Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't Fly! Drive!

I still work as a healthcare consultant on occasion to pay for our travel...this week was a work week.  It has been a while since I've flown and between trips I forget that it's not as much fun as it used to be! From getting to the airport hours early just in case security lines are long to late arrivals and broken ain't what it used to be.  I added up the time it took me to get home from Greenville, SC to Hendersonville, TN by plane and it would have been quicker to drive! So next tip...if you're retired, think about whether the journey might be part of the trip rather than just the destination!

A few years ago, we meandered the Maine coast in May eating lobster, lobster rolls and clam chowder at every opportunity. While we saw the usual lobster boats and lighthouses, we also saw things off the beaten path that tourists rarely see. One of our favorite photos is laundry on the line tied between a tree and the dock. The colors, early spring flowers and water were tranquil and reflected the emergence from a long winter.  We chatted with the locals and were pointed in the direction of great dives and fabulous food. You don't have to eat "frou frou" to get really great lobster fact, the more simple the better.  Lobster meat, a little mayo and the bun, preferably eaten standing in the parking lot or on a dock looking at water.  From work to retirement can be something like from work and end point to end point to meandering along the back roads and out of the way places!

Be sure your car is in good shape and reasonably fuel efficient since gas is going up...but if you're driving slow you'll use less gas. Pick months that most people don't vacation and you'll save a fortune on hotels. We also pick less popular months for cruises too...we did Nova Scotia and Alaska cruises in September.  The cost was almost ridiculously low, the boats weren't packed, and we only had to put up with a bit of cool weather and occasional misty rain.  With the right clothes, layers of course to add and subtract as needed, you can enjoy anywhere.  If you're retired, you can also meander to where the cruise departs rather than flying. Repositioning cruises are great at the beginning and end of seasons when the boats move to their next port. Sometimes you don't even need to get off the boat to have a blast!  We're thinking about doing another Nova Scotia cruise and just taking different shore excursions! You can save money, enjoy the journey and head on out to the sea. 

If you don't want to stray too far from home, consider the back roads around you.  When we first retired, we spent a lot of time being tourists in Tennessee.  Like a lot of other people, we rarely had the time to explore.  Day trips became fun, but there was always an overnight bag with clean underwear in case we found somewhere we wanted to stay!  One trip we did do a quick WalMart run for toothbrushes when we forgot our bag!  So enjoy the journey...the destination isn't really that important!

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