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Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Retirement Travel

As as been mentioned here many times, travel seems to be a favorite pastime for many of the ERd. I guess all types of travel falls into this category from driving your own car on a small trip to taking a round-the-world cruise on the QE2. But no matter what you refer to a travel, it can be costly.

My question is, do you budget for your travel or do you spend your "left overs" on travel? How often do you travel? Favorite travel destinations?

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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Retirement Travel

We budgeted for travel. This added to our RE budget and therefore required a larger retirement portfolio to support it with a high confidence level. That meant working a couple of years longer. But we had fairly limited opportunities to travel together during our working lives and wanted to be able to have travel in retirement as a relatively high priority. That is, we wanted to have budget for travel even in down markets, not just as a way to spend discretionary dollars in up markets.

We're heavy on fishing, conoeing/kyaking and other outdoor adventures right now since we're still feeling robust enough to do them. In the first six months of ER we'll have spent seven weeks from northern Ontario to southern Texas to Maine fishing, enjoying nature, riding whitewater, etc.

We'll transistion to touring (RV?) and other less strenuous activities as my arthritic knees send me the message to do so.

Still open is the issue of what we want to do internationally. I got to spend time in Europe, Asia and South America with my job. DW's international exposure has been very limited. I have little interest in doing more international travel but she'd like to at least have one trip to each of the major regions........

I think this is a recipe each person has to put together for themselves based on their own interests, priorities and circumstances.







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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 12:29 PM   #3
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Re: Retirement Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
My question is, do you budget for your travel or do you spend your "left overs" on travel? How often do you travel? Favorite travel destinations?
It's in the vacation budget. It used to be about 5% of our spending during our working years but the total % has grown a bit as our ER spending has dropped.

Spouse seems to travel more on Navy Reserve business and I come along when Grandma & Grandpa can provide childcare. Of course that's practically a free vacation when I can buy my tickets from her per diem and sleep in her govt-funded hotel room.

So far it's been one or two major trips a year with one or two more neighbor-island visits. It's done around school breaks or holiday weekends and, now that our kid is in high school, the vacations are starting to take on a campus-visit theme. We'd still visit a city's major attractions but we'll also tour a college or two.

We don't have a favorite destination as much as there are places that we'd like to explore more thoroughly. We need to do more in Thailand, we enjoy interisland cruises and checking out the sights on neighbor islands, and we enjoy some cities-- San Diego, Monterey Bay, the Bay Area, visiting friends/family in Washington, DC, and so on. Spouse's idea of "roughing it" is "Room Service closes at 10PM" but I could be talked into more camping/hiking if our kid was inclined to do so. As for wandering China & India or taking Antarctic cruises... eh, send me the video.

When our kid leaves the nest (and our pet bunny goes to his great reward) the travel opportunities will rise dramatically. I could do one or two interisland cruises a year, several neighbor-island weeks, and a month or two in Thailand. Maybe I'd even try a guy's wilderness vacation or two. But I'd stop calling it a "vacation" and start calling it "entertainment".
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
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Re: Retirement Travel

We have always budgeted travel during our working years also. As retirement approaches, we expect that number to increase, and the ability to pay for it will come from the paid off mortgage, freeing up a "windfall" so to speak.

Another approach we will be looking at is taking 2-3 month trips overseas, as well as to places in the US and renting a furnished apartment. Once there - essentially the costs will be slightly to living at home, especially if we take cars off insurance, etc. Transportation will come from the accumulation of FF miles over the working career - with more time on our hands, we can be flexible on dates of travel, making redemption that much easier.

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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 01:13 PM   #5
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Re: Retirement Travel

We have traveled a fair amount domestic & abroad, more constrained by work than budget. When I ER (see below) I'll be doing my own thing occaisionally until DW pulls the plug too, then we will both go. Not specifically budgeting for it, but we'll spring for a trip as the current account (predetermined annual budget) allows.

I'm worried that we will be more & more priced out of foreign travel as the $US continues to sink .
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: Retirement Travel

I estimate 1% (out of the 4% SWR) will be allocated to "Travel and Entertainment." In really bad times I can easily bring my SWR down to 3% or slightly lower.

Right now it's part of the budget.

I don't like to travel to the same place twice, unless it's extraordinary.

Europe, Canada, and the USA have been favorites so far. I did enough cruising to realize I don't enjoy it that much, although I may enjoy it more when I get older.

I'd like to go to Argentina/Brazil, Iceland, Australia/New Zealand in the next few years.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: Retirement Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel9
Another approach we will be looking at is taking 2-3 month trips overseas, as well as to places in the US and renting a furnished apartment. Once there - essentially the costs will be slightly to living at home, especially if we take cars off insurance, etc.
This sounds like the type of thing we are interested in too.

We will certainly have a travel budget, depending on the type/expense of the trips we'll be doing more some years than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
...(and our pet bunny goes to his great reward) the travel opportunities will rise dramatically.
Too bad we don't all live close enough for some pet-sitting exchanges. I would like a bunny for a few weeks!
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 01:57 PM   #8
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Re: Retirement Travel

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Originally Posted by shiny

Too bad we don't all live close enough for some pet-sitting exchanges. I would like a bunny for a few weeks!
We pet sat by brothers rabbit once. He ate through half the electrical cords in the house. Don't know how he survived.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: Retirement Travel

We have a separate travel budget. Would not even think about FIRE unless our travel was adequately funded.

