Countries Visited

Welcome to our data repository. This is where you can find updated maps of our route, mileage and elevation data, as well as detailed summaries of our travel cost. It’s a big page, so click the following links to jump down to leg of the trip you’re interested in: North America, Western EuropeMorocco, or the Mediterranean. Data for our off-bike detour to Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore are not included.
Leg #1

North America


We began our trip in Seattle, Washington on March 23, 2014, on the shores of Puget Sound, and headed east across the northern United States to the shores of Lake Superior. We joined the Northern Tier bicycle route in central Washington and followed it east, through Glacier National Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, to Fargo, North Dakota. After meandering around Minnesota’s northern woods, we followed the shores of Lake Superior north into Canada, through Ontario, and then across the Ottawa River into Quebec. We linked up several of the paths in Quebec’s Route Verte bicycle network to visit Montreal and Quebec City and then angled southeast back into the United States. After a brief rest at Acadia National Park we pedaled southwest through rural New England to Cooperstown, NY for a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame. We wrapped up our North American segment on June 28th at Kristin’s parents’ house in Far Hills, New Jersey.

TwoFarGone_NorthAmericaRoute

Our west-to-east route across North America covered 4,885 miles (7,862 kilometers).

Miles and Elevation

  • Distance: 4,885 miles (7,862 kilometers)
  • Cumulative Elevation: 157,764 feet (48,087 meters)
  • Days: 98 (81 riding days)

North America: Route Data

The data compiled in this table is for riding days only. Rest days have been omitted. For simplicity's sake, riding stats were assigned to the location where we spent the night so actual mileages and climbing data does not necessarily correspond to borders.
State/ProvinceRiding DaysAvg. Distance (miles)Avg. Elevation Gain (feet)
Washington857.12,577
Idaho172.61,832
Montana1555.61,431
North Dakota953.41,600
Minnesota1056.71,239
Ontario1464.72,042
Quebec864.9967
Maine860.73,062
New Hampshire173.74,684
Vermont261.03,118
New York472.83,174
New Jersey169.42,476

About those Roads…

  • Eastern Mountains: The elevation data might be a surprise to those not familiar with the Appalachian Mountains, but there is no flat ground in New England, especially if trying to go east-west as we were. The mountains aren’t high (we never crested the 3,000 foot mark on pavement) and the climbs aren’t nearly as long as those out west, but they come in bunches. Our second biggest climbing day – over 4,000 cumulative feet for the day – came on a day we never topped 600 feet above sea level. Also, the hills are far steeper out east. Climbs of 12% on major roads and up to 19% on backroads was the norm.
  • Windy Plains: The wind does not always blow west to east on the Great Plains. People will tell you it does. They are misinformed. We faced headwinds that slowed our progress to a crawl. Study the weather forecast, the direction of the flags you pass, and get a compass and map. Plan your crossing to let the wind work for you.
  • Road Conditions: The roads along our route were generally good. We encountered a lot of cracked, buckled, and potholed pavement in Minnesota and in some parts of Montana due to the cold, but the roads in the USA are generally very good. Ontario is a different story. There’s precious little shoulder on Highway 17 going around Lake Superior. The views are wonderful, the people are really friendly and, fortunately, the drivers generally gave us some room, but the summer recreational season hadn’t yet started. I wouldn’t ever recommend riding the Trans-Canada through Ontario and suggest that those who do, go early in the season like we did. Many parts have just inches of paved shoulder alongside several feet of loose, deep, sand and gravel that is not safe to steer into at speed.
  • Bike Trails: Minnesota, Quebec, New York and New Jersey had some great bike trails (paved, gravel, and singletrack) that more or less went right where we needed to go. Those in Minnesota and Quebec were very well signed, had picnic areas and restrooms while the ones in NY and NJ less so (understatement). Google Maps has a pretty good handle on them and they are a very nice alternative to riding with traffic. Our bikes and wheels might be a bit overbuilt, but it was great knowing they could handle rocks, roots, and occasional mud on trail.
  • City Riding: We left Seattle on bike trails we knew and used frequently, but we were pleasantly surprised at how widespread Fargo and Bismarck’s bike infrastructure had come along. Bigger towns are always a bit risky on a bike and the two major towns in North Dakota were a breeze. Thunder Bay, Ontario was a bit less accommodating (not to mention no legal way to bike to the Terry Fox Memorial) but Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City — the three biggest cities we biked into — were an absolute breeze thanks to a wonderful array of bike trails, signs, and protected bike lanes. If you’re apprehensive about riding into any of these cities, don’t be.

