It occurs to me that at least half the time, what I do is "vacation" rather than "travel" if there is such a distinction. My idea of perfect time away from home is staying a week at the gulf shore, eating seafood. I tend to alternate things like my train trip to San Francisco with these types of trips. It's what works for me. Even my trip to Germany next Christmas is, for me, a returning to the hold homestead.
Whether one travels, vacations or remains in their home environment, there is always plenty to do and one choice is not more challenging than another as such. More importantly, age should not (for the most part) drive those decisions. There is no age at which we are "supposed to stay home more", or "settle down" as such. I'll be the sixty something woman with gray hair hopping on and off the train as I go down the Rhine, as well as the woman who will be staying at a youth hostel in San Francisco while walking around in my clodhoppers (Read: expensive Clark's sandals that I am not above wearing with socks if the situation calls for it).
Which leads me to the real topic of this post-the increasingly available alternatives for where to lay my head. In my twenties, I stayed in youth hostels or YMCAs during most of my travels, as well as camping here and there. I'm not sure I knew that this alternatives existed for me still, albeit on a different plane-along with many other choices. While I'm not ready to couch surf, I am open to almost any other alternative (that is not an RV or a tent).
For example, in the late summer I will be traveling by train from Denver to San Francisco and staying a week (I have not decided on the return trip choice yet). While I have not finalized my decision yet, at this point my reservations do not include a sleeping car-as much because I will be hopping on and off as for any other reasons.
When I arrive in San Francisco, I will be staying at a small, nicely appointed youth hostel. I've posted photos of this location before, briefly. Who would have thought it? Youth hostels have improved in my immensely, and I will in fact have a private room. This hostel is right down town, has everything from dorm to private bedrooms, at half the cost of nearby hotels. In fact this hotel is much like (and used to be ) a European pension hotel, which is my preferred method of travel. In truth, if I did not wake up throughout the night and was not a serious night owl, I would stay in a group room, the more people to meet.
When I travel to Jackson hole and North Dakota, I will be using two alternative methods of overnight stay. For the first part of our trip, I'll be camping-or rather Glamping. What is Glamping, you may ask? By definition this means glamour camping. In other words, I don't have to pitch the tent. It's a happy medium between the outdoors and hotel level comfort. I'll have a fully appointed tent with floor, a comfy fire outside the tent and more-the perfect level for me. The second portion of this journey, I'll be staying at what is commonly known as a cozy cabin.
As I look to my east coast travels, I'm exploring airbnb, which gives me the option of staying in someone's unused space-be it a room in an apartment or another option. Although I LIKE the idea of home swapping, I have three dogs (and may add another one) as well as sometimes traveling when other family members will not be home. while that option is not open to me, this one is. Currently I'm looking in the West Village, where I'm exploring the option to rent a whole studio, or a room in a flat. Either way the options look good.
There are still all kinds of options out there unexplored, both new and traditional. I won't sleep on the ground, I won't sleep in my car, and as I said, I think I'm probably too set in my ways to couch surf (not that I disapprove of the idea in and of itself).
When I travel along the gulf coast, I stay in cottages and Bed and Breakfasts. When In Santa Fe, I stay in an old hotel in the town center (that I have stayed in before). On my drive to Dallas I sleep in a Best Western (with the best mattresses of any hotel, ever that I have slept in). When I travel to Galveston I'll probably check out a park model for a week. And of course here and there, I manage to stay in a regular, old fashioned hotel.
My goals to find a place to stay are comfort, price, and overall experience. So far I've done well. I'll let you know how it goes,as I do this vacationing in retirement thing!