There are a lot of people that hop into their vehicles and drive to their campsites without preparing themselves for the endeavor first. If you do not plan out your camping trip, there are many things that can go wrong. You could end up forgetting an essential item that you need during the trip, or end up picking a site for the trip that you do not care for.
When it comes to planning your trip, the first thing that you need to do is plan where your final site is going to be. It is important when picking a site that you analyze what your needs are before making a decision. Different people wish to experience different things while on their trips, so picking a site that adheres to your needs is going to help you ensure that your trip meets your expectations.
During certain times of the year, campgrounds can be extremely busy places. This leaves a lot of people fighting for a spot at a site that they desire to be at, and some having to back off because there was not enough room for them to stay where they desired to. Making reservations early for the site that you want to be at will help immensely.
Aside from focusing your attention on the site where you will camp, you also need to ensure that you take the right items with you for your trip. It is important that you pack everything that you will need to take with you beforehand.
Some of the things you will need are a tent, food, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, and something to make a fire with. If you are not the type of person that camps, there are other common everyday amenities that you may want to take with you also.
Camping is one activity that millions of people all over the world choose to engage in, especially during the warmer summer months. You need to ensure that you find a site that is going to adhere to your needs, and that you pack all of the equipment you will need as well.
It seems that motorhome living has become more and more popular in recent years. This may be due in part to people having longer and more vigorous lives than ever before. This allows them to enjoy a longer period of retirement to satisfy a desire for travel and exploration.
Younger couples and families may also enjoy this nomadic lifestyle though perhaps on a more part time basis. Aside from allowing for more opportunities to go on vacations and see more sights, there are other advantages as well. These includes saving money in several ways and being much healthier at the same time.
A recreational vehicle of this type will include a kitchen of some sort, whether compact or more elaborate in larger models. Being able to prepare your own meals while traveling can save a lot of money. Eating in restaurants constantly is generally more expensive than cooking at home.
At least as important as cost in the meals and snacks you eat is the quality of the food. When you cook you are aware of everything that goes into each meal, unlike eating out. This allows you to control calories and be sure that all ingredients are fresh and wholesome, as well as eliminate any allergens that you or anyone else may be sensitive to.
Another very important aspect of traveling is sleeping accommodations. Staying in hotels or motels when on a trip or vacation can represent a sizable expense. With a mobile home, your own bed is always with you, which can be a big help to your budget. Having a television and other entertainment devices in your vehicle means you will not miss such hotel amenities.
Your own sleeping facilities also ensure that you have a clean and healthy environment every night. Even upscale hotels in recent years have been known to harbor bedbugs due to the high volume of guests from all over the world. Motorhome living protects you from this danger and lets you enjoy your travels with greater peace of mind.
Long bеfоrе winter’s blustery chill bеgіns tо sting thе bones, plans аrе bеіng mаdе bу people іn Canada, thе Northeast аnd Midwestern United Ѕtаtеs tо seek thе warmer climes оf thе south. It’s аn interesting phenomenon thаt occurs еасh year аnd mimics thе migration ritual оf оur feathered friends.
These “snowbirds” (аs thеу аrе affectionately called) flock tо Arizona, Florida аnd оthеr places аlоng thе Sunbelt tо avoid winter’s bite аnd inconvenience. Northern Europeans аlsо аrе knоwn tо head tо warmer places іn thе U.Ѕ., adding tо thеsе second communities оf seasonal residents еасh year.
Snowbirds аrе typically retirees оr business owners whо саn afford tо bе аwау fоr extended periods оf time. Маnу hаvе а second hоmе іn а warmer location, whіlе оthеrs tаkе thеіr hоmе оn wheels wіth thеm іn thе form оf аn RV оr camper.
