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Did Anyone Travel the US for a Few Months after Retiring?
Old 12-22-2019, 04:59 PM   #1
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Did Anyone Travel the US for a Few Months after Retiring?

I have traveled the US pretty extensively, but my spouse hasn't. So we'd like to travel around the country for, say, 6 months after we're both retired.

What do people who've done this think is the best mode of travel if you want to make your own itinerary, just sort of gambol around, and stop whenever/wherever/for however long you want?

I've gleaned from this forum that going by RV may not be the best way, and that just driving and staying in different hotels along the way turns out to be just about the same cost. (We don't own an RV and would have to rent one if we went that route.)

Any thoughts/advice from anyone who did something similar? Thanks.

P.S. I MAY NOT REPLY IMMEDIATELY TO RESPONSES TO THIS POST, BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN I'M NOT LISTENING. THANK YOU.
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Old 12-22-2019, 05:39 PM   #2
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We have enjoyed some of the National Parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Yosemite , Zion and the Grand Canyon.
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Old 12-22-2019, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks, Teacher--awesome suggestions!--but I'm not really looking for suggestions of where to go. More looking for HOW to go ...
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Old 12-22-2019, 05:58 PM   #4
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Traveled the US continually for 5 years after already having been 5 years retired. We lived in a motorhome which made wandering very easy and we really enjoyed it. Traveled 10,000 miles a year, looping from coast to coast i.e. traversing the US twice each year. Used mostly state, county and federal/national parks. Our focus was nature photography.
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Old 12-22-2019, 06:56 PM   #5
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We've done quite a bit of traveling around the US and Canada, months at a time but still maintaining a home base. We do a mixture of Airbnb, hotels and camping. But our camping is tent camping, so no RV. Just a Tacoma pickup which is big enough for camping gear and two mountain bikes in the back. We just spent three months camping our way from Washington to Arizona, staying there a couple of months in an Airbnb, and camping our way up the California coast. Mixed in some hotel nights because we hit a rainy front along the way.



Sometimes I'm tempted by a campervan, though. It would be kind of nice to be able to just do an overnight without setting up and tearing down camp. And with a heater, it would extend our date and destination range. But I don't really want to deal with maintenance on another vehicle.
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Old 12-22-2019, 06:57 PM   #6
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This personal finance blogger posted about the costs and included is a link to his travel blog and why he decided to travel the way he did.

https://www.getrichslowly.org/us-by-rv/
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:23 PM   #7
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We've traveled quite a lot around the US in our car. We stay at hotels. However, our longest trip has been about 6 weeks with a mix of hotels & homes of friends & relatives.

Since we've driven the roads around our home town so often, we now fly to someplace, rent a car and then start our road trips.

I think everyone (who can afford it) should drive across the US. It is an eye opening adventure.
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:37 PM   #8
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I think everyone (who can afford it) should drive across the US. It is an eye opening adventure.
I actually drove around the US in a 1972 Toyota van, accompanied only by my 4-lb Yorkie, back in the late 80s when I was still single and 30-ish. I agree with you 1000%--it was fantastic and eye-opening.

This is exactly why I want to do it again, but this time with my spouse.
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PawPrint53 View Post
This personal finance blogger posted about the costs and included is a link to his travel blog and why he decided to travel the way he did.

https://www.getrichslowly.org/us-by-rv/
Thanks for this link, PawPrint! I also kept a day-by-day log of every penny I spent on my 3-month cross-country trip back in the 80's. Pretty sure I still have it. But we didn't have the interwebs back then--my friends actually bought me a CB RADIO as a going-away gift, lol!! How times have changed!
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:12 PM   #10
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We plan to travel the USA this year by air and car rental and/or UBER/taxi/public transport/rent bicycles if in a big city.

We have a companion pass on Southwest which is only effective through 2020, so we are going to use it and our points from my husband's road warrior travel in 2019 to the greatest extent we can - without wearing ourselves completely out!

In terms of lodging, we plan to use a combo of the following:
  • staying with friends/family (or their cabins/boats - we have several great options for this, thankfully)
  • camping in national parks - we'll rent and RV and have it set up and delivered (looking at RVshare - haven't tried it yet, though)
  • housesitting/petsitting - we belong to trustedhousesitters and have developed our housesitting "resume" over the past 5 years
  • using hotel points from DH's work trips up til now
  • purchasing hotels, airBNB's, etc.
  • we are considering using homeexchange.com, but I'm not sure yet if we'll do that - logistical issues, worries about loaning out our home while we are gone
  • considering over 55+ travel clubs like this for short stays...but a little leery - still investigating: https://www.evergreenclub.com/
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:15 PM   #11
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I've traveled extensively with my ex-MegaCorp picking up the tab. The current problem in traveling week after week is the escalating cost of hotels and motels. If you could average $80 a night, you'd be doing especially well. Add a tank of fuel a day and food and you could easily be spending $175 a night. You'd be spending $32K for 6 months' travel.

I'm fortunate that we live in a central location within a day's drive of 1/2 the U.S. population. We can do quick trips out and back home and see many places. Our home airport also has great connections with 3 budget airlines plus Southwest getting us non-stop to so many great cities (often for cheap fares.)
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SoReadyToRetire View Post
I actually drove around the US in a 1972 Toyota van, accompanied only by my 4-lb Yorkie, back in the late 80s when I was still single and 30-ish. I agree with you 1000%--it was fantastic and eye-opening.

