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Old 03-11-2012, 08:21 AM   #41
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Personally, I have no desire to travel and actually, I find that almost everything that I want to do is free or nearly so. Guess I'm pretty lucky.
We're sort of in that camp too. I wouldn't mind doing some in the USA - there's more than enough to do/see/experience here - but it's not a major issue for me and DW is definitely not a traveler.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:01 AM   #42
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Holy Cow!

Just checked price of non-stop flight LAX/SYD. Econ: $1200. Bus Class: $6200. First Class: $17600.
Yup.

I was thinking when you wrote about your preference for flying Bus Class that either you hadn't flown recently or you have some travel money to burn.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:11 AM   #43
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I wouldn't mind doing some in the USA - there's more than enough to do/see/experience here
That is certainly true. We've been traveling full-time for just a month short of two years and we've only covered about half the U.S. in all that time. It might take us another three years until we've seen everything we want to see here.

But then I'm reminded that North America (including Canada and Mexico, but excluding Hawaii ) only makes up about 16% of the world's total land mass. We certainly have our work cut out for us if we want to see it all.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:30 AM   #44
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Yup.

I was thinking when you wrote about your preference for flying Bus Class that either you hadn't flown recently or you have some travel money to burn.
I've heard that the best strategy is to buy a coach ticket and then use miles to upgrade. Of course, that assumes that you have miles to begin with.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:51 AM   #45
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I actually set up an extra "travel fund" that we saved into before retiring, in anticipation of doing a bunch of extra traveling the first 2 or 3 years after retiring. This was held separate from the portfolio to fund long-term living expenses.

I don't think we spent all of it as after a couple of years it kind of morphed into our general "short-term" fund that held a couple years of living (including travel) expenses so we could ignore market volatility.

But I think it was a smart thing to do. We were able to enjoy plenty of travel in 2000-2002 without being freaked out too much by an extended bear market.

We still have extra set aside for a splurge trip or two whenever we get around to doing it!

Audrey
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:16 AM   #46
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I have inherited some money from my dad who was a travel lover. We keep that as our "post retirement travel fund" seperately from all other funds. I think he would love that.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:20 AM   #47
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Yup.

I was thinking when you wrote about your preference for flying Bus Class that either you hadn't flown recently or you have some travel money to burn.
When it comes to shelling out our own dough, it has always been pedestrian coach seats.

Megacorps, however, have the policy of paying for business class seats for flights over 6 hrs long. The last time I took a long work-related flight was in 2009 (to a somewhat scary place!). The ticket price was a bit more than $5K, but I thought it was due to the purchase being on short notice.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:46 AM   #48
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It has been my experience that most coach seats on long overseas flights are tolerable, but then we are skinny people. Perhaps the seats are a bit wider, and spacing between rows are increased an inch or two, I am not sure. But I can certify that the most torturous flights I have had were all domestic flights. Even short flights of 2 or 3 hours could be excruciating, if you get jammed in between two big people. Some airplanes/airlines are worse than others.

Arghhh.... Keep talking about this and I will be traveling by RV the rest of my life. For more European trips, I will ship an RV and go along on a freighter.

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Are the width of the seats wider on flights to Honolulu? My GF says they are but I dont trust her (Im not talking 1st class either). I think she is trying to trick me as there is no turning back once boarded. The longest flight I have been on was Chicago to Vegas and I was about to go crazy on that flight. I will need to get mentally tougher to sit for 8-9 hours!
I am sure if you act agitated and demand to be let off before take-off, they will let you off. In fact, if you throw a bad enough tantrum early enough in flight, they very likely turn around and land to get you off (in a straight jacket).
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:03 PM   #49
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I only fly coach, and enjoy it as long as I can get a window seat. Although I am a big guy, my super-power ("Sleep Anywhere") kicks in to make things tolerable. I had to fly cross-country twice last week on packed flights, and managed to sleep almost the entire time. Good price too - $375 for a non-stop on less than a weeks notice.

Although flying is no longer the picnic it was in the post-deregulation / pre-911 days, I have a hard time complaining when I can fly 6000 miles on a few days notice this cheaply.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:22 PM   #50
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Come to think of it, my most traumatized flights were all domestic flights for work. It was nearly always on a short notice, and I did not have a chance to get good seating. I hate traveling for work for that reason.

For vacation flights, of course I traveled with my wife and lifting up the armrest helped a bit. And then, for overseas flights in twin-aisle aircraft, with plenty of advance booking, we would reserve a pair of outside seats - one window, one aisle - and it was not bad at all.