Traveling wіth pets long distances аnd fоr long periods оf time presents challenges nоt оnlу fоr snowbirds but аlsо fоr thе pets thеу tаkе аlоng. Ассоrdіng tо Dr. Mitch Spindell, site vet оn PetTravelCenter.com, thе fіrst thing оnе shоuld аlwауs consider іs hоw physically аblе а pet іs tо travel. Ѕоmе senior, pregnant, injured, оr оthеrwіsе physically impaired pets dо nоt travel well. Веsіdеs making surе уоur pet іs physically fit аnd comfortable tо mаkе thе trip, hеrе аrе sоmе tips tо consider:
1. Іf уоur pet hаs аnу chronic conditions, tаkе аll pertinent medical records. It’s а good idea tо hаvе уоur pet’s records wіth уоu аnу time уоu travel long distances.
2. Іf уоur pet іs оn аnу long-term medications, bе surе tо hаvе plenty tо lаst уоur entire stay.
3. Іf уоu аrе driving north оr south оf thе U.Ѕ. border, bе surе tо check аll local regulations аnd hаvе уоur pet’s current health certificates wіth you.
4. Establish а local vet іn thе area аs sооn аs роssіblе іn case оf emergency. Gо tо PetTravelCenter.com аnd click оn Emergency Tips fоr mоrе information.
5. Аsk а local vet аbоut аnу diseases оr parasites thаt mау bе рrеsеnt іn thаt раrt оf thе country (Lyme disease іn Νеw England оr year-round fleas іn Florida, fоr instance). Yоur pet mау nоt bе protected аgаіnst thеsе іf thеу аrе nоt рrеsеnt whеrе уоu live.
Just аs уоur passengers’ safety іs vitally іmроrtаnt whеn уоu travel, dоn’t forget аbоut уоur pet’s safety аs well. Аs unrestrained 25-pound dog, fоr example, bесоmеs а 1,000-pound projectile іn а 40 mile-per-hour crash. Тhіs type оf mass flying uncontrollably аrоund а vehicle соuld bе deadly nоt оnlу tо уоur pet but аlsо tо уоu аnd уоur passengers.
Look оut fоr уоur precious cargo bу providing уоur pet wіth а car seat equipped wіth а restraining device (fоr smaller pets) оr а vehicle pet harness thаt іs secured wіth а seat belt. Cats shоuld bе kерt іn а carrier suitable fоr traveling, аlsо secured wіth а seat belt.
A travel tag оn а pet’s collar will help sоmеоnе locate уоu locally shоuld уоu аnd уоur pet bесоmе separated. Тhе travel tag shоuld соntаіn іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut whеrе уоu аrе staying (whіlе аwау frоm hоmе), including addresses аnd phone numbers. А cell phone number іs аlsо а good idea tо hаvе оn thе tag sіnсе mоst people hаvе оnе wіth thеm, еsресіаllу whеn thеу travel.
Another item tо consider іs а pet first-aid kit. It’s іmроrtаnt thаt уоu аrе nоt оnlу familiar wіth thе items уоu pack іn thе kit but knоw hоw tо usе them.
I have spent quite a bit of time overseas in the last few years and there is one thing that I have had the hardest time getting accustomed too. That is most of the entire world other than the United States uses International street signs. If you are not accustomed to them they will cause you many issues and possibly cause you to be involved in an accident. I have talked to a lot of officials in the different areas I have traveled and they all say the same thing. Most accidents, that they respond to, are caused by tourist driving and not understanding the local street signs.
I thought I would take this time to show you some of the most common ones that you need to be aware of as to try and avoid being involved in an accident and hurting you or someone else in the process.
Another thing that is very common abroad are round-a bout’s. The United States is starting to deploy them more and more as time goes by. They appear to allow for better traffic flow in congested areas more efficiently than traffic lights. These are actually very simple to understand but so many people seem to struggle with them. The only rule to remember is that traffic already in the round-a-bout has the right of way. This means traffic entering must yield. There are a few places that this is not the case but the majority of the time It is.
Most foreign countries also require travelers that want to drive to have an International Driver’s Permit. It can be easily obtained and is only valid as long as your regular driver’s license is valid. You can apply for one online and only takes a couple days to receive it.
One final thing I want to point out to both Americans traveling abroad and foreigners coming to the United States, is that the United States is the only country in the world still using the Decimal system and has not moved to the Metric system. This means that speed limit signs in the United States are in Mile per hour and speed limits signs everywhere else are in Kilometers per hour. Remember this or you could find yourself getting a speeding ticket ruining the experience of traveling.
