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Is $12,000 per year in travel enough
Old 02-07-2016, 08:18 AM   #1
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Is $12,000 per year in travel enough

Planning to FIRE at 45 with plan to slow travel 1-2 months per year staying in one spot for most of it. I am budgeting $12K per year to do this. I'm Canadian and from what i can tell $3000USD will get me a decent place for one month pretty much anywhere in the world (found some even in NYC on AirBnB). It's amazing the value you can get on long term accommodations versus what one night in a hotel costs. It's just my wife and I so would have plane tickets on top of that and there are always ways to get deals on that - wait for sales, points, etc. I don't consider food expenses in my budget since i have to pay for food anyways. We don't anticipate going to places where a car is needed so we would save on that. If cars were needed for trips they would be rentals.

Our hobbies are somewhat inexpensive - hiking, mountain biking, golf, kayaking, exploring new foods. Some of those obviously more expensive than others and depending on the trip we may or may not even be doing those things. ie a Palm Springs vacation would have golf while a New York one would not

So is this budget reasonable? I've also thought about renting out our primary house for the time we are gone - which would offset any travel costs as well rather than pay someone to look after it
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:35 AM   #2
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So is this budget reasonable?
Yup, it's reasonable . . . for us. YMMV.

Depending on what part of the world we travel our budget ranges from about $80 per day ($40 per day for two people) in Thailand and as much as $240 per day in outrageously expensive Switzerland.

Those prices are for reasonably active travel, meaning we're generally moving every couple of days. If we stay in one spot for a month, which we're doing more often, that cuts costs quite a bit.

We're not extreme budget travelers, plenty of people spend less. But we do focus on value travel and try to get the best bang for our buck. We do rent cars, as needed, but aren't afraid to take local transportation when that seems like the best deal. We don't do a lot of restaurant dining, although we'll do some. But we'll also dine on dollar street food in places where it's delicious.

One area you might be able to save a buck is on airfare. I don't know if Canadians have access to any good travel reward cards, but we save a ton on airfare (even flying business / first this year on several flights around the world) by exploiting credit card rewards programs. Our favorite is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Happy travels,
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:38 AM   #3
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I know a guy who goes from a suburb of Toronto to Myrtle Beach, SC for 3 months every winter (they drive) and he said the apartment (1200sqft 3 bed apt, including house-cleaning service that comes with the apt) cost him and his wife $1200 USD for the whole 3 months (maybe looking back, it was $1200/month, but even that is a pretty good price IMHO.) I was amazed to hear that. (He said he does this instead of going to FL since staying in FL is more expensive.) So I imagine it depends on what kind of travel you end up doing and where you are going, but I think $12,000 sounds very good to me.
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:46 AM   #4
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I budget about $10k per year for 3 family vacations and a couple weekend getaways (boys trips, girls trips, hubby/wife trips). I traveled the world extensively in a previous job, so I don't have a travel bug. We travel to Hawaii at least 1/yr where I own a couple condos. Although I don't pay rent when we go there, I am out my rental income during our stay. Our other trips include some combo of the following: Tahoe, Yosemite, the coast (monterey, santa cruz, etc) and/or Disneyland. We live in CA, so we drive to most of our vacations spots. For our Hawaii trips, we always fly Alaska Air and use their low fare calendar to pick the dates. In addition, my wife and I have separate Alaska Air Visa cards that give us 1 companion fare ticket (~$100) each year plus points. I use the companion fare tickets for our kids. Usually it costs us around $1500 roundtrip for the 4 of us to fly to Hawaii. We set our kids up with their own frequent flier accounts when they were 2 and 5. We all had enough mileage points this year for free tickets, so we are going twice this year.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:37 PM   #5
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We have been travelling 4-5 weeks per year on $6000-8000 total, staying in hotels all the time and using rental cars. I think your $12K for 2 months with reduced expenses should work just fine.
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Old 02-07-2016, 01:15 PM   #6
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Assuming you are budgeting $12,000 US, you should be able to have some great vacations. If you mean $12,000 CDN, not so much, unless you stay at home!

One idea you might explore is buying a fractional ownership of vacation property on the secondary market. I personally own a 1/12 fraction of a luxury resort condo in Canada. I bought it about a decade ago from the developer but could probably get it for less nowadays on the secondary market. What I don't use, I exchange here:

https://www.theregistrycollection.com

I have been to some fantastic resorts at home and abroad, where you may get a 1200 sq foot luxury suite with full kitchen, at a cost of ~ $300 per week (exchange fee). I am currently planning a European vacation around this one:

https://www.radissonblu.com/en/goldensandsresort-malta
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Old 02-07-2016, 01:41 PM   #7
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In 2013:

- A one week, all inclusive, in Mexico

- 12 days in Prague.

- A week in Barcelona, followed by a transatlantic, Barcelona - Florida.

- Rome...then a transatlantic, Civitavecchia - Florida.

All flights, airport parking, medical insurance, accommodation, side trips, food, etc.

