I’ve addressed the costs of applying to summer camp through an agency in the ‘Summer Camp Agency Comparison‘ post, but what about all those other costs that might crop up? Things that you might need to buy, like a backpack, or just your weekly cost of living once you actually get to camp.
Read on for the varying costs that might stack up over your summer at camp. Remember you will be getting paid though, so don’t let all this money talk put you off!
Agency fees (incl visa/police check) – £429-£723
This amount entirely depends on whether or not flights are included (BUNAC, Camp America, Camp Leaders, CCUSA all include flights). You can check out all the costs in this handy comparison chart.
Flights – approx £200 – £600
Only a few of the agencies include flights in their costs, so for some of the others (AmeriCamp, CCUSA and 3 Adventures), you will need to book your own flights. Depending on how early you book your flight, you could pay as little as £200, but if you’re a late booker, it could be up to around £600. Have a look on Skyscanner or Kayak to get the best deals.
Travel Insurance – £65-£450
All the summer camp agencies include Medical insurance, but not Travel insurance. I’d advise getting travel insurance just in case something happens with your flight like a cancellation, or your luggage gets lost… or any number of other calamities!
There are a number of insurance companies you could use, ranging from the super cheaper ones, up to the more expensive that include absolutely everything you can think of. Try a comparison website such as Go Compare to see the range of prices available to you. I would personally recommend STA Travel for insurance, as their packages are specifically designed for young travellers and even their cheapest option provides you will excellent cover.
Pre-Camp Purchases – approx £250
You might need a new suitcase or backpack – £50-£150
Maybe a new camera – approx £100 for a simple point and shoot, or anything up to £1000 for something a little more fancy, but I wouldn’t recommend taking something that expensive to summer camp!
A raincoat – approx £30 for something adequate.
Torch (an absolute must-have item) – £3-£10
Swimsuit (no bikinis in front of the kids please!) – £20-£40
A night in New York (or other closest city) before camp – £25-£50
That’s based on a night in a hostel such as the HI-New York, but have a look on Hostelbookers for any other good deals.
Days off/Weekly camp costs – £270 (based on £30/$50 per week for 9 weeks)
Now this one really depends on what you like to do on your day off and how many days off you have per week. This is the amount I managed to spend during one of my summers at camp – sometimes I went over, sometimes I was under, but it all evened out. Obviously this is going to go up if you like to stay in hotels on day off, or eat out a lot (or order pizza at camp!), but it definitely is possible to be frugal if you want to be. After all you’re not paying for food or accommodation at camp!
Toiletries – £40
At some point in the summer you are going to run out of toothpaste, or shampoo, or you’re going to lose your hairbrush. And yes there are plenty of other counselors you can borrow off (or make use of the HEAPS of shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/fun bathroom things that the kids always leave behind), but sometimes it’s just nice to have the products you actually want.
Post-Camp Travel – £1500 per month
That’s the amount I would tell anyone to budget for travelling in a western country such as the USA. You can usually find domestic flights across the country for quite cheap but then you’ve got to account for spending every night in a hostel or hotel, eating and drinking (you will do a lot of it), and of course, any fun activities and tourist attractions you have planned to do and see, such as visiting the Grand Canyon, or going up the Empire State Building.
Presents for family and friends – £50-£100
This is really just a bonus if you have any money left over at the end of your summer, but I’m sure you’ll definitely be able to find some nice souvenirs to give to all those people who have been missing you all summer!
So, if you happen to buy all of these things (you definitely don’t necessarily need to!), mange to keep your weekly costs down whilst at camp, and you spend a month travelling after camp ends, your summer spending total will be…
Total – £3000 (approx)
Remember too that you are getting paid at summer camp, so you can take that away from your final costs, making your costs closer to…
Pay – $700-$1550 (depending on experience)
Spend – £3000
TOTAL COST OF YOUR SUMMER – approx £2300
This amount is based on a loose average of all the above costs. Obviously if you didn’t buy anything apart from your visa etc before camp, and you didn’t choose to get travel insurance, and you didn’t stay in New York before getting to camp, and you went straight home after camp (without traveling), and you didn’t buy any gifts for people back home, then you could probably halve that amount, but it all really depends on who you are and how you want to spend your summer!