Finance List: El Camino de Santiago costs

It’s all about the money, honey…

Here’s a breakdown of my expenses for el Camino.

A few notes:

  • I had most of this gear before the trail.
  • I only pay retail about half of the time; the rest I find on sale, at REI yard sales, thrift stores, other outfitters, Amazon, etc.
  • There are obviously ways to hike el Camino for less, and for more. Cook your own food or eat out. Indulge in alcohol or not. Stay in an albergue or a hotel. Hike your own hike.

ITEM PRICE (USD)
Pack
Gregory Jade 28 pack $139.95
Clothes
The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket $199.00
Icebreaker Merino 260 Top Long Sleeve Half-Zip $120.00
Short sleeve moisture-wicking shirt $20.00
Ex Officio Give-N-Go Shelf Bra Camisole $38.00
Patagonia Women’s Barely Bra $31.00
Ex Officio Give-N-Go Bikini Brief $18.00 (x 2)
UnderArmour 7″ Compression Shorts $27.99
Black yoga/sport capris $30
Women’s NTS Mid 250 Pattern Bottom $100
Ballcap $20
Buff $19.99
Injinji Liner Crew Socks $9.00 (x 2)
Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Sock $20.00 (x 2)
Cheap flip flops for the shower $3.50
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Trail-Running shoes $130.00
Superfeet Green Insoles $49.95
Backpacking poncho $30
Dirty Girl Gaiters $23
Health and Hygiene
 REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite X-Large $22.50
 Sawyer Permethrin Repellent $16.00
 Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus Padding – 3 Strips $3.00
 Emergency Clif bar (everyone knows Sierra Trail Mix kind is the best!) $*
 Toiletries: sunscreen, travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste; toothbrush; comb, emergency toilet paper, travel-size Febreeze (for hiker funk on pack) $*
 First aid: needle, thread, bandaids $*
 Clothes pins and safety pins (for hanging laundry on lines and on pack) $*
 Bar laundry soap $*
Sleep
 Cocoon Hyperlight Air-Core Pillow $30.00
 Sea to Summit Premium Silk Liner $79.99
 Eye mask and ear plugs (must-haves) $*
Tech
Camino de Santiago guide app $3.49
 Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp $29.99
 REI Co-op Adapter Plug E106 – Europe and Asia $4.00
 Cell phone and charger $**
 Headphones $**
Misc
 Shell and credential (I brought a shell from home, but you can make a donation and get one at the pilgrim office. You also purchase your credential there; it’s like a pilgrim passport you need to have to stay at the albergues and get discounts at restaurants and museums.) $8.00
 Sunglasses $48.00
 Platypus SoftBottle Water Bottle with DuoLock Cap – 34 fl. oz. $11.95
 REI Co-op RFID Money Belt $16.50
 Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sack $14.95
 Swiss army classic knife $15.95
 Journal $*
 Pen $*
Optional
 Long sleeve cardigan $17.99
 T-shirt $5.99
 Flats $12.99
 Nikon Coolpix S7000 camera $229.95
 SPOT Gen3 GPS tracker $149.99 (year subscription: $199.99)

* Items added together are between $35-$45

**I assume you already have these

TOTAL GEAR (without optional items): $1,424

I shopped around for my airfare. Originally, a one-way ticket to Biarritz was going to be almost $3,000 on first quote. I studied the route, other towns, and booked independent legs of my journey through the lowest-cost carriers I could find. I did the same thing for my return ticket. It took more time to travel, but the savings were definitely worth it. My flights to and from totaled just more than $1,000, which is about 1/6th of the original quotes I found.

My travel: flight from Nashville to Boston to Iceland to Paris to Biarritz, then a bus to Bayonne and another bus to St. Jean Pied de Port to start; a bus from Santiago de Compostela to Porto, flight from Porto to Newark to Nashville.

The bus tickets totaled around $60.

TOTAL TRAVEL: $1,060

Daily expenses can vary greatly! Albergues (hostels) are clean and inexpensive; hotel and motel rooms are also available along the way. There are restaurants and cafes, museums, shops, grocery stores, and LOTS of bars. I ate mostly at restaurants, but sometimes I did buy food at the grocery store for supper.

I’ll break down a typical day for me. Again, it can be a cheaper, or more expensive.

ITEM PRICE (USD)
Breakfast: cafe con leche, tortilla $4.50
Lunch: bocadillo (sandwich), juice, beer $6.00
Snack: ice cream, or fruit, or chips $1.50
Supper: Pilgrim Menu (appetizer, main course, bread, dessert, wine) $10.00
Albergue $6-10 (municipal is usually cheapest)

AVERAGE DAILY COST: $36-$50

Of course, there are lots of little expenses and treats, too: machine-washed laundry, wine and beer, museums, snacks, more shampoo, etc.

It also depends on how many days you take to hike. I hiked it in 25 days, but I took some half days into the big cities (Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc.) and on some days did big miles (53 km in one day from Astorga to Leon).

AVERAGE DAILY COST x 25: $900-$1,250

GRAND TOTAL: $3,384-3,734 for gear, travel, and daily expenses

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