March 3, 2017

A Year Spent Close To Home


Last year, our travel schedule was pretty aggressive: a 2 month-long RV trip as far east as North Carolina, almost a week at the Palm Springs Film Festival, an Alaskan Cruise, a week at a beach house in San Diego, a trip to Disneyland with the grandkids, and a few short RV jaunts to nearby state parks...a total of 12 weeks away from home and double our planned budget (oops!). We don't regret a minute of all that travel nor the experiences and memories generated.

2017 is shaping up to be quite a bit different. We have absolutely nothing on the travel calendar, save for a 4 day trip to Patagonia, a small town southeast of Tuscon that we enjoy for its peace and quiet. We will load up the RV and head to the state park just south of town in a few weeks.

I am confident that there will be some more on the schedule. A few RV trips to the Arizona mountains later in the year are easy ways to escape the heat for awhile. We like Show Low and Flagstaff. The grandkids are returning to Disneyland in August; that would be a worthwhile addition. Phoenix area resorts have good deals on rooms and meal packages during the hottest moths. Taking a two or three day pool and spa break is likely. Otherwise, we seem content to stick close to home.

A large part of the travel slowdown is budgetary. We overspent last year and need to show a little more restraint. But, there is also the uneasiness created by the actions coming out of Washington. Travel bans, deportations, the talk of a wall, all of those have the potential to make foreign travel uncomfortable.

It is too early in the process to know exactly where all this is going. Of course, waiting to go to England might put us in the midst of a Brexit upheaval. Other European countries are having struggles, too that aren't likely to end soon. So, is it wise to wait for a return to England, a cruise to the South Pacific, or a river cruise through France? We can't live our lives cowering in the corner, but caution may be called for at this time. Frankly, I am struggling a bit with this part of our decision.

One could argue that attacks in this country are not out of the question. In fact, over the past fifteen years, all the terrorist events within our borders have come from U.S. citizens or those here legally. Hate comes in all sorts of guises and can strike anywhere.

That being said, I think it just seems prudent to let the world stage figure out its next act, and get our budget back in line. We will stay within a few hours of home and simply enjoy our blessings and family. After 30+ years in Phoenix, we are actually used to the heat and know how to make the best of the situation.

How about you..any changes in your plans due to the world situation? I'm not looking to open a political can of worms, rather some feedback if your vacation and travel plans have been adjusted, and if so, how. Maybe none of what is happening has affected your plans. I'd like to know that, too. 

Of course, I have been known to see a brochure for someplace beautiful or different and ignore the budget. Your feedback may be the catalyst this year!


63 comments:

  1. My wife and I were trying to choose for this year's vacation between Ireland or a tour of National Parks in the Southwest. I can arrange these myself online but I like to work with our local travel agency b/c they know the ins and outs and we have a personal contact in case of complications. Setting aside the pros/cons of a bus tour vs self-guided (and politics) here's some revelations from last week working with the agency. We set aside Ireland b/c we decided it's best to put that on the back-burner considering world affairs; apparently, others are taking a "let's wait n' see" approach. Our first-choice bus tour of the Southwest was already booked solid for next fall and we got the last few seats with another.
    Our local agency's current experience is that overseas travel is languishing while domestic is surging and it's reflected in air fares. We paid about $1,000 for RT air to Italy 2 yrs. ago; today it's about half that. The agent said she booked round trip air Philly- Amsterdam for this May for $100.00! I checked and now it's back up but nowhere near what it used to be.
    Per NYT, travel from overseas to the US is also down as people are concerned about uncertainty in today's political climate. NYC and Philly project double digit decline in visitors this year vs. 2016. There are winners and losers and it appears that people whose livelihood is linked to tourism/travel will see significant impact, for better or worse, from what's happening in DC and globally.

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    1. You have done your research. Thanks for providing some real world numbers to go along with my speculations.

      One of my daughters spends a lot of the year on overseas trips as part of her job. It will be interesting to see if there are noticeable changes in her destinations. With airfares being so much cheaper, maybe not! Her clients often sent hundreds of people to places like Scotland or Spain. A big cut in airfare costs could be quite an inducement.

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  2. The changes here 'at home' are not affecting our foreign travel plans whatsoever. General anti-American sentiments affect where we travel, but that is a longstanding issue that precedes our current White House occupant. I think we have to be careful to not let hype skew our world view - we really are just as likely to bump into trouble here as we are overseas. Many of our cities, for example, are far, far more dangerous than any city I've ever visited in Europe, or even east Asia. And in general, I feel we are much less polite here in the USA, particularly to foreigners, than what we've encountered as foreigners abroad.

