In our last post we talked about the amazing journey that is called: the Camino de Santiago (or the Way of Saint-James). In this post we want to share some valuable tips with you on keeping your costs as low as possible and how cheap you can actually walk the Camino. Earlier this year we walked the 32-day Camino Frances and managed to stay within our budget of 9 euro per person per day and this is how we did it:
- First of all, buy or borrow a tent, a good sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. If you are going to walk in the summer, you can skip all of the above and even sleep outside. If on the other hand you like some comfort, some good camping gear is highly recommended. The number one reason for sleeping in a tent is that in general, a night in an Albergue will cost around 5 euro pp, except for the Donativo Albergues where you can donate an amount of your liking. This means that in our case more than half of our budget would go to Albergues (hostels) and would leave us with only 4 euro per day to eat, which is possible, but hard and probably not the healthiest.
- Use the Couchsurfing network, not only can you save money on sleeping costs, but a lot of the times the hosts will provide you with a dinner or show you around town to the best places to eat tapas. This won’t work in every village along the Way, but it is a very handy network, especially in the bigger cities like Burgos, Leon, Oviedo… The downside is that it drags you away from the “real” Camino experience: sleeping with other snoring pilgrims in old bunk beds. No, seriously, eating, sleeping and walking together with other Pilgrims is a very important part of the way.
- Buy your food for the next stage at the supermarket the night before. A lot of the times you only pass by small villages without a supermarket and the only other option to get food is a bocadillo (sandwich) at 3 euro or more.
- Buy local fresh fruit and vegetables, they are cheap and very tasty. We also bought some canned fish and local bread.
- Knock on the door of the locals and ask if you can buy some food from them, most of the time they’ll give it to you for free or even invite you in their house for some coffee and cake in return for a nice chat.
- Try to wash your clothes together with some other pilgrims. A washing costs about 4 euro, drying 2 euro. It is always nice to split the costs.
- Don’t buy a pilgrims-direction-book; the way is overly documented with yellow arrows and shells. And if you want to read about the wonderful things you need to see, you can always borrow one from another pilgrim, everyone has one (except if every pilgrim would read this post of course).
- The same goes for medicines and second skin, most of the pilgrims carry them around and are very happy to help out if you are in urgent need.