We travel now from 4 to 8 weeks a year. Probably will go up to 3-4 months once we are fully out of the workforce.

Travel all over the US and Mexico. Not yet to Asia, but on our list. We haven't been to Europe for a few years. Falling dollar may limit length of stay, but not whether we'd go or not.

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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: Retirement Travel

Still a ways from FIRE, but I have travel as a separate line item in the ER budget. Approx. 20-25% of total budget. The travel money could also be spent on some other sort of hobby or pastime if something requiring lots of money comes along during FIRE. On the flip side, I could always cut into the travel budget if the portfolio starts shrinking or the Great Depression II comes around.

After all, how much fun would I have blowing money in some exotic place if I'm worried about depleting my portfolio.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 03:14 PM   #11
 
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Re: Retirement Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
We pet sat by brothers rabbit once. He ate through half the electrical cords in the house. Don't know how he survived.
We had rabbits when I was a kid. Kept them in the garage in the winter. They ate a set of my dad's summer tires. The next year we kept them in the basement and they ate all of the rubber hoses to the washing machine.

Not sure why rabbits like rubber
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Re: Retirement Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
We pet sat by brothers rabbit once. He ate through half the electrical cords in the house. Don't know how he survived.
And the wood furniture legs and the floor moldings and the wallboard and the computer cords... his brain cells probably aren't big enough or numerous enough to be badly damaged by an electrical shock, but spouse has threatened his survival a couple times.

Everything is covered or shielded now. Bunnies don't learn very well but they seem to know how to train their owners.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 04:54 PM   #13
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Re: Retirement Travel

We have budgeted 25% of our total ER expenses for travel. I don't know whether we will actually spend that much but wanted to be sure we can do whatever we dream up.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 05:43 PM   #14
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Re: Retirement Travel

I raised rabbits as my 4H project. I think I have killed and skinned about 300 rabbits although it feels like a lot more. I never made much money on selling the rabbits meat until I figured out gardeners would pay alot (to me anyway) for sacks of rabbit droppings. The thought of me having a rabbit for a pet is beyond my comprehension.

Has anyone ever been on any Elderhostel trips or other organized tours. I'd be interested in any experiences.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 08:03 PM   #15
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Re: Retirement Travel

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Originally Posted by 2B
I raised rabbits as my 4H project. I think I have killed and skinned about 300 rabbits although it feels like a lot more. I never made much money on selling the rabbits meat until I figured out gardeners would pay alot (to me anyway) for sacks of rabbit droppings. The thought of me having a rabbit for a pet is beyond my comprehension.
Our kid won't even let her grandfather make hausenpfeffer jokes, and you should see the rabbit owners in a bunny club. Our bunny's a nice animal who's fun to play with and who lowers my blood pressure about 10 points when I pet him, but I'd never be a pet owner myself. Raising a kid is hard enough without taking on more responsibilities.

Half a cup of pellets a day go in, half a cup a day come out. We give our bunny's ouput to the neighbor for her orchids but they're also considered excellent worm (vermiposting) food.

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Has anyone ever been on any Elderhostel trips or other organized tours. I'd be interested in any experiences.
My parents-in-law have been on about a thousand hundred of them. They especially enjoy Civil War subjects but they also like the "Welcome to [insert town name here]" Elderhostels. They've also done a couple EHs aboard cruise ships. PILs say that EH arranges the admission/tickets to local museums/monuments/attractions so that they're never standing in line, the events are usually fully-booked affairs that you'd never discover on your own, and the accomodations & food are usually first-rate. The one in Hawaii seven or eight years ago was especially well done with local personalities & heavy hitters giving the seminars to the class. My MIL says that the talking heads & other historians you always see on Civil War documentaries have all been at their EHs. Even when they have an EH to complain about they're complaining happily.

There's even a guy who lives from one Elderhostel to another. He manages to line up consecutive EHs across the world and go from one city hotel to another on their packages. He's been doing so for several years and may still be doing it.

I think that EH events are listed online but my MIL always works from their catalogs. The various events fill up almost as soon as the catalogs are mailed out, so people must be having a good time.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 08:30 PM   #16
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Re: Retirement Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2B
Has anyone ever been on any Elderhostel trips or other organized tours. I'd be interested in any experiences.
I've got a few years to go before I can try an Elderhostel gig, but I do alot of other "organized" tours. We have a local tour company here (about 15 miles away) that does motorcoach tours all across the USA (and some into Canada and Mexico). Two years ago we did Yellowstone, Glacier, Canadian Rockies, Bannf, Lake Louise, Atabascar (sp?) glacier, and a few other places in Canada. Loved it!!!

This year it was Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Rocky Mountain Nat'l Parks, with a few days in Vegas, and some time at the casinos in Blackhawk, CO. Again....Loved it!!!