    Our 2017 travels have also been curtailed to approximately four months, versus the six months we normally strive for. The reason is two fold; 1) We traveled ourselves silly in 2016 - 202 days in total - and needed a break, and 2) We decided to do some major sprucing up of our home instead. We'll still be on the road quite a bit, but it will be done somewhat less extravagantly than in 2017.

    Come 2018, however, we're back to our norm with trips to New Zealand, Fiji and Am Somoa already plotted out, plus a long RV trip through Utah and Colorado, and a cruise up the eastern coast into Canada.

    I really can't imagine a life without significant travel - it's been in my blood since I took my first long weekend road trip at age 18 and became instantly smitten with the adventure of it all.

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    1. Your plans for this year reflect a similar reaction: 2016 was over-the-top busy and a bit of a slowdown is called for.

      Like you, we are having some work done in our backyard. After living in this new house for almost 2 years we decided the backyard is too bland; it needs green and growth and visually pleasing sights. So, money from travel is going into the yard!

      But, 2018, will be a major travel year. A south Pacific cruise and maybe back to England and Scotland are being talked about.

      You are correct: the most horrific attacks in America since 9/11 have been committed by crazy white guys (Sandy Hook, Charleston, Orlando, etc). Even San Bernardino was caused by two people in the country legally. So, safety in today's world is an illusion. Fear can't rule our lives, but at times, common sense says, take a break.

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    2. I would offer that safety has always been an illusion - readers of fiction and non-fiction from the 'good ole' days' should be painfully aware of this. I would challenge anyone to show me a time when either the USA or the world at large was 'safe,' and back it up with statistics. I've done a good amount of research about the good ole' days, and I can tell you they are a fallacy - we're as safe today, or not, as we've ever been. The big difference today is simply that we have more information on what's going on 'out there' than we've ever had before, meaning we can no longer live in the state of ignorance we did in years past.

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    3. Thanks for that last comment, Tamara. I couldn't agree more. "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

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  3. Excellent post! We too are visiting the good old " US of A" this year. A trip to our daughter and her family ( our g' kids ) in Phoenix/ Scottsdale along with a side trip to Santa Fe/Taos+ Durango, CO. Then a trip in early Sept to the San Juan Islands off Bellingham.

    Just returned from FL and the islands of Sanibel/ Captiva and a drive and stay in "old Florida" along the panhandle and Apalachicola. Great seafood, great trip. What Florida was like before condos, 6- lane highways, golf courses. Really interesting to see the area thru a developers eyes of " what could become" etc etc.

    Be safe in your travels. Particularly love your past posts ala " travels with Charlie."

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    1. We will take plenty of pictures of our adventures at Patagonia coming up in a few weeks.

      We had a time share on the West Coast of Florida for 20 years...around Siesta Key. It was lovely but the humidity and threat of hurricanes would mean we could never live there full time.

      Safe travels to the Valley of the Sun!

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  4. I think it's a perfect time to travel overseas. People always greatly overestimate the odds of something bad happening to us based on news events -- I'm not sure what the cognitive distortion is called, but it's probably captured by the "better safe than sorry" aphorism. In reality, though, you're *way* more likely to be struck by lightning in 2017 than be involved in a terrorist incident overseas. (I don't know the actual odds, but you get the point.) It's like fear of flying, when airplanes are statistically the safest form of transport by a wide margin. Our brains aren't set up to think about things statistically -- we evolved to be hyper-sensitive to danger and risk. So is "safety in today's world an illusion"? Given the control of infectious disease and other true dangers, you've never been safer. It's like Warren Buffett's advice on the stock market: Be greedy when others are fearful. I say: Take advantage of other people's irrational fear. You'll save money, enjoy less crowded destinations, and foreign hoteliers and restauranteurs will be more grateful for your business!

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    1. Good point about going when fewer people are traveling to certain destinations. An earlier comment opened my eyes to the much lower air fares. I did read about a new low cost carrier that is flying from New York to Europe for $69.

      You are correct about the odds of being involved in some type of attack. Our desire to bring the budget back in line is probably an even bigger motivator this year.

