ts is one of the main topics when talking about living and traveling full time in a van, everyday I write down all my expenses in order to manage my short budget in the best way possible, and after 180 days on the road this are the numbers I have to reveal about my trip.
The first and biggest expense in my case is without a doubt diesel, and after 14 550 kms I have a total of 2023€ spent. One important detail, this year I am living full time in my van however I have a set route and timing to keep, witch ends up making me have to travel at a faster pace and make more kilometers every month, also important is the fact that I travel in a van with a diesel consumption of around 12liters / 100km so this expense can reduce drastically on a more efficient van and less ambitious route.
The second biggest expense is not food as you would expect, it is the area I defined as extras, this area is for all witch is not related to food or fuel, I’m talking about van maintenance or accidents, tolls, extra insurance, fines, entrance to events or places, border expenses, etc… This particular part is going on 1126€ for this 6 months, at the end of the article there is a small board with the expenses organized and with monthly and daily averages.
On this area of expenses Italy was the biggest problem so far, 300€ for a side mirror I ripped of a brand new VW Golf, I could put this one for insurance, but in Italy no one speaks English and to avoid problems and having to call the police we looked up for the price online and negotiated this value, and this on the same week I had the problem with the broken windshield so 200€ more, still in Italy but this time because I am an idiot, diesel is expensive in Italy and I wanted to put it in Slovenia, so less then 10km from the border I ran out of diesel and as I am a lucky guy inside a tunnel, a polish trucker stopped to help me take the van out of the tunnel but the police showed up when we where going to do it and I didn’t get rid of paying a 60€ fine. Recently I had 120€ more to change my front wheel bearing witch disintegrated.
Extra insurance, my green card from Portugal doesn’t cover some countries, so I had to do a specific mandatory insurance in some borders like Bosnia (20€ for 7 days) and Turkey (85€ for three months with was the minimum), I also had to pay 25€ for my entry visa in that same border.
Tolls, here you have the Montblanc Tunnel between Italy and France (57€), mandatory vignhetes to be able to drive on the highway or just to drive on some countries (42€ Switzerland, 8€ Austria, 8€ Bulgaria) and still I was able to escape from some, in Greece the lack of alternative roads and some places I entered the highway by mistake costed me around 40€ total.
Also on this section I include the 20€ I payed for the shuttle to go up Monte Tremalzo and do that amazing mountain bike ride, and I don’t usually go to museums or visit monuments that aren’t free or else this expense would be a lot higher.
Everything else is small stuff that happen on the van, credit card or exchange taxes and some stuff I needed for my day to day life.
Food, till this moment I’m at 890€ this includes all supermarket expenses, eating out, coffee, ice-creams and stuff like that, I cut a lot on this area by making my meals as inexpensive as possible and by almost always cooking and eating in my van.
Resuming, after 14 550kmsm 21 countries visited and 180 days I have total cost of 4 039€, it’s a lot above what I predicted and I will try to reduce my daily average on the remaining months till the end of this trip, if there are no more accidents I hope to reduce my daily average to under 20€ witch is still a lot higher that the 15€ I predicted to spend, anyway we learn from experience and now I know what I have to change for my next adventures.
Stay with the table where I have all this numbers organized so you can understand all this better and a small video I did about this subject.