averaging that out) was 33.4MPG.

Adam drove for 170 days (80% of the driving) while Sophie drove for 19 days (10%) and we shared the driving on a further 20 days (10%). There were 123 days (36%) where we didn’t drive anywhere at all.

The maximum number of miles we drove in a day was 372 on the first day of our trip getting from Calais to Dummerlolhausen. The only other day where we exceeded 300 miles was Asiliah to Marrakesh in Morocco (365 miles). The minimum number of miles we did in a day was 2 miles (leaving one place and arriving to stay at another) from Aghios Konstantinon to Gytheio in Greece.

With views like this available for free why pay to stay on a camp site?
Ok, so enough beating about the bush! What was our grand total?

£9,570.19 or £28.83 per day

Or in other words, two people, a little over 11 months full board for £14.41 per person, per day. This is how we broke down and recorded our spending:

Fuel (42%)We always tried to fill up in the cheaper country.
Food (26%): Food bought from a supermarket / shop. Includes Wine / Beer but not eating out.
LPG (2%): Our gas for cooking, heating and running the fridge when not on sites.
Transport (11%): Tolls, Vignettes, Ferry’s, Bridges, Public Transport & Parking when not overnighting.
EO&E (14%): Eating (and drinking) Out and Entertainment / Entry fees.  Also includes personal items such as clothes, shoes, laundry etc.
Overnight (5%): Cost of sites, aires or parking overnight where a cost applied.

Where the money went, 42% of our expenditure was on Diesel.

What is not included?
Items which we viewed as being outside of our living costs which are: Vehicle Insurance (£500), Vehicle Road Tax (£195), Travel Insurance (£200), Mobile Phone / 3G Internet (£180). We also didn’t include our ‘side trip’ to St Petersburg (£500) as we left the van in Helsinki and felt it would unfairly skew the results. 

Comparing Countries
In the below table we have broken down our expenditure for all of the 18 countries that we stayed in. The biggest factor influencing costs was if we stayed on a camp site or not, which made expensive countries like Norway (where we only spent £2.78 a day on food over 4 weeks, but spent £0 on campsites) appear comparative to Latvia, where we opted to stay on camp sites because of a lack of wild camping opportunities. All of the figures below are laid bare for you to view and dissect and are of course only representative of what we chose to do on this trip and not necessarily of that country as a whole!

Click to enlarge and view a clearer version
So what's our strategy on keeping costs down? 

Our next blog post, Europe on a Budget will be published shortly and a link will appear here!

Post a Comment

  1. What a detailed breakdown. You have a good resolve to keep such accurate records. I know I would start with good intentions but soon lose the will to the enjoyment of the trip.

    Nice one.

  2. Excellent! thank you. I have posted a link on Motorhomecraic.com hope you don;t mind.

  3. Fascinating data. I was surprised to see that your fuel consumption came up to 42%. A very helpful blog. Well done. Treasure those bills: I keep some of ours (nice restaurants, days out) in a special box.
    Thank you.


  4. Excellent info - well done!!

  5. Well impressed thank you. hope it encourages those who say "we can't afford it" to get out and see what they are all missing for less than it costs to stay at home! We're in an american rv, don't think i can better your fuel costs, but lovin every minute


  6. Thankyou for sharing your brilliant record keeping. Have you any spreadsheets templates you can share or tips on how to keep these kind of records....we hope to soon semi retire on a budget.

  7. Thank you.....very enlightening------and tempting!

  8. Probably, the most useful, factual account of long term European touring by motorhome. A fascinating and impartial insight for those contemplating their own trip. Recommend reading whole blog for all the details. Well done Sophie & Adam!

  9. Sophie & Adam,

    This is absolutely brilliant! It shows how cost-effective motorhoming is compared to staying in a hotel ... plus you get to change the view outside your window every day. :)

    Thanks so much for putting this data together. It has inspired us to write a blog breaking down the costs like you guys have done.

    Good luck with your travels and keep up the good work.

  10. Very impressive blog and record keeping. Something to look back on and tell your Grandchildren about!! What wonderful memories you must have.