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  5. My first year of retirement was spent with lots of travel and activities. Last year, I took a couple of road trips and both times my car broke down costing me a lot in repair costs.
    This year, not much planned. I may make a couple of trips to NYC as I live in Connecticut and easily commute by train. But I don't have the usual enthusiam to go because of the political issues at this time. Possible protests, marches, who knows.

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    1. I think part of our desire to stick closer to home is that we are just worn out from the last several months of drama. Every day brings a fresh round of issues. We are just tired of it all.

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    2. I am tired of the drama as well. Quote from Obama when he was confirmed as the new president, "Elections have consequences. We won, you lost. Get over it." Therein lies the drama - it doesn't seem to be playing out that it goes both ways. Seems to me it's hypocritical to not think this goes both ways.

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    3. Was surprised at Jeannine's Obama quote since it seem so unlike him. I've done a thorough search, and can't find any credible source showing he said that.

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  6. I agree with Tamara Reedy's comments. I am aware of travelling through big international airports then rationalize the overall risk any where in the world including right in my back yard. I will always remember going to England >40 yrs ago during the IRA disruptions and seeing the posted warning outside a pub re: suspicious packages that could be bombs; quite a heads-up for the country girl from rural Alberta. I don't want to be ruled by irrational fear. We go on about the safety (or not) of air travel yet the last I looked, death and injury in a MVA still leads the morbidity/mortality rates.

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    1. Yes, fear cannot stop living. Caution is always called for, even in any big city like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or Phoenix, but assuming the worst all the time doesn't lead to a very happy life.

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  7. 2017 will find us on the road about as much as 2016, namely 4-5 months. We are getting closer to the end of the last three months on the road in FL and SC, living on the ocean, and still have trips planned to VA, Las Vegas, and others before heading out to FL and SC again starting in Dec. We want to continue this kind of life as far into the future as health and the Big Guy allow, but might still throw a cruise or trip to Europe into the mix at some point.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about overseas travel, but would be worried about certain cities in the UK and France that have let in too many people from certain countries. The attacks on Christians and others is more prevalent than the US media reports; read some of the English papers and others onlineb for the real story. The fact that the French are seriously thinking of putting a bulletproof barrier around the Eiffel Tower to stop "terrorism" is an example of how bad things are getting in that country.

    Regardless, I hope you and Betty continue to enjoy all the travels you are able to squeeze in. Be safe.

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    1. There are certain cities that seem to be attracting an unfair portion of the terrorism risks. I believe the wise course is to pick other destinations for the time being but don't cower at home. Yes, the barrier around the Eiffel Tower is a sad reminder.

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    2. As an English resident I am curious to know where in the UK is considered a no go area and what the purported attacks on Christians are. Sounds to me as though there's a bit of media hyperbole going on. Certainly we were far more concerned about our trip to the USA last year and the reports of gun crime than ever in our own country. All of which probably proves that you should take what you read in the press on both sides of the Atlantic with a pinch of salt.

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    3. Excellent point, Caree. Our attitude toward guns is completely crazy. Unfortunately, I am so used to the fact that every second person is probably carrying a weapon I don't even think about it anymore. But, someone from a country where guns aren't as available as pizza, would have a very different reaction.

      For the record, my youngest daughter has spent the last week in Scotland on business and will be on her way to London on Monday for a week of sightseeing around England. I have no fears for her safety.

      Yes, hyperbole sells.

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    4. I would not consider either area a no go, in fact London is on my list as the number one choice (it may be next year rather than this), and I have many friends in Germany and France that are perfectly safe-and in big cities. The most dangerous part of European travel is what it always have been-the getting there and the driving around in those left handed driving countries.

      For those who are what I consider to be overly concerned, the safest route is NOT a tour. The safest route is wandering on your own.

      Meanwhile Ihave not traveled much in the past year and hope to make up for it the second half of this and next, but never to the amount of travel I used to do. I need to be at home these days after a good week or so. Tentatively, two weeks on the Exas coast, a two week train trip, and a small ship cruise this year.

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  8. I can't imagine not traveling out of fear. I live ten miles from the attacks in San Bernardino, it could happen anywhere and let's not even bring up dying on the freeways in a car accident.

    But I will say that you can get travel exhaustion. The seven years since my husband's retirement have seen five trips to Europe, one to South America, seven to Hawaii and many, many around the U.S. We still have a few on our bucket list but we are simply "airport" burned out. We don't want 12 hour flights in economy anymore and simply can not bring ourselves to part with first class airfare money.