Daily Expenses

  • Camp: 35 nights
  • Hotel: 35 nights
  • WarmShowers: 22 nights
  • Friends/Family: 6 nights

North America: Daily Expenses

This table contains average daily expenditures, by category, for each state and province we visited. For simplicity's sake, all of a day's expenses are assigned a location based on where we spent the night. Major expenses such as visas, travel insurance, and transit costs are not included.
State/ProvDaysFoodLodgingEntertainmentIncidentalsDaily Average
Washington9$39$21$7$0$66
Idaho1$40$0$0$12$52
Montana17$35$33$30$72
North Dakota11$36$16$10$3$63
Minnesota13$45$23$11$1$81
Ontario16$39$38$4$2$83
Quebec13$67$36$12$2$118
Maine9$53$6$4$4$67
New Hampshire1$28$0$0$12$40
Vermont2$57$49$0$3$107
New York5$52$56$16$1$125
New Jersey1$25$0$0$5$30

About Those Daily Expenses…

We set out with the goal, for a round-the-world trip, to average close to $60 USD per day. That’s as a couple, not per person. Naturally, some places are going to be more expensive than others. Sometimes the weather is going to prove a challenge, and sometimes we’re going to splurge out of desire, necessity, or both. Here are a few considerations that help explain the outlying data.

  • Montana: Eastern Montana forced us to face the reality of attempting the Northern Tier crossing in late winter/early spring.It’s still very, very cold on the western plains that time of year. Whereas we camped most nights in WA and western MT, we ended up getting a motel most nights in eastern MT as the temperature dipped well below freezing.
  • Ontario: Everything costs more in Ontario. From fast food to beer (don’t get us started on the beer) to the outrageous costs of camping. Our trip around Lake Superior took us to some pretty remote towns where the shopkeepers had to price in the delivery costs.
  • Quebec: The highlight of our trip across North America didn’t come cheap. We camped most nights, but still spent three nights in Montreal and another three nights in Quebec City (and our two nights across the river in Ottawa were bundled into Quebec expenses as well). We ate and drank well in Quebec.
  • Vermont: We were putting in a lot of big mile days in New England and treated ourselves with a motel in Vermont to watch the World Cup. And a lot of pizza and even more beer. And then some more.
  • New York: Two nights in Cooperstown to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame proved more costly than we expected. We stayed at a motel in town, ate out multiple times, and spent forty dollars on admission to the museum, skewing the data upwards. Knowing our time in North America was coming to an end, we relaxed our restraint.

Leg #2

Western Europe


Europe_West_2

After a month off the bikes in New Jersey, visiting friends and family, we boarded the Queen Mary 2 for an 8-night sailing to the UK. We wound our way south through Great Britain then took a ferry across the North Sea to Denmark. We crossed the Jutland Peninsula to the German border, visited the city of Hamburg and then headed west to Holland before turning south to Belgium. After a brief brewery tour in Belgium, we made our way into France’s champagne-producing region. A lovely five days were spent in Paris then the route continued to the Normandy coast, through the wine-producing areas of Bordeaux and Cognac and into Spain. Summer returned in the mountains of Spain, and so did our climbing legs! We chased the remaining days of summer south through Madrid, Toledo, and Seville before boarding a ferry to Morocco in Tarifa.

Our north-to-south route across western Europe covered 3,788 miles (6,096 kilometers).