This is exactly why I want to do it again, but this time with my spouse.
I did one lap of America in 6 months in early 70's in a Ford van with new spouse. It was terrific. Today I'd want a little more luxury, but I'd be happy doing it again in my Casita 17 foot camper. For $15K, you can buy a nice used one and sell it for what you paid, after the trip.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:52 PM   #13
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How? In a Corvette convertible of course.



And donít forget to play the right music while tooling down the road (notice where they stash their bags):

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Old 12-22-2019, 10:05 PM   #14
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Seriously though, staying at hotels and traveling using one’s own car gives maximum flexibility when confronted with a plurality of possibilities, as you seem to want to do.
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:46 PM   #15
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We spent seven months hauling a pop-up camper through most of the national parks in the western US. Bought the vehicle and the camper early on in the trip, both used. Sold both after the trip was over. Then we moved to Mexico.

I think we came out ahead, financially, vs. hotels. Depends on if you want to see the national parks or not, whether you enjoy RV parks, etc.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:34 PM   #16
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For mobility a class B motorhome would be great. It's self-contained to allow you to spend the nights in national parks in comfort, yet is small enough to also let you visit cities.

When I wear out my class C motorhome (which has a toad), will get a larger class B in order to travel in my old age.

PS. We used to do a lot of roadtrips with a car in our 20s. Thinking back, looking for a motel and having to check in/out, and also looking for places to have a meal takes quite a bit of time. With a self-contained vehicle, finding a place to "stealth camp" takes less time.
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Old 12-23-2019, 05:38 AM   #17
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the day after my retirement, I left on my motorcycle in route to Canada. 3 weeks later I came home. I slept in a tent every night. medical forced me to take less LONG rides, so I adapted and trailerded my bike to the destination. 31 days to Yellowstone...my wife flew out to meet me as her time off only allows 9 days in a row. we also did another month trip to Colorado, but in my miata. I've sold my last bike now, forever. we still like to ride, and camp, but now we take the vette. there are some drawbacks to camping out of a vette, but smiles per mile is not one of them!
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by SoReadyToRetire View Post
I have traveled the US pretty extensively, but my spouse hasn't. So we'd like to travel around the country for, say, 6 months after we're both retired.

What do people who've done this think is the best mode of travel if you want to make your own itinerary, just sort of gambol around, and stop whenever/wherever/for however long you want?

I've gleaned from this forum that going by RV may not be the best way, and that just driving and staying in different hotels along the way turns out to be just about the same cost. (We don't own an RV and would have to rent one if we went that route.)

Any thoughts/advice from anyone who did something similar? Thanks.

P.S. I MAY NOT REPLY IMMEDIATELY TO RESPONSES TO THIS POST, BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN I'M NOT LISTENING. THANK YOU.
We have travelled extensively for 4 years. If you are talking saving money, any mode of travel will cost about the same in total, short of hiking and camping only. Most of the people touting RV savings aren't being complete in their analysis versus hotels. It comes down to which lifestyle you want.

Our best tidbits of knowledge:
1. Get an annual National Parks Pass--some amazing value there if you like nature.

2. Get a museum membership at a level that includes NARM/ROAM privileges (we pay 150 annually for a couple membership). There are hundreds of free admissions available to you. We like it for rainy days and usually use it as a backup if the first travel activities don't work out. You only need to go to a couple museums annually to break even.

3. If you do hotels, get a national chain that offers you great deals. Our top is the IHG chain because of the size and value. Also get the corresponding credit card that will give you a free night for every 3 or 4 stays at the same location. If you're really doing lot of travel you'll start getting higher status levels, a minor boost. If we're really watching dollars we can stay for about $70-80 total cost for a standard hotel room and a hot breakfast for free. Some of the long term stay brands also have free receptions for dinner which you can use for a meal at the better ones. You do need to look at each property to make sure of the details. Tripadvisor is a great independent ranking system to doublecheck with hotel ratings.

Runner-ups in order for us include Best Western, Hilton and Marriott which used to to be better before everyone got "Bonvoyed" (ugh). Each have similar options.

4. Dining in vs. dining out is one place where you can save money and add flexibility. If you're doing National Parks and have packed a small cooler with drinks and munchies, you can park anywhere and have scenic dining while traffic subsides. Out best fun was a lunch of PB&J sandwiches while stuck in a buffalo jam in Yellowstone--we were going nowhere for a half hour or so, so the timing was great. Our other options there were the park restaurants which would have been at least $40-50+ for the privilege of waiting in another hour long line listening to various random kids have meltdowns after a long day in the car with parents who can't plan their way out of a paper bag. So two hours of aggravations and cost versus hanging out with the large herbivores. You can't beat it.

If you are more into the camping lifestyle and culture, none of the above is likely helpful to you but maybe someone else can read and learn.
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:06 AM   #19
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The closest thing I have come to RV travel is during the 70s as I traveled around in my converted VW bus and tent camping for a month at a time.
My wife and I discussed traveling in the US again but now it is in a comfortable car and stopping at hotels/motels for the night. The cost of an RV or a rental would be more than what we would spend in lodging as well as having to shlep around in a big RV, the added gas expense, maneuvering parking sites, and parking for the night. Preparing meals and clean up would not be an issue either.



Cheers!
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Old 12-23-2019, 07:17 AM   #20
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Yes, we retired in 2015 and then in 2016 we took off on a 8 month jaunt around the USA, staying for a week or three in 22 states.

Ended up coming right back to Washington, because....Washington is the best state.
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