6 questions from a Budget Traveler

The 6 questions were:

1. I’m planning to use 10 euros a day (5 for lodging, and 5 for food-can you really buy simple baguettes etc. for less than one euro?) on average. If I bivouac as much as possible (if possible, every other day) this is possible in the summer right?

2. Do Albergues really allow pilgrims (who are not lodging) to use the shower facilities and restrooms for 1~2 euros? There’s a guy in Korea who says he traveled that way.

3. are the tap water safe to drink? I’m taking a LOT of green tea bags…

4. I heard that the pilgrim passports you can get at key villages cost 1 euro. I don’t really care about being certified. Would I still need the passport?

5. I’m a 19-year-old, small Asian female (even for an Asian) I’m in pretty good shape though, and I’d trekked to Lhotse the year before. I’m planning to walk about 25 km~30km a day. Is this feasible? Especially if I want to avoid walking in the hottest parts of the day?

6. I promised to carry a cellphone so I can contact my parents in an emergency. Does anyone know an inexpensive way to get a phone that can dial internationally? (In my case, to Korea)

Read the Camino de Santiago cost estimates given by our experiences pilgrims.

 

18 Replies to “6 questions from a Budget Traveler”

  1. Hi there…10 euros would be pushing it as many of the albeurges are 7 or 8 euros and you do some good energy to walk so think you need more than 5 for food. Personally, I think you need at least 20 to get by.
    I walked, on average,23 km a day and yes, 25-30 is feasible, but distances depend on where the accommodation lies. I paid for the pilgrim passport at St Jean Pied de Port but after that all the stamps were free. Generally the tap water was fine, and if not there was a notice saying so.

  2. I’ve done the Camino Frances in 2010 and 2009 and the Camino Portugese in 2009, so I dont think you can do it on 10 euros a day……. 5 to 7 euros for alburges. Breakfast which you will need , maybe 2 or 3 euros. Some fruit during the day maybe 1 euro. Then a main meal which you will need if you are to walk the 800 kilometres. This can cost 9 euros in resturants, and if you cook yourself , allow 3 euros for that. You also must allow for emergencys. Sickness, small injurys , and other expenses. Remember you will meet a lot of people, and friends, and there is a social side to the walk. In the evening before bed its nice to have a beer or a glass of wine with good company. Id advise you to allow 20 euros a day at least. You must remember its a long walk and will take you about 28 to 30 days, so you need to eat well and sleep well. The stamps on the passports are free. I used the public water all the time , no problems. 25 to 30 k a day is possible , but you must allow for injurys and days you are not feeling 100%. Why not set up a Skype account and chat to your parents on their PC? There are a lot of internet cafes along the way. Cost about 1 euro for 15 minutes. I hope to walk again in May..
    Bon Camino

  3. Pat. My name is Lindsay Paterson. My friend Roger and I are starting the walk from St Jean 29th April approx. Hope to meet you on the way

    1. Hi Linsay, I plan to start around that time too. My name’s Sarah … I’ll look out for you both! Orange backpack – Canadian Pilgrim Patch!

      1. Me too!  With my friend Natalie.  Will look for you.  Canadian Pilgrims.  Periwinkle blue jacket and beige backpack!

  4. Our budget was 25 euros a day. Sometimes you may spend more, other times less, difficult. Most tap water is safe including the tap water available at public places. To my knowledge; you will only be allowed to sleep in an alberge on presentation of your pilgrims passport / credentials. Plan your route from one alberge to another and not on how much distance you would like to cover. Some alberge may be 29-30 kms away from the next one, others may just be 12 to 15 kms. Yes it seems there is no problem with resting/showering in one alberge and continuing with your route.

  5. In December 2010 the municipal albergues were charging 5€ per night.

    In Santiago in 2009 the cheapest alburgue I could find was 10€ per night, though you could stay at Monte del Gozo (5€ in 2010) and walk the 4km in and out of Santiago. The bus is 1€ each way.