Miles and Elevation

  • Distance: 3,788 miles (6,096 kilometers)
  • Cumulative Elevation: 122,433 feet (37,318 meters)
  • Days: 97 (71 riding days)

Western Europe: Route Data

The data compiled in this table is for riding days only. Rest days have been omitted. For simplicity's sake, riding stats were assigned to the location where we spent the night so actual mileages and climbing data does not necessarily correspond to borders.
State/ProvinceRiding DaysAvg. Distance (miles)Avg. Elevation Gain (feet)
Scotland848.32,378
England1249.21,754
Denmark151.4429
Germany563.1490
Netherlands557.2441
Belgium447.4958
France2056.71,446
Spain1652.12,783

About those Roads…

  • English Countryside: The winding backroads of the United Kingdom can be an absolute joy to ride, but finding your way can be immensely difficult without a GPS due to the lack of road signs and the sheer volume of criss-crossing paths and roads of all shape and size. Maps are only helpful if you buy the ultra large-scale maps for each county, as most of the Great Britain maps tend to be 1cm =8km or worse. Unless you’re planning on just riding the A-roads (don’t do that), you’ll want to do some planning on Google Maps or something similar. That being said, be very careful about using “bike directions” as Google doesn’t differentiate between proper bike lanes, muddy equestrian trails, and overgrown hiking paths.
  • Canal Paths: We rode close to 100km of canal paths over a three day span in England (and plenty more in France) and we’d recommend avoiding all but the most heavily used ones if you’re running less then 32mm tires. We’re running 700×38 tires and the cobbles, rocks, and mud that exists on a lot of the more rural canal paths can really shake and rattle your bike and body without some wider rubber. Oh, and if you are going to ride the canal paths in England, be prepared for all manner of sadistic contraptions employed to keep motorized vehicles off the paths. In theory, bikes can easily pass through many of these obstacles. In practice, getting a fully-loaded touring bike with panniers and duffel bags (particularly a 29er like our Fargos)  is borderline maddening. Especially when you have to repeat the process every kilometer or so. Some of these obstacles required taking the bags off. Be prepared!
  • Hills and Mountains: Our route contained a whole lot of flat, gently-rolling terrain sandwiched between a few weeks of very hill riding in Great Britain and incredibly mountainous terrain in Spain. A north-to-south ride through the Lake District in the UK is very enjoyable, but steer clear of Kirkstone Pass if you aren’t ready for a serious climb (20% grade for a full mile). The climbs in Spain aren’t nearly as steep, but they are much bigger mountains and it’s not unusual to climb for five to seven miles at a time. Sometimes even longer.
  • Bike Friendly Low Country: The Netherlands is known around the world for its amazing bicycle infrastructure. Our take on it, as touring cyclists not concerned with commuting to work, was that all of the bicycle lanes and special bike-friendly road improvements made for a rather dull ride. Safe, but boring. Then again, that might just be the flatness talking. Germany, to our surprise, had almost as many as bike lanes as the Netherlands. We also found Germany’s drivers to be even more courteous to cyclists than the Dutch.  Things deteriorate in Belgium, but you can still find some nice cycle paths in Brussels, and en route to Dinant.
  • Biking in France: Ah, the home of the world’s most famous bike race. Probably expecting all manner of bike-friendly road improvements, right? You shouldn’t. While we didn’t have any problems with the drivers — we were routinely given plenty of room, a friendly honk, and a thumb’s up — we were surprised to see an utter lack of bike lanes outside of Paris. And, in fact, there were plenty of roads without even an adequate shoulder. Nothing as bad as Ontario (hi, Canada), but a surprise nonetheless. Then again, the big thing we noticed is that the French are far more like Americans than they are the Dutch when it comes to cycling. Biking in France is for recreation/fitness and not for commuting.
  • City Riding: Without exception, we had an absolute breeze cycling through London, Hamburg, Edinburgh, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, and Seville. It seems as if every city we rode into had an array of bike lanes leading right to our hotel door. We were really nervous about biking into massive cities like London and Paris, but it ended up being enjoyable and stress-free.

