“How much does it cost to travel full-time?”

This is a question we get asked a lot and have decided to start sharing the details of our monthly expenses. We’ve always had a loose idea on how much money we spend but have never kept detailed logs of our spending. In this monthly series, we will break down our expenses into these four main categories: food, transportation, shopping, camping. It will not take in account our monthly recurring costs (like car insurance, health insurance, mini storage, mortgages, Netflix, etc.) since this is so different for everyone.

Monthly Numbers for February 2020

Total Expenses: $3226.50
Countries visited: 3 (Spain, Gibraltar UK and Morocco)
Total nights: 29 nights
Paid Camping: 15 paid nights
Miles driven: 860 miles
Border Checks: 3 border checks

*Anomalies: This month included stockpiling food for crossing onto a new continent and visiting larger cities that required campground stays.

Food

Our total food budget for this month was similar to last’s month. But instead of having an even split between groceries and restaurants, we spent a lot more on groceries because we stockpiled food for our crossing into Morocco. We knew that liquor was going to be expensive and wanted to bring extra quantities of meat as well, especially pork which is not sold there. We also bought a lot of staples since we didn’t know what to expect from Morocco and to make our first week there easier.

Groceries: $801.07
Restaurants: $257.81

Transportation

Our transportation cost was almost $300 more this month due to the ferry ticket that took us from Spain to Morocco. That ferry ticket was a two-way ticket that was open ended on the way back. ( Spoiler alert!!! We never got to use it because of the COVID-19 pandemic.) Since we also left the EU, we had to purchase vehicle insurance at the border.

Diesel: $413.03
Tolls: $10.32
Public Transportation: $334.7
Parking: $0.00
Additional Insurance: $216.75

Shopping

Shopping was a large expense for us this month. It surprising took about a third of our budget. The biggest expense in this category was a new surfboard that Dan bought for the coast of Morocco. We also had to buy Moroccan cell phone data plans since our Croatian plans only work in the EU. Oh and camel rides, had to do those while in the Sahara Desert.

Goods: $840.40
Tourist Attractions: $84.57
Laundry: $14.38
Vehicle: $2.22
Additional Cell Data: $100.92

Camping

Camping was once again our lowest expense this month by far. We prefer to camp for free while traveling but that is not always possible. Our van is self-built to stay off grid but occasionally we need to pay for a spot. This month we paid for a total of 15 nights of camping for two reasons. We visited a few large cities and those are the safest spots for our home. And we also crossed into Africa and it’s easier to get accustomed to a new place with people around to help us out.

Paid Camping Fees: $150.33

Per Day Costs

For the month of February 2020, we found ourselves spending $111.26 a day as a family of 5 living in a camper in Europe and Africa. Our food, transportation and shopping costs were pretty evenly distributed this month in preparation for our 3 month stay in Morocco.

Total cost per day: $111.26
Food cost per day: $36.51 (33%)
Transportation cost per day: $33.61 (30%)
Shopping cost per day: $35.95 (32.3%)
Camping cost per day: $5.18 (4.7%)

Summary

This process has really helps us think about our spending even more than we already do. I feel like this was a more expensive month than usual but it will interesting to see where our numbers fall next month. (Another spoiler alert! Rescue ferries out of Morocco back to Europe cost a lot during a pandemic!) Hope this helps some of you in regards to how much it costs for a family of five to travel in Europe and beyond.


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