Walking El Camino is a relatively cheap option for extended travel in Europe. My 6 weeks walking Le Puy in 2016 cost CAD$2,500 + airfare, and my Camino in 2019 cost even less. I was more familiar with the route the second time, and had fewer unexpected expenses.
My Cost Breakdowns
Round-trip flight to Paris: CAD$450-$800
2016: I booked round-trip from Vancouver to Paris for $650, though I ended up extending and purchasing a separate ticket home for 35,000 aeroplan points and $105 in taxes (ouch).
2019: Flying out of Montréal for my second Camino cut that cost nearly in half: $450 round-trip.
Transport to Le Puy-en-Velay: €47.60-€100
2019: I took the train directly from CDG airport to Le Puy: about €100 one-way. More expensive, but less stressful.
Daily living expenses (food and shelter): €18-€38
Chambre-d’hôtes (B&Bs) are €30 to €33 a night for dinner, breakfast and a bed. I would buy snacks and a sandwich every day for €3 to €5. I stayed mostly at B&Bs in 2016.
Gîtes (hostels) are €8 to €15 a night for a shared room. My personal groceries for three meals a day were €10 to €15. I stayed in hostels almost exclusively in 2019.
Unclaimed medical expenses: €80
2016: Blister covers and creams were an unforeseen expense not covered under my insurance. I also bought walking poles in Moissac for €37 (there are cheaper options).
My claimed medical expenses in 2016 totaled €1380. Get insurance!
Cell phone SIM: €12-€35
**You can’t just pop a new SIM card into your phone if you’re under contract with your current provider. Ask your provider to “unlock” your phone if so (about CAD$50)
2016: I bought a Free Mobile SIM card in Paris with unlimited international phone calls and data. It was €20 a month and €15 for the SIM card.
2019: I went with Bouygues for my second Camino. The SIM card came with unlimited calls and 50GB of data for €12. A much better option if you want to use Whatsapp or Messenger to call home.
More info on phone plans here.
Wine, Souvenirs, Extras: €100
2016: I didn’t buy many souvenirs, but there were plenty of chats over wine and snacks that I didn’t initially budget for.
Credit Cards or Cash?
2016-2019: Most gîtes and chambre-d’hôtes don’t accept credit card payments, so it’s good to have cash on hand. The Miam Miam Dodo guidebook marks which accommodations take card payments.
This may have changed with new Covid-19 precautions.