    We canceled a planned cruise to Norway for this summer because the thought of the flights was too depressing. We are doing a U.S. road trip back east and our annual trip to our beloved Hawaii. Some shorter trips will sneak in there, too.

    But as for fear of terrorist attacks, nope.

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    1. You highlighted a part of my reluctance to overseas travel at the moment that I didn't mention: airplane travel. I spent way too much of my career in planes to want to go back inside one very often.

      The thought of anything more than 3-4 hours makes my skin crawl. Being in a coach seat with no leg room and not being able to recline more than an inch or two from Phoenix to London or Paris is enough to keep me away. First class or Business? Not for the ridiculous amount of money charged.

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  9. If political climates kept me at home, I would never have traveled. I am sorry that fear has creeped into your thinking. Do you think the government is going to collapse? I don't trust China--but the rest of the world???
    This year we have three trips planned to see mom in Phoenix. We will helping to move our son's family cross country from CA to NY. Two cars, driving the miles to a new home in May. I am going to my bff's daughter's graduation in Kansas. Hawaii in September. DisneyWorld in December. We will start going to New York on a monthly basis in Sept as well.
    A year from now will be a huge family trip to Ireland (air fare from outside of West Point to Scotland is super cheap). I remember being strip searched going to Ireland when I was 17. My grandparents went on their honeymoon in Europe in 1949! I guess it is all what you want in life.
    Fear is like worry. Leave it to itself, be aware of your circumstances, and move forward. Heck, the market is crazy! Take profits, put some under your mattress, and travel!

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    1. Fear isn't preventing me from travel. Caution (and the budget) is. I realize I am much more likely to die in a wreck in my RV on a back road in Oregon than I am from a bomb.

      Even so, while tensions are being enflamed on a regular basis, Europe can wait. The U.S. has plenty to keep me very happy this year. In 2018? Probably a river cruise in France and Germany or a trip to the South Pacific.

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  10. When I was in Spanish school a few years ago, the Guatemalteco father said he would be afraid to visit the US...Too violent.Hmmm. there are places I wouldn't visit, North Korea comes to mind, but otherwise I would go where I chose. There's always something going on.

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    1. A good example of a change in attitude is Vietnam. In just one generation it has become a tourist hotspot, both beautiful and welcoming....not so true 40 years ago.

      There is always something going on somewhere...how true.

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    2. Many Europeans say this, and it is true. The violent death percapita in the us is almost as much as western Europe combined. we Rank up there. The united states rank as the 14 most violent and the closest country in Euroope is I think like maybe 71 (England). So any oter western European country is overall safer than the US. South America now...........Brazil is number one, lol.

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  11. We traveled closer to home this past year, driving through Quebec and New Brunswick. Our money really went a long way due to exchange rates! We did realize after driving for three weeks that long drives may not be our favorite way to travel. Shorter trips to Florida and Caribbean rounded out the year. We are traveling to Portugal and Spain in the fall but from the northeast, it is actually a shorter flight than the west coast or Hawaii. When we want warm weather, the Caribbean is only one short time zone away and just a few hours on a plane. We are not concerned about European security. Their airports seem to have their acts together. We are spending quite a bit but feel the next ten years we are most likely to be in reasonable traveling health!

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    1. The health issue you mention is certainly part of the decision over time. As retirees in our 60's we have a window of decent health for more extensive travel. At some point, nature will win out and keep us on a shorter lease, but when?

      You reminded me of our desire to visit Montreal and Quebec...a taste of Europe without the 9 hour flight! I haven't been to that part of Canada for 30 years, and my wife has never been. It should be on our short list.

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  12. Having recently retired we're beginning to chip away at our list of places to visit both overseas and domestic. As mentioned in my original post, this year we're opting for touring the Southwest vs a trip to Ireland. We've enjoyed overseas travel many times, having done Italy a couple of years ago and other European destinations before that. My original point was this: our "go-to" list consists of about an equal number of foreign and domestic destinations. Yes, I agree there's some degree of "risk" the moment you get out of bed; neither foreign or domestic travel is risk free, neither is driving to the library. All we've done short term is to re-arrange the deck and for this year at least, moved domestic to the top of the list. Apparently we are not alone in this assessment as reflected by a significant uptick in domestic tour bookings by our local travel agency while their overseas bookings have declined even as prices have dropped. Next year we'll take another look and our comfort level will determine domestic or overseas travel. Given no change in the global political climate, my humble prediction is that the law of supply and demand will prevail and domestic tours will increase in price while great deals will be available for European and other overseas destinations. Also interesting to note that "domestic" travel applies to other countries as well, as would-be visitors to the U.S. are opting to stay home due to the perception that, justified or not, they don't feel particularly welcome. Again, NYC and Philadelphia Chambers of Commerce report double digit decline in expected visitors from overseas.