Approx $12,750 Canadian for two.
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Old 02-07-2016, 02:06 PM   #8
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Yes, that's definitely a doable budget. We've done a few trips since retiring with a lot of 1-2 week stays in one place (3 places in Mexico, 2 in Canada). We paid $500/wk or less for some average to nice places in urban areas. And those were usually 2-3 bedroom places (family of 5).

So far we haven't had to rent a car (drove to Canada; public transit and taxis are cheap in MX). When you rent an apartment or house, cooking becomes much easier so per day costs for food drops. We still ate out once every day or two and got plenty of take out.

We travel hacked so our 7.5 week Mexico trip was $4500 for the 5 of us. Without travel hacking, it would have been $9000 including flights from the east coast USA. So just over $1000/wk.

Going from 1-2 week rentals to 1+ month rentals will typically save a lot of money. As will staying in the same general location for a month or more (less $ for flights, taxi to airport, etc).
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks View Post
Planning to FIRE at 45 with plan to slow travel 1-2 months per year staying in one spot for most of it. I am budgeting $12K per year to do this. I'm Canadian and from what i can tell $3000USD will get me a decent place for one month pretty much anywhere in the world (found some even in NYC on AirBnB). It's amazing the value you can get on long term accommodations versus what one night in a hotel costs.
I'm a big fan of slow travel as you describe it. Before FIRE, I always felt rushed when visiting a place and I never thought that 1 or 2 weeks was enough time.

We actually don't have a separate budget for this type of travel because we are doing it fulltime -- moving around to different spots in the US and spending anywhere from one month to a chunk of a year. The big advantage, as you note, is being able to get lower housing costs. We've found that we are paying anywhere from 1-1.5x what a local renter would pay. Much less than a hotel, and hotel wouldn't work for us anyway due to lack of kitchen, workspace, accommodations for our dog, etc.

We've primarily stuck to the US (due to our dog) and as we've moved around we haven't noticed any big changes in expenses from place to place or compared to life before fire/travel (aside from the housing itself). I don't think we'd spend that much more even internationally -- in foreign countries we like to go to the local markets, use public transportation or walk, etc.

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I've also thought about renting out our primary house for the time we are gone - which would offset any travel costs as well rather than pay someone to look after it
Eventually we'll settle down and buy a place. But I don't think we'll try and rent it out when were gone due to all the issues that can arise (we might feel differently if we lived near relatives that could help manage it). I'd pay very close attention to the length stay at which short term renters in your home city get full tenant rights and can't simply be "kicked out". Maybe I've just read too many AirBnB horror stories.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:06 PM   #10
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That sounds right for 2 people. Especially if you travel shoulder seasons to get better airfare prices.
(I still have kids in school and HATE paying the high airfare prices of summer.)
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:46 PM   #11
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I've got 21 free days in Europe by using my credit card travel awards. Not the most fancy hotels, they are a little bit better than the ones Rich Steves recommends. I have lots of free miles, I also booked free trips to Europe for my kids, on top of mine. Now that I'm retired, I can keep track f these credit cards.


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Old 02-08-2016, 02:22 PM   #12
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That sounds right for 2 people. Especially if you travel shoulder seasons to get better airfare prices...
This!

Booked a May Cancun trip in January dirt cheap. I love Travelocity!
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:55 PM   #13
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No problem. We spent $8300/8400 CAD for a week visiting inlaws in Ontario followed by five weeks in Greece/Greek Islands, plus a weekend in Paris on the way home to Calgary last Sept/Oct. Stayed in some very nice places by the ocean. That was all in, including air and car rentals.

With that budget you should be able to do two trips a year. Just pick your spots. Watch for travel offers, go to places where your dollars go further, etc. Leaving for two months in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Expect to spend 6K, maybe a bit more.

A few years ago we did a month in a condo in Costa Rica and two weeks driving south. It was very reasonable.
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Old 02-09-2016, 04:33 AM   #14
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Many retirees spend their retirement watching CNN and Fox News programs over and over. My retirement hobby is finding cheap vacation trips and figuring out how to travel the least expensive way.

We're getting ready to fly to Rome and take a cruise to Malta, the Grecian Isles and to Turkey--ending in Venice. We were in Scandinavia and Russia 9/15, on another cruise--a trip of a lifetime. We spent last cold February in Vegas/Hawaii/San Francisco.
10/14, we took a cruise down to Aruba, Curacao and Turks/Caicos. 4/14, we were in Budapest/Vienna/Prague. These were all budget trips.

I watch online websites like ClarkHoward.com who tracks budget flights and bargains. When other travelers are paying $1500 to fly to Europe, I'll go 30-60 days earlier or later and pay $650-700 on Norwegian Air Shuttle out of Orlando.

We were really wanting to travel to Australia and take a cruise around New Zealand last year, but found a $2,000 round trip flight to be out of our budget. We always plan for backup vacations if our preferred destinations are too expensive. Our backup travel place right now is Canada, with about 8 great trips--5 of which we've not yet made.

