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Old 01-28-2019, 12:30 PM   #61
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We spend 8 weeks every winter in Mexico. We eat out frequently but cook in regularly and I have found it helpful to bring small amounts of the spices that I cook with, so that I don't have buy entire bottles of numerous spices. I also bring my favorite knives, spatula, and tongs, so that I can cook the way I'm used to.

...
+1
That is certainly part of my packing HEAVY when I drive to other States, got fed up with buying more duplicate spices.
I also pack wine/booze just to save the bother of looking for a store to buy it in.
And Coffee and 2 kinds of filters (basket & cone).
And small amount of olive oil, example fill up my oil sprayer that I use for cooking.

Basically I throw a bunch of stuff into a cardboard box from the kitchen so I don't waste $30 with the hassle of finding and buying that stuff.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:22 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
We spend 8 weeks every winter in Mexico. We eat out frequently but cook in regularly and I have found it helpful to bring small amounts of the spices that I cook with, so that I don't have buy entire bottles of numerous spices. I also bring my favorite knives, spatula, and tongs, so that I can cook the way I'm used to.


Sent from my iPad using Early Retirement Forum
We thought of the same thing...took the Instapot and filled it with our favourite spices.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:12 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
We spend 8 weeks every winter in Mexico. We eat out frequently but cook in regularly and I have found it helpful to bring small amounts of the spices that I cook with, so that I don't have buy entire bottles of numerous spices. I also bring my favorite knives, spatula, and tongs, so that I can cook the way I'm used to.


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We used to bring spices also, but last time we went to USVI, we decided to leave them at home. We discovered several delicious spices that were new to us, and in fact one of them is now our favorite spice at home!
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:45 AM   #64
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We started researching last year around now for a stay in South FL from Jan-Mar 2019. We gave up, couldn’t find anything even with a realtor helping. Any tips on how to find a place? We are experienced users of VRBO, Airbnb, and HomeAway.
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My sister in law is the one with the smarts for finding the places to stay. I’ll ask her and report back. One thing I know for sure is she is arranging their stay for next January now.
My brother and SIL came by the other day, on their way back to Chicago. I asked about getting one month rentals in South Fl. She said she saw quite a few listings using VRBO and AirBnB, but started her research 14-15 months in advance and was ready to sign a contract 12 months ahead of time. No other secret or advice. Good luck ..
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:32 PM   #65
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For the first time....6 weeks
Is there anything that we're overlooking?
I am in week 5 of something similar. In terms of what you may be overlooking, what will you be doing with your time? Longer trips have a different vibe than a 7-10 day trip. You may want to bring a hobby with you. You will have plenty of down time. Will you read, learn to juggle, write a book, work out, knit, etc? Not every minute will be, "Hey, let's go see the big ball of twine."

In a longer trip, you will want for some of the things you normally do at home to entertain yourself.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:02 PM   #66
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I am in week 5 of something similar. In terms of what you may be overlooking, what will you be doing with your time? Longer trips have a different vibe than a 7-10 day trip. You may want to bring a hobby with you. You will have plenty of down time. Will you read, learn to juggle, write a book, work out, knit, etc? Not every minute will be, "Hey, let's go see the big ball of twine."

In a longer trip, you will want for some of the things you normally do at home to entertain yourself.
We're not looking to do anything specific...it's just a break from the cold. We're going to find a local gym to work out at, and take it day by day with no pressure to do anything. I brought my guitar as one of my bandmates will be staying close by, and we have a few books.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:47 PM   #67
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so think about where you are going to...

do you want to swim, do you want to snorkel in the gulf, maybe ride bikes ? for clothes you won't need much besides a couple of bathing suits and a couple of nice beach shirts... bring one set of nice dinner clothes... most of the time you can just wear a nice bathing suit and nice shirt... don't forget the beach shoes.. have fun...
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:02 PM   #68
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We live in upstate NY but we never leave our home in winter more than a week as too much can go wrong and we have no one to check on the house.
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:53 PM   #69
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We live in upstate NY but we never leave our home in winter more than a week as too much can go wrong and we have no one to check on the house.
There are things you can buy to monitor it, and you can do things to reduce the possible issues, like turn off the water where it comes in the house (unless you have boiler heating).

However, I too would have been very nervous given the extreme cold Chicago just had of -25 at night and a high of -20 in the day. Big chance of frozen pipes for people.

Frankly it's always a risk, even if you go away for 4 days, the furnace could die, just as you leave, or what happened to us, the toilet shutoff tap blew itself open and sprayed water all over the bathroom for 2 days.
That is why we now shut off our water if we are leaving for an overnight or longer
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:23 AM   #70
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There are things you can buy to monitor it, and you can do things to reduce the possible issues, like turn off the water where it comes in the house (unless you have boiler heating).

