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Old 06-21-2013, 02:18 PM   #21
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I travel for three to six weeks at a time and budget about $3000 for the entire trip, including airfare. I travel during the shoulder months and watch for fare specials. I usually choose my destination based on where the cheapest airplane flies.

I stay in a private room in a hostel or pensione which does mean sharing a kitchen, but I've found that I enjoy hearing other people's stories over breakfast. The cost is a fraction of a hotel cost.

Hostels in the US can be hard to find, but sometimes the hostel sites also include cheap hotels and I find a spot that way. I think my hotel room in Waikiki was $70/night since it was three blocks from the beach......
I follow a similar approach, plus I love camping which can further stretch my dollars. ER offers a lot of time to travel, but I still need to be careful about how much I spend because it can get expensive and I am a freak about my budget.

I have budgeted over $12k this year for travel, making it by far the largest line item in my total budget. But it is also the most discretionary line and the one I use for unexpected expenses. For example, I had some unexpected dental work and had to fund part of it from travel. OTOH if I can save money on groceries or miscellaneous, I will plow the savings into a year end trip.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:40 PM   #22
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.... Want to go to Europe and travel a ton around the U.S. I think $20K-25K a year for the first 4 or 5 years would be reasonable. .....Thoughts?
How did you reach this number? If you've based it on your past trips to Europe & around the country, or have researched daily & travel costs, then you're fine. Otherwise, you're shooting in the dark.

When we ER'd, we had a pretty good idea what our vacations usually cost, but we didn't (and still don't) have a fixed vacation budget. We plan 3-4 significant trips a year, but have dropped them if our annual budget was used up elsewhere or if the portfolio wasn't doing well. (our annual budget is based on a fixed percentage of the current portfolio value)
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:01 PM   #23
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For years we rarely traveled: small kids, complicated lives, too much work. Then for a while we were able to work in one nice trip a year.

After we ER'd we started traveling more. Maybe one "big" trip a year, one trip south to warm up in the winter, and a few more smaller trips around the edges.

As to the budget, we budget more than we spend since we intend to travel even more than we do. The exact amounts would depend on how you like to travel and where you want to go. Road trips around the US don't have to be especially expensive, while a river cruise down the Rhine or visiting Mt Fuji starts to get pricey.

If you have the disposable income, travel is a great way to spend it. And worth it if you get enjoyment out of it.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:00 PM   #24
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The only trips I have taken in the last few years have been back home to the UK for funerals, unfortunately. Other than that, I don't travel. Hopefully in a few years......
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:10 AM   #25
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We budget $20k, but expect it to be more along the lines of 15-15-30 over three years. I.e., two years with visiting our two kids a couple times each with the travel trailer plus side trips for sightseeing and a few weeks (4 days at a time) trailer-camping in the woods somewhere. In the third year, we'll have a bigger trip in addition to the aforementioned, most likely to Europe but possibly also to Japan where we spent 21 out of my 27 career years.

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Old 06-22-2013, 12:31 AM   #26
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After DH retired 3 years ago and I semi-retired we took one "big" trip to London for 2 weeks with us and 2 teenagers. We spent about $15k for this. We did feel it was a good time to do this and it was a fun trip. However, it did confirm to me what I already thought which was that I no longer really enjoy traveling all that much. So in the other 2 years since then our travel has been more $1k a year entirely to visit family.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:31 AM   #27
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I budget $10K per year for travel in my conservative spending plan. Last year I spent about $7K, including six weeks in Europe. This year I will likely spend the full budgeted amount - a long trip to Europe, a couple of weeks in South America, a trip to northern California, and some still to be allocated for a family trip around the holidays.

I am finding that my travel has changed since I RE'd. Rather than paying several thousand for a week or two on the beach in Hawaii, I spend less and stay longer in less expensive places, or places where I have family and friends (i.e., free or cheap lodging). And I am enjoying my trips so much more. In my less conservative budget, which I may adopt after a 5 or so years if there is no major market drama, I double my travel spending. At this point, I don't think I could possibly spend that much.
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Old 06-22-2013, 06:38 AM   #28
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GotaDimple and H20 dude, I would be happy to share our experiences with selecting wonderful housesitters who trade pet care for a free place to stay. We are leaving in a week or so for 7 weeks, and have the most wonderful folks coming to stay with our 5 dogs and 5 cats while we are away. Not only couldn't we afford boarding for so many, the trauma of being kennels versus living in their own home would be too much for our animals.
Key is to have something to offer (nice location, amenities) to attract good candidates, then be able to interview your possibles to see if they are a good match. Realistic expectations and lots of communication are also important.
This has been so much easier than relying on friends and family or local teens to manage our household and makes us feel better about being away.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:50 AM   #29
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DH and I average about $4,000/yr., but that reflects some specific circumstances:

1. We travel an average of 3 wks./yr. to visit family and friends in CA and FL. Those trips include a mix of VRBO rentals, Best Westerns, and staying with the folks we are visiting. We eat out once/day at most, and buy groceries to cook a lot.

2. DH can't travel outside of US for medical reasons, and finds travel here difficult; so our budget reflects those constraints. We would travel more if we could.

3. When I travel outside US with girlfriends, the budget goes up another $3-4000.

Also, a note to Hiredgun-- It seems you have a wonderful opportunity to make priceless family memories. While DH and I did travel some with our son when he was growing up, it was usually to visit family and friends, only occasionally to see the world (ie., U.S., though he's probably been to Disneyworld about 5 times). We couldn't ER until ages 59 and 62, after he was grown and gone.