You should be able to travel very well on $12K per year. Good luck in your travels and get out there and see the world.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:10 PM   #15
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We do exactly the same as Bamaman. Sometimes we do not know exactly where we are going until a few weeks, sometimes a few days, prior to departure.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:24 AM   #16
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A few more details to be finalized, but our next month's trip, leave Toronto March 27, return to Toronto April 24, is shaping up to come in or around $4,700 Canadian ($3,395 US at current rates).

This includes:

- Parking near Toronto Airport
- Medical coverage.
- One way flight for 2, Toronto - St.Maarten.
- One night's accommodation St. Maarten.
- 12 day cruise St.Maarten - Barcelona (including mandatory gratuities).
- One night's accommodation Barcelona.
- Train Barcelona - Leon.
- 5 night's accommodation Leon.
- Train Leon - Ourense.
- 4 night's accommodation Ourense.
- Bus/train Ourense - Porto.
- 5 night's accommodation Porto.
- One way flight for 2, Porto - Toronto.
- Food (we're not 'restaurant people', so we'll be shopping for, and preparing, our own......when we're not on the ship, that is).
- Some side trips (out of Leon/Ourense/Porto) using bus or train.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:51 PM   #17
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A few more details to be finalized, but our next month's trip, leave Toronto March 27, return to Toronto April 24, is shaping up to come in or around $4,700 Canadian ($3,395 US at current rates).

This includes:

- Parking near Toronto Airport
- Medical coverage.
- One way flight for 2, Toronto - St.Maarten.
- One night's accommodation St. Maarten.
- 12 day cruise St.Maarten - Barcelona (including mandatory gratuities).
- One night's accommodation Barcelona.
- Train Barcelona - Leon.
- 5 night's accommodation Leon.
- Train Leon - Ourense.
- 4 night's accommodation Ourense.
- Bus/train Ourense - Porto.
- 5 night's accommodation Porto.
- One way flight for 2, Porto - Toronto.
- Food (we're not 'restaurant people', so we'll be shopping for, and preparing, our own......when we're not on the ship, that is).
- Some side trips (out of Leon/Ourense/Porto) using bus or train.
Nemo, that is really impressive. I would have guessed double your total amount for that trip. 15 nights accommodation off the ship could easily cost (me, an unsavvy shopper) what your whole trip costs, including cruise and flights.

A breakdown of each component and any tips for how to achieve these types of travel cost would be appreciated.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:34 PM   #18
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A breakdown of each component and any tips for how to achieve these types of travel cost would be appreciated.
The cruise, (and this'll be our 3rd time on the CDF Horizon), is cheap; we upgraded and are paying $297 US (plus mandatory gratuities) for an oceanview cabin.

We eschew hotels (unless staying at one is unavoidable) and prefer hostel-type accommodation, small self contained apartments, and even rooms in houses/apartments, (we prefer to have our own bathroom, although, if we're staying only one night we're not so picky) and always read the reviews prior to booking.

We subsequently traveled with, and remain in regular contact with, friends from Missouri whom we first met at a small place in Civitavecchia........in fact every place we've stayed we've encountered good people from a variety of countries, in wide ranging age categories.....(I believe I mentioned on this site that, in Barcelona in 2013, we 'shared' an apartment with a young, heavily tattooed, German couple (he was the bass player in a Punk Rock band); we went to bed long before they came 'home'; they crept in so as not to disturb us, and we reciprocated when we went out early in the morning. They left a day earlier than we did, and thoroughly cleaned/vacuumed before they went.)

Below is a list of the places we've booked for the upcoming journey:

St. Maarten one night only: https://www.expedia.ca/Sint-Maarten-...el-Information

Barcelona one night only: https://www.expedia.ca/Barcelona-Hot...tro_barcelona&

Leon: Apartamentos León
https://www.booking.com/hotel/es/apa...al&type=total&

Ourense: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/4865790

Porto: https://www.wimdu.ca/offers/8RPAX6ID

If you have further queries I'd be happy to attempt to provide answers.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:16 PM   #19
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The cruise, (and this'll be our 3rd time on the CDF Horizon), is cheap; we upgraded and are paying $297 US (plus mandatory gratuities) for an oceanview cabin.

We eschew hotels (unless staying at one is unavoidable) and prefer hostel-type accommodation, small self contained apartments, and even rooms in houses/apartments, (we prefer to have our own bathroom, although, if we're staying only one night we're not so picky) and always read the reviews prior to booking.
Thanks for the detail. What this highlights for me is how much I could save by not going with "name" hotels, and staying in neighborhood apartments instead. I know this, but for some reason your example really resonated (possibly because I am contemplating a one week trip that would have costed about the same as your nearly one month)
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Old 02-13-2016, 03:21 PM   #20
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because I am contemplating a one week trip that would have costed about the same as your nearly one month)
We like to stay longer for less, and hotels/restaurants are not why we travel......we want to see how/where the 'people' of whichever place we're visiting live, (which most often takes us to the old section of town(s) where all the winding alleyways are, and away from where the hotels are).
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