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How much cash to take for cash-only Camino purchases

Diarmad

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Na
Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

We are walking for the first time in two weeks and getting all our logistic ducks in a row (all that we can think of, anyway) - we’ve done a little research and asked around on bed availability for albergues and received some useful reassurances on that front.

Our current plan is to bring a sleeping bag liner and a compressable blanket which - combined with our thermal nightwear - we hope will do the job. We also gather that there will be shops and restaurants on the route to stock up on provisions, or the option of communal meals in some albergues - which sounds like a wholesome and fun communal experience.

One consideration we have had is payment methods for the albergues, however - in today’s day and age we use phones and cards to pay for - more or less - everything, but we can’t help wondering whether cash would be needed for one or more albergue, if they shouldn’t be ‘linked in’ to the technological systems.

What have you found on your pilgrimages? What would be a good cash sum to take for fourteen days and nights from Leon to Santiago for purchases that cannot be made digitally?

We appreciate you,

Cheers and warmly
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
What have you found on your pilgrimages? What would be a good cash sum to take for fourteen days and nights from Leon to Santiago for purchases that cannot be made digitally?

We appreciate you,

Cheers and warmly
On my CF in 2019 most of the businesses were cash-bound, so I took 200€ from start, drawing 100€ in Leon and 100€ in Sarria. Brought almost 100€ back.

In 2023 on my CP I brought 200€ and had more than 50€ left in SdC. Many, even small, businesses accept plastic today. The more traditional municipal and parochial albergues are cash bound.
 
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Hello and welcome
Many threads here as per above. I'm sure that my answers are in some of them.
To touch on it fast I use credit cards extensively in my everyday life and my 2022 May-SdC-Finisterre Camino was no exception. Pretty much almost every place nowadays accepts them. A simple tarjeta,si? question will take care of how you will pay.
There are some folks who do not like to use CCs on Camino for one reason or another and I respect that. However as per your query topic you can absolutely use them.
Cash wise for 2 people for 2 weeks and considering what I said above IMHO €500 should be more than enough
Good luck and Buen Camino
 
Most of the time what you need cash for are small purchases. Many cafes have minimum amount for card transactions. Coffees, drinks and snacks are cheap, so it you are travelling alone it can be hard to meet build up a €10 bill before it's time to move on.

If you stay at donativo albergues you will need to pay in cash and there may be a few other places that only take cash. You may also need cash for local buses if you use any (e.g. to get to your accommodation in Leon).

How much you need depends on what you are buying and how often. I would take €110 from the ATM and see how it goes (if you take €100 you might get 2 €50 notes, which is inconvenient).
 
Chain supermarkets will take cards as will most private albergues, hotels and restaurants. We stay at albergues that don't take electronic payment much of the time, so I always have cash with me. Some small stores and bars may require minimum amount for purchase with a card. Cash also helps me better manage my budget so I am not overspending. Some places require coins for laundry machines or self serve vending machines. Some buses also require coins/bills.

I generally draw out 300 euros per ATM transaction and then rereplentish that when I get down under 50. There is usually a flat fee for each cash withdrawal no matter the amount unless you have a no fee card so larger withdrawals will cost less in the long term. If you are only staying in private albergues and hotels, you may not want or need that much cash.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
@Diarmad, you say’we’ so presumably there’s two of you. In which case it’s much easier to meet a €10 minimum purchase should you come across it. Last year on the Primitivo I spent well under €200 in two weeks, including giving others my share of a meal a couple of times ( because the waiter was reluctant to split the bill).
I’d suggest starting with €200, you can always withdraw additional funds if necessary.
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
I used cash + cc. If you have time a Halifax Clarity card is worth getting as there are no additional transaction or atm fees to pay. Last year many places such as restaurants, etc accepted Cc + i used it to pay for albergues via Booking. A good bank to use is Abanca which has branches in large towns and cities - their ATMs also do not have transaction fees.
 
I see you are from the UK. I don’t have a credit card as Inonky
Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

We are walking for the first time in two weeks and getting all our logistic ducks in a row (all that we can think of, anyway) - we’ve done a little research and asked around on bed availability for albergues and received some useful reassurances on that front.

Our current plan is to bring a sleeping bag liner and a compressable blanket which - combined with our thermal nightwear - we hope will do the job. We also gather that there will be shops and restaurants on the route to stock up on provisions, or the option of communal meals in some albergues - which sounds like a wholesome and fun communal experience.

One consideration we have had is payment methods for the albergues, however - in today’s day and age we use phones and cards to pay for - more or less - everything, but we can’t help wondering whether cash would be needed for one or more albergue, if they shouldn’t be ‘linked in’ to the technological systems.

What have you found on your pilgrimages? What would be a good cash sum to take for fourteen days and nights from Leon to Santiago for purchases that cannot be made digitally?

