We did some quick and dirty math, and these numbers aren’t down-to-the-dollar accurate, but they’re within a few hundred dollars in most cases. So for those of you wondering what a trip like this costs, here’s how it broke down for us:
Total Spent During the Trip: $17,000 ($20,200)
Transporting us*: $3,600
Transporting the bikes: $1,800
(Future transport of bikes back home will be an additional $3,200)
Bike service: $2,000
Other repairs/replacements: $1,200
This is just what we spent on the trip itself – not what we spent before the trip getting everything ready. We spent between $1,500 and $2,000 on kitting out each bike, including stuff like fairing guards, engine guards, Denali lights, panniers, etc. (For a full breakdown of bike mods, see our Company Vehicles page.) We also bought over $1,000 in bike spares that we carried with us before we left the US. So we spent probably an additional $5,000 getting the bikes ready before the trip.
The total cost to transport the bikes doesn’t include what it’s going to cost to get the bikes home at the end of the trip. If we had the money to do it now, it would be an additional $3,200 (roughly), bringing that total to $5,000.
So if you include the mods we made to the bikes before the trip, and what it would cost to get the bikes shipped home, the total cost would be around $25,200.
Total Cost: $25,200
We also bought a lot of camping gear and new motorcycle gear for this trip, which isn’t included in this cost breakdown. Camping gear is probably around $1,000, including tents, sleeping bags and cooking supplies, and new motorcycle gear for the trip is probably $1,000 to $1,500. But this stuff might easily have been purchased for US trips and/or just riding, so we don’t really include this in the price breakdown. But if you wanted to include those items, it would bring the total to: $27,700.
*The cost for transporting us includes two plane tickets from Panama City to Bogota, and two plane tickets from Buenos Aires to Boston, MA at the end of the trip.
**While this wasn’t the plan when we left, we ended up staying in hotels most of the trip. Camping was very difficult to find throughout most of Central America, although it was more available in South America. You could absolutely save money by not staying in hotels.
However, the total cost for hotels in Mexico/Central America was probably around $1,000 (just guessing at a $20 average, which might be too high – I’m erring on the expensive side for the sake of estimating). South America through Peru was probably another $500. It wasn’t until we got to Chile and Argentina that the hotels started getting really expensive (and subsequently we started camping and bush-camping more) and we spent probably $1,000 on hotels in 25-ish days of Chile and Argentina, so if you camp here you can save a ton of money.
So estimating, the total cost we spent on hotels was probably around $2,500. You could practically cut that number in half by camping exclusively in Chile and Argentina, but you’ll need good gear for the cold nights. You get diminishing returns by camping in northern South America and Central America, although it is a big area to cut costs.