How much does a year-long motorcycle travel cost?
Come join us for some calculations. We got curious about how much money we spent in 2017 while living "on the road". We figured it could also be interesting for you. Maybe because of the plans you are making for your upcoming trip, maybe because you, just like we all, like to take a peak into somebody else’s budget, or perhaps you are traveling too and want to compare your costs with ours. In any case – here are the numbers:
We burned 4505.71 liters of fuel, while traveling 59 000 kilometers.
The BMW F650GS (Asta) used 2071.77 liters, or 3.51 ltr / 100 km.
BMW F800GSA (Linas) - 2433.93 liters, or 4.13 ltr / 100 km.
Total fuel cost was: € 3426.58 (average € 0.76 per liter)
In South and Central America, an average liter of 95 octane gasoline would cost us € 0.97.
On average, in the US and Canada we paid € 0.78 per liter.
In Russia and Central Asia, a liter of something as close to 95 octane gasoline as we could find would cost us € 0.50 per liter.
We spent 81 night in our tent.
187 nights we spent for free. These times we were invited by someone, visited relatives and friends or wild-camped in the nature for free.
Meanwhile 178 nights we had to pay for accommodation. During that time we spent a total of € 2781.03 or an average of € 15.62 per night. The cheapest accommodation for one night was € 2.5 (Kyrgyzstan), and the most expensive - € 48 (USA).
In total, we spent € 4579.05 per year for food. We cooked a lot of ourselves, ate in cheap roadside cafes or sometimes were invited by locals for a meal.
In South and Central America, on average, food for two people cost us € 14.91 per day.
In the US and Canada, we were mostly cooking our own meals or were invited by locals and therefore we did not feel the higher food prices there compared to the countries we visited before and all in all our daily meals averaged at € 14.00 per day.
In Asia, the average price for food for two of us was € 8.73.
In Africa, for three first weeks here, before the end of the year we both ate for € 9.34 a day.
In this category we have included all the expenses related to travel, but not related to motorcycle transportation: visas, taxi, buses, ferries or plane tickets.
Russia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Iran were the only countries we needed to make visas (and obviously pay for them) in advance. In Central American countries, we had to pay for visas at the border. We paid for the Kenyan visa on arrival as well. All these visas in total have cost us € 848.92.
In cases where it was necessary for us to travel somewhere by land, air or sea, we spent € 3003.28 - this amount does not include motorcycle transportation.
All the costs that do not fit into any of categories above (other than those related to the maintenance or motorcycle transportation) are included here. It can be anything from a local mobile SIM card, a ticket to a museum or a national park, to some clothes, souvenirs, tooth-paste or laundry service. The total cost of this stuff was € 3083.64.
MOTORCYCLE SERVICE AND TRANSPORTATION:
On service and spare parts for both motorcycles we have spent a total of € 3253.40. The BMW F800GSA is still covered by a manufacturer's warranty, so we trust it for the official BMW representatives every 10,000 kilometers to do the regular service, and the older F650GS is most often cared for by ourselves - it's taken to BMW dealership only when more serious inspections are required, such as valve adjustments.
The most costly and least joyous activity is transporting our motorcycles between continents. We have spent a total of € 7546 for three transfers we have made this year.
Between Colombia and Panama (or from South to North America), the cost of transporting two motorcycles in container ship has cost us € 743. This amount also includes € 180 which we spent in vain, for loading the motorcycles into a yacht in Cartagena which never sailed out and then unloading them in the same place two days later… So the actual cost of transportation was € 563.
From Canada to South Korea by plane and from South Korea to Russia by ferry (from North America to Asia), we ended up paying as much as € 4725 for both motorcycles. The price was raised by the fact that Lithuanian registered vehicles cannot participate in South Korean traffic, due to certain unsigned international agreements, so we had to hire a truck that transported them from Seoul airport directly to the seaport in Donghae, on the East coast of South Korea.
The total cost of shipping both bikes in a container ship from Iran to Kenya (from Asia to Africa) was € 2078.
Another € 446.3 we spent on short ferry rides with motorcycles and motorcycle insurance in different countries.
During the months when we did not need to transport and/or service our motorcycles, on average we spent € 1477 (that’s for fuel, food, accommodation, tickets, and more). On those months, when the time for the regular 10 000 kilometers motorcycle service would come, or we would get on with the mission of transporting our motorcycles to another continent, our costs would seriously jump up.
All in all, we have spent € 28968.90 during the year 2017, visited 23 countries in 3 different continents, rode 59 000 kilometers and made many new friends and had unforgettable time!
Here are some of our thoughts after reviewing these numbers:
- Nowhere in the world is fuel more expensive than it is in Europe :)
- We noticed that, while driving at a lower speeds, we save a significant amount of fuel, and, at the same time, money. For comparison, if we ride a 100 kilometers at speeds below 100 km/h versus speeds over 110 km/h, each motorcycle consumes half a liter less. In 2017 we traveled 59 000 kilometers and thus, saving up to 1 liter of fuel for each 100 km per both bikes creates a significant amount of money saved for us (especially in countries where fuel costs more). And while driving slower, we have more time to enjoy the views :)
- We were preparing most of the food ourselves or chose non-touristy places where the locals eat. This way, we saved a lot on food costs.
- We were very lucky to meet a lot of great people who not only took us in overnight, but also showed us beautiful places around their homes and eventually became our friends.
- We have used all discounts and discount coupons offered by Airbnb, Booking.com and Uber platforms - this way we saved a few hundred euros for accommodation and taxi rides.
- Thanks to friends, some wonderful people or our partners, we have sent some stuff home or received something from home several times without spending extra money, we also got a lot of spare parts for motorcycles and even a few sets of tires - thus we saved few thousand euros.
- When it comes to taking care of our motorcycles, we do it responsibly and not always in the cheapest possible way, but in exchange for that, our bikes have never let us down with any kind of serious malfunction.
- Motorcycle transportation accounted for a quarter of our total expenses. Here, if we had planned to travel through Russia, rather than the countries of Southeast Asia, much earlier and there would be no need to rush in order to outrun the early winter that was chasing us in Russia, we could have saved another thousand euros if we have not flown the bikes from Vancouver, but would have shipped them by sea instead (which would take more time, but much less money…).