We appreciate you,

Cheers and war
I see you are from the UK so you may wish to check what the fees are for cards you hold for the respective banks you have accounts with. I only use debit cards (not credit) but some / many UK banks charge 2.99% per transaction and some charge nothing. Either way the savings won’t be that great but you may wish to check it out!
 
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Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

We are walking for the first time in two weeks and getting all our logistic ducks in a row (all that we can think of, anyway) - we’ve done a little research and asked around on bed availability for albergues and received some useful reassurances on that front.

Our current plan is to bring a sleeping bag liner and a compressable blanket which - combined with our thermal nightwear - we hope will do the job. We also gather that there will be shops and restaurants on the route to stock up on provisions, or the option of communal meals in some albergues - which sounds like a wholesome and fun communal experience.

One consideration we have had is payment methods for the albergues, however - in today’s day and age we use phones and cards to pay for - more or less - everything, but we can’t help wondering whether cash would be needed for one or more albergue, if they shouldn’t be ‘linked in’ to the technological systems.

What have you found on your pilgrimages? What would be a good cash sum to take for fourteen days and nights from Leon to Santiago for purchases that cannot be made digitally?

We appreciate you,

Cheers and warmly
We took 200€ cash or so as many places did not take cc. We cashed up several times along the trail at the Santander bank ATM’s and never had a problem.
 
@Diarmad, I spent well under €200 in two weeks, including giving others my share of a meal a couple of times ( because the waiter was reluctant to split the bill).
Yeah.... eating meals with bunch of people that I sometimes do not know too well on many various occasions taught me long time ago to politely ask for "separate checks" if I am not in the company of relatives and\or friends. Then there is no 'reluctancy'.

I most definitely do not wish to contradict some folks who provided an answer regarding the use of CCs however I will state that I racked up €5-6 charges all over in the course of 6 weeks (I wont count the 2 weeks SdC --> Finisterre --> MAD because by that time my wife was with me so yeah it was definitely above the amount). As I said the best way to go about it is to ask the proprietor who knows darn well what your bill is (he\she just handed it to you) if they accept CCs. If they say yes - then obviously whatever the amount - they are OK with it. We mostly would be talking bars & cafes here; I'd be very happy to find an albergue which would charge under €10 for a bunk (To be fair I did not stay in any of donativos and I do understand that they operate on Cash Only)
 
I'd be very happy to find an albergue which would charge under €10 for a bunk (To be fair I did not stay in any of donativos and I do understand that they operate on Cash Only)
Yes, they are there... All the Xunta albergues last year did go up from 8 to 10 euros though. Cash only. Najera- 6 euros cash only. All the other donativos...cash only. You do pay for the convenience of the use of your cards. For me, much easier to keep track of what I am spending (or not spending) with coins and bills.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Ah... totally opposite for me. I come home, download the statement into my financial software and can have a full report on what was spent how. Camino would fall under "Vacation" category within which I have Travel, Food, Lodging and Miscellaneous sub categories)
But to everyone their own.
That said - perhaps I will give a try to some Xunta albergue next twirl around!
 
Ah... totally opposite for me. I come home, download the statement into my financial software and can have a full report on what was spent how. Camino would fall under "Vacation" category within which I have Travel, Food, Lodging and Miscellaneous sub categories)
But to everyone their own.
That said - perhaps I will give a try to some Xunta albergue next twirl around!
Yes, but after the fact, you have already spent the money. How do you keep yourself on the budget while traveling or is that not a concern?

edit: ok, I still shop with coupons, too, so I am pretty thrifty...
 
Yes, but after the fact, you have already spent the money. How do you keep yourself on the budget while traveling or is that not a concern?
That's easy, just keep a rough mental tally. I've done that ever since I got my first credit card when I joined the bank at 20 years old. It's just a different form of mental discipline, really not hard to do. And because I round everything up I always come in under budget. Let's face it, we only buy things four or five things a day on Camino.
You do pay for the convenience of the use of your cards.

That totally depends on your bank and how you utilize the system. For example on my New Zealand MasterCard I get points with everything I spend. Individually those points are worth very very little, but because all of my purchases, and a number of my regular payments ( eg insurance) go on my card, those points mount up considerably. I use them to purchase gift cards, which I use at the very stores where I gained the points in the first place. Over $800 (500 euros) credit last year alone, over and above the costs associated with my card. Which, incidentally, I also pay with those self same points.

In addition to this, should I pay for my flights with my credit card I also get free travel insurance. No, it's not the best, but it's well worth having, and certainly for shorter trips (up to a month) more is unnecessary.

The key to making this work is of course paying your bill off in its entirety every month. Which I have done for the last 40 years.

Adding to this, on occasion I have actually put my card in credit, or in other words I have prepaid it. This means that I can use the card to draw cash from a money machine with zero charge. (Otherwise you pay a 'cash advance' fee).

