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Keeping the costs down: lowest possible expense?

Greetings,

On the Camino de Santiago FAQ, I read that the author thereof spent "about €1000" over four weeks.

As students, my friend and I simply do not have that much to spend for the pilgrimage. How might we spend the least? We are willing to forego any unnecessary expenses, of course. What is the lowest possible cost that we could achieve, excluding travel fees?

Thank you in advance for your replies.

God bless you,

Thomas
 
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Hi Thomas,
Some students have managed on between 15 euro and 20 euro per day. Some of the shelters are donativo (give a little, it helps them to keep the places open for poor pilgrims!) others charge between 3 euro and 9 euro.
If you buy bread and cheese, fruit and even the odd beer in the supermecados you can live on 10 euro a day. So, 20 euro a day for 4 weeks would cost you 560 euro.
If you are prepared to sleep in a tent, you'll save even more.
If you read Rebekah's blog, you'll learn that some pilgrims do odd jobs for a bed and a meal - you could try that too a couple of times!
 
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Thomas_Caesariensis said:
Thank you very much for your answer, sillydoll.

If one sleeps in a tent, how does one wash oneself and one's clothes?

Many albergues will allow you to use their facilities - and allow you to camp close by or even on their property.

Read Todd Gilbreath's (one of our Forum member's) blog - he camped on the Camino Frances last year.

http://worldtravelerandthinker.blogspot ... amino.html
 
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I saved quite a bit of money by making my own lunches (bread, cheese, ham, fruit) and many of my evening meals.

If you are walking the whole Camino Frances, a psychological boost is necessary occasionally, because, after the first week of excitement and novelty, minor aches and pains and the daily routines of the camino can become wearing. In such cases, allow money for a bought meal in a simple restaurant, or some other indulgence, occasionally. You might also want to have 1 or 2 days off to recharge the mental and physical batteries, so allow extra money for those indulgences.

I just checked my records and I spent 380 Euro on food and other necessities, plus 150 Euros on indulgences. I don't drink alcohol, so that kept my costs down.

Bob M
 
I wasn't camping, so the kitchens/laundries in the albergues I stayed at were free. I am not sure about the situation for campers, but in any case if camping myself I would make a small donation even if kitchens/laundries were free.

I hope I have understood the question.

I met a few wonderful hospitaleros and hospilaleras on my camino and greatly admired the sense of vocation of those individuals. Those albergues deserved every peso (sorry, Euro) I left as donations.

Bob M
 
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I think if you used the showers and kitchens you might pay in two ways.
You could either leave a small donativo of 2 to 3 euros OR you could do some good cleaning!
 
Camping and/or cooking your own dinners (i.e. avoiding costly meals in cafes and restaurants) will be the best way to keep costs down.

I think some refugios have areas for campers (you have to pay a fee, but it is small)- and you get to use the facilities (bathroom, shower, kitchen, etc). Or you may consider staying in a refugio every couple of days to wash clothes, etc.

Buen Camino!!
 
I had a pilgrim in my office today that had biked from Holland to Santiago, sleeping only in his tent (except one day, he told me). So it is doable...

Saludos,
Ivar
 
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ivar said:
I had a pilgrim in my office today that had biked from Holland to Santiago, sleeping only in his tent (except one day, he told me). So it is doable.

I met several pilgrims who had biked from Holland.

One lady in particular I will never forget. I first met her crossing the pass on Route Napoleon. She was pushing her loaded bike over the rough, steep patches and obviously had a leg injury as well. But she pressed on and disappeared out of sight on the down hill runs.

But progress was slow for her, because I saw her several times on my camino, the last time at Santiago itself.

Seeing someone struggle and overcome adversity is a wonderful thing, and lifts the heart, giving us strength as we face our own difficulties.

Bob M
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Last summer in Portomarín, I met a couple from Holland who had come on scooters! Not motorized, but powered by one leg! You know, the stand on one leg and push with the other kind! They stopped for a cafe and then passed me going up a hill.... I couldn't help but think about how great that must be for your derriérre...but imagine if you didn't keep alternating legs and got more "dominant" on one side or the other??? :!: :lol: :!: Sorry, but ('scuze the pun) it gave me a funny mental picture to keep me going/chuckling awhile... perhaps I'd been walking too long....?

