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What should you budget?

The total cost of your journey will depend a great deal on the choices you make in food and lodging. One man posted a blog about how to walk the Camino while staying in 4 and 5 star accommodations. If that is your plan, you will have to add substantially to this budget.

If, however, you plan on staying in albergues which range from 5 to 10 Euros a night, doing some shared cooking, eating an occasional pilgrims meal, and having your fill of cafe con leche and vino tinto, this budget should give you a very good idea of what you will spend.

The only two areas which are hard to estimate is the cost of flights and how much you will spend on your gear. A little effort spent in finding the best deal on a flight and exercising a bit of creativity in gathering you gear, can reduce your costs substantially.

I live on the West Coast and so getting to Europe will cost me a bit more than those who live in the East. Your cost savings for a flight might be substantial.

While it would be wonderful to hit the Camino with all new gear, look through your closet for what you already own that might fit the bill for what you need. The two areas where I would encourage you not to skimp is on your shoes and pack. These will have a huge effect on how you feel as you walk. It is worth getting the best possible fit, even if it costs a little more. An outfitter like REI can be of great help in finding what works best for you.

This budget is based upon flying into Paris, taking a train to Bayonne, staying overnight to adjust to the new timezone, taking a train to St. Jean, walking for 35 days, flying to Madrid from Santiago, staying in Madrid for two night and then flying home. Total length of the trip would be 40 days from the time you left home until the time you returned. If you want to continue on to Finisterra, you will need to plan for 3 to 4 extra days.

My experince was, even though I budgeted €30 per day while I was walking, I often spent less. This provided me the opportunity to splurge a bit, without busting the budget. Even with a little extravagance, I was able to remain under budget for the entire trip.

If this seems like more than you would like to spend, you can find creative ways to hold costs down. You could shoot to live on €25 a day, which is totally possible. You could stay in hostels rather than hotels in Bayonne and Madrid. Or, you could cut out Madrid all together.

Where there is a will, there is a way. I am sure you will be able to come up with a budget which is just right for you.

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