Daily Expenses

  • Camp: 36 nights
  • Hotel: 42 nights
  • WarmShowers: 13 nights
  • Friends/Family: 6 nights

Western Europe: Daily Expenses

This table contains average daily expenditures, by category, for each country we visited. For simplicity's sake, all of a day's expenses are assigned a location based on where we spent the night. Major expenses such as visas, travel insurance, and transit costs are not included.
CountryDaysFoodLodgingEntertainmentIncidentalsDaily Average
Scotland13$44$26$27$11$109
England15$39$23$21$1$83
Denmark2$43$43$100$96
Germany6$38$10$13$0$62
Netherlands8$52$0$80$5$136
Belgium5$67$80$44$0$191
France25$48$33$19$9$110
Spain22$56$40$16$4$116

About Those Daily Expenses…

We set out with the goal, for a round-the-world trip, to average close to $60 USD per day. That’s as a couple, not per person. We knew long before beginning the trip that Europe, and our desire to spend time in its many major cities, would challenge to our budget. We free-camped where we could to make up for the desire to spend more time in the cities, but we also splurged quite a few nights during our trip through Europe.

  • United Kingdom: We knew the UK was going to be pricey, but fortunately we were able to free-camp several nights, use hotel loyalty points for our stay in Edinburgh and stay with some new friends while visiting London. We were still well over our planned budget, but the UK proved to be easier on our wallets than expected. We also had good luck with WarmShowers in England which really helped.
  • Denmark & Germany: We camped each of our nights in this region when not staying with a WarmShowers host or with another one of the new friends we made on the QM2. We only spent two nights in Hamburg and didn’t have much opportunity to spend while there, hence the low costs.
  • Party Time: We didn’t hold back in the Netherlands and Belgium. We chased breweries and late nights, ate well, stayed in hotels nearly every night, and had a really good time. That being said, we didn’t spend a cent on accommodations in the Netherlands thanks to several wonderful WarmShowers hosts and our use of hotel loyalty points for our four nights in Amsterdam.  Belgium, on the other hand, can be quite expensive, particularly in Brussels. Our total daily spend for Belgium was even more than we realized, but wow was the beer at Maredsous and Chimay wonderful!
  • France: The weather started turning, homesickness settled in for a week, and we ended up indoors more than we anticipated. We also celebrated a birthday in Paris with an upscale gourmet meal, a violin concerto, and a new tire and two bike chains. A few admission fees here and there also added to the costs. We stayed with several WarmShowers hosts in France, but think the language barrier cost us several other opportunities as many of our requests went unanswered.
  • Spain: We started out camping a lot in Spain and then found ourselves having way too much fun drinking beers and noshing on tapas to stay out in the country. We also toured the bullring in Madrid, attended a Flamenco show in Seville (at the highly-recommended Casa de la Guitarra) and paid admission to the cathedrals in Pamplona and Seville. Both were worth it. We used our hotel loyalty points for three nights in Madrid, but stayed in a number of hotels elsewhere in Spain. We struck out with WarmShowers in Spain due in part to our route (and our desire to not use WS during extended city stays) and, probably, the language barrier. The one host who offered us a place to stay proved too far out of the way and we had to cancel.
Leg #3

Morocco

We came to Morocco with two things on our mind: to get some time off the bikes and to ride to the Sahara. We got off the ferry in Tangier and promptly spent a week in the medina before cycling south through the Rif Mountains to Fes. After a few days in Fes, we biked through the Middle Atlas to Merzouga, on the edge of the desert. We were originally going to bike back to Tangier after three short nights in Merzouga, but decided, instead, to spend 10 days in Merzouga and hire a driver to bring us back to Tangier. This decision came about out of an absolute utter lack of desire to retrace our steps through those mountains. The time off wasn’t particularly relaxing, as Doug spent much of the time sick and uncomfortable, and deeply annoyed and frustrated by many of the Moroccans we were dealing with. We still had a wonderful few days and got to take an overnight camel trek into the desert, an excursion we won’t soon forget.

TwoFarGone_Morocco

Our north-to-south route through central Morocco covered 515 miles (828 kilometers).

