This is a controversial topic – money! Before you read any further, we ask that you are kind to us. This is our budget for our Camino – you can spend a lot less and even spend a lot more than we did! We know there are a lot of ways to plan or not to plan your Camino, this is just what we did in 2017 and what we are doing for our 2019 Camino, we hope this budget helps a few people. Let me begin by giving you a summary of our goals when planning our Caminos:
- Flight cost – find it cheap and the least amount of connections
- Plan a few luxuries – this so we have little things to look forward to along the way.
- Private rooms – this is important to us so we don’t have to pack sleeping gear/sleeping clothes and towels. It saves weight and we know we will get a good night sleep.
- Enjoy the culture – this means we plan to have evenings out to enjoy the local food and don’t eat as many pilgrim meals in the evening.
Ok, so this is another way we are different than other pilgrims. We planned out our Camino from beginning to end, meaning we planned our stops and reserved all of our rooms in advance. We knew this meant that if we were suffering from illness or injury, we would have to taxi ahead to the next town vs. walking to it. Some will not agree with this philosophy, but this was how we planned our pilgrimage. In the end, for our Camino in 2017, we taxied about 20-25 km of our entire Camino. This is a number we could live with for the peace of mind of knowing where we were sleeping every night. We have to travel on the Camino during the busiest time of the year because we are teachers, so planning the rooms in advance helped ease our minds and helped us stay on budget.
Let’s talk about flights first, I discussed this a little bit in our blog post entitled, Our Top 10 Pieces of Essential Camino Gear if you want to read it later. We monitor flights using the apps Skyscanner and Hopper and when they tell us to buy, we do. The best thing to do is look at direct flights from one hub to another. For us, we have found inexpensive flights from Boston to Madrid. In 2017 we flew Iberia Air and our Boston to Madrid tickets were $500 total, for both of us, and then we spent another $500 total getting from Ohio to Boston. For our 2019 Camino we are flying Air Portugal from Boston to Madrid and our tickets were the same price at $500 for both. We are still monitoring flights to Boston. You have to know where you are looking to fly, monitor flights, and be willing to wait to buy the tickets.
We always plan a few luxuries on our trips because it gives us things to look forward to when we are exhausted, tired, or just plain grumpy. In Pamplona, we didn’t know where it would happen but we budgeted for massages. This city comes after hiking about 3-4 days (depending on if you stop in Orrison, as we did) and your feet will be so happy that you are treating them. This cost 100 euros for us both and was so worth! We planned to have a few more massages along the way but didn’t have as many opportunities as we hoped. Our total budget for luxuries was 500 euros, we mainly spent this money on nicer restuarants and wine.
Don’t fret, we planned other luxuries, like in the places we stayed at. Our lodging budget was to average 50 euros a night for a room. Fortunately, we had plenty of rooms that only cost about 35-45 euros so we could splurge a bit in other places. For example, we read in another blog (sorry, I can’t remember the name of the blog) that Casa de Tepa in Astorga was their absolute favorite hotel on the entire Camino so we booked a room. This room came in at 82 euros, sadly prices have gone up because the website says it costs 115 euros today. We stayed in the Napoleon Room, I encourage you to go to the website and check out their videos of the different rooms. This wasn’t just called, “The Napoleon Room,” it was the actual room that Napoleon stayed in! Crazy! The best parts of this hotel were the location to the Gaudi museum and the town square, the gorgous backyard patio, the reading rooms throughout the hotel, and the cash bar on the patio. It was a fantastic find and a well-planned luxury.
Private rooms were so important to us, as it’s an important way to end a long day of walking. I am a light sleeper and I heard so many people complaining about not getting a good night’s sleep on the Camino because of the sounds and smells of others. This meant our budget was higher than it was for others in a shared room, but sometimes not too much higher. The best part was that we did not have to carry sleeping bags, pillows, towels, or even sleeping clothes. We didn’t always have a private bathroom, that was something we were willing to give up in order to stay on budget.
Luxuries came in many forms from private rooms, to air-conditioned rooms, to massages, to couple fancy restaurants (the one featured below is not considered a fancy place – lol).
Finally, we had to find luxuries by exploring the local life and local food. It was important for us to experience the culture, not just the pilgrimage. Sometimes that meant finding out what food tasted like in a Spanish-Mexican restaurant. The takeaway was that we full-filled the urge we had for tacos but don’t get a margarita (you’ll thank me for that advice, I promise)! Other times our goal was to truly experience the local food. For example, when in Galicia you must try pulpo (octopus)! I am not a fan of octopus here in the States, but I am not going to lie, I loved pulpo. As far as our food budget goes, we planned to spend 50 euros a day for both of us in 2017 but we were closer to averaging 60 euros a day. What can I say, we do love our food…and wine!
In summary, the 2019 Coleman budget for the two of us combined breaks down like this:
- Flights: 1000 dollars
- Private Rooms: 50 euros a night
- Food: 60 euros a day
- Other transportation: 300 euros
- Luxuries: 500 euros total
We hope this helps you in your Camino planning because if you are still reading this blog post, we will assume you are a planner. Click the like button to show us some Camino love. We would appreciate hearing from you – in the comments please tell us about your Camino, what you are looking forward to on the Camino, or what you are nervous about.
Buen Camino! Brian and Michelle