    The cheapest albergues were shut in December 2010 and I paid 15€ at a backpacker hostal.

    In Galicia the rain can be pretty bad even in the summer.

    I have always tried to do the Camino as cheaply as possible and the advice that 20€ is the minimum is right. In 2010 I reckoned on 30€ as I would not sleep out at night and I wanted one pilgrim menu per day to keep my sugar levels up (I’m diabetic).

    I have met solo female pilgrims who have had hassle from local guys, though none has been seriously attacked. I suggest you raid this forum for whether it is safe for a single female pilgrim to sleep outside, listening especially to women’s comments. (Asian law on attacks against women are much stricter than here in Europe).

    I’ve met pilgrims in 2009 and 2010 who tell me that many of the pilgrim hostels are no longer allowing pilgrims to use the kitchens.

    None of this should stop you walking, but you might need to think about your strategy.

  6. 1. I think you’ll be pushed to just spend 10 euros a day. I basically went with the same plan and ended up spending double. The 5 Euros for lodging shouldn’t be a problem most days but some places you may have to pay more. Also the cheapest albergues once you get to Santiago are 10 Euros. You will need more than 5 Euros for food, unless you want to eat nothing but bread for your entire Camino. I’d budget a minimum of 15 but even this may be tricky. 20 is practical on a budget.

    2. I don’t know about the the shower/toilet thing but why would you need to use the shower if you were not staying there?

    3. You can drink the water EVERYWHERE. It is 100% safe so you save a fair bit of cash there.

    4.  You need a pilgrim passport to stay in the albergues but it costs just 2 Euros from the starting point.

    5. The distance you can walk really depends on you but if you’re relatively fit 25-30km should be easy. Remember you have nothing else to do but walk so this should 25-30km should take you 5-6 hours – no problem.  Leave early, maybe 7 am if you want to avoid walking when the sun is beating down.

    6. If you get a roaming Sim card this should be pretty cheap.

    Good luck. Buen Camino! 

  7. Generally it says if the water is ‘non potable’. So yes you can drink the water. Also local people leave bottles of water outside their houses for you to top up you own bottle.
    I walked with a Spanish student who was eating only bread, fruit and drinking water. He seemed fit. This diet was part of ‘his pilgrimage’.
    I met people who also used the shower facilities at the hostels. I don’t think they had to pay.
    Some hostels are ‘donative’, which is donations only. If you are hard up then don’t give. I stayed at one religious hostel and the food supplied and the company was so good that I left them E20, but I was able to do this. There were some students that were very poor and gave accordingly. No one knows what you give.
    You need to get one pilgrims passport before you start your walk, I think is about E2 and every time you stop at a hostel or church get it stamped (cello). This passport will be needed to sleep in the hostels, it is your proof to being a true pilgrim.
    I don’t think it is necessary for you to camp. (no fires on the Camino). Too much extra to carry.
    Just take a change of clothes, a poncho for the rain, a fleece or jumper for the early mornings. Shower gel doubles for washing clothes, sandals for the evenings. You can buy anything more enroute.
    I like the green tea idea!

  8. 1. I’m planning to use 10 euros a day (5 for lodging, and
    5 for food-can you really buy simple baguettes etc. for less than one
    euro?) on average. If I bivouac as much as possible (if possible, every
    other day) this is possible in the summer right?

    There are some places where there are no albergues for that cheap, so be careful on where you plan to stay! Municipal and church run albergues (I’m forgetting what they’re called — it begins with P) tend to be cheaper than private. As for food it is completely possible to buy baguettes for less than  euro, but keep in mind that if you want to walk 25-30 a day as you say below, you will need to be consuming a lot more food than you normally do. Usually I could get toast or a croissant and coffee for 2-3 in the morning, a baguette, 2-3 pieces of fruit, and some cheese for 3-4, and then normally I’d splurge on a pilgrim dinner (7-10). One thing I’d recommend to you if you want to save on money is to buy things at a market in bigger packages and carry it with you so it stretches over days. Camping is not allowed in spain except for designated areas. I went in a holy year and brought a tent to use in the busiest part (the last 100 or so km) and for the most part the local authorities looked the other way. This will likely not be the case earlier in the walk so keep it in mind! You’re pitching your tent on someone’s property. While the people of spain who let us walk through are amazing for doing so, it’s good to remember that someone owns that land.

