The Question that No-One Dares Ask – “What Does It Cost You to Tour Full Time?!”

Money can’t buy you happiness – but it can buy you travel, which comes close!

We were made redundant at the age of 51 and 53 respectively. It was terrifying.

The choice we had to make!

We had a long held pipe dream of giving it all up to do something more fun before we were too old and decrepit. But our planning had all centred around Mark reaching the magic age of 55, when we would have saved up enough and could get our hands on his pension.

And there was always the convenient ‘get out’ of working on. You know, that delaying tactic of “If we work for another year, it will give us just a little more financial security.” Procrastination; which saves you from making that difficult decision to step out of your salaried comfort zone and into the void…

Having been made redundant and finding ourselves too ill to work, none of this was an option – and in hindsight, I am really glad!

We took the plunge. Here we are in Slovenia – when we could have been at work!

The redundancy gave us the boot up the behind that we needed to make our exit from the corporate rat race AND, most importantly, two wonderful years of travel that we would otherwise have spent at work!

In my blog Carry On Caravanning – Part 1; How We Did It I discuss how it is important to know how much you are spending and on what. That way, you know how much money you need to support the lifestyle that you want – and where you can make cuts. You might be surprised to learn that when we did this exercise, we discovered that the odd £2.50 in Costa’s here and there added up to £100 per month on coffee. That’s £1200 per year. You can do a lot with £1200 per year in a caravan!

So how much does it cost to tour full time?

The question that everyone wants to ask us, but are usually too polite, is “How much does it cost to do what you do?” We tour Europe in the caravan for 9 months and spend 3 months in a ski apartment.

Well, in broad terms, here is the answer. This is our budget for the next year;

Caravan CostsGas, Elsan, service, site fees (incl 4 dogs, which costs extra in Europe) for 9 months touring£4,000
Ski Apartment 3 months rental costs, bills included£3,500
Ski Pass2 x seasonal ski passes£1,400
Tow Vehicle CostsFuel, service, MOT, tax, repairs. We have a budget for a replacement vehicle in the future. £4,000
InsuranceTravel, car & caravan insurance*£1,300
Ferry & Tolls2 return crossings to Europe per year with 4 dogs; 1 with caravan; Mont Blanc Tunnel & Motorway Tolls£1,000
Sports & HobbiesReplacing windsurfing, cycle & ski kit. Ski servicing.£600
Food All food shopping for 2 people. We rarely dine out.£5,400
Cleaning ProductsLaundry soaps, toiletries, caravan cleaner etc£400
Health Dentist, contact lenses, prescriptions, sun cream etc£900
ClothingReplacing clothing & shoes£500
BoozeWine, beer etc. We rarely go out!£900
CommunicationMobile phone, MiFi, buying CDs / DVDs etc£400
Dog CostsFood, vets, medication, jabs etc. We groom them ourselves.£1,100

*Some insurers will cover you only for 3-months touring abroad per year and will not cover you if you are already abroad when the policy starts! 

Due to the monetary misadventures that seem to accompany our every homecoming to the UK, we have considered adding a line to our budget for “Fines…” (See Home and Briefly Back in the Brick for our first bout of pecuniary pandemonium. Little did we know that MUCH MORE was to follow!)

If you are planning to do what we do, I hope that this information will help you towards making your dreams a reality. Clearly, your budget will be different from ours, but I hope that this gives you an idea of the costs you will need to cover and a starting point for planning.

My friend and fellow nomad Liesbet Collaert publishes a monthly breakdown of her expenses as a nomad on her blog, Roaming About, as do Duwan and Greg at Make Like An Ape Man. Neither are UK based, but again, it gives you an idea of what you need to budget.

My other blogs in ‘What Worked for Us’ contain lots of tips on downsizing, getting rid of clutter and how to finance living your dreams by renting out your house.

To help you when living on a budget, see 10 Tips to Save Money while Caravanning. This blog also contains useful links that will help you to calculate the costs of European road toll charges and a link to ACSI, which lists the prices for 10,000 campsites across Europe. 

What are you doing next Monday morning? We always feel honour-bound to be a little bit smug on Monday mornings!

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Published by Jacqueline Lambert @WorldWideWalkies

AD (After Dogs) - We retired early to tour Europe in a caravan with four dogs. "To boldly go where no van has gone before". Since 2021, we've been at large in a 24.5-tonne self-converted ex-army truck called The Beast. BC (Before Canines) - we had adventures on every continent other than Antarctica!

4 thoughts on “The Question that No-One Dares Ask – “What Does It Cost You to Tour Full Time?!”

  1. So, you were made redundant AND THEN you started traveling?! Now, that’s cool. I was under the impression that you were waiting to travel. And although it seems like you were, life happened and you still found your happy. Now, that’s my kind of inspirational story. Thanks for the tips. It’s amazing what I spend on eating out. If I cut that out, I bet I could afford a pretty nice vacation. 😀


    1. Yes – we did already have the idea to travel in place. That was a good thing – we could act quickly when everything went pear-shaped on the job front…! I said in Carry on Caravanning Part 1 that luck is when planning meets opportunity – although both of us losing our jobs at the same time looked more like ‘Game Over’ than ‘Luck’ or ‘Opportunity’!

      I think you just have to decide what is important to you. I am sure that if you cut down eating out, you would be surprised what you could afford! It will be like getting a huge pay rise! It just depends which you enjoy most – eating out or vacation!

      Vacation has always been our priority! 🙂


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