Last year we did a week in San Antonio, TX at the Menger Hotel, right across the street from the Alamo, and a block to the river walk. Loved it!!!

They do ALL the planning and reservations. All we have to do is get our a**es on the motorcoach. The owner of the company, and ALL of their staff (escorts, drivers, etc) are like family to us, and they are the absolute nicest folks you could ever meet. They go way out of their way to accommodate people and their needs.

If there is somewhere that you'd like to go and see, they will look into it to see if it would make a good tour. If so, they plan it all out and off ya go!!! That's how this year's southwest nat'l parks tour came about. We bugged their tour cooridinator enough, (and had her over for cookouts a couple of times ) that she finally put it together.

In 2007, they have tours going to the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, etc. Also, one out to Arizona (for the balloon fest), and then to San Diego and down to Tiajuana. There's one to Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Lafayette LA, and Memphis TN. One going to NYC for a bunch of Broadway plays. And some others that I can't remember right now.

All the trips are very affordable (and I'm a cheapskate very frugal!!!), and there always alot of very nice travel companions on board. We've made some very good friendships over the years. We also travel with them to Florida every February for a 2 or 3 weeks, and that trip is very UNstructured....you can do whatever you want to while you're there. They just provide the transportation there and the hotel, and they do 'offer' a few little side trips here and there...IF you want to go....if not, do your own thing!!! (And ALWAYS ocean front rooms!)

You can check them out at http://www.greenriverlines.com/

We have also done Mayflower Tours, but weren't nearly as happy or satisfied with those.
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-13-2006, 09:44 PM   #17
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Re: Retirement Travel

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Last year we did a week in San Antonio, TX at the Menger Hotel, right across the street from the Alamo, and a block to the river walk.
Did you get a chance to throw one back at Teddy Roosevelt's favorite bar?
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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-14-2006, 05:32 AM   #18
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Re: Retirement Travel

I don't FIRE until next year but we've also set a travel budget.

What we would really like to do is loooong vacations of 3-4 months. Does anyone have some ideas of how to do that inexpensively? Normally when we take a vacation it costs about $200-$300 dollars a day. I would like to find ways to bring that number way down. Ideas anyone?

(Don't tell me rv'ing unless you can figure how to include the cost of rv - tow vehicle - insurance - gas - sites in the mix. It looks like fun but the numbers tell me it costs more than I spend now not less)

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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-14-2006, 06:31 AM   #19
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Re: Retirement Travel

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What we would really like to do is loooong vacations of 3-4 months. Does anyone have some ideas of how to do that inexpensively?
In a word, camping. I don't mean the drag-your-home-and-everything-you-own-behind-you RV thing, but tent camping out of your car or van. You can be VERY comfortable with an air mattress, a little camp stove, etc., for not much money. They've got tents now that pitch themselves in about 3 seconds -- you just throw them up and they spring into shape. Pay showers are relatively easy to come by and inexpensive. What's more, you're out in the nature you came to see. Depending on location you can hear the coyotes yip at night, and the birds wake you in the morning. I mix in an occasional hotel night when needed, and that's kind of a vacation-within-a-vacation, if you will.

I spend 2-3 weeks in the desert every year -- California, Arizona, or Utah national parks. My only cost is transportation -- I bring my own food, which I'd be eating at home anyway, and the glorious scenery is free. You can boondock on much of our public lands for free also, if you follow a couple of basic rules. Once, we met two amazing LOLs from France at a campground - one of them had had her hand blown off during the Normandy invasion, no less! They were both living out of their Toyota Previa. They had a little sleeping platform in the van, with a chuck-wagon setup in the hatchback. They'd covered over 20K sightseeing miles when we met them, with many more planned.

Rick Steves' books on Europe have a lot of great recommendations for cheap travel overseas -- many of which apply here in the U.S. as well. A friend and I spent 4 weeks in Italy and then went on to Vienna -- we carried one backpack apiece, stayed in hostels or cheap hotels, ate within walking distance of main attractions rather than right AT them, and had a grand old time for not much money.

For city stays, you might try Craigslist. Folks going away for their own summer vacations rent their apartments for the interim -- I've seen some real deals in NYC, etc. though I've not had a chance to try them yet. Another thing we've done, if there are several of us going, is to rent a larger place together. Twelve of us rented an amazing old Villa in Umbria, Italy about 5 years back. Accomodations, plus a great Italian dinner every night, cost us about $45 each. (This was before the exchange rate went into the dumper, so YMMV, but the theory still applies.)




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Re: Retirement Travel
Old 12-14-2006, 08:09 AM   #20
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Re: Retirement Travel

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IWhat we would really like to do is loooong vacations of 3-4 months. Does anyone have some ideas of how to do that inexpensively?
In 2 words -- Southeast Asia . Not counting flights, the two of us spent about $50-60 per day in 3 weeks in Thailand and Cambodia. Traveled by A/C bus for $6 fare for 6 hours. Stayed in A/C guesthouses or hotels for $15/night (these were nice clean places -- you can go lower, and we did once, but didn't like it). It was a great trip, and I hope to go back for a longer peregrination when I ER.
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