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1st time travel planning as retirees...
Old 05-13-2015, 11:00 AM   #1
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1st time travel planning as retirees...

We are 6 months and 1 day away from our drop dead date to retire!!!


Over the past few weeks, we've been researching places we'd want to go to as we transition into our new lifestyle. We want to have a travelling lifestyle (6 months average at any given place as our home base to explore). We are going to hold onto our house for the next 2 years (market hasn't picked up yet), so for now, thinking we would go somewhere WARM in January for about 3 - 6 months.

Our problem: There's so much to see and do in this world!!! Where do we start?!!! Soon, we will truly be able to go where we want to, but it's not as easy as we thought!

Curious to hear what you guys experienced....should we be concerned about a 'transition' into this lifestyle? Tips we should consider when making your plans....

So far, we've narrowed it down to:

Option 1: Safe and Familiar --- Hawaii or Puerto Rico would allow us to 'transition' to a travelling lifestyle easily....still part of the US, places we've been to several times (and loved). Cost of living would be on the high end (will need a car, for example) -- within our budget, but not something we want to 'get used to' having as we travel the world.

Option 2: A Familiar Change --- Philippines is familiar (lived in Manila as a child; been to manila for a few weeks), but LIVING in one of the smaller towns would be new to us (there are expats where we would want to go and certainly the 'dream' home....just not sure if we want our first experience as retirees dealing with the noise and bugs and other inconveniences right away....we were totally ok for a week, but 3 0 6 months?

Option 3: Totally New....Australia, Bali....possible housesitting gig in Australia....never been to either one, but why wouldn't anyone want to go there right?
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:38 AM   #2
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Just start traveling, one trip at a time. In a year you'll have a better idea of what works for you and be able to make more elaborate plans. Experimenting - trying different things - is probably the best way to get started.
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:46 AM   #3
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I have no advice but I'm envious. We plan to do pretty much the same thing but although we retired in Jan, we still have to get our son out of school before we disappear for long periods. For now, 5-7 day trips is our max. Once we move to Florida in July, we will be able to stretch to 2 wks or so since we have gobs of relatives there.
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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YMMV but I'd suggest starting with something somewhat familiar.

Respectfully, if long term travel is new to you, you'll likely make some rookie mistakes.

It would be best to warm up and learn what works for you before you'd go for that really expensive, once in a lifetime, blowout trip, like Greece or Ankor Wat.
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:16 PM   #5
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My husband retired in February this year. We left on March 11, 2015 for a retirement road trip which turned into visiting my mom who is terminally ill. We left Washington state and traveled down to California. Took 7 days to get to Texas, the long way.


After spending 3 weeks in her driveway we moved on to New Orleans, Gulfport - Mississippi, Biloxi - Mississippi, Alabama, Ga. and Fl. We did all the tourist things. Saw a bunch of "free" stuff and headed home by way of Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and finally Washington.


We learned we do not want to RV full time. Our travel trailer is only 17 ft but served us very well for our needs. We traveled 8200 miles. We have learned we will not take our rv any further than California to the south and Wyoming to the West. Lots to see in these areas in the rv. We also learned we will fly to other places and rent a car from there.


Had a great time saw lots. You will have to experiment to see what suits you and your lifestyle. Have fun learning! Good luck on your upcoming retirement.
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:40 PM   #6
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I notice you don't mention anywhere in the lower 48..is that deliberate in that it does not interest you?

You also don't mention any type of a budget. Have you been away from home for an extended period? We were limited to 7-10 days while working and thought the same as you, we would just pull out for long periods in the winter. After 5 years we find 5-7 weeks away is plenty and we kind of miss our home.


If I had any advice for the first trip it would be, start with somewhere warm in the US, drive your own car, use VRBO and look around for a discounted monthly rental. In our case we would do Florida or the Southern US or the Southwest with some stops on the California coast. I would make sure we were by some cruise ports, had valid passports and would be looking for deep last minute discounts on warm weather cruises. This is the beauty of a monthly discounted rental, the nightly cost is so reasonable you can simply pack up and do a wonderful super cheap cruise somewhere and not even think about packing, repacking, moving or the cost of being gone.

I think you would be surprised at how far your money would go on a trip like this.
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Old 05-13-2015, 02:56 PM   #7
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Lots of warm places when it's cold in the US. Most places near the equator and south, for example.