In closing, if you plan to drive internationally outside the United States, I would strongly recommend that you learn to read the traffic signs for the country you are traveling. This could mean the difference between life and death for you and for others on the road with you.
It may always sound like a good thing to retire young, however, my wife and I have ran into issues that we did not necessarily expect to have when we first embarked on this.
My wife and I, before we retired, were both workaholics in our careers, and because for this, we were given the opportunity to retire at a young age (early 40’s). We spent many months planning this move in our life but we now have discovered that there are somethings you just cannot prepare for in retirement and some of them never would have occurred to us to be issues.
First I need to explain to you a little about the life style my wife and I decided to undertake in retirement. Neither one of us could decide exactly where we wanted to spend our retirement years, so we decided that we would sell everything we had and travel the country in a motorhome. This allowed us the freedom we wanted to see things, visit all the places we have always wanted to and possibly find that perfect little community we were looking for.
Now lets look at some of the unforeseen situations that have been caused by retiring young.
Believe it or not, this is the number one issue my wife and I have found ourselves experiencing and causes the most issues. We thought at first that there are so many things to do and see, but there still is only so much you can do. We are only a couple years into this new life or ours and we already find ourselves at times bored. Since we were both Workaholics we were not mentally prepares to slow down so much and really have nothing forcing you to even get out of bed on a daily basis. We think to ourselves, we have another 30 to 40 years of this life styles so there is plenty of time to do things and there is always a tomorrow. We feel if we were later in life then we might feel different because of the limited number of years remaining that we could possibly get around easily and see things.
To help with this issue in our life right now, we have considered doing more work kamping at the places we travel. If you are interested click work kamping to learn more. This at least gives us something to do a couple days a week and something to look forward to at times. If we get tired of that, we may be forces to go get part time jobs at the different locations just to help pass the time at least a couple days a week.
This issue has just started to creep into our lives and we are not too excited about it. Since our new lifestyle has been to travel the country in a motorhome, this is more of a lifestyle by the older generation of people and thus couples that are much older than Mary and I. First let me say, everyone we have met has been wonderful to us and has made us feel right at home and only a couple have ever been resentful to us because we did not have to work till we were 60 to enjoy this life style.
Most of our new friends, due to this lifestyle, are in their 60’s and 70’s and thus we have started to experience the issue of losing some good friends due to health and age. We have actually started to think that baring anything drastic happening to us, we will most likely loose every one of our friends because of the age differences. As you can see this would not have been an issue if we would have retired later in life.
Even if you choose a different lifestyle than my wife and I did, you will most likely still find that many of your new friends will be older. Most people your own age will still be working their own carriers as they are not retired yet.
Not all things are negative about retiring young though, there are still some excellent benefits to it.
1) You are more physically able to do a lot of things still in life that you always wanted to. We chose to take up Scuba Diving and we have enjoyed diving at all the different places we have traveled to.
2) One of the biggest pluses to me has been I can spend the winters down south, as I hope to never have to shovel another snowflake as long as I live.
3) We have actually been able to get healthier. Not only do we have a lot more time to take care of ourselves properly, with both eating right and exercising, but we also do not have all the stress that is caused by having careers.
4) We also get to travel more, in fact as I write this article we are enjoying the country of Aruba, where there is plenty of sun and scuba diving to enjoy.
In closing I still am very glad my wife and I decided to retire young. There are by far many more positive things that we have experienced than negative. However, realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of things, as every path you take in life will have its ups and downs and you just need to be prepared for whatever life brings your way in every decision you chose to make.
If a wireless phone tower only covers a few square miles, how is it, I can travel for miles and never drop my call with the person I am talking to?
The first thing I will need to explain to you are some basic wireless terms that will be used in this article.
1) BTS: Stands for Base Station Controller. It is a fancy name for a cell site
2) BSC: Base Station Controller. Controls all messaging back and forth to the BTS
3) MSC: Mobile Station Controller. This is the main switching computer that controls the BSC and all call traffic
4) CDMA/GSM or UMTS: These are different Digital Technologies used by wireless carriers
Now let’s start talking a little about how this all works.
