First-time family camping road trip summer: How much will it cost?

The cost of things we think we need for our first-time, family, camping road trip in Europe in the summer are listed in part one.  But what about the cost of sleeping, gas and food for this 6-week nomadic trip?

Cost of Sleeping on the Road

We need a total of 45 days for sleeping on the way to Poland and back.  It is summer season.  Accommodation for 2 adults and 2 children is not cheap.  The capital cities and especially the small countries that we plan to visit are expn$ive.  Forget hotels.  Booking.com seems to offer cheaper options, compared to Air BnB.  Difficult to find family-friendly hostels—those that can accommodate little kids.

The cheapest option is to sleep in a tent.  But, it turns out booking camping sites for only a night or two is a little tricky during high season.  Camping sites seem to prefer longer term bookings of a week, or at least 3 days.  A website called Pitchup offers limited locations.  We found that the quickest and most efficient way to find camping grounds was to search for “camping near [the area that you want to visit]” in Google map.  It showed more options for us in a short amount of time compared to other sites, but not everything of course.

Expect €30 per night (for 2 adults and 2 children) for the cheapest camping sites, to include a car, a tent and electricity hook-up.  To have a buffer, Ania and I figured to give us no more than €50/night for sleeping cost.  So, our budget for a 45-day, once-in-a-lifetime, roadtrip across Europe is between €1,350 and 2,250.  There goes the little savings that we have left!

Cost of gas/benzin/sin plomo gasolina/fuel for the road

We will likely travel 3,448 kilometers (2,142 miles) to Poland and 3,648 km (2,267 mile) back.  That’s about 646 L or €968.  Hmmm…  That seems a little short.  For the calculation, Buda (our Mazda minivan) uses about 11 kilometers per liter of gas and I guesstimated an average of €1.5/liter of 95 unleaded/sin plomo/bezolowiowa.  Gas is cheaper in Jerez at about €1.2/L.

Now, food?

This should be no different from our daily food expenses at home and that comes up to about €540 for 45 days.  Hmmm…  That may be a bit tight! Of course, our cooking will be limited to our butane burner and whatever we can bring with us on the road.  Food prices here in Jerez/Andalucia are much cheaper.  That’s why we are stocking up on grocery to take with us (beans, rice, pasta, tomato sauce… you know, dry foods).  That’s a lot of fuel for our very own internal combustion engines… all 4 of us… in one tent!

Don’t forget miscellaneous expenses to consider, such as beer, libations, travel insurance (about €300 for family of 4) for 3 months since our insurance does not cover international travel, fees for sightseeing, restaurants, piwo, , medicine, wine, sherry, cerveza, birra, beer… and more beer (to take the pain of living in a tent and on the move…. away 😉

In all, what’s the total?

  • € 257: camping gear essentials
  • 1,350 – 2,250: sleeping in tent (45 days in tent, 2 adults, 2 children)
  • 968: unleaded gas/fuel/benzin for 7,096 kilometers roundtrip (4,435 miles), estimated
  • 540: basic food for 4
  • 300: travel insurance
  • 500: miscellaneous
  • € 3,915 – 4,815 euros, total

Wait…. Ouch, Awa… Oh, shaizeaufderstrasse! Deep breathe here…

Well, considering we will be on vacation for a total of 45 days and visiting about 27 places, 11 countries…. and a chance to experience life on the road as a family… and spend some quality time with family and friends?… … that’s not too bad at all! That’s about (€87 to 107 per day for 4 people). It’s like having 3 American vacations all packed into 1.  Now, lessons learned.  Next time, we’ll cut that in half… or at least try!  And where next?

What do you think?  Big Smile!

Up next: Here we go and on the move, northwards, upwards!

Previous: What to bring for summer camping road trip?

Credits: Partial map of Europe taken from “Maps” by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski; published by BIG PICTURE PRESS, modified. Thanks!

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