Miles and Elevation

  • Distance: 515 miles (828 kilometers)
  • Cumulative Elevation: 30,353 feet (9,252 meters)
  • Days: 29 (11 riding days)

Morocco: Route Data

The data compiled in this table is for riding days only. Rest days have been omitted. For simplicity's sake, riding stats were assigned to the location where we spent the night so actual mileages and climbing data does not necessarily correspond to borders.
CountryRiding DaysAvg. Distance (miles)Avg. Elevation Gain (feet)
Morocco1146.82,759

About those Roads…

  • Mountains Galore: Maybe the coast is flat. Perhaps the southern part of the country features windswept plains. We don’t know. We do know that the route through the Rif Mountains is extremely hilly. We averaged nearly 4,000 feet of climbing per day during our four day ride from Tangier to Fes. The same could be said for the first half of our ride from Fes to Merzouga. Spain, the hilliest country we had encountered outside of the United States, proved to be merely a warm-up for the endless hills of Morocco.
  • Friendly Drivers: Do not worry at all about the drivers. Not only were we given plenty of room, but people almost universally passed with great care. Trucks, taxis, and buses almost always gave a short, gentle “heads-up” honk as they approached, just to make sure we knew they were coming. And then, when they would pass, many drivers and passengers gave encouraging thumbs-up signs and friendly honks and waves. We never once feared being on the roads due to the vehicles.
  • Annoying Children: The same could not be said for the kids and the dogs that line much of the route from Fes to Merzouga. The kids, poisoned by ignorant tourists who have given them candy and pens in the past, don’t just beg. We can ignore begging. We can even have some fun with begging. No, some speed alongside us on their bikes and try to grab onto us, our bags, and even our handlebars. Many of these kids have, by the age of 12, dropped out of school for a life of begging, a result of the tourists who have come before us. Those of us not speeding past in a guide’s 4WD have to deal with the aftermath.
  • Threatening Dogs: Kristin is the ultimate dog lover so it says a great deal about the nature of the dog encounters in Morocco that, on our ride to the ferry, after a month in the country, she was almost cheering for a pack of dogs to get hit by an oncoming truck. Many of the dogs we encountered in the Rif were too tired, hot, or lazy to even stir. But those in the Middle Atlas were another breed entirely. These dogs ran in packs and snarled and snapped at us as we slowly climbed the passes. We took to filling our feed bags with rocks to throw at the dogs (something we never had to do) and Doug would always circle back and “run interference” to shield Kristin from the dogs. He sprayed one or two with water and always had the rocks ready. Nothing upset Kristin more than having to fear dogs and children, but that’s the way of the road in Morocco.

Daily Expenses

  • Camp: 3 nights
  • Hotel: 27 nights
  • WarmShowers: 0 nights
  • Friends/Family: 0 nights

Morocco: Daily Expenses

This table contains average daily expenditures, by category, for each country we visited. For simplicity's sake, all of a day's expenses are assigned a location based on where we spent the night. Major expenses such as visas, travel insurance, and transit costs are not included.
CountryDaysFoodLodgingEntertainmentIncidentalsDaily Average
Morocco29$24$47$5$0$76

About Those Daily Expenses…

We set out with the goal, for a round-the-world trip, to average close to $60 USD per day. That’s as a couple, not per person. Knowing that North America and Europe would challenge our budget, we hoped to bring it back in line here in Morocco. Though we did lower our total daily average by a couple dollars, we still averaged above that $60 goal, which we’re realizing just wasn’t a realistic goal for the comfort level and amount of entertainment and dining we prefer. We free-camped a few nights, but mostly ended up staying in cheap hotels. We ate lunch in restaurants every day.