For long term trips, we're stuck with summer travel due to the kids' school schedule. This summer it's 2 months in Mexico with 2+ week apartment or house rentals in a few different cities. There's definitely a huge discount on lodging at the 1 week and 1 month threshold, and I imagine another reduction in costs if you can do truly long term rentals of 3, 6, or 12 months.

Over the next few years, we'll probably make a big trip like this most summers assuming this trip goes well. Europe (Spain to Germany) is a candidate for 2016, with a possible transatlantic cruise at one end of the trip. Asia is another option, probably a few years out.

We look at weather, exchange rate and costs of where we want to visit. Now is a better time to visit Europe than it was over the past few years due to the better USD/EUR exchange rate. Mexico even more so (which is partially why we ended up picking Mexico for this summer).

I'd say start researching the regions you want to visit and let those trips come together over time. We're afflicted with the same desire to see most of the world and have to start somewhere. We've never been to Europe or Asia (other than DW who is a native of Asia but remembers almost nothing of it due to leaving at age 7), so those continents provide a lot more novelty than the US, Canada, Caribbean islands, Mexico, Central America or South America. Not that we would rule out visiting places we've already been to.
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Old 05-13-2015, 03:09 PM   #8
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When I read the title, I immediately thought of H. G. Wells :-)

I'd go back to the 1990's. Everything was so much more fun.

(Sorry I have nothing to contribute about current travel).

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Old 05-13-2015, 03:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
When I read the title, I immediately thought of H. G. Wells :-)

I'd go back to the 1990's. Everything was so much more fun.

(Sorry I have nothing to contribute about current travel).

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I'd just do a little dirty market timing...
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Old 05-13-2015, 05:09 PM   #10
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Option 2: A Familiar Change --- Philippines is familiar (lived in Manila as a child; been to manila for a few weeks), but LIVING in one of the smaller towns would be new to us (there are expats where we would want to go and certainly the 'dream' home....just not sure if we want our first experience as retirees dealing with the noise and bugs and other inconveniences right away....we were totally ok for a week, but 3 0 6 months?
Just make sure you're current on the necessary vaccines (typically Hepatitis, Tetanus and Dengue). Our last vacation there was for one month and it was fine. I think 3-6 months is doable but I wouldn't want to be there during summer and storm season. Well, maybe if we stay in Baguio or Tagaytay during summer. The biggest annoyance was traffic since it was Christmas season. Both my grandma and aunt have actually gone back to live there (grandma rents a condo in Eastwood, Quezon City and aunt built a house in Antipolo, Rizal) after having lived in the US for 20+ years. If I may ask, where do you plan to stay while there?

One really nice thing is you can easily stretch your dollars thanks to lower cost of living. Our daily food budget for 2 people was $10 and that included lunch and dinner at nice restaurants. There are JCI accredited hospitals and health care costs are fairly reasonable. Yearly out of pocket costs should be significantly less than insurance premiums in the US as long as you don't have a severe condition.

Sometimes, we visit other nearby countries when we go to the Philippines on vacation. From there, airfare going to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, etc is pretty inexpensive.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:36 PM   #11
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If I had any advice for the first trip it would be, start with somewhere warm in the US, drive your own car, use VRBO and look around for a discounted monthly rental. In our case we would do Florida or the Southern US or the Southwest with some stops on the California coast. I would make sure we were by some cruise ports, had valid passports and would be looking for deep last minute discounts on warm weather cruises. This is the beauty of a monthly discounted rental, the nightly cost is so reasonable you can simply pack up and do a wonderful super cheap cruise somewhere and not even think about packing, repacking, moving or the cost of being gone.

I think you would be surprised at how far your money would go on a trip like this..
This is very wise advice. You should go where it's warm, and the easiest warm place to live in winter is south of the Orlando area in Florida. I like from Ft. Myers to Sarasota specifically. Your trip won't break the bank, either.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:38 AM   #12
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When I read the title, I immediately thought of H. G. Wells :-)
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ditto...... It would be fun too !!
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:11 AM   #13
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AUDREY - you're absolutely right and it should be as simple as you say, but I guess if I had a time machine, then this would be so much easier! :-) (UTRECT - I can send it to you so you can go into the future!)

