The night before you head out on vacation is often fraught with manic activity… send that last work email, give a key to the neighbor, pack the bags…
“Do you think I’ll need a sweater at night?” Better bring it.
“Will it be warm enough to swim?” Bring the bathing suit.
“Any chance we’ll do some horseback riding or skydiving?” Throw the saddle and parachute in there too…
Now what happens when instead of leaving town for a week, you go on vacation… forever.
We were in the land of traffic jams and strip malls this summer, visiting family and friends who work for those big tech companies.
Over a glass of wine (or was it a bottle?) a friend popped the question… “So, you think you would be interested in working again? Our team is hiring… you could easily get a big salary and a juicy stock package.”
“Hmm, that sounds interesting“, I replied. “But I just don’t think I could find the time.”
About a year ago we flew from Asia to Europe to begin a 4 month tour. We spent a month each in Spain, Italy, and UK/Ireland, and a handful of weeks in Portugal, Czech, Germany, Denmark, and Iceland. This was a big chunk of Jr’s 16 countries visited in his first 16 months.
Notably absent from this list of countries is France. And it has been an awfully long time since I’ve had a good croissant.
To rectify this terrible situation, in a few weeks we are flying to Paris. We’ll be there at least 2 weeks, after which we will eventually make it to the other slighted countries.
I was pretty excited about how we saved $10k+ on our previous trip. But this time… we did even better.
Moana Surfrider Hotel, Oahu, Hawaii
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It’s that time of year again, when households across the land are excited to fill out their tax forms. Yeah for Tax Day!
Goal #1 is of course to minimize tax burden using the numerous options available. Be sure to contribute to those deductible IRAs and 401ks!
Some households will have a zero or even negative tax burden, but most will have a tax obligation for the year. This is usually paid at least in part through paycheck withholding or estimated tax payments.
This is also the case for us since we pay Self-Employment tax on blog income. (But… plans are in motion to reduce/eliminate this.)
And I don’t know about you, but if I have to pay some taxes…. I at least better get a ridiculously cheap☆ trip to Hawaii out of the deal.
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
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Discounts on the stuff you are going to buy anyway are a beautiful thing.
But time is precious. Even saving 90% on a low-cost item we will only buy once probably isn’t worth much effort. On the other hand, with frequent purchases or high cost items even a few percent savings can be significant.
For us, hotels are one of those frequent purchases, so I have put extra effort into maximizing our discounts. Of course the best discount is free, and it is fairly easy to get free hotel stays. For those nights that we purchase, we typically get 20%+ off (as explained here. This post expands on that content.)
This post reviews some of the nuances of maximizing our ROI on hotel spend. I couldn’t find a good summary elsewhere so I decided to write one myself.
Even if you aren’t interested in saving $ on hotels, the thought process may still be mildly entertaining. If not, come back next post for more good times!
GCC: Before we retired I looked long and hard for International cost of living/travel data. What I found was limited, vague, or outdated. Since then many sites and blogs have offered new data or a new approach.
Recently I found a new favorite… The Earth Awaits. Others like it too; it is currently featured on BBC’s The Travel Show.
In this Guest Post, see what the Frugal Vagabond has to say about his creation:
A Labor of Love
I love the world, and think that travel makes us better, more thoughtful, and more charitable with each other. In a world that seems to be turning inward, we could all use a little more of that.
Back in July, my wife, my father-in-law, and I sat down to a delicious Indian dinner. Dinners like this are always a little bittersweet— my wife’s mother passed away early last year, and her dad misses his wife terribly. Without her, he has an understandably tough time finding things to look forward to. Seeing his struggle with this loss always reminds me that time is our most precious resource.
As we ate, my father-in-law casually mentioned that his youngest brother had retired, making him the last of his siblings not to have done so. “Someday,” he said, “they’ll find me dead at my keyboard, I guess.”
I glanced at my wife and saw that she wore an absolutely miserable expression. She wants her dad to be happy, but doesn’t know how to help him look forward to anything.
“Hey… you’re collecting your Social Security, right? How much is that check every month?” I asked.
“About $2,300, why?” he replied.
Looking back, that was the moment that The Earth Awaits was born.