Monday, March 24, 2014

Frugal Retirement Travel-New Adventures in Where to Lay My head

Travel, and it's place in retirement seems to have been in discussion around the blogging world. It's not particularly surprising.  We all have different comfort levels and experiences. I've said before that as a home centered person, I prefer to be at home eighty percent of the time, and travel (or vacation no more than twenty to twenty five percent. As a home centered person with this perspective, I definitely appreciated Tom's blog this week on "Do You Have to Travel In Retirement.  I occasionally face this issue as well, as I have friends and acquaintances who travel all the time, and wonder why I don't.  Overall though, I think we all have levels of travel or away from home time that works for us.

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!

13 comments:

  1. Sounds as if your plans are coming together nicely. Enjoy.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep working on them. Of course, I have to get son''s car fixed as he is using mine, first lol

      Delete
  2. Keeping the costs down when traveling is never easy and I see that you would like the idea of home swapping but with three and possibly four dogs yes you are right it becomes more difficult to do but not impossible. Some of our members have their swap partners look after their pets so that is one option, the other idea you may want to consider is Hospitality swapping where you stay with someone and they reciprocate at another time.

    Wherever you stay on your travels, and I agree with you on couchsurfing, enjoy.

    Best wishes

    Brian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian I have three VERY active dogs, so I don't think that would work, and my dogs are cared for in my home when I am gone, not boarded. So while the option sounds lovely, that one just won't work for me. As always I still explore every option though.

      Delete
  3. As you know, I home-exchange to New York every year. One of the advantages of something like AirBnB is that you can more readily choose your neighborhood. West Village would be my absolute first pick too. With home-exchange, since you have to find an actual person willing to go to your home, you can't always be as specific about the neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Syd, I did not event think of that one, but yes, I suppose I prefer to stay where I preer to stay as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Personally, I wouldn't mind giving RV-ing a try ... unfortunately, rental costs are kinda steep. I should cultivate a friend who would let me borrow theirs for a bit, LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  6. My problem, my dear is that I LOVE to drive, and I don't mean drive slow...HA!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Keep us posted on your travel dates. We are going to many of the same places this year, and how fun if our paths happened to cross!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great post! We have used airbnb quite a bit the last few years.Our son introduced us to it.Between him and us, we have stayed with interesting people in New York City,Prague,Santa Barbara,Sedona,San Diego, Denver, Washington D.C, New Jersey... multiple times (but different rentals, for fun!) in some of these places.On my birthday last year, my hostess in Sedona put on a karaoke performance for me, and got me to sing some Bonnie Raitt with her. In Santa Barbara we met members of the old Sunshine commune and were invited to a reunion.. in another Sedona rental I was greeted with a bottle of wine every evening after my seminar was over, and me and my hostess reminisced about our lively college days in the 60's-70's. It is an amazing way to travel.One of our Sedona rentals ,we get the whole cottage to ourselves, no house mates.. I like to do that one for my birthday every year and hike the red rocks.. I will certainly explore some of your options also--had not thought of hostels!! I also do not camp on the ground ever. And couch surfing.. no need when airbnb hosts will give you a whole room and sometimes use of the whole house!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks for the input on your airbnb adventures. This definitely sounds like what I am looking for. Yep, I'm sure someone likes that couch surfing thing but..........

      Delete
  9. Barb, what is your source for Glamping in Jackson Hole and North Dakota? Sounds like fun. In fact, it all sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is my beginning source for glamping in Jackson Hole (I'll run over and post it in your comments when I get a chance as well. Again, I'm just at the beginning here, but...

      http://firesidejacksonhole.com/glamping-tents/

      Delete