Plan slow travel, some of the time. What else?

2029FIREaway

Recycles dryer sheets
Joined
Feb 23, 2024
Messages
57
Location
Bay Area
Hello friends,

DW and I have a rough plan for early retirement in 5 years, when kids will be in college.

The rough plan is enjoy the summer of 2029 with kids, help younger kid settle into college, than do our first full slow travel trip in fall of 2029.

We’ve traveled ‘fast’ up until now. Usually 2-3 week trips, changing locale every few days etc.

My plan is to go to Italy for 4-6 weeks. Open to ideas on how best to think about this. One or two locations? We’ve never slow traveled before!

Bigger picture is we’ll be back home in NorCal between trips. Back home for the holidays etc. perhaps a trip to Asia for 4-6 weeks after the holidays for more slow travel. Rinse and repeat.

I would like to scope out places with the intent of potentially staying there much longer, especially if they are good places to age (health care, retirement community, long term care etc).

Aside from travel, a focus on our health is needed (more than now. I get it, start now!).

I’d like to pick up/continue some hobbies that have fallen by the way side. Biking and golf. Perhaps bring out my guitar. But essentially just enjoy our time together in the back yard while at home!

How does this sound? We’ll be 53 & 51 if my math is correct in 2029.

Trying to get some ideas from folks that have done similar. How long did your slow travel phase last? Did you find a place you wanted to stay longer and/or make more permanent?

How did your kids handle this?

Note: we have decided not to move out of NorCal. It’s likely the place we age long term, unless a better option comes up. I’ll happily rent abroad rather than buy and make life/taxes more complex.
 
When you retire you have time to figure out what you like to do and time to try different things. Planning ahead doesn’t help that much. The change in time availability and lack of stress makes a huge difference in terms of how people to spend their time. Priorities change in terms of leisure time.

Slow travel in terms of one or two bases or staying in several locations - doesn’t really matter. It really comes down to where you want to be and what you want to see or do. Maybe try spending at least twice as much time in a given location than you used to do before when you were rushed. Don’t jam nearly as much into a given day and be sure to leave many a morning or afternoon off just to chill.

We are still slow traveling and since retiring relocated a couple of times including 5 years full-time motorhome living/traveling. No kids.
 
Last edited:
Our kids were much older so no issues there when we retired. We took the motorhome on long trips with the 4 dogs. When we went to Europe we usually stayed in one city for about 10 days.
 
I would not spend any more time planning details for something 5 years away. After you retire you might find you don't really want to spend 6 weeks away, or maybe somewhere else. The things we enjoy when they are our only respite aren't the same things we might enjoy when we don't need to escape as much.
 
We were a bit older at retirement and our kids were out of the house. We have never been gone longer than two weeks at a time, so not much help to you there!
Enjoy your planning, be flexible. You may find plans change after retirement.

You will be amazed how quickly the next five years go by and your retirement will be here.
 
Change is the only constant @Teacher Terry
I see that in ourselves and I saw it with our parents and aunts and uncles.
We too want to RV on bigger trips with the dog(s), and looking back to the family experiences, I see the day when longer trips are not fun.
 
How my "adult" kids handle my travel ... :confused: Never entered my mind. Today with the internet, communication is possible at all times, so in an emergency or crisis they can contact me.

We did "accidentally" do a short long stay in Barcelona, as had to go 10 days early to catch a cruise ship. So each day we went to 1 place to sight-see, taking the bus, eating at local spots, walked to many sites.
We picked a hotel that was not in a tourist area. It was an enjoyable time and I'd like to do it more and longer.
 
Sky king, it’s really nice to be able to take the dogs with you. At the time we had one big guy and 3 little ones. I was doing rescue work and had trouble saying no:)).

Driving the motorhome and getting set up is harder as you get older. Plus the price of gas and rv sites really get expensive unless you’re using state campgrounds. But if you’re traveling to bigger towns you don’t want to be as far from the city as state campgrounds usually are. Just camping is cheap but traveling with the motorhome wasn’t.

We did have a good time and in the national parks we were able to avoid the long drive in and out to a hotel by staying in the park. We usually had to make reservations a year in advance.
 