Travelling somewhere warm is definitely critical for us. Although we considered Europe, it would be way too cold in January (we love fishing and scuba diving).....we are actually saving up our Marriott rewards points to travel around Europe someday (backpack a few nites; hotel another, etc), so we might run into you one summer, FUEGO!

KIMC and IVAN - my husband was actually looking into the possibilities of getting an RV and staying in the country (warm states of course!)...another thought was to trade in our boat to another that would allow us to travel by water (but this will have to be in the warmer seasons as well)....

HNZW - my mom actually did the same thing that your grandma and aunt did and moved to the Philippines....also in Antipolo. However, I would definitely not retire there (I don't like city life). We would start in Dumaguete or Cebu or Palawan (where we've been before to go diving) and eventually find a place where we can establish a home base (my mom's business is to actually build houses in the Philippines so I've got the right contacts!) and then, travel throughout Asia. If we went to the Philippines on our 1st trip, then it would confirm (hopefully) that our long term plans are realistic.

FUEGO - I forgot about Mexico though....we love going to Cozumel and Akumal but don't see us living there for our 1st 3 - 6 months. Where are you planning to go?

MARKO - any personal experiences you can share about the types of rookie mistakes to look out for? Anyone else have tips to share on these when it comes to long term travelling?
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Old 05-14-2015, 06:20 AM   #14
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I'll try to get back to you with more, but off the top of my head:

When we moved to Europe we started looking to buy a car until we realized how good, efficient and cheap public transportation is. We then only rented a car when we wanted to go someplace outside the city.

I see people use Traveler's Checks when a trip to the ATM works much better. AVOID the kiosks on the street exchanging money if you can.

Friends moved to San Diego from Boston for six months and wanted to buy a car...they found that shipping their car was a better, cheaper option.

Don't order Steak Tartar!!

More later...
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:06 AM   #15
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Apartments:
A 7th floor apartment doesn't always mean it has an elevator.

"Yes, there is free wifi (down at the cafe on the corner)"

Make sure that water pressure and "hot water" is what you're expecting. Check out the shower too.

If there is no washing machine (dryers can be rare) make sure you're near a laundromat; especially if you don't have a car.

Check out the neighborhood morning, afternoon and late evening... a quiet neighborhood during the day could mean that everyone is sleeping from a raucous party night before. Lots of neighborhoods change personality after dark.

"Right on the beach and secluded" sounds nice. Make sure you don't get unwanted and unsavory visitors at 2AM out in the boonies.

Why are there bars on the windows and doors?

But graffiti on the walls doesn't always mean you're in a bad neighborhood.

Hotels often have a continental b'fast. Make sure you know what it costs! Sometimes it's included, sometimes it can cost a fortune! We ended up paying over $70 for coffee and a croissant in Rome...we assumed it was included and didn't want a big b'fast...had we known! You can often get a good b'fast at the cafe right outside the hotel for cheap.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:27 AM   #16
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We are 6 months and 1 day away from our drop dead date to retire!!!


Over the past few weeks, we've been researching places we'd want to go to as we transition into our new lifestyle. We want to have a travelling lifestyle (6 months average at any given place as our home base to explore). We are going to hold onto our house for the next 2 years (market hasn't picked up yet), so for now, thinking we would go somewhere WARM in January for about 3 - 6 months.
With dealing with aging parents.... this kind of travel is likely not possible for us.

Some things to consider if you haven't. For longer trips... check out what kind of visas are required. If you are getting a car, check out if you can get insurance and what the rules are for driving where ever you plan to drive. Also how are you covering health insurance when in an other part of the world.

Places (not necessarily for winter) Great Britain, New Zealand, Japan, Europe (not going to identify by country here... too many nice places), Canary Islands, Greece.

Enjoy the time away
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:02 AM   #17
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Some great ideas are popping up here. RV's are available to rent as well, you see rental units all over, especially in the Southwest. An RV is a big money item and for us, we would definitely do a rental before committing to buy one.

You sounds as if you have many travels ideas and plans,have you ever thought about cruising? We have never done a cruise, but I have really seem some fantastic last minute wintertime deals pop-up at the last minute and some of these are for 14-21 day cruises. The cost per day on some of these cruise is really reasonable. Florida would be great for this, as they have so many cruise ports in the state. It seems that if you are willing to cruise in mid-Jan-late Feb, the deals are fantastic.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:12 AM   #18
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Talking about Mexico and warm weather a great town is Puerto Morelos, a little fishing village about half-way between Cancun and Playa, it has a couple of wonderful small apartment units that have a lot of Canadians and and people escaping the winter. It's a great little town. We have talked to people that stay there for a couple of months.You can use cabs, take the bus, or rent a car only on the days you want to drive somewhere.

