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How Much Money To Carry?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by sunflower, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. sunflower

    sunflower New Member

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    Hi,

    I was wondering how much euros we should be carrying on us at a time for food/albergues.

    If we were to stay in one of the private albergues, do they accept credit cards?

    thanks
    SF
     
  2. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The normal method of obtaining cash on the Camino is to use a bank ATM.

    Banks charge varying amounts to use their cards in overseas ATM's and the bank in Spain will also make a charge. In addition, you have the exchange rate between your currency and the Euro.

    As a general principle, debit cards are cheaper to use overall than credit cards, so check with your bank what the charges will be to draw say €200 from an ATM in Spain.

    My UK bank, Lloyds TSB, do not charge for using my debit card and their exchange rates are quite good, but the local Spanish bank will still charge.

    Another more recent innovation is the Travel Money Card. In the UK you can get them from your bank or the Post Office. You get one in either Euros or US Dollars and pre load your card before you go on holiday. this way you know exactly what your exchange rate is in advance and the Lloyds TSB card works in any Visa ATM.

    If you are traveling from outside the EEC, especially from the USA, then tell your card company where you are going and for how long. Every year I come across pilgrims from the States who are having problems having their cards accepted in Spanish ATM. This is not a credit issue, but is due to the fact that people from the States do not travel internationally as much as Europeans.

    Therefore when a card is used for the past 5 years in say New York, and then 24hrs later suddenly pops up in an ATM in Spain asking for a cash withdrawal, there is a very good chance the automated software that prevents card fraud by looking for unusual spending patterns will kick in and refuse payment.:(:(:(

    The Camino is a cash society so don't plan on waving your cards around much. In order to keep the bank charges at a minimum, draw €250 a time from an ATM which should last you 7 days on average. Start off at St Jean with €250 and replenish at Pamplona, Burgos, Leon and Santiago.

    Albergues do not normally take credit cards as the cost of a nights stay is €6(ish)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
    rnwinters likes this.
  3. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Hello everyone!I'm walking in September, I too have been wondering about the amount of $$ to bring,as well as in what "form". Being from Canada,I'll no doubt end up spending twice the amount to convert to Euros. Hum..guess I'd better start looking for extra work!:eek:
     
  4. renegade_pilgrim

    renegade_pilgrim New Member

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    I was planning on 30 Euro a day for the camino. This is taking into consideration I will be staying in the hostels, not hotels and doing a combo of restaurants/bars/cafes and the occasional grocery store stop for food.
     
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  5. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    €30 used to be the luxury end of the Camino scale, but times are changing.

    On average your bed in an albergue will cost €5. Sometimes it is "donativo" but most will donate around €5.

    Breakfast of a bun and coffee will cost €4. A bocadillo (bread stick with cheese etc) and soft drink for lunch will cost €5.

    The average cost of the Pilgrim Menu in a bar is €8 -11.

    A beer is €2 and the same for a coke(minimum).

    That's your €30 gone!!

    When I started walking the Camino 5 years ago, you met those doing it on €15 a day. Not any more! The Camino is getting more expensive by the year.

    For a minimal Camino, budget on €30/day. For those like me who enjoy life a little, budget on €50. You will not spend €50 but as an overall daily cost you won't go far wrong.:D

    A trip to the pharmacy can prove expensive. 50 x 600mg Ibruprofen are only €2 but an elasticated knee bandage will cost €50.:eek: A small tube of sunburn cream is €15.

    A lot of pilgrims take a days rest in Burgos and Leon which means two nights in a small hotel at a cost of €35/night in each city. To arrive in either Burgos or Leon in mid afternoon and leave at dawn the following morning is a waste of two fascinating cities. Well worth the stay.:D:D
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  6. logrono pilgrim

    logrono pilgrim New Member

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    Hey Renegade.


    30 euros should see you fine. I walked in 2006 with 400 euros and a lost atm card I could not get replaced..... I ended up just hooking up with other pilgrims and cooking a meal in the albergue. (my being a chef by trade did help somewhat.) I can send you one pot recipes if you want, using stuff on sale in all of the small shops on the camino. 4 person for around 10 euros, including wine, bread and salad. desert, mostly yoghurts, or fruit......let me know.... The restaurant charge 12 euros, but the actual food cost is around 3 to 4 euros. ANd with everyone helping, it is easy to cook and clean up, and, from a personal point of view, makes for very fun evenings, strange multi language conversations, and more than one long lasting relationship. ( I got married to a mexican pilgrim I met in 2006. We live in Logrono now, selling wine on the camino. )
     
  7. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The evenings when we cooked together were probably the best fun and were certainly cheaper than sitting down in a bar awaiting the delights, or otherwise! of the Pilgrim Menu.

    However, cooking together depends on where you are and the facilities in the albergue. Some albergues have excellent kitchens with pots and pans, cutlery & plates etc. Some have very little. For the past two years the large albergue at the top of Cebriero had a very large kitchen, two hobs and no cooking utensils, pots or plates. And no food shop!!