I would not spend any more time planning details for something 5 years away. After you retire you might find you don't really want to spend 6 weeks away, or maybe somewhere else. The things we enjoy when they are our only respite aren't the same things we might enjoy when we don't need to escape as much.
Planning is one of the key motivators to get me thru the next 5 years! But, I get your point…
 
We were a bit older at retirement and our kids were out of the house. We have never been gone longer than two weeks at a time, so not much help to you there!
Enjoy your planning, be flexible. You may find plans change after retirement.

You will be amazed how quickly the next five years go by and your retirement will be here.
Thanks! Yes, time is flying by quick with kids in busy years of school. We head to Japan for a 12 day trip in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to some good family time after a busy school year!
 
How my "adult" kids handle my travel ... :confused: Never entered my mind. Today with the internet, communication is possible at all times, so in an emergency or crisis they can contact me.

We did "accidentally" do a short long stay in Barcelona, as had to go 10 days early to catch a cruise ship. So each day we went to 1 place to sight-see, taking the bus, eating at local spots, walked to many sites.
We picked a hotel that was not in a tourist area. It was an enjoyable time and I'd like to do it more and longer.
We stayed in Xiample (sp?) Neighbourhood in Barcelona last year. Great local neighborhood!

I’m thinking the same re adult kids, being away and communication channels.
 
... The rough plan is enjoy the summer of 2029 with kids, help younger kid settle into college, than do our first full slow travel trip in fall of 2029. ...
Man plans, God laughs. :) Five years is a long time, Guaranteed that some of your assumptions will prove to be wrong and that a few black swans will probably have arrived.

Have fun planning and exploring, but at this point I would suggest that maximum flexibility is your best strategy.
 
You are talking my language. We had kids older than most so when I retired at 52 they were still youngish. The summer after I retired we did a 9 week Europe trip with the kids. 7 countries and 11 cities.

10 years later the kids are in college. Covid impacted some of our plans. (And interrupted older sons college when he had to come home as they went 100% remote). We have restarted our slow travel. Last year we spent 4 weeks in Italy, visiting hubby's cousins in Sicily, then hiking Cinque Terre, then spending time in Florence, Venice, and Milan. Later in the year I went back to Florence because younger son was doing a semester abroad there. Earlier this year we had plans to spend a month in Asia, but had to cut it short when my MIL passed. Hubby is taking older son to Japan this summer for 3 weeks, and we are hopefully spending 2 months in Florence this fall so I can do a language school and take the citizenship language test.

Things to consider with kids in college. They will still want to talk to you, ask advice. Family should install Whatsapp so you can talk or video call... Then remind them if the time difference. One of our kids had car issues and needed to talk to my husband about how to handle it. The other needed advice on roommate issues. Make sure you are set up with zelle and or venmo for emergency cash transfers to them.
 
We enjoy slow travel. We have done a couple tours & we are thinking we aren't really tour people. Our Ireland tour was very good....but that was mostly because of the guide/owner. He was a charecter. Singing songs, teaching us about Gaelic football, and tales of how he grew up.

We became converts when we had traveled to London on our way to Paris. The day before we were to go to Paris.... France shut the border (Christmas time of Covid). So our entire 3 or 4 weeks had to be redone. We extended our stay in the hotel & mapped out some areas to go. Now I think we prefer to do this.

We have a trip to Tuscany this Fall. About 6 weeks. We are booking 1st & last nights for flights, then 2 more blocks of a few days & then we will book as we are a day out to our next stop. Most of the time we will do 1 "thing" a day. Sometimes zero plan....just walk. Sure, sometimes we miss stuff. Like museums & cathedrals. Some friends ask...did you see X, Y & Z? We just say no we missed it. They saw X, Y & Z on a bus stop of 45 minutes. That is not for us.

Every place we go we evaluate it as if "could we stay here?". There are very few places where we say ....not here
 
You are talking my language. We had kids older than most so when I retired at 52 they were still youngish. The summer after I retired we did a 9 week Europe trip with the kids. 7 countries and 11 cities.