  • Not Much Camping: We fully intended to camp nearly every day we were cycling, particularly as the weather was quite accommodating, cold but clear. Though we found places to wild-camp for three nights on our way to Fes, we opted for cheap hotels, auberges, and gites on our way to Merzouga. The reasons for this vary: it was very difficulty to find places that weren’t completely strewn with rocks. The few official campgrounds we saw didn’t match up with our ends-of-day. Also, we really hate the stress of finding a place to wild camp in an area that is so devoid of trees, so filled with litter, and so crawling with dogs, kids, and wandering people. It simply wasn’t worth the stress. Those nights we wild-camped on our way to Fes were pleasant in the end, but the stress of finding a secluded place to set up camp without being seen was just not worth the monetary savings in our opinion.
  • Food Included: The higher-than-expected lodging expenses you see are a result of many of the hotels we stayed at including breakfast in the price. Hotels almost universally cost 300 dirham for a double, 400 dirham with breakfast. When it was so cut and dry, I broke out the 100 dirham as the cost of dining out (100 dirham = $11 USD). Our stay in Merzouga, on the other hand, included breakfast and dinner. We ultimately ended up negotiating a flat nightly rate that also included the camel trek and two meals a day. We just treated this fee as lodging in our expense records, even though it really contained a fair bit of dining money.
  • Restaurants Galore: We cooked the nights we were camping and a few of the nights we stayed in Tangier, but otherwise we ate out almost exclusively. Restaurants in Morocco are almost as cheap as buying groceries (sometimes even cheaper, depending on what you wish to cook at home) so we ate out multiple times a day.
  • Wonderful Produce: Though we ended up spending more in Morocco than we anticipated (again, we expected to camp more than we did, and to also not spend 10 nights at a hotel with half-board), there were plenty of bargains to be had. The best deals, by far, were for produce. We enjoyed the absolute best oranges we’ve ever tasted for just 4 or 5 dirham a kilogram (that’s about $0.25 per pound USD). The other major treat were the olives. Oh, the wonderful varieties of marinated olives in the Tangier medina! Many were just 14 dirham for a kilo. That’s less than a buck per pound! Incredible!

Leg #4

The Mediterranean


We reached Livorno, Italy by ferry from Tangier, Morocco in December, 2014 and set off for a mountainous ride through northern Tuscany en route to Florence, Siena, and south to Orvieto and eventually through Umbria to Rome and Vatican City in time for Christmas. We spent a wonderful week in Rome before going by train to Napoli and Pompeii for New Year’s Day. We left our bikes and gear in Rome as we detoured home to be with family during a difficult period. We finally returned to Rome in July, 2015 and continued on our journey from the very same spot where we last rode the bikes. Our route took us across Abruzzo to the Adriatic and ultimately on a winding tour through Puglia before we left Brindisi on a ferry for Greece. In Greece we toured around the islands of Kefalonia, Crete, and Rhodes while also cycling across the Peloponesse from Patras to Athens. Short stops in Santorini and Kos complete our time in Greece. Our onward travel plans had changed, allowing us roughly 40 days in Turkey to complete a loop from Bodrum to Cappadocia to Istanbul and back down the coast to Bodrum.

Our route through Italy, Greece (and several islands) and around western Turkey totaled 3,475 miles (5,592 km).

Miles and Elevation

  • Distance: 3,475 miles (5,592 kilometers)
  • Cumulative Elevation: 177,066 feet (53,970 meters)
  • Days: 133 (78 riding days)

The Mediterranean: Route Data

The data compiled in this table is for riding days only. Rest days have been omitted. For simplicity's sake, riding stats were assigned to the location where we spent the night so actual mileages and climbing data does not necessarily correspond to borders.
CountryRiding DaysAvg. Distance (miles)Avg. Elevation Gain (feet)
Italy2543.72,178
Greece2534.72,219
Turkey2854.12,397