First you will need to set up a call on your wireless phone. Once you are on that particular call you begin driving down the road. There is a slight difference in this process between GSM and CDMA. I will attempt to point them out as we go through this. As you are on the phone, your signal is constantly being monitored and evaluated, also each BTS on the BSC has a database that lists all the corresponding sites around it that a customer could possibly drive into the area of.
The next step there is a difference in how it works:
CDMA / UMTS: In CDMA and UMTS, your call is actually being processed but all the surrounding sites at the same time. The BSC monitors the signal quality on the call and as you drive, the levels will get better on one site over another and the BSC just process the call on the best quality site. As you drive on, your noise level changes, and the BSC will just process the call from the new site. This is called Soft Hand Off’s. As you drive on, this process is just repeated over and over with the sites going down the road based on the BSC database listing of the surrounding sites.
GSM: In GSM it works a little different. The calls are not actually processed over multiple sites at one time, because the phone in GSM is forced to retune to a different Freq every time you move from one site to another. So how it works, is it just monitors your signal level on all surrounding sites based on the BSC database. Then once your signal level is stronger on one of the neighbor sites than the one you currently are on, the phone receives a message from the BSC telling it to retune to the channel of the neighbor site and the phone retunes and the call hands off.
Because of these differences, if you listen closely, you may hear a small click or a word of audio may be muted because of the retuning of the phone. In CDMA, all sites actually operate on the same frequency and it performs a Soft Hand Off, so it is seamless to the customer and device.
The signal levels that these processes us to compare and performed at are also set by the carrier in their BSC database.
The number one reason for a consumer to drop their call is usually a neighbor cell site is not loaded properly in the BSC as a hand off candidate or that possibly the signal levels that are set in the database may need to be adjusted slightly. This process is not an exact art for all situations so drop calls will happen that cannot be explained.
Now let me explain quickly how this whole process works when you drive on a road where one area is on one wireless carrier system and the other area is on someone else’s wireless system. Because this requires two different carriers to be involved, many times your calls will just drop because the two carriers have not gone into an agreement among themselves, most of the times this is due to costs associated in putting the process in place.
If both carriers decide they want to put this in place, it is very similar to what already happens above. The difference is, that the BSC database also has to have information on the neighbor BTS’s. However, when it needs to get info of the neighbor’s site it has to communicate over a link that is put in place connecting the two companies. If the call actually reaches levels that it hands off the call, the neighbor has to take the audio for that call also and that requires some sophisticated signaling and trunking to be in place. Also due to the time it takes for all this messaging to take place between carriers, it is not uncommon for the calls to drop if the areas terrain is hilly or the customer drives too quickly through. The costs associated with this, is the main reason carriers do not put this in place. You will usually only see this in place if the area in question is on a major interstate or where there is enough traffic to justify not dropping the calls.
I hope this all made sense to you and if not feel free to drop me a note or comment and I will try to answer your questions for you.
I wanted to write this article to show people that not all illegal aliens in the country are there to take jobs and get free medical. I want to explain to people how my wife and I actually became illegal aliens by accident, while living abroad. I will expose which country it is in a later article.
As many of you may have read previously from me, my wife and I retired a few years ago from the wireless industry and decided to travel the United States in our motorhome. After a couple years of this, we decided to finally try living abroad in another country in order to actually see what it is like and at the same time try to learn a culture other than the one in the United States. We wanted to see how other cultures lived there day to day lives without some of the daily conveniences we have become accustomed to in the United States.
It all started off innocently enough, with my wife and I traveling abroad to live. We wanted to have some comforts that we were accustomed to so we rented a condo and purchased a car to get around in. We would also travel back to the United States every couple months for two reasons.
1) We wanted to still take the time to see our daughter
2) We had to take care of things like prescriptions and certain bills that we could not pay online
During the entire first six months we never gave it any thought as to what the countries laws were in regards to travel and living on the island. This is the one thing looking back on we were being ignorant about as it is what caused us most of our headaches.
