You should plan to spend about €30 per day on the Camino frances if you stay in pilgrim accommodation, assemble your own picnic lunches and self-cater, or you can spend rather more if you eat out all the time, treat yourself to regular nights in a hotel or casa rural and pay to have your luggage carried. Recently returned pilgrims report that some other routes such as the Camino del Norte are more expensive, and France is more expensive than Spain.

Albergues usually vary between €5 - €15 per person per night, hostals, pensiones, casa rurales, hotels €20 plus per person per night, depending on the quality of the establishment and whether you have a single or shared room.

But what about this free accommodation people talk about? Well, there are indeed some free municipal albergues on the Vía de la Plata. There are many other albergues, usually those run by pilgrim assocations or religious groups, which do not charge a fixed price but are run on a voluntary contribution basis (donativo). This does not mean they should be regarded as free, as is sometimes stated in various online forum comments, rather that they rely on voluntary donations to keep open and that it is up to you to ensure you pay a fair contribution for your stay. Make sure you have cash to place in the collection box.

The pilgrim menu is anything between €9 and €20, breakfast might be €3 - €5, and lunch another €5 - €10.

Don’t forget to budget for extra purchases such as drinks, various toiletries and pharmacy products, and to have access to an emergency fund to cover unexpected events such as extra rest days in a hotel, or replacing lost or damaged kit.

Many albergues and small shops request payment in cash and you may find 50% of your purchases are in the form of cash. There are banks and cashpoints in all of the cities and towns, also some of the larger villages. Consider getting a currency card which can be preloaded with a set amount of cash for a fixed exchange rate and then topped up by text, phone or internet as often as you need. One example is the Prepago card from Correos. 

Finally - use ATMs when the bank is open, if possible. If your card is "eaten" by the machine you should be able to get it back quickly....