At first glance, the Tour du Mont Blanc might seem physically daunting, but many might find it even more financially intimidating. Traversing three Western European countries and staying in the many “quaint” (read: pricey) resort towns along the way? Buying enough food to fuel yourself through day after day of long miles on the trail? Doesn’t seem cheap, does it? The beautiful thing about the TMB, however, is that it’s pretty much up to you how expensive you want to make it. There are hikers who choose to spend more to take guided tours, stay in private rooms at upscale hotels and huts, and buy all of their meals at restaurants along the way. Others take the extremely frugal route, camping as much as possible, cooking their own meals, and minimizing expenses wherever they can. We tend to travel on the frugal side, as we enjoy the simplicity and authentic experiences that go hand in hand with this type of travel. That being said, we’re not claiming the most hardcore budget travelers out there; we certainly allow ourselves to indulge in things that bring value to our experience, such as a post-hike beer or a hotel room on our rest day. Below we’ve outlined what we spent on our 2017 Tour du Mont Blanc adventure. We hope that by sharing this information, our fellow hikers will be able to plan and budget more accurately for their own trip. Additionally, you might find that an experience like the TMB is more within reach than you originally thought, if you just make a few intentional decisions when planning your travel. So grab your tent and get out there!
We chose to camp as much as possible along the Tour du Mont Blanc and we highly recommend it to others for a number of reasons. First, many of the campgrounds were quite luxurious, with amenities such as hot showers and wifi. We also preferred the privacy of our tent versus the dorm-style sleeping arrangements of the huts. Sleeping outdoors in such spectacular alpine surroundings became a highlight of our trip. And of course, the price of camping can’t be beat! There are a few places along the TMB where there are no official campgrounds and wild camping is not permitted. For those situations, we opted to stay in the mountain huts, which offered amazing ambiance and delicious meals for a reasonable price. We also stayed in a hotels for our rest day in Courmayeur, which proved to be a wonderful treat after roughing it for so many days. Here’s a breakdown of our accommodation spending:
- Average Hut Price: €54 (per person)
- Average Campsite Price: €8 (per person)
- Hotel in Chamonix for before and after the hike: €72 (per night)
- Hotel in Courmayeur for rest day: €132 (per night)
- Bus from Geneva to Chamonix: €43 (round trip)
- Bus from Chamonix to Les Houches: €3 (each way)
- Shuttle Bus from Les Chapieux to Refuge Des Mottets: €3
We strategically used credit card points and miles in order to fly from Denver to Geneva for nearly free. Read more about how we did it here.
Airline Taxes and Fees: $98.63 + 60,000 United Airlines miles (per person)
Food and Drink
You may be backpacking through rugged mountains, but that doesn’t necessitate spending a small fortune on fancy freeze-dried meals. We preferred to stock up on lightweight, nutritious, and tasty dry goods from the local grocery stores to fuel us along the TMB. We tended to eat ramen noodles or local cheese, sausage, and bread for most dinners. For lunches, we snacked on a trail mix blend that we made from salted peanuts and raisins, which we purchased copious amounts of whenever we found them at reasonable prices along the route. For breakfast, we ate muesli with powdered milk and instant coffee. Occasionally, we’d pick up some fresh fruit from a local shop. These foods kept us feeling full throughout long days of hiking, and we found them to be more enjoyable than those space-age style backpacker meals. Plus, they were a fraction of the price!
On average, we spent about €8-€12 per person, per day on our food and drink.
Of course, we allowed ourselves a few treats along the way, too. Here’s what you can expect to pay, on average, for the following indulgences:
- Beer: €6
- Bottle of Wine: €10
- Baguette: €2
- Breakfast/Lunch Mountain Hut: €15
- Dinner at Mountain Hut: €25
- Coffee/Tea: €3
- Sandwich: €10
As you can see, we happily teetered between dirtbag and deluxe on our TMB holiday. While there’s no escaping the high costs of some essentials, in general, one can experience the Tour du Mont Blanc on a modest budget (and enjoy some excellent wine and cheese while doing so). Obviously, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of hiking gear that you’ll need to purchase prior to setting off on your trek. Check out our packing list to get an idea of what you might need to purchase ahead of time. Also, our Backpacking Gear on a Budget article has some helpful ideas for keeping your costs low when putting together your backpacking kit. Whether you choose to splurge or keep it simple, we feel confident you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime.
Ready to keep planning your TMB adventure? Be sure to read our entire series on the Tour du Mont Blanc to learn everything you’ll need to know to prepare for this incredible adventure!
- Guide to Camping on the Tour du Mont Blanc
- Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List – Be sure you’ve got everything you need!
- Tour du Mont Blanc Logistics – Don’t forget the small details!
- How to Navigate on the TMB – Turn your smartphone into a GPS!
- How to find all of your campgrounds on the TMB – Know where you are and where you’re going!
- How to train for the TMB – Avoid being the last person to the campground!
- 10 Essentials for the Tour du Mont Blanc- The quick and dirty basics
- TMB Trip Report – Know what to expect!
- Tour du Mont Blanc Photo Galley – Find some inspiration!
- Tour du Mont Blanc Shop – Pick up a souvenir, art print, or T-shirt!
- How to hike the TMB for (nearly) free – save BIG on your TMB costs!