It was on one of our trips back to the island from the United States that the Customs and Immigration Department located at the airport instructed us that we had already reached to within 10 days of our maximum allowed per year without a permit and would only be allowed to enter the country if we left within ten days. We agreed to these terms and thus were granted permission to enter the country.
The following day we proceeded to contact one of the local lawyers and explained our situation in order to find out what our options were and what the process was to get a permit or visa to allow us to live on the island. She started to explain that there were two types of permits that would allow us to reside there.
1) One that allows us to work on the island
2) One that allows us to live on the island but not be allowed to work
Since we were retired we chose the living permit as we had no intentions of going back to work. She then proceeded to explain to us the requirements for this type of permit. This is where things got so difficult that we were about to give up on our dream and go back to the United States. We, however, decided that anything good in life comes with work, so we pushed on. The requirements we had to meet were very stringent and exact.
1) Birth Certificate for both of us. These also could not be older than 6 months so we had to write the states we were born in and get new ones issued.
2) Marriage license to prove my wife’s name change from her birth certificate. This also had to be less than 6 months old.
3) Background checks done by our state of residence showing we had no criminal record.
4) Statements from our brokerage firm showing we had sufficient amount of money in the bank to support ourselves and not be a burden on their socialist system. This was due to we were applying for a non-working permit.
5) After we got all this together we had to submit them back to the states they were issued in, to the State Departments to provide Apostille stamps to them to prove they were legal documents in the United States. They would not accept notaries.
These various documents took us well over a month to gather, especially since we were abroad doing it and mailing everything back and forth to the different places in the United States. During this time, is when my wife and I became illegal aliens on the island. We had to balance a thin line as to not do anything that would have required us to show our legal status in the area. This made things a little awkward at times since we were Americans living there and we stood out. We had to blend in with the tourist so that questions would not be asked of us.
After about two more months of waiting, our lawyer finally received our temporary permits which would allow us to enter the country legally. We still were not allowed to live there, but we could enter the country to finish the process o receive our final permit. Of course, since my wife and I were already there we had to get on a plane and fly back to the United States so we could then fly back and get the proper stamps from immigrations at the airport allowing us to enter the country.
Once we received this stamp, we took everything once again back to the lawyers and they then informed us that there was still one more step to the process. We had to report to the Hospital within 10 days for Blood tests and X-rays. It turns out they don’t allow permits or visas to people with HIV or Hepatitis as they are trying to control those two deceases on the island and that our permits would allow us access to their social medicine if we wish. After my wife and I completed that task we turned the results into the Country’s Health Department. Two weeks and we received our official permits to reside on the island and were no longer illegal aliens.
My wife and I actually had become Illegal Aliens for about two months during this entire process. I have never been through this process in the United States obviously, but after this long ordeal, if the United States procedures are even half this stringent I can now understand why there is such a high rate of illegal aliens entering the United States. I do not support illegals by any means, but for my wife and I, we also can now understand how sometimes not all illegal aliens are breaking the law with bad intentions. We could have avoided this entire situation if we would have research this more and looked into what the laws are in the other countries, as it applies to residing there, before we started this great adventure. Hind site is always 20X20.
Before my wife and I started traveling the United States in our new motorhome, we spent many of hours at the local RV store and even traveled hundreds of miles to big RV Showrooms to make sure we had all the facts before making a purchase. What we found was there are 4 different types of recreation vehicles on the market for use depending on what your camping needs are. No matter what kind of camping you plan to do or how many people in your family, there is a recreational vehicle out there to meet your needs.
Let’s spend a few moments discussing some of the pros and cons to each of the four groups. This info will help you decide what is best for you and you camping family.
Pop up Trailer
The Pop up Trailer is the first level of Recreational Vehicles above just old fashion tent camping. It gives you almost all the freedoms you have with a tent, except the hiking to remote places. It does however add a level of comfort that a tent doesn’t offer. You have Beds and a place to stay warm and dry from the rain without being on the ground. They come with basic toilet, a sink, sometimes a heater as an option and a small propane stove. They are actually perfect for the weekend getaway if you and your family are small in numbers. They also can be towed by almost any vehicle you already own without having to upgrade. Costs also are not that high and you can usually get a good used one for even less. I have even met one couple that full time in one, not to say that there is anything wrong with that, but you must have a very good relationship with your partner to attempt this.