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    1. A new wrinkle on the horizon is the possibility of visa requirements changing on both sides of the Atlantic. Washington is making noises about requiring visas for visitors from certain EU countries. Quite rightly, some EU officials are suggesting that means Americans will need visas to visit the continent. I am pretty sure the folks in Washington don't look at long term consequences of some of their suggestions and are probably shocked that there maybe pushback.

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    2. Not a surprise. The Visa issue has been an problem for over a year.

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  13. We are traveling inside and outside the US. If we all stay home, it will only perpetuate isolationist attitudes that I want no part of. On tap: a weekend in DC, the Dominican Republic, Virginia, San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma. Amsterdam, a cruise to Norway, Frankfurt, Greenville, SC, and Florida. Still working full time, so some of these are work conferences and weekends. For those who are nervous about European travel-try Iceland.. Great airfares, amazing scenery and a very low Crime rate. We went last year and loved it.

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    1. We were in Iceland last September, we took advantage of the free 7 day flight stopover on our way to Europe. All you say is true, super friendly people, amazing scenery and we thoroughly enjoyed it but travellers should be aware that it's not a bargain destination by any means. Prices are steep there.

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  14. And Bob-I did not intend to criticize your personal decision to stay closer to home most of the year. Although travel is my passion, we are home for the first 4 months of the year save for a weekend trip with family. I planned too many big trips too close together last year-it wore me out. Both discovery and rest are good for the soul.........

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    1. This post is designed to elicit feedback on the effect of political upheaval and the world dynamics on travel. I am enjoying the various reactions and hope all these comments help others come to conclusions that best fit their needs and comfort level.

      The decision Betty and I have reached for this year is as much budgetary as safety-driven. But, as we developed our plans it seemed like an interesting topic for this blog to explore.

      Retirement is a unique journey for each of us. Travel choices are a perfect example.

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  15. Bob, if people wait until the world is all calm and settled down people will never venture out of their own backyard. We were in Greece at the height of their financial crisis and it was great. We were in Italy last year with all the talk of the refugee crisis and it was great. This year we are travelling from North America to France to visit my sister-in-law (a recently transplanted Brit), a flight to England for the wedding of my wife's cousin, then a couple of weeks in Portugal and I have no doubt it'll be great. Most parts the world (and certainly Western Europe) are as safe, and probably safer, than travel in the US. Below is a quote by Travel writer Rick Steves...

    "Globetrotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character."

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. Travel in the U.S. is no safer than anywhere else, and maybe less safe considering our gun laws. If the budget weren't an issue, and us simply being tired of a few years of being gone from home so much, we'd be headed somewhere out of the country in 2017.

      When Betty and I travel to a foreign country we have always done so as a couple, not part of a tour. When 40 people get on and off a bus, descend on a market or part of a city for a while and then depart, I don't think it is possible to make any valid connections with another culture. I like Rick's quote and agree with him.

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  16. Honestly, I'm not a big traveler myself. I don't like to drive, don't like to fly, don't like to take trains. And I don't like to go places where I don't speak the language. So I mostly stay close to home, and when I do go someplace I like to stay put for a while -- to decrease the ratio of travel time to vacation time. That being said, I hear it's a good time to go to Europe b/c the dollar is strong making everything over there less expensive.

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    1. Yes, the dollar's strength at the moment makes the exchange rate certainly better than it was just a few years ago. The last time Betty and I were in the U.K. we got hammered with a strong pound versus the dollar.

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  17. I have been enjoying this post and it's good to read all the difference of opinions.

    The one thing I would like to add is the challenges of traveling solo. I have never had an issue with traveling solo until last year and had 2 road trips where my car broke down.

    The first was on my way to the airport when my alternator went on my car on the highway. The car died. Fortunately, I was in the right lane so I could pull into the emergency lane. That trip didn't happen and I spent $1000 for the tow, repairs, and a car rental.