Nothing like the craziness of Cancun and even Playa, it has a great dive shop too.
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:47 AM   #19
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Talking about Mexico and warm weather a great town is Puerto Morelos, a little fishing village about half-way between Cancun and Playa, it has a couple of wonderful small apartment units that have a lot of Canadians and and people escaping the winter. It's a great little town. We have talked to people that stay there for a couple of months.You can use cabs, take the bus, or rent a car only on the days you want to drive somewhere.

Nothing like the craziness of Cancun and even Playa, it has a great dive shop too.
Puerto Morelos made the short list for us for a visit but didn't make the final cut. It looks like a nice sleepy little Riviera Maya town that's not as commercialized as Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.

We ended up booking an apartment in Tulum (because pyramids and cenotes) which is still nowhere near as commercialized as Playa del Carmen or Cancun.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:10 PM   #20
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Travelling somewhere warm is definitely critical for us. Although we considered Europe, it would be way too cold in January (we love fishing and scuba diving).....we are actually saving up our Marriott rewards points to travel around Europe someday (backpack a few nites; hotel another, etc), so we might run into you one summer, FUEGO!
Ah, yes. Most of Europe isn't that warm in winter (though many places in the South aren't horrible). I was rambling on about my own plans for summer trips. I've also heard the spring and fall shoulder seasons are better in Europe to skip the crowds and for better weather (mostly in the south).

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FUEGO - I forgot about Mexico though....we love going to Cozumel and Akumal but don't see us living there for our 1st 3 - 6 months. Where are you planning to go?
We're spending 7 weeks total down there as follows:

2 weeks San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato state - 4 hours NW of Mexico City, air service from Mexico city or nearby Leon. Lots of expats. Old colonial city in the central highlands, so temps are moderate year round and winters are pretty comfy (though many rental houses have fireplaces and heaters). We're sort of scoping out places for longer term stays in case we get the expat bug ourselves, but not planning on leaving Raleigh long term any time soon.

2 weeks in Mexico City - Staying a few subway stops away from the center of town in an apartment in a Mexican neighborhood. Shouldn't be as busy as the very center of Mexico City but not far away when we want to hit the typical tourist spots. A local market is 5 minutes walk away and we'll be hitting it up regularly.

2 weeks in Oaxaca - Rented a nice 2 BR house with a patio and garden about a mile from the center of town. Oaxaca is about 6-7 hrs by bus from Mexico City. It's more arid and a little hotter than Mexico City, but not bad (excellent in the winter up till March or April when the 1-2 month hot season starts). I've heard Oaxaca is the food capital of Mexico and I plan to repeatedly verify the accuracy of that claim.

0.5 weeks in Tulum - It's pretty warm to very hot year round, definitely warm in the winter.

0.5 weeks in Cancun - Probably head to Isla mujeres for a day, relax and do nothing some. Explore the local town, visit a beach or two. Then fly home.

I'm a big fan of Mexico because it's very close to the US (under 4 hours from Charlotte NC to Mexico City for example; 2.5 hours from Cancun to Atlanta), Spanish is easy to learn, and the weather is more moderate than the US (I'm referring to the central highland region like Oaxaca city, San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City).

We had to get caught up on vaccines and various members of the family needed Hep A and/or B (kids these days get these routinely) plus Typhoid. Those are CDC recommended and FUEGO recommended if you're spending multiple months in country and plan on leaving the resort (or never staying in a resort in the first place like us!).

If you're looking for good fishing and scuba diving, I bet there are plenty of places to accommodate you in Mexico. Baja MX has a lot to offer but I don't have any experience there (yet). Tons of small beach towns up and down the coast on Baja and the mainland, though check the security advisories (US dept of state) as I think Guerrero state (where Acapulco is) is currently off limits for US personnel outside of the tourist area in Acapulco, and recommended to be accessed only by air. Where we're going, there are zero travel advisories other than Estado de Mexico (but not near the particular site we're visiting - pyramids of Teotihuacan).
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