The Great Bicycle Journey Budget Stretcher

June 8, 2012

Time is money. Which is a good thing, because I have a whole lot more time than the green stuff. Carrying a tent has always been the great bicycle journey budget stretcher. The cost of hotels can be pricey. On a three month trip, that cost can be devastating. Especially if you are traveling in a part of the world where lodging is expensive.

We toured in Portugal for over two and a half months. We stayed in hotels in the major cities (Porto, Lisbon, Coimbra, Évora), but outside of the metropolitan areas, we camped. People often ask us, "But where did you camp?" The answer is in the above photo collage of every one of our camp sites. They ranged from vineyards to beaches to cliff tops to forests to back yards to organized campgrounds. If you were to add up all the savings from nights not spent in even budget hotels ... you are looking at over two grand in savings. And those camping experiences have always been better than any hotel we've stayed in (Ok. There have been a couple of amazing hotel stays).

I like a nice soft bed as much as anyone, but two thousand dollars can buy a lot of food, wine, admissions to museums and concerts, and ice cream! But most importantly, two thousand dollars buys a lot of time on the back roads of adventure.


SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


Eric @ Cycle Quest June 8, 2012, 9:22 PM

A cushy bed or a longer tour…. I would opt for a longer tour 10 out of 10 times. Besides, it’s easier to get on your bike the next morning if your bed was not too comfortable.

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