About those Roads…

  • Italian Drivers: Everywhere we went throughout Europe, we were warned against cycling in Italy on account of the crazy, aggressive Italian drivers. This is a reputation that may be deserved when it comes to car-bicycle interactions with cyclists on racing bikes (not to mention car-car interactions), but we were given ample room and courtesy throughout our entire time in Italy. We struggle to think of a single time in which a car or truck buzzed us too closely. That said, you must realize that stop signs and even some red lights are treated as little more than a yield sign in Italy and Italian drivers are extremely aggressive when it comes to navigating roundabouts. When in doubt, just assume the car approaching the stop sign or about to merge will continue right along with abandon.
  • Italy’s Mountains: Before coming to Italy I was under the impression that the only mountainous parts of the country lay far to the north. This is not the case. Though we didn’t get very high in elevation (rarely above 3,000 feet), there were virtually no flat days in Tuscany, Abruzzo, Lazio, and Abruzzo. Abbruzzo and Tuscany, particularly, are very hilly. The Apennine Mountains that run vertically through the center of Italy are sure to tire out a laden bicycle tourist so plan accordingly.
  • Hilltop Towns: Italy’s famed hilltop towns are certainly worth a visit, but try not to cram too many into a single day as the reality of climbing into these towns will soon chip away at their romantic allure. Also, note that the roads in many of the hilltop towns are made with old paving stones and cobbles, as are the city centers of some smaller towns in Puglia.  We are running 700×38 tires and were very happy to have the extra wide rubber when bouncing along these bumpy roads.
  • Greek Mountains: Greece is arguably the best place to go cycle touring *if* you like climbing. There is no flat ground in Greece, not on the islands and certainly not on the Peloponnese. As the table shows, we averaged over 2,200 feet of ascent every day with a paltry average mileage of just 34.7 miles. But the roads are fantastic and fun to ride and the scenery is tremendous. There’s also mountain springs waiting on most hillsides to fill your water bottles. Bring fresh brake pads and, don’t do what we did: steer clear of Greece in July and August. It’s too damn hot to be riding a route this tough.
  • Share the Shoulder: One of the things that took some getting used to was that drivers in Greece often drive on the shoulder to allow for room to pass on their left. This created quite a bit of anxiety on our part when we first got to Patras. Fortunately, we didn’t have any close calls with cars. Scooters, on the other hand, will often buzz by pretty closely. Traffic in general is pretty light outside of tourist towns.
  • Ferry Knowledge: If travelling the Greek isles by ferry, you need to focus solely on the routes operated by car ferries, as the passenger-only hydrofoils and catamarans won’t allow you to bring your bikes on board. After much research, this Greek Travel Pages proved to be the most helpful for planning our route, for ordering tickets, and for making sure we had current up to date information.
  • Greek Campgrounds: Greece has a robust network of campgrounds spread across the entire country and most of the islands too. Head on over to Camping in Greece and download their free excellent PDF guide to Greek campsites. Very, very helpful!
  • Turkish Highways: We found it pretty hard to get off the highways in Turkey. Perhaps it was just coincidence, but we found our west-east travel ran at odds to most quiet roads. And even the lesser highways we tried to ride in Turkey were being uniformly widened into 4-lane divided highways. Road construction was ongoing throughout the entire country. We found very few quiet country lanes that offered more than the briefest of respites from the highways.
  • Horns Aplenty: Turkish drivers are enthusiastically polite and accommodating to bicycle tourists, so much so that it can actually become annoying. The majority of trucks, buses, and cars will honk and wave as they pass, often at a deafening volume with a long-chiming custom horn. It’s nice, but it quickly grates on the nerves.
  • Avoid Izmir: Izmir is a wonderful city and we really enjoyed our time there. However, riding in and out of the city is an absolute nightmare, especially if coming from the north as we were. The only way was on the side of a highway and though not normally a problem, getting across high-speed exit and on-ramps proved frighteningly challenging. Our ride out of the city was less stressful on account of it being a Sunday morning, but only slightly less so.

