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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Budgeting for a Bike Trip | Money Saving Tips for Your Next Adventure

By Megan Maxwell

This summer, I will be biking 1800 miles down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver to Tijuana. I currently work in the hotel industry, and summer is the busiest time of year. I’m not allowed to take six weeks off, so I will be quitting my job for this adventure. Since I still have a house and roommates, I’m going to have to pay bills while I’m gone. Therefore, I have spent the entire winter budgeting my money and spending frugally so I can afford this trip. 


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Here’s the cost breakdown for my bike trip:
  • Bike gear: $300.  I already have all of the camping gear I need, which is a major expense. The only thing I’ve really had to buy was panniers (to store my gear while riding) and some bike maintenance tools.
  • Campsites: $210.  The bike route I’ll be traveling on is well established. There are $5 campsites that bikers can stay at. This includes showers and restrooms.
  • Food: $420.  I plan on spending about $10 on food a day. I like to eat Lipton Sides for dinner and oatmeal packets for breakfast, which are extremely cheap. Then for lunch, I might stop and eat at restaurants.
  • Travel: $100.  I’m booking my Greyhound ticket in advance to get the lower rate. Then my dad is picking me up at the end of the trip.
  • Rent: $640 (for 2 months).  I’ll be gone for the month of June and half of July.
  • Other bills: $430.  I still have student loans and car insurance to pay. And the internet bill for my house is in my name.
  • Post-trip funds: $900.
Total= $3000.  It might seem daunting to save up for a big trip, especially if you don’t make very much money to start with. While it’s important to be responsible and have a job, it’s also important to enjoy yourself and have crazy adventures. When I’m 80 years old, I really doubt I’ll regret spending a summer biking along the ocean.   


freestanding bike rack


Here are my tips for saving money for a bike trip:  
  • Get all of your gear second hand. Check Craigslist, eBay, thrift stores, and used bike shops for good deals. It takes more time and dedication, but you can save some serious money.
  • Make some of your gear yourself. You can make a camp stove out of a tuna can. You can make panniers out of plastic buckets if you’re creative. You can make water proof stuff sacks out of silnylon fabric. If you’re really good with a sewing machine, you can even make your own sleeping bag and tent.
  • Make a habit of putting money aside as soon as you get paid. Once your money is in your bank account, pay your bills and transfer as much as you can spare to your savings account. You’ll be less likely to spend it if you have to go to the effort of transferring it back into your checking account.
  • Don’t buy any new clothing unless you are going to bring it on your bike trip.
  • Try to find free activities in your neighborhood to do, instead of spending money at the bar. Also cook at home instead of going out.

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