This is the first level on recreational vehicles that are designed and built for travel and longer stays of more than a week. They come in all different lengths and you start getting some of your home amenities built into them. These also will work better for the larger family or ones that have older kids that need a little more room and privacy. Depending on the length you go with you can still get into many of the remote locations to camp and enjoy the great outdoors. The price here is just starting to climb a little based on what your needs truly are. One major drawback to these though is that they are just big enough to be effected by truckers on the road or any kind of wind gusts. Even with Sway Bars they have a tendency to move back and forth a little. You may find you need a bigger car to tow them but almost any truck on the market can handle even some of the larger ones.
Once you move up to the 5th wheel you start getting into some more of the serious type of camping with longer type stays or even permanently living in it. You can get full size fridges and electric fireplaces. They will have lots of storage underneath and designed more for the serious camper. These however, start having some major draw backs that require you to decide on what your real plans are for using it. They are usually larger than a trailer and thus are not as easily taken into remote locations. They also most of the time require a larger vehicle to tow them due to their weight. My wife and I actually started full timing in one and eventually traded up to the next category due to some issues we found with them. Once we found that having a larger truck sure hurt us on the gas mileage when just running around town not towing. Also the amount of time to hook up to your truck and set up at various campgrounds made it more cumbersome. They also are not really designed for stopping for quick over nights stays. You can do that but it just wasn’t for us. If you are going to be at one location for a very long time then it’s probably ideal but if you are going to want to move every week or two then we found it was just not right for us.
This is the last of the categories. These are really designed for the serious person planning to live or travel most of the year in it. Due to their size they will not fit at a lot of campgrounds and many state parks don’t allow them if they are over a certain size. We moved up from a 5th wheel to one though because they are easy to set up and take down when traveling. They also are perfect for stopping at rest stops or parking lots for overnight stays during your travels. They have everything you could find in a home. You do however need to have a smaller vehicle to use when driving around town when you are at your final destination. These are priced anywhere from the low $100K to over a million based on manufacturer and how many amenities you really need or want. You can get a good used one almost anywhere including E-Bay.
In closing, the most important factor for you when deciding on which recreational vehicle, is to first decide what kind of camping you plan to do and where you want to be able to take it. Cost is always very important but first decide on what you want then find one that fits your price range. If you purchase the wrong one these do not increase in value. Like a car they lose a lot of value the day you purchase it so make the right decision the first time or you will not enjoy it to the fullest.
My wife and I were traveling from our Winter location in Florida to Maine for the summer for the first time in our new Motorhome and we decided to stop off and spend a month in Central Virginia. Once we got off of I81 Interstate we discovered that Virginia is a very beautiful state.
We found a campground just outside of Luray, VA. Country-Waye RV Resort. It was a wonderful park to stay at and it was central to numerous site seeing adventures in the area. I had a heated pool for the kids and had a huge field in the middle for playing football or other activities. Luray is also a large enough community that has numerous restaurants and has a Super Walmart for everyday shopping. its small enough though that you don’t have traffic and you get the feeling of small town.
The activities in the area were great and so close.
The first thing everyone needs to do when in the area is visit the Luray Caverns. Wasn’t a bad price and is about 1 hour long. They give guided tours through the mountains and you where a headset that gives you the history of different locations. It was 52 degrees inside though so bring a light jacket if you are someone that gets cold easily. With your entry fee you also get to tour a old car museum that is huge when it comes to the amount of cars but small when it comes to the space they put them in.
Next in the area is the Shenandoah National Park. There is a $15 dollar park entry fee but the nice thing is that its good for 7 days, so you don’t feel you have to do everything in one day and can take your time to enjoy the park. There is a skyline drive that goes a little more than 100 miles and is beautiful. you drive across the top of the mountain range and has many turnouts and campgrounds along the way for site seeing. There are also many hiking trails in the park for everyone from wheel chairs to the healthy hiker. With numerous Water Falls (See Pictures) and wildlife there is something for everyone in this park.