Buen Camino,
 
You see some interesting travel innovations on the camino. I recall one couple who were towing their bags on those little airport luggage trolleys that fold up when not in use. They seemed to work OK on the sealed paths, although they rocked about and tipped over occasionally, but such luggage carriers would be impractical on rougher terrain.

I saw a more interesting innovation in Santiago. This couple towed fairly substantial "carts" with almost bicycle-sized wheels. The carts strapped to the waist with two poles, much as one would hitch a donkey to a cart. The carts seemed to be commercial products, not Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson!) contraptions cobbled together in a garage. Again, OK for flat terrain, but I would not want to haul one of them over O'Cebreiro or the other passes.

Bob M
 
Just my two cents worth on the original question:

I open my house sometimes to pilgrims on a donativo basis, but I would think twice about doing that if someone sought out my place for that reason only, (assuming they would not have to pay anything) then proceeded to use my kitchen and washer and dryer facility. Because they use electricity to produce heat, those are two of the most expensive commodities we provide.

Don´t make the mistake many young people make, and assume that "municipal" and "donativo" mean the same thing as "free." You may not bother paying for your stay, but the electricity you use has to come from somewhere, and it has to be paid-for by somebody. If you use expensive things, leave at least a nominal donation, or do some chore or other ´round the place.

Travel light and spend little as you need to, but don´t be a locust.

Reb.
 
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.
ivar said:
I had a pilgrim in my office today that had biked from Holland to Santiago, sleeping only in his tent (except one day, he told me). So it is doable...

Saludos,
Ivar

Do you know if he was camping next to refugios? or was he camping along the way? I've been trying to figure out for months if that was a viable option. Thanks.
 
ricksca said:
ivar said:
I had a pilgrim in my office today that had biked from Holland to Santiago, sleeping only in his tent (except one day, he told me).
Ivar

Do you know if he was camping next to refugios? or was he camping along the way? I've been trying to figure out for months if that was a viable option.

Have a look at this thread, if you have not already seen it:
el-camino-frances/topic1714.html

I walked from SJPDP to Santiago in May/June 2007 and saw some campers, but not a large number. My impression though, is that in the villages you would always be able to find somewhere to camp by asking around.

In the country it is different. There are certainly "wild" areas in the hillly regions where one could camp somewhere off the trail. However, much of the camino goes through farming areas and it certainly would not be proper to simply camp in some farmer's fields without seeking him out and asking permission.

The Spanish people I met were very helpful to pilgrims. (On one occasion an old couple were excessively helpful in showing me the correct way that it was difficult to break free politely). So I think a respectful camper would always be able to find help.

Bob M
 
Out on the meseta you can usually pitch your tent in flat areas near cemeteries, or on "eras," community threshing floors. In towns with bodegas (little outlying houses that sometimes look like hobbit caves) it is traditional for wanderers to sleep in the doorways. Just be careful where you choose to lie down -- many pilgrims mistake bodega doorways for field toilets! :x
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
What saved money for me last time was learning that just because I'm sitting at a cafe doesn't mean I have to buy a big lunch. Sometimes I would just order some cafe and open up my own bread, fruit meat, etc. that I bought at a market. That helps. While I do like eating out, sometimes it was more fun to cook in the albergue because it may give you an opportunity to meet other pilgrims who you can join.
 
i walked the camino this may, and found a few people who were doing it on the cheap, those who had tents would stay in tents until we found a donativo or very cheap albergue where tehy would use the bed (sound advice..!)

i also encountered two kiwis, Ken and Matt, two of the greatest guys you'll ever meet, who were doing the whole Camino for 5€ or less a day, they were eating bread with olive oil and sugar, and scrounging to their hearts content, but let it be known that when you go shopping to cook for yourself you tend to buy too much and end up offering it around therefore supposing you had the same group of amazing people i walked with you could easily feed yourself on left overs.

the next time i do the camino i will definately be taking a tent purely because of some of the picturesque views you get, sometimes better than a concrete albergue in the dodgy end of town
 

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