When I retired, my husband and I talked a lot about what we wanted our retirement to look like. What did we want to do? We knew we wanted to travel and had some bucket list trips in mind. We also talked about an RV. Did we want one? The result of that was that no we did not want to spend the money on one. We could pay for a lot of hotel rooms for that kind of cash. So we happily went on our way into retirement. We sold our home, bought a new one, settled into that, went to Hawaii, went to Arizona, went to Europe. That Europe trip was a big one for us. It took all my focus for quite a while, planning it and then finally going. It was awesome! Now that it is over my thoughts are focusing on the next trip.
It is to be a road trip to the Maritimes including Newfoundland and back. When I started looking at it I realized that this was going to take at least 6 weeks, perhaps 8. More if we decide to meander through the US on the way back. When you do the math around the cost of 8 weeks of hotel rooms and meals in Canada, that is a big number. Also we are not big fans of restaurant meals for that length of time, never mind the expense. So now we are back to the RV question. Perhaps we should reconsider. So the discussions around that began. Our vehicle that we have now (which we love) will not tow a trailer. We do not want to buy a second vehicle or trade ours in. So trailer or 5th wheel is out. We also do not relish the thought of towing a big unit around. So perhaps a motorhome. We do want to keep it simple so ruled out a big class A. Bad gas mileage, too big to drive around, cost on the ferry is huge. So we are now looking for a class B camper van or a small class C motorhome. We also don’t want to spend 100K on this thing. So we are looking for a good used unit. Can you say needle in a haystack? These things are like gold. When they come up on the market they are either old and unloved and need way too much work or are snapped up in a nanosecond. It seems that the smaller ones are the ones everyone wants. Of course! We aren’t planning on going on this trip until August, so we have time to find one. Hopefully the right unit at the right price comes along.
This is one of the benefits of being retired. We can take the time to figure all this out and do lots of research. Do the old pro’s and con’s list.
Pro’s for purchasing a small motorhome:
- money saved on hotel rooms
- money saved on meals
- better meals for Greg being gluten free and dairy free
- flexibility to stop and stay along the way in interesting spots. Don’t have to stick to schedule.
- after X Canada trip is over we will have the motorhome to use when touring about BC.
- can take it to Arizona in future
- will have fun camping on weekends with our daughter
- can take our Grandchildren camping
- Greg will use it on rockhunting expeditions
- spending time in nature
Con’s for purchasing a small motorhome:
- cost of fuel will be more
- need to reserve camping spots ahead in some cases
- will not have another vehicle to drive around when stopped in areas for a few days of exploring. Will have to drive the motorhome everywhere including cities.
- we are unable to store the unit on our property when not in use. Will need to pay for storage which can be expensive especially for indoor storage.
- insurance costs
- cost of the unit itself. Funds will need to come from our investments which we didn’t plan on.
- Will buying it curtail my plans for more European travel?
- risk in buying a used unit. Could be repairs and maintenance
Since I began writing this post we had an opportunity to look at a Class B camper van. I was quite impressed with how efficient it was and how much storage it had. It had little cubbies that housed a coffee maker, a toaster oven, a microwave and a little TV. Very good use of space. But having said that, Greg quickly ruled it out as an option. He is 6’3″ tall. He could just barely stand up in it but what really ruled it out was that he was not comfortable driving it. He could not put his seat back far enough in this particular model to get his long legs in there properly. So that is no good. We also thought the unit we saw was a little old. We were too afraid something would go wrong with it. But really the age wasn’t the reason, it was just too small for Greg.
Another update since I started writing this post is that Greg has been to the optometrist and his cataracts are really progressing at a fast rate. So we are waiting for the surgery to happen. Meanwhile I have started to do all the driving. So what will this do to our trip plan? I would not feel comfortable driving a motorhome around in strange cities. I could drive it around Vancouver Island where it is familiar but not too much further. So in view of this development I think we will put this whole thing on hold for now. We are waiting for an appointment now with the surgeon. Once we have an idea of when this is likely to happen, we can move on with the process. He will need to get both eyes done and then probably get new glasses. It may be that this whole trip gets delayed until 2018. I feel I don’t want to purchase an RV now that ties up a bunch of money and we can’t go anywhere in it. So will wait for all this eye stuff to happen. If he gets lucky and the surgery gets done quickly, then we will begin the search again.
If we don’t find an RV that we like for the price we want to pay we will just go on the road trip in our vehicle and do the hotel thing. I really don’t mind doing it this way at all. Kind of keeps it simple. We will see how this whole thing evolves.
So our travel plans for 2017 are definitely in flux. We have discussed just getting on a plane and heading south somewhere warmer. If we can’t go on our road trip this summer, maybe we should fly somewhere now. But depends on when surgeon is going to call. So this could end up being a year where we just stay put. You know what they say, when one door closes another opens. We can just get out and about on our island. After all we live in such a beautiful place, we will look at this as an opportunity.
Oh man, how things can change in a nanosecond! Another update since I began writing this post is that I have an opportunity to go to Finland with a friend. She and I had talked about taking a trip together but weren’t planning on it until 2018. When this whole thing came up about Greg’s eye surgery delaying our road trip she suggested we move our trip up to this year. So now we are in the midst of planning it. We are going to Iceland for 3 days, Finland for 5 days, quick 2 nights in Stockholm Sweden and then taking the train to Norway for 4 days. At least that is how it is shaping up as of right now. We are still in planning stages. You may think it weird for me to be going back to this region after I was just there last August. But we did not get to these areas other than a 1 day stop in Stockholm which of course was not nearly enough. It is an expensive area of the world but sharing expenses is nice. One benefit of travelling with a girlfriend vs your husband is that food will be a lot easier. She and I are happy with a lot less and don’t have all the food restrictions that he does which makes it a lot less costly. Funny thing about men. They have to eat 3 meals a day all containing meat. Whaat! Women are more able to just wing it with a lot less. We are looking for basic accommodation not 5 star. So hopefully we can bring it in on budget.
This whole thing drives home the idea of keeping flexible and going with the flow when retired. We can change course easily, reschedule as necessary and take advantage of opportunities that crop up. I started writing this post about figuring out a road trip in Canada and now I am ending up in Finland! Hey, retirement is good!