    Some albergues have oil, salt, pepper, vinegar left over from the previous days pilgrims, some have nothing. If you have to start carrying oil etc, it is additional weight.:eek:

    Cooking as a group is fine, but cooking if you are walking alone is difficult because of the pack sizes in the shops. If you want to cook on the Camino, find a recipe book with 50 ways to cook pasta!!:D:cool:
     
  8. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    Sunflower

    You might be interested to know that the ANZ Bank offers a travel card that can be bought in Euros. So its already converted & you know exactly how much you have.
    You could buy the Euros at todays rate & hold it till you go. Rate at moment abt .64Euro seems pretty good historically

    Gazza
     
  9. renegade_pilgrim

    renegade_pilgrim New Member

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    I would be interested in some of these one pot recipes, logrono_pilgrim you speak of! I will be traveling solo, but imagine I will be meeting up with people on occasion along the way. I don't mind group meals and being creative. Feel free to PM me with info!

    I also plan to couchsurf (couchsurfing.com) in some places, especially the bigger cities, along the way to conserve funds. My budget is very tight for the camino, as this is just the beginning of a five month adventure I am embarking on.
     
  10. Gazza

    Gazza Member

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    Logrono_pilgrim

    One pot recipes sound gr8. Why don't you just post some on the site, you will be inundated otherwise

    Gazza
     
  11. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The Euro denominated travel cards are an excellent way to carry money. They are either Visa or Mastercard, can be used in virtually every ATM in Spain, and you do not get unpleasant surprises on the exchange rate.

    You need to carry two separate methods of getting money if possible, so a Travel Money card and a normal debit card will do.

    Sadly the Brits are getting stuffed on the €/£ exchange rate at the moment. Three years ago it was €1.43/£, last year it was €1/£ and this year it is a little better at €1.1/£.:mad:
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  12. stainer1986

    stainer1986 New Member

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    Yes please to some one-pot cooking recipes in Logrono Pilgrim.
    I intend to start walking from StJPDP in mid July - anyone else planning on starting around then?
     
  13. dbird10

    dbird10 New Member

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    We had expected to be able to use both debit and credit cards on the Camino and were disappointed on both counts. We walked from Roncesvalles and did not use a credit or debit card until Finisterre. My partner and I used ATMs and withdrew about 200 euros at a time. Not all bank machines will accept north american debit cards so we overpaid our Visa so we were in a credit position and took cash advances through ATMs along the way.
     
  14. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    There are lots of different Spanish banks, some of which like Santander are very large banks with overseas branches, and some are small "local" savings banks.

    When using your card in a Spanish ATM, check to see if the ATM has the Visa or Mastercard logo. If it does not, then it probably will not accept your cards, or give you any money.

    I always use Santander as there is always one in the center of the main towns and cities.

    If you are arriving in Spain from the "Americas" make sure you have told your bank that you are going to be in Europe withdrawing cash and the dates you will be away from.

    Standing in the rain in some remote Spanish town trying to phone your US banks customer relations desk to ask why your card does not work in Spain ain't much fun.:confused::confused::confused:. Every year I come across people having problems with US issued cards.

    Europeans do not appear to have these problems because the card companies assume we travel a lot around Europe.:D
     
  15. Franky

    Franky New Member

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    I'm starting July 10th, from usa to Madrid to Pam or STJPDp which ever I figure out how to do when im there
     
  16. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

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    Good to remember that there are some stretches of the Camino in which ATMs are scarce. I left Leon with too little cash in hand and discovered I was flat broke when I got to Rabanal since I couldn't find a convenient ATM in Astorga. Fortunately the restaurant at Rabanal accepted a credit/debit card, so at least I could eat. But I actually wasn't able to get cash until Ponferrada since the Molinaseca ATM was out of order. I was able at least stay overnight and eat with a credit card at La Posada Hotel there. Anyway, it's good to look at the map, consider what size towns are ahead for the next few days, and plan ATM visits accordingly.
     
  17. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    Hi , Since I have never used any of these cards, dumb question: Do you get a print out telling you the "balance", of $$ let on card when you withdraw funds? Also, can I purchase them in the Airport (London),or only banks? Thanks! N~
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  18. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    There are a number of cards that people use along the Ways.

    The standard bank Debit Card allows you to draw cash from any UK/French/Spanish ATM which displays the Mastercard/Visa logo and the money in local currency is debited from your bank current account back home. The exchange rate and charges vary between banks. My bank does not charge me a fee for using my card overseas and the exchange rate is reasonable, but the overseas bank will charge a fee for using the ATM which will be debited to your home bank account.

    Some use a credit card to withdraw cash but often the exchange rate is not so good and again there are fees for each transaction. What you draw from the ATM's is debited from your credit limit on the card, and you have of course to make arrangements to pay the card account when it is presented, even if you are away.