10 years later the kids are in college. Covid impacted some of our plans. (And interrupted older sons college when he had to come home as they went 100% remote). We have restarted our slow travel. Last year we spent 4 weeks in Italy, visiting hubby's cousins in Sicily, then hiking Cinque Terre, then spending time in Florence, Venice, and Milan. Later in the year I went back to Florence because younger son was doing a semester abroad there. Earlier this year we had plans to spend a month in Asia, but had to cut it short when my MIL passed. Hubby is taking older son to Japan this summer for 3 weeks, and we are hopefully spending 2 months in Florence this fall so I can do a language school and take the citizenship language test.

Things to consider with kids in college. They will still want to talk to you, ask advice. Family should install Whatsapp so you can talk or video call... Then remind them if the time difference. One of our kids had car issues and needed to talk to my husband about how to handle it. The other needed advice on roommate issues. Make sure you are set up with zelle and or venmo for emergency cash transfers to them.
I love this. What adventures are you and the fam doing now? Feel free to point me to your posts ;)
 
We enjoy slow travel. We have done a couple tours & we are thinking we aren't really tour people. Our Ireland tour was very good....but that was mostly because of the guide/owner. He was a charecter. Singing songs, teaching us about Gaelic football, and tales of how he grew up.

We became converts when we had traveled to London on our way to Paris. The day before we were to go to Paris.... France shut the border (Christmas time of Covid). So our entire 3 or 4 weeks had to be redone. We extended our stay in the hotel & mapped out some areas to go. Now I think we prefer to do this.

We have a trip to Tuscany this Fall. About 6 weeks. We are booking 1st & last nights for flights, then 2 more blocks of a few days & then we will book as we are a day out to our next stop. Most of the time we will do 1 "thing" a day. Sometimes zero plan....just walk. Sure, sometimes we miss stuff. Like museums & cathedrals. Some friends ask...did you see X, Y & Z? We just say no we missed it. They saw X, Y & Z on a bus stop of 45 minutes. That is not for us.

Every place we go we evaluate it as if "could we stay here?". There are very few places where we say ....not here
Yes!! This is the kind of travel I desire.
I no longer care for checking off x, y, z tourist spots.
 
Hello friends,

DW and I have a rough plan for early retirement in 5 years, when kids will be in college.

The rough plan is enjoy the summer of 2029 with kids, help younger kid settle into college, than do our first full slow travel trip in fall of 2029.

We’ve traveled ‘fast’ up until now. Usually 2-3 week trips, changing locale every few days etc.

My plan is to go to Italy for 4-6 weeks. Open to ideas on how best to think about this. One or two locations? We’ve never slow traveled before!

Bigger picture is we’ll be back home in NorCal between trips. Back home for the holidays etc. perhaps a trip to Asia for 4-6 weeks after the holidays for more slow travel. Rinse and repeat.

I would like to scope out places with the intent of potentially staying there much longer, especially if they are good places to age (health care, retirement community, long term care etc).

Aside from travel, a focus on our health is needed (more than now. I get it, start now!).

I’d like to pick up/continue some hobbies that have fallen by the way side. Biking and golf. Perhaps bring out my guitar. But essentially just enjoy our time together in the back yard while at home!

How does this sound? We’ll be 53 & 51 if my math is correct in 2029.

Trying to get some ideas from folks that have done similar. How long did your slow travel phase last? Did you find a place you wanted to stay longer and/or make more permanent?

How did your kids handle this?

Note: we have decided not to move out of NorCal. It’s likely the place we age long term, unless a better option comes up. I’ll happily rent abroad rather than buy and make life/taxes more complex.
Smithsonian Journeys has trips like this where you stay in an apartment/hotel- let's say in Florence- for one month. But you have the added bonus of getting some personalized assistance from staff with experiences, classes, tours. etc. Check out their website.
 
We are doing an trip with Odysseys Unlimited in the fall to Sicily and southern Italy for 16 days. What we like about this tour is it is limited to between 12 and 24 people and we stay in Taromina in the same first class hotel for 5 days, then 2 days each in Matera and Lecce, (first class hotels) and then on to Sorrento for 5 days in the same first class hotel. 26 meals included. Tips included. Lots of free time. Tour out from those locations with the group. No living out of a suitcase for the most part.