Still, for long non-stop flights of 10 hrs or more, there is no beating business class seats that lean back nearly flat so one can sleep. Damn it, if there is anything that the 1% has that I envy, it is the ability to pay for such seats.
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Old 03-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #51
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Last year, I flew to Europe for about $1400. I was offered an upgrade to business class for $500 when I checked in. Great! I thought, a business class round trip to Europe for only $500 more. But.. it was not for the entire round trip but only for the first leg of my trip, in other words, my flight to NY. After that back to coach for the next three legs including the long trip across the Atlantic. I turned down the offer.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:47 PM   #52
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It has been my experience that most coach seats on long overseas flights are tolerable, but then we are skinny people. Perhaps the seats are a bit wider, and spacing between rows are increased an inch or two, I am not sure....
SeatGuru seems to have width and pitch for most aircraft for most airlines: Airline Seating Charts - Best Airplane Seats - SeatGuru

Regarding upgrades, I've noticed that on Delta if I ask for coach first they'll give me a price and have a "click here for upgrade button". It may be my imagination, but the few times I've clicked I think I've gotten better prices than just starting with first class.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:10 PM   #53
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Are the width of the seats wider on flights to Honolulu? My GF says they are but I dont trust her (Im not talking 1st class either). I think she is trying to trick me as there is no turning back once boarded. The longest flight I have been on was Chicago to Vegas and I was about to go crazy on that flight. I will need to get mentally tougher to sit for 8-9 hours!
I've never thought to bring a tape measure to check. That's sure a new one on the old comedy routine "Does this seat make my butt look fat?"

I've flown first class and business class and economy/bulkhead. I like any of those much better than being stuck in the middle of the five-seat row, even if the bulkhead seat puts you next to a bathroom. If you're going to pony up for a more expensive non-stop flight then you might as well spend the extra $35-$70 for a seat with legroom.

The "good" news about the longer flights is that some of the food is free (depending on the airline's policy of the week) and at least one movie is free. But again the best news of all is that the flight staff whip through most of the customer-service routine in the first two hours and don't bother you again until the last hour before landing. That gives you a quality nap or two instead of being interrupted every 10 minutes by someone trying to tell you about something.

The "nice" thing about the Houston redeye is that it takes off from Honolulu at 7:20 PM and lands at 8:30 AM. That means you tuck yourself in around 9:30 PM and wake up around 4 AM in your Hawaii time zone, but you still have enough energy left to get you to the hotel and a lunchtime nap.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:34 PM   #54
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"Income smoothing" in retirement is a new concept to me. I am wondering if it would be worth it to start a thread on this topic to share ideas ?
I believe Midpack is referring to "consumption smoothing", coined by Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns?

The Commonsense of Consumption Smoothing | ESPlanner Inc.

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From a review of their book Spend 'til the End:
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Eschewing the standard financial advice to use replacement income as a guide on how to save, they instead accomplish this by analyzing spending habits, utilizing consumption smoothing as a way to ensure that you neither starve yourself in old age nor end up with more money than you need by depriving yourself during your working years.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:40 PM   #55
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Ah, now that I have calmed down from the recollected trauma of being stuck in a middle seat in a packed-full domestic flight, I can recall a few times that worked out well for this poor traveler.

It was a couple of times we flew red-eye on a wide-body twin-aisle 777 with seating arrangement of 2-5-2 in coach. The flight was perhaps 50% full, or maybe less. We were able to occupy an entire middle row of 5 seats, and when the aircraft was at altitude, took turn to lie down across multiple seats and had a really nice sleep.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:43 PM   #56
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I am of two minds. What we finally do will depend on the situation when I finally retire. The specter of long-term care costs cautions me not to splurge early.

My wife and I have done some world traveling, mostly for my work. We can take it or leave it now. We would be perfectly happy if our travel were confined to the US and Canada. My interest in other places has to do with economic survival, not travel for the sake of travel. I don't think she would go for a life on the road--airplanes, buses, hostels and hotels and so forth. She is practical enough to go for a relocation however.

off-topic, NW-bound reminds me that I need to make damn sure to get my isle seats on my coming 20 hour flight.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:47 AM   #57
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Couple of things:
Obgyn, there have been, I think, a fair number of threads on ESRPlanner here. Interesting tool and theory. I've tinkered with it a fair bit.

I agree with many who say that travel, especially international travel if desired, might be best done early in retirement, saving the "easier" trips in the USA for later life, simply because the older we get, often times the less adaptable we are to sudden changes and disruptions, of which travel seems to have more than a fair share of.

I traveled for a couple of weeks to New Zealand in 2003. My flight was around $1000 back then, and Air New Zealand coach was positively luxurious compared to domestic US flights. I'd put a return trip there high on my list of places to go, but only when I can stay for longer. The nonstop was from LAX to Auckland.

I love reading about perpetual travelers, but know it isn't the life for us. We need/want a home base, something to return to, and a place that is embedded in our psyches and peopled with our friends and family.
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