If we'd had the cash, freedom, time (and the health of that earlier season in life), I would have taken those five years, spent the $20,000/yr., and take the family to see the world. How many families get that chance?

When those five years are over, and your son grown, you can adjust your plans and budget. But you can never get those five years back, or his adolescence, or his willingness and availability to travel with you. What gifts!!!!!!! (IMHO)

FWIW....

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Old 06-22-2013, 09:28 AM   #30
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Yeah, I recently revised my Quicken habits and classify boarding as a travel expense rather than "dog". Having three dogs (one inherited from daughter when she expatriated) I've had some boarding bills in excess of $1,000. I'm a sucker for that extra "play time" as it soothes my guilt for leaving them. Tempted to try house/pet sitters but DW not too keen on that.
Ha Our budget has been $20,000, although we haven't spent quite that much yet, but when I read the above, it caused me to check what our boarding costs are (two dogs - one adopted from daughter when she couldn't take hers to work anymore) and when you combine our travel with our kennel budget it is 24,000. We spend 6-8 weeks a year in Mexico and another 2 - 4 traveling elsewhere in the US or foreign capitols - Planning on Amsterdam/Brussells/Bruge this fall.

I honestly think if we didn't have pets - we would travel more - but then who would greet us so enthusiastically each and every time we return home regardless of whether we have been gone for 15 minutes or 6 hours.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:38 AM   #31
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You're fortunate that your teenage son wants to travel with you. We had to quit traveling as a family when our teenage son became so ornery that I was afraid someone might get hurt and it might have been me.
Oh boy do I remember those days. Our DS is now 28 and asks us how we put up with him while we were travelling with him as a teenager. DD was an angel for the most part, but DS constantly governed the itinerary, from not rising in the AM until he was good and ready, to getting up to take a shower as it was time for us to leave for our dinner res. But we forged on. Those trips were some of the most memorable to all of us and I wouldn't trade one of his sulky moments for the pure joy of spending time together while viewing some of the wonders of the world.

Although our kids visit us often now, and are thrilled to have us visit them, they are too busy to vacation with us and have their own adventures to experience, sans parents. We pray that this will change when they have their own little ones and perhaps will take a trip with the grandparents tagging along.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:50 AM   #32
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We are leaving in a week or so for 7 weeks, and have the most wonderful folks coming to stay with our 5 dogs and 5 cats while we are away.
Sarah - do all your pets get along harmoniously, or is there the occasional bit of hissing and growling between certain members? Just wondering, as 5 dogs and 5 cats sounds like quite a menagerie, albeit a joyous one!
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #33
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Great topic! We budgeted 12K to start, but agreed we would spend more to start (we can afford it). We will go over this year as we did a couple weeks in Italy, a cruise, a couple weeks in California (we are in Boston) and will do a couple weeks in the Outer banks in the fall. Also we rent an expensive 5 bedroom lake house in NH once a year and all the kids and grandkids come. That sort of breaks the budget. We did get an 8K refund on our last half year of work, so that paid for Italy.

My husband is somewhat uptight about money (even though we are spending about 85% of our budget)....so he is suggesting we cut back. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I think we should budge 20K a year for 5 years, then cut back.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:02 PM   #34
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We love to travel, so it seems dumb to cut back here. I would prefer to cut back somewhere else.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:14 PM   #35
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I have a question about travel budgets. When you are away from home, do you count groceries as travel expenses, or do you account for them in your grocery budget? If you were to rent a house or condo on the beach, you could make all your own meals and save a bundle by avoiding eating out. If you were staying for a month or three, the difference would be substantial.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:19 PM   #36
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In my budget I include food in vacation as well as fuel if we are driving. I reduce my normal budget by the amount I won't be spending.

I also include dog/cat boarding in vacation rather than pet. For short trips the cost of boarding is the largest cost.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:32 PM   #37
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My plan is $30K or so for myself, DW, and DS.
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Old 06-22-2013, 08:23 PM   #38
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Tom that is a good question. And no, I actually have to keep the old dog segregated from the others at all times, as the younger female will attack her. It makes things a bit complicated to say the least.
We have a couple of cats that disagree with each other, but because they all can go outside, it lessens the intensity of the discord. We have 4 fenced acres in the country, so all but the old dog stay outside during the day.
Having a house sitter is a huge factor in our travel plans, and we booked our folks coming next week back in November.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:48 PM   #39
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Thanks Sarah - was just wondering, as I have 3 cats in a 280 sq foot studio who get along most of the time, with the occasional bit of discord from time to time, though nothing too serious.

I carry the dream in my head of a pet family with complete harmony between all members, but realize this is an ideal that is not always achieved - just as with human families

With the number of pets you have, a house sitter you can trust is a definite advantage (and probably a fun time for them too).
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Old 06-22-2013, 10:55 PM   #40
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Well without delving too deep in animal husbandry here...cats are really solo animals, and multi-cat households are hard to manage in the best of circumstances.

So don't feel bad that yours aren't always getting along because it just simply isn't in their nature. I have all females right now, as I just lost my 16 year old orange peacemaker. Two calicoes get along fine, tabby and black/white get along, and gray keeps her own counsel. But they don't get along across those borders. All are 5+ years old so they aren't going to get better.
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