    2. Do Albergues really allow pilgrims (who are not lodging) to use
    the shower facilities and restrooms for 1~2 euros? There’s a guy in
    Korea who says he traveled that way.

    Some do. Many won’t even ask for $ especially if there is no lodging to be had (again, I went in a holy year where lodging literally ran out even if you had the money for hotels). Be polite if you ask. There’s a lot of kindness on camino.

    3. are the tap water safe to drink? I’m taking a LOT of green tea bags…For the most part. Typically undrinkable water will be labeled as such. This includes fountains and the like along the way.

    4. I heard that the pilgrim passports you can get at key villages
    cost 1 euro. I don’t really care about being certified. Would I still
    need the passport?

    Actually, you do need it. Most albergues will not let you stay without one. It’s your proof that you are actually walking the camino rather than taking a car from place to place or just looking for a place to spend a night. Unlike other hostels in Europe, these are only for the camino. They will check your previous stamp to see if it was possible for you to have walked from one place to the next in a day. If they think you’ve taken a car because there’s 60km between your last stamp and this albergue and you are not a biker, they may not allow you to stay. In any case, if you don’t get your first one stamped at every bar and church along the way and only stamp at your albergues you will likely only need the one you start with. I used  total and ordered my first one before I left.

    5. I’m a 19-year-old, small Asian female (even for an Asian) I’m in
    pretty good shape though, and I’d trekked to Lhotse the year before. I’m
    planning to walk about 25 km~30km a day. Is this feasible? Especially
    if I want to avoid walking in the hottest parts of the day?

    You’ll be just fine. It may take you a few days to get up to that amount, so don’t be discouraged, but my friend and I walked over 40km the day of the world cup (and didn’t even know it til later).  Ftr we’re both female and not regular athletes of any kind. The first few days we were walking a paltry 15km, but that didn’t last long.

    6. I promised to carry a cellphone so I can contact my parents in an
    emergency. Does anyone know an inexpensive way to get a phone that can
    dial internationally? (In my case, to Korea)

    There are sim cards that you can buy for your phone that make this pretty simple. National Geographic makes one, and then there’s another which we used. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name. But essentially the cards come with rates for each place you’d like to call which are much cheaper than your roaming rates. With ours we bought minutes in advance and chose an auto-renew feature with a specific # of minutes. Also keep in mind that there is internet practically everywhere. It might cost a Euro to use the machines — the best ones being a euro for an hour, the worst a euro for 15min. — but you could at least email your family if you can’t figure a way to bring your phone.

  9. From our experience on the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo in 2011:

    1. <10Euro/day? No, I think you'll need more like 15.

    2. Albergue access without lodging? No, not in our experience. If you're there, you may as well pay the $3-6 Euros for the albergue…it's a deal and a half so long as you stick to the publicly run ones. Some private ones were going for 15-30 Euro/night!

    3. Potable tap water? Yes, tap water was fantastic and drinkable everywhere in Spain we traveled. The only problem we found was cultural: Europeans rarely drink tap water, so they think you're crazy. Ignore them, stay hydrated, and save money – the water's safe everywhere it comes from indoor plumbing.

    4. Need a pilgrim passport/credencial? I don't believe the cheaper public albergues will let you stay there without one. Go get a credencial, it's foolish not to.

    5. Walk 25 km~30km a day? This is probably mostly fine, but keep in mind you'll hit bad weather, hard terrain, and occasional injuries/illness. Plan to average closer to 20-25km/day to account for needed rest days and slow-moving days.