    There is a form of bank card which is increasingly available which is a "pre-pay" card where you credit the card with a lump sum before you leave home and this is converted at the time into Euros which sit on the card account until you use them. The advantage of this type of card, often called a Travel Card, is that you have a known and fixed exchange rate before you set off. You usually have to pay a small fee every time you draw cash at an ATM but can also use the card in a shop or hotel if needed as it acts in exactly the same way as a debit/credit card in any Visa/Mastercard terminal.

    The ATM machines belonging to the large banks in Spain are multi-lingual and will switch to English in your case when you insert your card.

    My Travel card will give me the available balance displayed on the ATM screen, but credit cards do not usually display the available balance.

    You need to sort out your cards with your bank before leaving home and tell the bank that you are going to Europe for XX weeks, otherwise your Canadian cards might not give you any money in Spain. The UK banks assume that their customers are going to wander around Europe so our cards will work OK, but Canadian and USA banks do not assume that their customers will travel abroad, and therefore tend to block requests for cash against bank cards UNLESS you have told the bank that you are going to travel to Europe.
     
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  19. mosesmew

    mosesmew New Member

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    I'll check into this with my Bank! Thank you.....
     
  20. Rod

    Rod New Member

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    I have just tried out the CAXTON currency card, once the account is set up it can be loaded via text message they give a good rate of exchange and no ATM charges. I will be taking this plus my debit card and a credit card as an emergency back up
     
  21. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    One of the things I like about the "travel money" cards is that you have a known exchange rate before you go off to Spain, and that there is no link between those cards and your normal bank account. I live in south London and the stories of people getting their cards cloned after buying petrol at night where you lose sight of your card for a few minutes, are legion. Having a Debit card cloned will cause all sorts of grief and the effects can last for years.
     
  22. chino

    chino New Member

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    upon arrival in madrid (before leaving airport for SJPP) what do you recommend, in order to get Euros considering a my account currency is US dollar?

    thank you
     
  23. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

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    Hi Chino ~
    I suggest getting Euros immediately on arrival at Madrid. Your dollars will be a source of curiosity rather than a useful currency. My usual source for Euros is one of the omnipresent ATM's. Getting currency right away will allow you to get a cab, buy lunch, or whatever else you need.
    Buen camino!
     
  24. chino

    chino New Member

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    Are the ATMs at the airport fairly reasonable? (with fee's) and are there limits to the amount you can get out from a ATM like in the U.S?, or would I get more for my dollar walking somewhere outside the airport to a bank.

    Thank you
     
  25. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

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    Hi Chino ~
    Here's a great link from the Rick Steves travel website (he's a local, Seattle boy) that has info about ATM's while in Europe: xhttp://tours.ricksteves.com/tours10/money.cfm . You can assume there will be a service charge, so you should take out larger amounts, rather than tiny amounts every day. Just before you leave, check the current best rates then compare with the Currency Exchange booths at the airport. Although some on this site disagree, the general consensus seems to be that "large bank" ATMs give a good, bank-to-bank exchange rate that can't be beaten by Currency Exchange booths.

    I'd discourage you from taking a big wad of American cash and trying to exchange it in Madrid. I take enough US dollars for cab fare on the trip home from the airport and immediately go to the ATM on my arrival in Europe for my Euros. This preserves wallet space for Euros alone -- a bunch of dollars just gets in the way over a 5-week Camino. Another choice is to go to a big downtown bank with an exchange department here in the US before you leave so you have some Euros for when you arrive in Madrid. The Camino is mostly a cash operation, with no albergue I've ever seen taking debit/credit cards. Most every hotel, though, does. Along with some bar/cafes. But it's mostly cash, so you'll want to get acquainted with Spanish ATMs.

    Buen camino!
     
  26. Loughlin

    Loughlin New Member

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    Did you bring cooking utensils or did the albergues provide?
     
  27. sunflower

    sunflower New Member

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    There are normally utensils where the albergues provide kitchen facilities. No need to bring them.

    SF
     
  28. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The catering facilities in albergues varies a lot, from the very basic "one ring and a pot" to the very well equipped. Most cooking is limited to "one pot pasta" and making up salads, but it is really down to what you find when you arrive, as to what you can prepare. You will often find salt oil etc left behind by previous pilgrims, but often in the official albergues the cleaners remove any leftovers each morning!
     
  29. LZBF

    LZBF Guest

    I plan to use a travel card as well, I've had lots of success with them around Europe. I was wondering how many chances to get cash out there are on the trail? I'm only going from Sarria to Santiago so about a week. If there are not ATMs along the way how many Euros would you need for a week?
     
  30. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    There are plenty of ATM's along the way from Sarria to Santiago. If you refill your wallet with €200 at Sarria, that should last you until you walk in to Santiago. On average a Pilgrim staying in Auberge's will spend between €30- €40 per day.
     
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