  11. Absolutely superb, thank you very much for breaking it all down in so much detail including the 'by country' breakdowns. These are really invaluable statistics and very much appreciated. Been following your blog for some time :0)

  12. Excellent reading and very informative. Thanks for taking the time to help someone else, you sound like lovely people, hope we bump (not literally) into you some time on our travels if you go again.

  13. Great info Adam! Don't take too long getting that next blog post up mate, we need all the hints and tips we can get! Cheers, Jay

  14. Excellent post this Adam & Sophie. Knowing that it can be done this "cheaply" will encourage others!

  15. Wow, I love your site! We are planning a very similar trip to yours, and the budget is the hardest part. This is so helpful. I've bookmarked the site and will be back to read a LOT and probably ask some questions before we set off. Thanks again!

  16. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to post. It serves as an inspiration for the rest of us!

  17. Hi guys, thanks for such a great breakdown.

  18. Hi Adam and Sophie, we met briefly in Tarragona, seems like such a long time ago. We are in France and get the ferry next week, after nearly 8 months away. We have really enjoyed reading your blog, and its has helped us in planning our next trip. Jo and Si

  19. Thanks so much for your honesty - this is such a great help! My boyfriend and I are looking to spend 6 months in Europe next year and have been combing your site for tips! Im so excited to get on the road, thanks again, your budget will be a great help in our planning.

  20. absolute brilliant guys...!!!!
    life is too short for the 9 to 5 what you have done is an inspiration and help. me and my wife 41 and 43 are planning doing this next year but was wondering to tighten the budget did you do any day work like strawberry picking grape crushing with your feet or farm work. very much interested in what you are doing and will be doing it our selves very soon xx

  21. What fantastic and helpful information! well done for all the effort you've put into your reports. You've certainly inspired us to make plans to spend some of our retirement on the road.

    1. good job this give us a good starting point as we want to do fulltime as soon we retired. our budget will be low we may not travel that much in one year maybe in 5 or 10 years any way we will make records and try to beat that for fun of course. yes is always farm work and fruit picking if any one got some tip on this please let me know

  22. SO stoked I found your blog through gonewiththewynns.com. Met them at a travel blogging conference and loved the idea. Never heard of you guys but now want to follow along. We originally drove 15,000 miles across Canada and USA in 2010 and want to do it again but in Europe/Asia.
    Will be revisiting the site a lot now :)

  23. It seems rude, but I have to ask, How do you afford it all with no time to work, mortgages new cars etc

    1. We work all the time from the road, don't have a mortgage (or a house) or a new car... But yes, it does seem rude to ask Anonymously...

    2. Well said "Europe by camper", what a cheeky sod! I very much doubt whether "Anonymous" will ever do anything a bit out of the ordinary:)

  24. Amazingly detailed - as we hope to hit the road in the near future, it is an excellent reference for us. We need to multiply your cost by 8. :)

  25. Cees de Vries, Netherlands20 March 2013 at 10:37

    Really like your info.
    One question however: Microsoft autoroute 2013 does not display all the pushpinsets correctly. Lidl and McDonalds are correct, but the rest of the pushpins are in a grid. Any idea how to get them at the correct location?

  26. Hi Adam,
    Thx very much for the correct pushpinset for AR 2013.
    Can you point me in the right direction to get all the sets ready for AR2013?
    thx again and hope to meet you in some exotic eastern european location like Albania or the Rhodope mountains!


  27. Thank you so much for this very imformative and thorough post! It has made my plans much easier! There is so much negative hype about driving europe, I'm glad to find some info that encvourages it.

  28. Hi
    What insurance company did you use for road risks ?
    My insurer will not cover vehicle in secure storage for excursions.

  29. enjoyed reading your story.
    we are looking at motorhomes and planning to go .
    we arnt sure but we know life is short.thanks

  30. I would like to thank you from bottom of my heart as your article is going to be helpful for me as well as fellow travelers to plan their future Europe tour itineraries very amazing and optimized.

  31. 763 days to go before i take early retirement first plan is to travel europe 8000 mile route planned to which i am sure will change i will be 45 and my good lady 52 really looking forward to it and thank you for all your info ...all i have got to do now is buy a motorhome what a minefield i would like a 6-7 meter but the lady would like something closer to 20 meters so we can take all the worthless possesions that we are hoarding in the bricks and mortar ..oh well this will be the first of our discussions of many