Author Topic: Slow Travel with a Home Base  (Read 9128 times)

newton86

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Slow Travel with a Home Base
« on: April 03, 2017, 01:11:23 PM »
Hi all,

My wife and I (30s) have found ourselves dreaming of FIRE. We do not plan on going as hardcore as many of you do, but we do plan to exit the rat race no later than 50, with the goal of spending at least 5 years focusing on travel. We like the idea of slow travel, and really immersing ourselves in different cultures. We do NOT love the idea of not having a home base to come back to during various parts of the year.

In a perfect world, we would travel for 2-3 months at a time, and then return to our home base. Most likely this would look like 6 months of travel and 6 months of home base. Currently, we own a 4 BR home (3 kids) outside of Philadelphia, but we would be looking to downsize into something smaller with less maintenance (condo/small house).

All that said, our "Home Base" need not be in the Philly area. In fact, we would prefer it to be somewhere else in the US, which is where my question comes in. Has anyone done / is currently doing this? What areas in the US would you suggest for 1) decent year round weather, 2) a location in which we may be able to rent out our condo for part of the year while traveling, 3) an interesting place to live after spending a lifetime in PA.


TheAnonOne

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 01:30:15 PM »
You basically just want longer vacations. People do this all the time.

Even many slow travelers here, I assume don't up and sell everything and go entirely nomadic.

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newton86

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 02:19:58 PM »
You are right! I guess I am looking for success stories from people who slow travel without the nomadic element. I am aware that costs will be higher due to maintaining a primary residence, but have people had success partially offsetting that by renting out their primary residence while they travel? Also looking for markets that would make sense.

FireHiker

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 02:52:21 PM »
I'm interested to follow this, because that is exactly what we want to do. I am willing to sell everything and be completely nomadic but my husband is not. We will likely compromise by setting up a home base somewhere we love and then try to re-coup some of the cost by renting it out when we're away. We have at least 10 years left (likely 13 before we uproot because of kids in school), but we are thinking about it now, discussing almost daily.

newton86

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 02:58:24 PM »
I figured my idea wasn't anything new =)

For us, the debate is always around where the home base would be. I think you can go two routes: somewhere cheap enough where the burden of owning is not too high, or somewhere "nicer" and more expensive, that would also be easier to rent out while you travel.

checkedoutat39

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 08:20:31 PM »
In vacation areas it is common for houses and apartments to rent for the season (rather than a year), and furnished. Beach areas and ski towns for example. So you rent the place out part of the year (3-6 months) to a single tenant and live in it the rest.

Sounds like you have some 10-15 years to figure out where you want this to be. We all can give you ideas but there is no substitute for actually traveling around and finding a place you fall in love with.

Most people, as they get older, want to get the hell out of the big city. You may think this won't be you... I sure did when I was 33.

lthenderson

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 08:38:46 AM »
There is a lot to be gained by keeping "home base" where your friends and family are especially when you might be gone for months at a time. We have several friends that are essentially doing what you are wanting and we keep an eye on their houses while they are away especially after storms and such to make sure everything is okay. Also, by retaining the same location for their home base, they are already familiar with the bills, who to contact when away, etc. if anything needs taken care of while they are on the road.

wanderin1

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 09:20:06 AM »
As someone whoís been alternating slow travel and time back in the US for years, Iíd advise you not to change anything about your home base until youíve got some travel under your beltóbecause travel itself will probably change you in ways you canít anticipate. After a few months of travel, you might find yourself with new enthusiasm for Philly and all its comforts for you. Or the opposite: travel might embolden you to let go of a home base altogether. Or maybe your travels will reveal a perfect home base is outside the US.

Iíve seen all these things and more happen for mid-life travelers!

newton86

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 12:04:40 PM »
All good points. I think the desire to pick a different home base is driven by our current residence requiring a good bit of maintenance, specifically outdoors (snow removal, leaf removal, grass cut, etc). But I suppose we could always downsize in the area to eliminate most of that.

the_fixer

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 01:47:16 PM »
My wife and I were thinking along the same lines and my thought is that we will get a responsible stable roommate.

Townhouse with 2 bedrooms, both masters, 1700 square ft, attached garage, all maintenance on outside taken care of by HOA.

+
We would get around $900 per month (maybe more) we are about 13 min from CU Boulder and in a great location for commuting
The renter would get the place to themselves for most of the time
We would have someone house sitting (roommate) so if something were to go wrong (leak or furnace dies) we would be made aware
Less likely to have a break in if someone is coming and going
Someone to split bills with?
Not as complicated as managing a vacation rental or Air B&B from a remote location

-
We would have a roommate with all of the things that come with it
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 01:51:11 PM by the_fixer »

JoJo

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 02:29:30 PM »
One more thing about going the townhome/condo route.  Many condos have regulations that you can not rent it out for short term leases, airbnb, etc.  Mine has a rule that leases must be for the full unit, and for 6 months or more.  It suspect there are condos that have even more restrictive rules.  They can apply some pretty stiff penalties if you don't abide and if unpaid, they can lien or foreclose on your unit.

the_fixer

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 07:52:18 AM »
Good point. I specifically found one that I am allowed to rent and passed on a few that were restricted to a percentage of units that were allowed to be rented or had a lease length limit.

