The biggest problem when considering the Camino Frances to Santiago is the amount of time required to walked the whole way in the one go. Most pilgrims should be able to walk the Camino Frances in about four weeks. Taking four weeks from work and family can provide some challenges. Often people arrange to meet family members in Santiago. I do not know what it is like for those in a family that are left at home, but I am sure that must pose its own problems.
It is the type of trip that “happens once in a life”, though many Pilgrims end up walking it more than once. A bit addictive really. The alternative is splitting it into different years. Many of the Spanish pilgrims that I talked to walked for one week, then had a sun holiday on a beach somewhere for a week. They did this for four years, that being the time it took to cover the whole way.
Others walk only the last 100km from Sarria(112km), this qualify’s pilgrims for the Compostela, which many people want. Because of this, I found the last 100km the least friendly part to walk. Many people had just joined the Camino and did not mix very well. There was a rush each day from Albergue to Albergue to ensure a sleeping place for that night. This caused me some problems as I would not rush and sometimes had a little difficulty finding somewhere to stay at night, but I was never completely stuck.
If you have only a few weeks I would suggest walking the early parts of the Camino Frances. Perhaps from Pamplona, Burgos or Leon. My favorite part of the Camino every time is the Meseta, just so different from my usual walking experiences in Scotland or Ireland.
Money. Taking four weeks out means organizing the money side of things also. Walking the Camino Frances itself is not expensive once you are there. I could quite easily live “like a king” on €30 per day. So over four weeks less than €1000 is need while on the Camino. The cost of albergues is normally between €4 and at the very expensive end of €10. (Budget for a couple of nights in a pension at some point, it is good to have a rest.€20 to €30 per night per room) Restaurants provide what is called the Pilgrims menu, a simple three course meal – usual cost between €8 and €12. Then buying a sandwich and fruit during the day is very cheap.
Flights back from Santiago can be expensive, again depends on how far in advance you are able to book. Ryan air now also fly from Santiago (see travel page).
Bear in mind though all your usual bills at home will still need to be paid during your month away. However, for most westerners, a month walking the Camino de Santiago is not a financially challenging experience. I met some people from eastern Europe, Poland, and the Czech Republic, it is not so easy for them. The proportionate cost to them is a lot more than one month’s salary,