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How Much Money Have We Spent Travelling in a Van

Money: The pinnacle of any conversation.

We don’t necessarily agree. But we do agree that it’s a topic that can help people get a gauge on how viable van life is.


Bianca has accompanied me since day one in the wagon (September 1st). There was a very patchy two week period where the battery was replaced, speakers were bought for the cab (papi likes his music loud 🤮) and tools, tape and other tidbits had to be bought.

For mental sanity, I didn’t keep a record of expenses. However, if you have a fully functional brain, you would have spotted all of these problems during the testing period. I did not.

There are also a few other purchases that have been left out from the ‘daily’ expenses because they would skew the figures. They’re still noted, but they’re not really related to the van or living so we popped them to the side.

These figures go from September 13th until December December 6th.

Days: 85

Total: €1,435 Daily Average: €16.88

In to categories:

Supermarket: €587.80

Eat-out: €235.85

Diesel: €279

Extra: €253.75

Campsites: €123.65


Here we have things that kind of sway away from the regular buys. Here’s the stats:

Total: €1473

Solar Panel Install: €1,000

AirBnB in Sorrento: €57.50

Scooter hire: €68

Shoes/Clothes: €94.50

Ferry: €133

Flights: €95

Workaway Subscription: €25


This is pretty accurate, but does have some issues. Mainly, I never include my phone credit, so you can adjust for that. Also, this has been my half of a two man team here in the van. Not everything is split 50/50, but you would want to account for fuel costing double, same as campsites and so on if you were alone in the van.

We feel that we spend a weirdly large amount of money on grocery shopping. I think we just get caught up in pastries sometimes? That being said, the grocery/supermarket section includes bin bags, cleaning products and those extra necessities, too.

Round Up:

For how we have lived, I feel that costs are alright. Without Bianca, food shopping would be less, but the downside to that would be having my mouth infected with scurvy and so on. We eat well, travel at an okay pace and haven‘t had to ‘rough it’ so much at all.

At €16.88, we could travel for a year and have spent €6,161 by the 365th day. Obviously that’s perfect on paper, but the one off expenses prove that it will in fact be a higher number. Still, though, I am relatively content with that. Besides, I could easily get filthy and make €5 be the daily goal and find a way to make it work. Luckily I don’t have to do that.

Lastly, we’ve been in France, Spain and Italy. France was the most expensive, with Italy behind it and Spain being the definite winner for affordability. Filling up the van with sub-€1.00 diesel felt really, really good. Groceries were also very affordable. With Italy, food seems on par with Spain, but fuel is €1.20 at the best of times. France is more expensive with food, and fuel costs about €1.30+ but it is a fabulous country to see by van that it’s worth it.

All three countries were great and have had their own pros and cons to travelling by van. I‘ll be starting 2021 just outside Naples, which gives a great range of choice. Greece is a boat away, Spain and France are easily assessable by ferry, and Northern Italy also calls. I’m lucky enough to not know which option I’ll choose, but again, all places offer some good bang for your buck.

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