Houses can also face the same issue so if you buy any place with the plan to rent or Air B&B best to check what the local laws, HOA and covenants state.

jim555

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 12:10:13 PM »
My condo tried to change the by-laws to prevent renting if too many units are rentals.  Thankfully, the proposal failed.
Before you buy a Condo check the rules and by-laws!

Candace

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 12:25:03 PM »
To the OP:

There's a good site called RetireEarlyLifestyle.com that has some resources you should check out. In particular, their page on "Worry-Free Housing" is at http://retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_communities.htm . The website owners, who've been slow traveling since 1991, have a small, very cheap place somewhere out west that satisfies all their needs when they're back in the States. Some of these places may only be available to 55 and older folks, but I bet there are some similar solutions for you. Their page has a lot of resources for people trying to solve the same problems you are. I'm not affiliated and get no payment for anything they do. They keep it at least mostly up to date.

Good luck! I'm hoping to do something similar in a year or two when both of my husband's children are (probably) out of the area. It may not be the best option for me though, because my husband, while he likes to travel, would probably only want to be doing so about three weeks out of every quarter. So we'll be looking at house sitters or moving to where his kids end up living.

exmmmer

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 02:36:42 PM »
we're going to make Mexico our initial 'home base' and then travel Central and South America from there. I envision 90-day trips while keeping our rental so we have that place to go back to. This is at odds with our initial plans, but I think much more realistic than permanent/nomad status. But then we did live in a pop-up camper for seven months, so nomad-ing works for us too. :)

StetsTerhune

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 03:39:23 PM »
My wife and I have been fully nomadic for 2.5 years now, and our long-term plan is probably something like what you're describing. I've been saying 3 months away, 3 months at a home-base.

Cost will be an issue though, since the fact that we're not paying any overhead "back home" is what makes this life affordable. We've spent a lot of time discussing  possible options of how to minimize the cost and have come up with 3 general solutions: A. somewhere super cheap. B. somewhere with a strong seasonal rental market (that we wouldn't mind being off-season). C. Not actually buy or long-term renting a place at all, just have a regular rotation medium term rentals that we go back to and will feel comfortable. We're not sure which direction we're leaning.

I say this is our "long-term plan," but I have no idea when or if we'll actually get there. Before I started this life, I would have been sure that after 2.5 years as a nomad I'd be sick and tired of living like this. Now I don't know if I'll ever get sick of it -- mostly because I can decide day-to-day and month-to-month what "it" is. Last month we got a month-long rental in a city and did almost nothing, this week we rented a car and are driving around being tourists. We take our "home base" where we need it. It's not exactly the same has having a home that feels completely comfortable, but it's pretty close after even a few days. And we've gotten so used to only having as much stuff as fits in our 30L backpacks that filling a house with stuff sounds insane to me.

dougules

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 04:05:37 PM »
Does home base need to be in the US?

I'm basically in the same boat as Jill.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 04:07:11 PM by dougules »

ahoy

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 08:39:44 PM »
My husband I are slowed traveled for nearly two years, finished earlish 2015.  We have kids, when we left they were ages 10 and 6.  There was no way we would ever sell our house.  I read a few travel blogs and it amazes me that some sell their homes.  This may work for them or maybe that's how they afford to travel, but for my family and I we would never sell to travel.  Our house is mortgage free and we made money off it while away. 

We are thinking of going again next year for 6 to 12 mths.  Our house is in a fairly LCOL area so it works for us by keeping the house.  Plus, you never know whats around the corner.  One might get ill while traveling and you may need that base to go back too.  To my DH and I it's peace of mind knowing you have something to come back to.  Personally, I could slow travel for years, but we still would not sell the house. 

Drole

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2017, 03:13:14 PM »
We traveled for about two years and just rented the house we had been in. we have other rentals and a property manager, so that part was easy. We kept some stuff in storage. Pitched anything upholstered, mattresses, etc. Now we are planning to do rotating semesters. We stayed in one place for a year and that part of our travels was much more enjoyable for us than the nomadic part.  My DH wants to be here in the US, I do not. So this is our current compromise idea and we are scouting second locations this summer.

So while we're not seeking a new home in the usa, things that factored into where we are looking: lifestyle (laid back, bike-able/walk-able, friendly), a place where I can visually blend in, a place with agreeable schools for the kids, low cost of living, ability to stay longer term with visa, etc. Also having some expats around is nice for the kids. I think I have a proper list somewhere. My DH also prefers places where he can continue his Kung fu stuff. 