Incidentally my credit card doubles as a debit card at the ATM, I simply choose which option I wish to use - withdraw from my account, or from credit card.

But then New Zealand is quite progressive when it comes to banking. EFTPOS (electronic fund transfer at point of sale) was first introduced in New Zealand 40 years ago. (New Zealand was actually used as the test ground for the rest of the world).
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Yes, but after the fact, you have already spent the money. How do you keep yourself on the budget while traveling or is that not a concern?

edit: ok, I still shop with coupons, too, so I am pretty thrifty...

I used cash + cc. If you have time a Halifax Clarity card is worth getting as there are no additional transaction or atm fees to pay. Last year many places such as restaurants, etc accepted Cc + i used it to pay for albergues via Booking. A good bank to use is Abanca which has branches in large towns and cities - their ATMs also do not have transaction fees.
Following other responses - 1. Halifax Clarity has a good app which shows pending and older transactions which means you can track your expenditure. 2. Avoid Santander ATMs - charge 5 euros to use their machines. Abanca are the best!
 
I keep track of each cost either in a notebook and/ or my phone as I go. If I am tapping away with my card, I am more likely to forget so I always take the receipt (even at home).

Yes, I do use my card at home and for plane tickets and I get points which I use to pay for hotels in Spain. What I meant is that you will pay more for a private albergue than using cash for one that does not take a card.

I know I won't convert many of you, but I am very thrifty and that allows me to make longer trips having experiences instead of using services. I use my Tarjeda Dorada for train trips, I pay for flights and hotels with points and at home we get half off our campsites with our Sr Parks Pass.

I cook at home and I like to on the Camino, too. I don't want to pay extra to ship my bag. I don't want to pay extra for private albergues. I shop with coupons and even get the grocery ads when I am in Spain so I know what are the best deals. I am cheap.

It does make me a good hospitalera though and I can make a great communal meal for very little money! Anyway if anyone wants money savings tips on their Camino, please reach out!
 
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I can't remember which bank it was, but a couple of ATMs I used last year charged a €7 fee. Fortunately, I have a Schwab account (US bank) that refunds all my ATM fees.
Most of them are at €7 now. Pretty sure Santander are, BBVA, Caixa. Spain defo is the king of the bank charges! Took money out in France last night and Germany today… no charges!
 
I keep track of each cost either in a notebook and/ or my phone as I go. If I am tapping away with my card, I am more likely to forget so I always take the receipt (even at home).

Yes, I do use my card at home and for plane tickets and I get points which I use to pay for hotels in Spain. What I meant is that you will pay more for a private albergue than using cash for one that does not take a card.

I know I won't convert many of you, but I am very thrifty and that allows me to make longer trips having experiences instead of using services. I use my Tarjeda Dorada for train trips, I pay for flights and hotels with points and at home we get half off our campsites with our Sr Parks Pass.

I cook at home and I like to on the Camino, too. I don't want to pay extra to ship my bag. I don't want to pay extra for private albergues. I shop with coupons and even get the grocery ads when I am in Spain so I know what are the best deals. I am cheap.

It does make me a good hospitalera though and I can make a great communal meal for very little money! Anyway if anyone wants money savings tips on their Camino, please reach out!
Not sure what your banking apps offer but I can allocate my spend to a category (either pre defined or you can edit). I am doing it this month properly to see what the results are!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

We are walking for the first time in two weeks and getting all our logistic ducks in a row (all that we can think of, anyway) - we’ve done a little research and asked around on bed availability for albergues and received some useful reassurances on that front.

Our current plan is to bring a sleeping bag liner and a compressable blanket which - combined with our thermal nightwear - we hope will do the job. We also gather that there will be shops and restaurants on the route to stock up on provisions, or the option of communal meals in some albergues - which sounds like a wholesome and fun communal experience.

One consideration we have had is payment methods for the albergues, however - in today’s day and age we use phones and cards to pay for - more or less - everything, but we can’t help wondering whether cash would be needed for one or more albergue, if they shouldn’t be ‘linked in’ to the technological systems.

What have you found on your pilgrimages? What would be a good cash sum to take for fourteen days and nights from Leon to Santiago for purchases that cannot be made digitally?

We appreciate you,

Cheers and warmly
Mom and I used 600 euros all together during our 38 days on the Camino Frances. We finished 2 1/2 weeks ago.

I’d recommend 250 - 300 euros for your trip.

We used cards as much as possible but a few pensións, albergues and many bars (restaurants) only took cash. Depends on your route - after Sarria we didn’t have any issues using card for all purchases.
 
You certainly don't sit still, do you!!
Funny enough I was in your city yesterday and was going to message you (get well soon btw)) but only for 24 hrs and had some commitments! Remember you telling me the town you live in and came through there about 0045 this morning on a train. It was very busy!!!
 
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