RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Budget for the week

I know that camping is free. I know food must be bought. When I was reading about showers, one place said that they are available, and another place said the wristband gave a discount on showers. Do you have to pay for showers? What other budget items are there? I would like to get an idea of the amounts, too. Thanks.

11 Replies

GeorgeKline, April 11, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Showers will be 5 or 6 dollars a day. I plan for about 30 a day for food, but stops at the craft beer tent blows the heck out of that so it is more like 50 a day.


KenH, April 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm

People claim to do it for under $40/day so I don’t doubt you can. I think $40 to $60/day is a more comfortable budget that reflects the real world of hungry bikers and impulse eating….


Nico ZZZ, April 12, 2017 at 5:26 am

Prices for food and drink are reasonable. Water is free in most towns as they rig up a PVC pipe/fire hydrant contraption to fill your bottles. Otherwise water is $1, other beverages $3-$4 (even beer!), Sandwiches/burgers are around $4-$5, and pie is $3. No price gouging as you might expect on such a monster event. Fair pricing.
Bring a lot of small bills, as almost all biz is cash only. Bring an ATM in case you get crazy and want to buy lots of T shirts and other swag, or you become a really big fan of Iowa Craft Beer!
Get ready to become addicted to this wacky ride!
Ride On!


Gypsy Rose, April 12, 2017 at 8:04 am

What other budget items are there?


RAGBRAI budgets vary widely. There are those who either carry their own gear or use the Register’s baggage service. There are those who bring along (or otherwise pay for) rather deluxe accommodations. And, there’s everything in between.

If one were to just look at the amount spent along the route between overnight towns, the numbers might have less of a spread. (The big variable seems to be how much one drinks!)

There’s plenty of freely available water along the route. Look for the stations near where the ride exits the pass through towns. I carry along a bit of powdered energy drink in case I feel the need to add a bit of sugar or electrolytes to the water as the day heats up. “Adult beverages” will set you back $3 – $5 each. (At the craft beer stops, the 2016 price was $5/pint.)

Breakfast can be had for $7 – $8. Same for lunch. If you eat out for your evening meal (rather than in camp), the offerings at the local churches usually go for $12 – $14. Then, there will perhaps some snacks in between. (For many, those “snacks” come in a pint cup.)

If you pay for a shower at one of the local facilities (schools, etc.) it’ll cost $5 – $7. At the no-cost end of the spectrum, you can fill up your own shower bag, lay it in the sun for a bit, and use it to rinse off at day’s end.

There are as many ways to do RAGBRAI as there are riders. Some spend thousands on the week’s vacation. Others, myself included, spend less than $1K for the entirety (including, in my case, traveling to and from Iowa from Vermont). Excluding transportation to and from the end town, my expenses (ride registration, my contribution to the “team” for support, and all expenditures while in Iowa) totaled about $675 in 2016.

There are some who do it for less and those who will spend a whole lot more. No matter which way you go, it’s a unique vacation that keeps so many of us coming back year after year.

~ Kevin


Sam, April 12, 2017 at 10:15 am

I’d say I spend around $50 a day, but I also have a team that I pay as well.

Also plan for impulse buys, for example there will be a point where I’ll be convinced that I really need to buy a sombrero, or a twister mat. My buddy almost bought a single engine Cessna one year, but somebody talked him out of it.


Amanda, April 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Some years I do need a massage about midweek. That’s around $30-40. It’s nice to have a little extra tucked away. I also bring a credit card in case I have major bike problems.


RoyBoy, April 13, 2017 at 9:24 am

I budget $50 a day. Some days I will go to a grocery store for breakfast, lunch or dinner and this greatly stretches my food budget. Fore vendors, I try to get the most bang for my buck, Carbo Hut and Mr. Porkchop are my favorites. And when I leave a pass through town, I always top off my water bottles with free water when available. Some bars will fill your water bottles for free too.

100 days until RAGBRAI


Linda Wiard-Bauer, April 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Wow! Thank you for all the responses! Good info!


Mike Murphy, April 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

My budget is $1000.00 for everything. Includes $175 to register, $315 to my charter, the rest for food, beverages, showers and usually a t-shirt or two. I have done this eight years and have always had a few bucks left at the end of the week. Some years I have come home with over $100 left and one year I had like $20 out of the $1000 budget. I eat well by the way, I always find one nice restaurant that I will spend at least $30 or $40 bucks at. Other nights its $8-$10 at a local church. I enjoy the search for the special restaurant of the year. So far this year I haven’t came up with one. Last year Cafe Dodici in Washington Iowa was one of the best I have come upon on Ragbrai. Have fun and enjoy the ride.


ppayne1959, April 24, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Five bucks, Five bucks, Five bucks….. Unless of course its Ten bucks.


GORDON BROWN, May 10, 2017 at 8:11 am

$50/DAY MIN. is what I set my goal at. That said, I am on vaca and if I go over, who cares. Hit the ATM. I drink a good amount of that Iowa craft beer so I can blow through $20-25/day in beer alone.


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