    6. International cell phone? Sorry, I don't know this one.

  10. I have known people use the showers in the alberguese. All will be different.
    Talk to your phone provider. They may do a deal for one month for an extra £10.
    One credencia when you start will cost 2euros. Then you collect free stamps (cellos) on the way to prove you have walked. Then you can stay at the alberguese and religious places.
    Try to have a pilgrims meal in the evening. They are filling and nourishing.

  11. I spend 300 euros on my way for 30 days .. to 10 euros a day, but never went to a restaurant, cooked in the hostel kitchen or kitchen portable .. (it’s a bit more weight but not spend money) is possible, and slept every night in shelters , only one bit is arrange.

  12. I walked from st jean to santiago last summer. Some people went to the ‘donative’ wich are mainly free ( donation only if you have it) i bought a tent along the way just for the fun and on a few nights i camped out in the grounds of the municipals and hostels. It was possible to pay the owners a few euros for the showers and facilities. there are quite a few korean members on this forum and i am sure they woul dnot mind you contacting them to see what phone arrangements they had.. As for 10 euros a day i think this is a very tight budget. as i found food was not that cheap.some people seem to be able to manage . Buen camino

  13. I am korean also..
    My budget was 25-30 a day.. 10 euro a day… maybe possible.. but don’t push yourself to the limit..
    Also.. bivouac.. i am not sure.. most of the camino trail on the rural area.. but you travel in a country where youth unemployment rate is over 60%. Anything can happen. You are on a pilgrimage but others around maybe not.
    And the phone.. currently most 3g & lte phones sold in korea comes unlocked… buy a local-spanish sim card and International calling card. Your family at home can call your number anytime and you can. At a cheap rate..
    Good Luck

  14. Hi my name is Angie and I am in the same boat as you regarding spending money. My budget is also ten euros a day. Though I’m hoping to get a very light tent which I’m hoping to find a willing companion to share with me for safety reasons. I will be leaving on around May 21st ish. My son’s are saying my ticket to Biarritz as an Xmas present. I also have my equipment to get before I go. I’m trying to look on line for ones people no longer need and would be willing to pass on to me. Very kindly I have had my boots supplied by someone from this forum. I think the backpack is nearly as important as the boots. As this has to be comfortable light and well padded. I live in London so if anyone could donate a suitable backpack that is no longer needed this would be fantastic. Looking forward to hearing from anyone with advice or who maybe willing to help me out.
    Look forward to hearing from you soon with any advice you have been given.
    Buen CaminoAngie 😉

  15. Hi we just came back from the Camino and we were on a tight budget and you can easy do it on 10 Euros a day. I came out with money. Most alberques are 5 euros a night. There were 3 of us and if we bought the pilgrims meals at night all up that would have been 27-30 euros for us all. So we didnt do that….every now and again we had a pilgrims meal (tough day, tired etc) but they aren’t always that nice. we went to the supermercado and bought food and cooked it. Most places have kitchens with pots pans and plates etc. You often find a group joins in and has a fab shared meal. We had the best meals and stuck to budget. A cafe con leche (coffee with milk) is about 1.2 Euros so not a big cost. We didn’t bus or send our packs on, so saying the bus is cheap if you get shin splints or vominting, about 3.5 euros for a day’s walk. 20 kms a day is easy peasy. 25 kms a good stretch but we found 30-35 kms a day is not sustainable. We didnt have rest days so it is relentless. Dont carry too much and you will have more energy. You will lose weight, unavaidable and I am a little woman too. You can do it! We did. Don’t carry a tent (too heavy and unnecessary) loads of the alberques are donation only so chuck in 1-2 euros and save here. The people running it would rather you do it than not so don’t feel guity. Do it! It is grand and wonderful and NOT EXPENSIVE!

  16. Also download the Viber App on your phone and get your friends to do the same. You both need it.. With viber you can send photos instantly and texts for free too. Then you have free wifi calls all over the world. Every alberque has wifi so doesn’t cost you anything

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