However, I too would have been very nervous given the extreme cold Chicago just had of -25 at night and a high of -20 in the day. Big chance of frozen pipes for people.

Frankly it's always a risk, even if you go away for 4 days, the furnace could die, just as you leave, or what happened to us, the toilet shutoff tap blew itself open and sprayed water all over the bathroom for 2 days.
That is why we now shut off our water if we are leaving for an overnight or longer

Yes, I know.Thanks We do have boiler heating though my husband says the water already in the system (baseboards) and stays in it and just recirculates?


We take a 2 week vacation in the summer and we do shut the main water line down. At times we have also shut the boiler off- but in summer.


We just had our hot water tank start leaking and noticed it exactly on the day we were supposed to be visiting relatives about 2.5 hour away. It is in a closet right off our den. along with the boiler. Thank goodness I happened to go in there because I heard something "funny".
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:19 AM   #71
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We live in upstate NY but we never leave our home in winter more than a week as too much can go wrong and we have no one to check on the house.
I can monitor the house temperature on my phone. I also have someone checking the house every day/second day.
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:47 PM   #72
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We usually take a small 12v cooler for sandwiches and drinks while traveling (there seems to be a Walmart on every corner anymore.)
Considering that you might be around water and beach, I would seriously consider investing in a decent "drybag." They are a lifesaver around water or when you get caught out in an afternoon shower. >> https://www.backcountry.com/dry-bags
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:04 PM   #73
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We've done a couple world cruises (120+ days) and I've found that I can pack for a 10 day trip, with perhaps a tux or some other formal wear, and as long as I have access to a washer/drier, I'm fine. Make sure you have extra prescription meds and any sunscreen and bug repellent you need. You might also need a fanny or small backpack depending on your daily walking regimen. Also, I must admit that even though I brought my slr camara, I used my phone for 90% of our pictures. Also, if your looking for an alternative cell-phone provider, look into Google fi. We changed over prior to our last world cruise and loved it. 1/2 the price of comcast and it works in over 100 countries with no issues. We arrived in Papa New Guineai and our phone turned on and said "welcome to Papa New Guinea" your data plan is the same price as at home and phone calls are 10 cents a minute! No contract as well.

Have fun and don't sweat it as long as you have a credit card you'll be ok!
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:34 PM   #74
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We seldom go to Florida, etc or do Caribbean cruises since retiring. For us it comes down to winters in Costa Rica/Panama, Thailand, or Mexico. We pack carry on only and do a fair amount of spontaneous travel. At some point in the future I suspect that we do some longer term condo rentals in either Puerto Vallarta or on the Costa Rica Pacific coast.

It is -20 C and snowing at the moment where we live. Plus 30, blue sky, and fabulous deserted ocean beach where we are at the moment. The thought of a winter at home is depressing.
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Old 02-02-2019, 11:07 PM   #75
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How did you find a place that would rent only the one month of February? I thought that was next to impossible? Where are you heading in Florida?

Let us (me ) know how it goes!

North Florida is pretty easy to rent, as it is much cooler there... South Florida is much more difficult.
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:54 AM   #76
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We're not looking to do anything specific...it's just a break from the cold. We're going to find a local gym to work out at, and take it day by day with no pressure to do anything. I brought my guitar as one of my bandmates will be staying close by, and we have a few books.
That's similar to my vacations. Only difference is that we go somewhere cooler to escape the brutal heat of Florida but I don't play guitar. I do though am good at air guitar. Jimi Hendrix!
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:17 PM   #77
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For international calls/ texting use Viber or WhatsApp. KG
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:00 AM   #78
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About the cell phone replacement suggestions, don't forget that you have to be able to RECEIVE calls as well as make them...

When entering the US, we Canadians stop at Walmart and pickup a smart phone for about $30 and add the "Call Canada" option for $10. Tracphone.

Have a great trip!
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:33 AM   #79
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OP here. We've been at the condo a week, gone for 11 days counting the drive down with a 1 day stop in New Orleans along the way. So far it looks like we haven't forgotten anything important that we couldn't get at Walmart or a dollar store.

My girlfriend can text for free on her I-phone, but my Android phone can only receive calls...I can get by without texting as I can retrieve emails on the phone plus I have my laptop.

Here's the view from the deck of the condo:

20190203_170139.jpg
20190203_161403.jpg
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:37 AM   #80
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Beautiful photo, magnificent view. Looks like a great choice so far.
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