Just the process of getting to Sicily and back home from Naples is what we absolutely hate. But we are thinking this is our last hurrah as flying is too stressful.
 
You know all good plans goes out the window with the first contact with the enemy right? But what you've got is better than nothing. CINC house and I did this very thing in the fall of 2019 as we got #2 son settled into college and took off for Europe in Sept and Oct of that year. At first we found out that we were in the go go go mode and while we loved our time in Greece by the time we got to Italy we were burnt out and ready to go home. Plus we missed the kids.

Fast forward to Jan/Feb 2020 we are settling in a little more and in Singapore. Then our phone starts blowing up. "Are you guys ok?" Sure we are what's going on? Covid is taking over the world etc. We were just going with the flow.

The last few trips we hate to come home because we are having so much fun. If we need to stay longer we stay longer. I rarely book round trip travel but when we get tired we start working our way back. As for the kids people ask them where we are and they have no idea as they are comfortable with us doing whatever.
For us 4-7 weeks is now what we shoot for when traveling. The family draw is strong.
 
Plan away! It is a great exercise. I did it for years before FIRE. A few of those we have executed, most not. But we do what we want so now regrets.

And planning has its own rewards as you have stated.
 
Plenty of good advice here.

I'll add my 2 cents. I'm in my 9th year of retirement. DW still working. Teenage kids with one more year to go in high school. I have traveled extensively since FIREing in 2015, both solo as well as with DW/kids, and have really embraced slow traveling the last few years.

It's great to plan ahead, and while slow traveling sounds really fun/romantic/exciting right now because you've never done it, you won't really know how/whether you'll like it until rubber meets the road. So my advice is to start slow. Maybe do a 3-4 week trip to start, and if you like it, stretch out the next trip, and so on.

Also, keep your itinerary flexible and open. I usually just book the first couple of nights at a location, and if I find that I really like it, I'll extend my stay. If not, I'll move on to the next location. Worst thing is to plan to stay x days at a location and pay for the accommodation upfront, only to find that you don't like the place but are stuck with it because you've already paid for it.

It's perfectly okay to have "down days" on a trip if you don't feel like doing any sightseeing or going anywhere. Don't feel the pressure to have to do something or see something just because. It's your trip and you can do whatever you please. That's what slow travel is all about. Embrace the unpredictable, the unexpected, and even the mundane. A lot of times, you'll find that the most exciting and memorable parts of a trip are often the unplanned, unscripted and unscheduled moments.
 
I would say that one to two weeks in a location is enough for slow travel. Italy is pretty big and varied. I would consider Dolomites, Cinque Terra, Rome, Florence, Naples, and Sicily.
 
I’ve found slow travel is easier in the mid size and smaller cities. There seems to be more and better places to spend several hours wandering about or just doing not much of anything while sitting in a café and watching the world go by. It’s also easier to chat up the locals.

It’s harder in big cities, though at times, I have taken a bus or Metro to some corner of the city outside the main tourist corridor and found peace, quiet and chatty locals. That said, slow travel is a skill that I still need to work on. I find that as I age, it gets easier to do. The park has a great view of the city and that bench in the shade is open. Sit down, enjoy, and recharge.
 
This is/was our plan. Probably about 3 years out. Also likely staying in the Bay Area due to its goldilocks climate, despite the costs.

Our eldest is in college now and has needed/wanted to come hope every few weeks for a mental break/family support. That wasn't something I had not factored into our plans so something to consider.

Other complicating factors is our health and our parents' health. At 54 my plantar fascitis is becoming a real problem. Running has been impossible for years but now long walks are becoming more difficult/painful. Also, our parents have needed us more due to their health problems. Abandoning them for more than 3 months is probably not realistic.

Finally, we adopted too many dogs during the pandemic. They are great but boarding them is too expensive. We also miss them on longer trips so extended travel is not likely unless the kids move back to take care of the dogs or the dogs finally cross the rainbow bridge before we do.

So as another posted said, Man plans and God laughs. Still fun to plan though.
 
Back
Top Bottom