    Thought I was out of the woods and took another car trip to Chester, Pennsylvania. The day before I was to drive home, I was heading to a botanical garden. I was at a full stop waiting for my lane to open where construction was being done, when my car wouldn't move. I rolled backward down a small hill and was able to get to the edge of the road. Another tow, repairs and a day lost on my trip at a cost of $780 due to my front axle breaking.

    I am grateful that nothing more than car repairs were needed and I was not injured. Both these trips broke my confidence about long car trips as a solo traveler.

    I have looked into taking some group tours, but at this time in my life, I am not sure I would enjoy being confined to a tight schedule for a long period of time. Also, traveling as a solo person would add to the cost of the trip because there is always a supplemental fee added if I don't want to share a room with a stranger. Which I don't.

    I am beginning to think that my travel adventures will be much less than in the pass days. I am finding my time being spent more doing volunteer work and I am gaining more satisfaction from helping others at this time in my life.

    I will still venture out to Rochester, NY to visit my son occasionally and take trips closer to home. Budget, health, political issues, transportation are just some of the reasons that I am finding a different direction in my retirement life today.

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    1. I have addressed solo travel a few times in the past, but since I can't speak from experience I tend to avoid voicing my opinion. Thank you for your thoughts on this type of travel. You were quite unlucky with the car episodes but that doesn't change the reality that solo travel, especially for us retired folks, brings added risks.

      From a business standpoint I understand the extra solo cost on tours or cruises, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow. Has anyone heard of a tour company that doesn't force a single traveler to pay much more or have to share a room with a stranger?

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    2. Added info: Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone is a book that blogging buddy Barbara at Living Richly in Retirement highly recommends. You might want to take a look at it. It is available through Amazon.

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  18. Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) features "learning"-type excursions worldwide and is held in high regard. Some participants travel solo and in fact you'll find a "Solo Travel" section on their website including trips that don't charge extra for single occupancy rooms. Check them out at roadscholar.org and enter "solo" in the search box. Also, the "Practical Information" dropdown menu takes you to Solo Travel and their "solo travel" blog.

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    1. Thanks for the added resource.

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    2. https://solotravelerworld.com/ That link is the best resource I know of for safe solo traveling and the author regularly posts companies offering solo trips WITHOUT single supplements, or greatly reduced.A very good resource. I used to do some solo travel during Ken's working days when I wanted to go somewhere he didn't, but not so much anymore. I also enjoyed joining up with women's travel groups but they were pricey.I did a Seattle trip with ladies, a Tall Ships cruise of the West Indies with a ladie's group, and a couple of crafting cruises (which I WOULD do again!)

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  19. I actually find traveling a bit exhausting unless I am flying directly into a nice beach resort and heading for the umbrella and the beach for a week.that said, we did not travel as much as we had thought we would during our first 3 years of retirement.the trip to France some relatives were planning (we were to join them) did not pan out for April. Soo-- I had these tickets already purchased, and could bank them..we've decided to do something outrageous and exotic (for us!) and I found an incredibly priced Princess cruise to the Baltic Sea area this Spring. 11 days plus a few nights in Copenhagen.I am curious to visit Denmark where they are supposedly the happiest people in the world. We will be in Russia for 2 days! Yikes! I have never been to Europe! Starting off dramatic! We love cruising, and we have some restful days at sea in between the ports throughout the Baltic.Will be lots of history,cathedrals,maritime museums, and stuff we enjoy.the TRAVEL part of the travel sounds daunting.. long flights,connections,expensive cabs from airport to cruise ship,getting a pet/house sitter... but, we wanot t make some memories..the time just seems right! Actually, the increase in terrorism in Paris was a thought that worried me a bit. .I feel somewhat safer in the Baltic. But it's not a big consideration. Other than that, local trips in the Southwest for most of the year!

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    1. Wow, that is an exciting shift in plans. You had mentioned the stay in France, but your replacement sounds really great. Next time we get together, show us the brochures!

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    2. It was the great price on the cruise I found, plus Ken's lifelong wish to see Russia..and I am more interested in Scandanavia than France.. so.. off we go... I use the vacationstogo.com site to look at cruises..we got a balcony for such a reasonable price. Also have our small cabin up North coming back to us from the renter.. an interesting year ahead..!