Sid Hoffman

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2017, 03:29:46 PM »
As someone also interested in this, is there any advantage to making your home base in a state with no income tax?  Many of us may end up with lots of assets and investment income, taxable money coming out of 401k, etc.  Would it make sense to look at a no income tax state as your home base?  I didn't see the word "tax" come up so far in this thread.

dougules

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2017, 03:46:40 PM »
As someone also interested in this, is there any advantage to making your home base in a state with no income tax?  Many of us may end up with lots of assets and investment income, taxable money coming out of 401k, etc.  Would it make sense to look at a no income tax state as your home base?  I didn't see the word "tax" come up so far in this thread.

In general, yes there are advantages to that.  I think home base was more about where people are spending a lot of their time, so taxes aren't the biggest consideration.  If you're planning on being out of the US for a long while, though, moving to a state like FL or WA first would be something to look into. 

itchyfeet

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2017, 10:34:13 AM »
Posting to follow.

We are also planning extensive travel in retirement and not quite sure how to best make it work.

gerardc

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2017, 10:56:59 PM »
What I might do if I rent an apartment furnished or with few belongings, and want to travel but come back, is schedule a few months of travel at the end of my lease and get a new apartment when I get back.

dude

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2017, 07:53:11 AM »
My wife and I have been fully nomadic for 2.5 years now, and our long-term plan is probably something like what you're describing. I've been saying 3 months away, 3 months at a home-base.

This is my plan exactly. But I'm not worried about the expenses back home. I'm pretty confident we'll have enough income to cover our home expenses and pay for our time in our slow-travel locations. If it's not working out, we can easily downsize to something cheaper.

MostlyBearded

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2017, 06:23:42 AM »
following

zinethstache

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2017, 04:01:35 PM »
We've just started to slow travel the US in a fully paid for brand new fifth wheel and older truck. Our home was way too large with a pool that I was not confident could be rented reliably. We own rentals in that city and IF we decided to return there, we could take one of the units (but would lose that income). While I finished up my last year of work we lived in my mom's pasture which is down the hill from her house and is very private. Its not perfect, but we did get it setup for return visits. We could consider that our current "home" base. We have money from selling our home and have a dream of finding a perfect second home base in another region, hopefully LCOL (My mom's area is still pretty HCOL). The second home base needs to have a rental unit and some sort of space for us, either a pad and service for the trailer, or even another unit. A duplex perhaps?

We minimized our belongings, but still have alot in storage at my mom's, DH's dads and at our properties. We are not paying anything currently for rent and stay at Thousand Trails which we bought a second hand older membership to keep costs down.

So far we are loving it, but it's only our second month on the road. We've lived in the trailer almost a year now so the space work great for us. It was even enough space when I worked, but it is way better now that we are officially travelling. Every day is definitely a Saturday for us right now:)

Sometimes it feels odd knowing I don't have a stick home sitting empty waiting for me but then I remind myself I own three multi unit properties which pay all my bills, everything is OK. It is also weird to only have one vehicle and no other transportation. Our bicycles are in a garage at home. Our feet are our backup transportation:) It's a whole new world.


evanc

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2017, 03:16:13 PM »
All good points. I think the desire to pick a different home base is driven by our current residence requiring a good bit of maintenance, specifically outdoors (snow removal, leaf removal, grass cut, etc). But I suppose we could always downsize in the area to eliminate most of that.

If you are looking to further reduce costs, consider if you could move to an area of the country with lower housing prices, and/or buy a smaller house.

freeat57

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2017, 10:37:18 AM »
Hello newton86!  I just went through this kind of transition. I spent about two years researching cities which have a top 30 busiest airport in the USA.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_the_United_States   

My research involved COL, climate, arts, interesting attractions, high degree of diversity, ease of "escape" to nice places, public transit.  I surfed real estate sites relentlessly and zeroed in on neighborhoods, down to scouting services, restaurants, parks/trails, walkability.
I spent about 6 or 7 months after leaving my last j*b doing site visits, staying in Air BnBs and walking the streets. 

My choice..... Atlanta (less than a day's drive from family).  I am in a completely walkable area one block from the MARTA station on the Gold line, which goes directly to the airport ($2.50 a ride).  I bought a condo in a secured building so I can lock the door and leave with few worries.  I use my car once or twice a week.  All my daily needs of life and many, many luxuries (restaurants) are within walking distance. Now that I am settled in, it looks like the monthly expenses will be really reasonable.  (My electric bill for an all electric condo has averaged under $60 since last December.)  AC season will boost that cost!

Do your research on condos! There are traps to be sure!  Best of luck and start scouting now.

destination13

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Re: Slow Travel with a Home Base
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2017, 04:21:48 AM »
We plan on doing 6/mo in 6/mo out like the OP was suggesting.  Mainly during the summer when it's unbearably hot here, and then at other times when it suits us.

This plan can be achieved sooner if your income is location independent, you don't need to wait until retirement.

If you want to bump it to 8/mo out of the u.s. a year, the first 150k or so of your income can be kept tax free using the FEIE combined with a residency in another country, like Panama.

Last summer was our test run. We spent 2 months in Sweden, renting an airbnb.  We gave the keys to some renters to stay at our house, but they bailed without telling us... after we were already in Europe. So the plan almost worked out perfectly.