I find that people who travel around the states, continent or world are consistently asked, “How much did that cost you?” As with most topics that involved money, it’s a sensitive one that not many like to get into. Regarding motorcycle travel, I have put together a spreadsheet for those of your who are wondering. This is a fictitious trip that starts in the Florida keys, takes us through mainland Mexico, Baja, the western coast, Alaska, Canada, Maine and back around to Florida through the Appalachians. It’s over 15,000 miles and 3 months long. In other words…it’s a BIG trip.
I have organized everything down to daily costs. How much money do you need per day to travel 2,000 or 20,000 miles on a motorcycle? I have broken these daily costs down to the following categories:
- Motorcycle Maintenance
- Bills from Life Back Home
- Initial Costs
With any kind of financial forecasting there are assumptions to be made. How many miles per gallon will my motorcycle get? How much will I eat, and how frequently? How much will border crossing fees cost? What will the average lodging costs be? How much camping verses hotel/hostel use will I be doing? With all these variables, this is where a spreadsheet comes in handy. Check out the one I’ve made below:
It’s a big sheet, so let’s open it up in a new tab if you don’t feel like scrolling like crazy:
This example may not apply to you, so you can download the Excel spread sheet and play around with it here:
Food and lodging seem to be the biggest factors when planning a budget for a trip. Camping can help offset those costs quite a bit. So if you decided to camp 4 out of 3 days a week it would save you about $120 for the week, which buys you 4 more days on a trip if you are averaging $40 a day.
You can cook your own food instead of eating at restaurants, but finding groceries and hauling additional cooking equipment may be more than you want to take on after a long day of riding. All the more reason to keep the miles shorter per day perhaps.
With all these factors I think this gives you a good starting point to consider what finances it would take for that big trip you’ve been thinking about. I think you’ll find that the cost is cheaper than you might have thought otherwise, but that all depends on your style of travel.
I hope this helps anyone out there thinking about embarking on one of those BIG trips, and for you seasoned BIG trippers feel free to add your opinion about anything I might have missed or exagerated.