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    3. I did a Baltic Cruise several years ago likely into the same ports and it was fabulous - Estonia was stunning as was Sweden. For Russia we stayed on the ship and did guided tours (Hermitage) which is pretty much the only way to travel there but it was worth it. Russia is a bit daunting but just be open minded and enjoy!

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  20. Interesting topic and we have been hashing around the same travel issues. We did two big trips last year and they're pricey and exhausting. But fun! :)

    We have one trip in the US/Canada planned this summer (Kingston, upstate NY, Falling Water...we're big FLW fans) and have been debating Italy this fall. I don't think the odds of anything awful happening to us personally are high, but the world situation is definitely disturbing. Every day seems crazier lately, and it is just tiring and discouraging.

    My daughter lives in the UK and has been in Nepal recently with trips planned to Bangkok, Milan and Bangladesh. She doesn't seem overly concerned (these are business trips), but she's always been an adventurer and loves to see the world. As a mom, I'm always happy to know she landed safely and watch her social media pictures as she moves around. That much travel would knock me out.

    --Hope

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    1. How our daughter can fly on business from Las Vegas to Scotland, or Phoenix to Belfast and then directly to Maui, all with one suitcase and a few carryons, is beyond me. A 22 hour day on planes doesn't seem to faze her. I'd be dead.

      Like your daughter, ours is very good with itineraires, contact information, texts when she lands and takes off, and Facebook pictures. Still, it is always a little disconcerting.

      BTW, I was a tour guide for several years at Taliesin West, FLW's home in Scottsdale for the last twenty years of his life. Fascinating man and life.

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    2. Just found your blog Bob and I absolutely LOVE it. I'm preparing for retirement next year. Funny enough, I'm the traveller while my daughter is the homebody and she feels the same when I travel and is always reminding me how I need to be careful and let her know when I arrive!

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    3. Welcome! When you have time begin to check out the 6+ years of old posts in the archives....hopefully you will find some useful information and advice.

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  21. This spring, I am planning to travel from western Canada to attend an international conference that will be held in the Chicago area. When the travel and immigration restrictions were announced by your government in January, many prospective international attendees decided to boycott this conference and all travel to the USA to show solidarity with the international folks who will not be allowed into the country. However, in the end, I decided to register and attend as I believe that boycotts such as this play into isolationism and restrict the free exchange of ideas. I am pleased to hear that the conference organizers are putting electronic participation options into place for those conference participants who may not be able to enter the country.

    Jude

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    1. Interesting example, Jude. I agree with you regarding the effectiveness of this type of boycott, but I can fully appreciate and respect the decision that some may have reached. In these situations each of us must make a choice that we are comfortable with. If America continues on its apparent path I venture to guess this country will be the big loser in terms of tourism and workers needed by our industries and companies.

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  22. As you know, I'm a homebody, so a year spent close to home is my typical year and I love it that way! On the other hand, if my friends aren't traveling to see me, then I miss them. Hint hint!

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  23. The "drama" is actually one compelling reason to get away from the US for a while. Can't go anywhere that people aren't in your face about politics. As with most of your readers, fear does not play into our travel plans. We are off to the UK in a few weeks, via Cruise ship from Ft. Lauderdale, then another cruise along the British Isles (Ireland and Scotland), depart ship and take a train to Paris for 1 week. Will be away about 5 weeks in all. Aside from that, it has mostly been about Florida/Georgia road trips this past year. To the guy that just discovered the "Forgotten Coast," glad you got to see the part of Florida that we Floridian's like to keep for ourselves. Just don't tell anyone about it. Take care and happy travels. P.S. On a somber note. Don't delay the joys of travel. A 58 year old friend who was on the tennis court last week running around like a teenager died in her sleep of a heart attack two nights ago.

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    1. THAT is a tremendously enticing itinerary. A transatlantic passage is quite a few days away from land, but most cruise ships have serious distractions. You have picked some of our favorite places to visit.

      Thanks for adding the reminder of the impermanence of life. We really never know.

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  24. My son and his fiancee will be on the way to Europe soon. They have expressed no concerns at all about the political situations of the moment. We did a lot of traveling early in my retirement years, and simply don't have a lot of enthusiasm for more now. So we'll stay behind and have fun caring for their dog and house as well as enjoying good spring and summer activities close to home.

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    1. Betty and I are nearing the end of our run with the big RV trips; it is hard work to be on the road for weeks at a time! But, we have at least one more Europe trip and several cruises still in us.....I think.

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