Tom and I have always been power vacationers. Once, on a business trip to Seattle, we had one free day. We did it all: Space Needle, Pike’s Fish, Duck Tours, Island Ferry, Downtown, you name it. When we got back to the conference people were asking, did you do this or did you do that, and we said “yes” to everything. They couldn’t believe we fit it all in in just one day. That’s how we roll. And yes, it was exhausting. But we only had the one day!
Now that we have….basically the rest of our lives to explore, you think we’d take it down a notch. But we still like to get in as much of an area as we can while we’re there, plus with our crazy time schedule this year, we have to schedule in trips back to (ex)home every four to six weeks. So on we go.
When we began researching this lifestyle, we read many accounts of people who said they traveled too much in the beginning. Like they were on vacation! We knew this would be a temptation going in, so we just decided to give ourselves permission (and budget) to be vacation-y tourists for the first nine months to a year. We’d slow down when we started working again we rationalized. (Yes, we’ll become workampers eventually.)
During our extensive research (i.e. watching countless Youtubes of other full-timers), we saw the range of travelers – from those who rarely spend one night in the same place, to people who stay put in an area for a week or even a month. We learned about people who only drove 45 minutes a day to those who drove well into the night.
We came across some advice we considered to be sound: the 2-2-2 rule. (I believe we first heard it from Chris and Cherie at Technomadia.) The rule is: Never drive for more than two hours a day, always arrive at your destination by two pm, and never stay less than two nights in one spot.
Okay, so it’s not like we’re following that advice, but I do think it’s a good idea.
We’ve driven some longer days – and sometimes shorter than two hours. So I think it just depends on what area your’re in, and what your end destination is.
While we don’t always arrive by two pm, I think it’s extremely important to arrive with plenty of time to set up before dark. In the winter that could be two o’clock, in the summer up north that could be seven pm.
The two night minimum is my favorite idea, but we haven’t followed that either. Sometimes you just overnight somewhere along the way. But when we do stay put for two days or more, it’s much more relaxing. Since we’ve begun, I think we’re actually averaging two nights a stay.
Speed is just one consideration when traveling full time. The other biggie is PLANNING.
The first vacation Tom and I went on after getting together was to Hawaii. My idea of travel was, book a flight and a hotel and wing it. But Tom’s a planner. Not only did he have everything planned out – it was actually on a color coded spreadsheet hour by hour. I was thinking what had I gotten myself into with this guy?
Yes, we are polar opposites in the planning department!
But now I think that’s helping us. Tom has the foresight to know that we may not get into a campground on a busy weekend in the summer. I’ve had to adapt to some thinking ahead and I’m so thankful for his planning skills now.
I think the biggest adaptation is coming from Tom though. When we were planning this adventure, he was thinking we’d need to know where we were going to be twelve months in advance. But this lifestyle just doesn’t accommodate that long range stuff. What if you get someplace and don’t like it? What if there’s someplace you don’t want to leave? What if the weather isn’t cooperating? What if a family wedding pops up? Flexibility is key to this lifestyle, and while I’m able to roll with it, Tom has struggled. He tells people he has been under way more stress since retiring than when he was working.
It is very stressful to not know where you’ll be spending the night.
Each time we leave a spot and head to another without reservations, it’s stressful. Even with reservations, we’re heading into the unknown. We research, but reviews are not always accurate, and places on a first-come basis are very unpredictable. We think someplace will be crowded only to find it empty and vice-versa. But the longer we’re at this, I think the better we’ll become: both at advance planning and at winging it.
And I imagine a day when we won’t feel the need to be on vacation all the time. But for now, it’s working for us and we’re truly enjoying all that we’re seeing and doing.
What about you? What is your travel style? If you get to a tropical beach are you chilling with a mai tai, or out learning to surf or hula? Do you have travel books on every place you’re headed, or do you depend on roadside signs? Whatever it is, I hope you have
Peace & Love, Joy