If you are ever in the Central Virgina area you need to stop off at Luray and visit the Caverns and take the drive in the Shenandoah Park. See More Pictures
There are many ways of keeping the costs associated with retirement living to a minimum. Analyzing this is a very important first step in figuring out if you have set aside the proper finances to make that step in your life. Financial Analyst will tell you that you need to have 70% to 80% of your current income before you can retire. Along with that, they recommend you plan for your retirement income to last you until at least the age of 85. Controlling your cost of living is a requirement to meet all these expectations and if done properly could possibly let you do it for much less.
One of the most critical steps in the process is to decide on where you want to live or call your state of residency. You will need to consider the following when analyzing this step:
1) Does it or does it not have state income tax
2) Cost of registration for vehicles
3) Cost of Various insurances both Medical and Vehicle
Each state has its advantages and disadvantages. As an example, you hear of Florida and no state income tax, it also has very low vehicle registration costs. However, it is one of the higher states when it comes to health insurance premium costs. If you have an accountant, they will be a very valuable asset for you in determining what fits your situation the best. Everyone has a different situation to review, but you do need to study this aspect very closely. There are also many books written just on this subject alone.
Once you have determined where you want to live, now you have to decide how you want to live. When my wife and I retired we looked at this step as having two options. Either we purchase/rent a home or we purchase a motorhome and travel. We opted for the motorhome avenue for some very particular reasons. With a motorhome, we could travel the country cheaper than we could purchase a home and settle down. When you travel and stay in campgrounds you do still have a rent payment, however, it is usually cheaper than most mortgages on a home. In most campgrounds you don’t pay for electric, water, sewage, and sometime cable if available. With those costs already included in the camping fees we were able to have this portion of our budget less than 50% of what it would have cost us to live in a house or apartment. At the same time we get to travel, see things that we always wanted to, and stay in warm weather year around by following the seasons.
Another way to reduce your costs of retirement is to find some sort of part time income to assist with the costs. Of course you are retired so you need to find a way to earn a small income without it feeling like you are still working fulltime. Some ways of doing this is to try and find ways of making money with your hobbies. A few I have found for doing this are, if you like photography there are ways to sell your photos on the internet. If you like to teach and write you could start a Blog and make money that way. One of my favorite ways is not really a method many think about. Since we live in motorhome and stay at campgrounds we do something called Work Kamping. This is a means of working for the campground a few hours a week in return for compensation in the means of my campground fees. For about 20 hours a week we save hundreds in camp ground fees every month. You may even be able to do some kind of consulting if your job history is from a field that would support that.
Now most everyone that retires will still want to stay in touch with family and friends. With all the Social web sites out there such as Facebook and MySpace, it is actually pretty easy to do for free. You can even use Skype to talk to family and friends for free when you call computer to computer. There also are many free Wi-Fi hotspots around every town that you can use to email and stay in touch with people for free. Take your laptop to dinner with you if you go places like IHOP or Denny’s and you can eat and catch up with people or pay your bills online at the same time.
Another way to save money in retirement is to eat at home more. When you were working it was hard to eat at home. After working all day the last thing you want to do is start cooking dinner when you get home. Thus, it was much easier to go out. Now that you are retired, you have all the time in the day to cook healthy and eat properly. Using coupons will help save at the grocery stores, you can find many valuable coupons on the internet and print them out at home.
One last hint I will give you to assist in lowering costs. Use a credit card for all purchases. Use a card that gives you points that can be used to purchase things such as a restaurant card. Just use the credit card for every purchase during the month and pay it off at the end of the month with your monthly income to avoid interest charges. This will also help you manage and track you expenses at the same time help you earn a free dinner out.
In closing, there are many things that you can do to lower your cost for retirement living. You need to just sit down and think about all the things you can do without or can cut back on that can assist you in reaching your retirement goals. Retirement is a wonderful place to be at the same time a scary place. You don’t want to jump into this part of your life if you are not completely prepared for it.