Daily Expenses

  • Camp: 30 nights
  • Hotel: 99 nights
  • WarmShowers: 0 nights
  • Friends/Family: 2 nights

The Mediterranean: Daily Expenses

This table contains average daily expenditures, by category, for each country we visited. For simplicity's sake, all of a day's expenses are assigned a location based on where we spent the night. Major expenses such as visas, travel insurance, and transit costs are not included.
CountryDaysFoodLodgingEntertainmentIncidentalsDaily Average
Italy (Dec, 2014)28$72$48$33$4$156
Italy (Jul, 2015)25$50$65$13$5$133
Greece40$52$47$12$1$112
Turkey41$35$43$11$0$88

About Those Daily Expenses…

We set out with the goal, for a round-the-world trip, to average close to $60 USD per day. That’s as a couple, not per person. Naturally, some places are going to be more expensive than others. Sometimes the weather is going to prove a challenge, and sometimes we’re going to splurge out of desire, necessity, or both. Here are a few considerations that help explain the outlying data.

  • Italian Winters: The campgrounds in Italy close in October and our route through Tuscany and Umbria in December saw little to no opportunity to wild camp. We also lacked ample incentive as we were so excited to visit many of Italy’s charming towns. We ended up spending every one of our wintry nights in a hotel or inn during the first portion of our time in Italy, to great expense. When we returned in the summer we were able to spend a lot of our nights in campgrounds, though these tended to be over-developed resorts (though still cheaper than campgrounds in Canada). Lodging was nevertheless more expensive in the summer because we used a lot of hotel loyalty points in the winter and stayed a lot in hostels in Rome (and with a generous host) once we packed up our bikes.
  • Italian Cooking: We cooked a lot of meals during our time in Italy, with much joy and taste, but we also ate out a lot. Menu Turistico’s seldom cost more than 15 Euros per person and include two courses, a side dish, wine, water, and coffee. They’re a pretty good deal and offer a chance to eat like the locals. Though most pizzerias we encountered only fire up the pizza ovens at night, personal pizzas in Italy typically cost 4-7 Euros depending on toppings and are large enough to almost fill up a hungry cyclist. That said, we ate out a lot while in Italy. We couldn’t resist.
  • Tours & the Holidays: We blew our entertainment budget during the winter as we got into the Christmas spirit. Though we received a tremendous gift from the cyclist-friendly Angel Tours while in Rome, we still splurged on numerous other short tours, souvenirs, and gifts during our time in Rome and Naples. Not to mention a special day-trip to Pompeii and, of course, the museums in Florence.
  • Exchange Route Changes: One of the benefits to our returning to Italy in the summer was that the exchange rate was far more favorable to American travelers at that time. Though we were getting a rate of $1.25 to 1.00€ in the winter, this improved to $1.10 when we returned in the summer.
  • Greece is Cheaper, But Not Much: Our average daily spend of $112 drops to $95 if you eliminate a couple of nights in Kalamata where we splurged on our anniversary and if we didn’t go to Rhodes and Santorini in the height of tourist season. Campgrounds are cheaper than in Italy, and you can get really good food on the cheap if you do counter service or stick to small villages. Venturing anywhere near Santorini and Rhodes, however, drives the budget up considerably. Especially in August. Coffee and produce was more expensive in Greece than in Italy.
  • Cheap Turkish Hotels: We ended up spending almost every night in Turkey in a hotel, often for under $40 USD including breakfast for two. Campgrounds are rare away from the coast and though the options to wildcamp were plentiful, we found the amount of litter to be disheartening. Broken glass and plastic bottles litters much of the countryside, particularly at picnic sites and water fountains/springs. We kept our lodging average down by using hotel loyalty points for four free nights in Istanbul.
  • Mini-Marts and Cheap Eats: The Turkish mini-marts are well-stocked in terms of beverages and junk food, but they lack any real food. So while bottled water, soda, and candy are far cheaper in Turkey than in Greece and Italy, we found ourselves eating nearly every meal in a restaurant. The price of food in Turkish restaurants is a mystery, often with no prices on the menu and rather vague explanations. More often than not we were charged a very small amount for the food we received, but there were a few instances where we were likely taken advantage of. It all comes out in the wash.
  • Flying Cappadocia: The expenses data doesn’t include the price of the 90-minute hot air balloon ride we took in Goreme, but does include the cost of the tour. We have a separate spreadsheet for tracking what we consider to be major expenses and the hot air balloon ride definitely qualified as a major expense. But it was so, so worth it!