We decided to buy a more comfortable (wider, longer, bigger) RV and stay at our destinations longer. It’s less expensive to rent by the month vs a day, weekend or week. The RV upgrade wasn’t a drastic one. We went from 17 feet to 22 feet with a slide out. DH is totally happy with our new RV and so am I. Personally, for the new retirement travel life we both would like to enjoy, our new RV is perfect.
Even the cheapest hotel anywhere can cost at least $100 a day X 30 days = $3000. Renting a condo is just as expensive. RV resorts are becoming super expensive, very crowded with even tighter spaces and harder and harder to book spots. That’s why we decided to try trailer parks. I know, I know you have this prefabbed image of white trash and beer guzzling riff raff. Unbeknownst to all of us, more and more people are making trailer parks their home. They don’t like transients BUT they will tolerate snowbirds. Monthly rents: between $450 to $900 depending on amenities. The fewer amenities the less the rent. Our trailer park had one amenity: coin operated laundry room and an outdoor clothesline.
Our rent for January was $650 and our rent for February was $625. This included electricity, water, sewer, garbage. Our round trip gas from NY to FLA was $800, nightly stopover fees (3 nights each way) came to $300 total. Once settled, I won’t include groceries because no matter where we are, we have to eat. We did, however, in my opinion, spend too much on groceries the first month because we had to set up the RV plus we shopped at Aldi. Quite by accident, I shopped at WalMart instead and lowered our weekly grocery shopping from $100 a week at Aldi to $50 a week shopping at Walmart. Walmart has a much better array of choices plus smaller quantities which equaled smaller prices. Space is a commodity in an RV and for us, smaller was better. Local gas mileage came to $40 a week ($240 for 6 weeks) which is way more than what we would have spent at home. We did eat out a few times. More than I liked but hey! We are on vacation. Thankfully most of the restaurants we went to were local, small and very reasonably priced. We also took advantage of happy hour and early bird specials. Nonetheless, we spent $300 on meals out. Ouch.
So, based on all of the above, our 68 days of vacation cost us approximately $3061 or roughly $45 a day for the both of us ($22.50 a person). We did not go to any paying events except a local aquatic center. That cost $53 for the both of us for their 3 month pool special. The beaches and beach parking are free. Walking the jungle trails were free. Many of the events we attended (art festivals, seafood festivals, outdoor concerts, garden show, car show, flea markets) were free. We made friends with our RV neighbors and attended three pot luck parties.
Obviously my experiment/planning worked out. DH is very happy. All went well. He made a few friends with the guys at the park. We already booked for next year, as all the friends we made will be doing also. We’ve already coordinated our spots for next year so we’re all close to each other.
I’ll tell you one thing: taking a two month vacation was amazing. We really got to relax. This wasn’t a vacation one takes to get a break from the 9 to 5 lifestyle. This was a vacation to get away from 37 years of living. DH and I have had a very difficult life, as most people do. Raising kids, paying bills, mortgage and car payments, job woes, life woes…..this vacation was a life vacation….if you can understand the analogy.
We’re finally retired. Now we have to learn how to live a normal life on a reduced income. Spending more doesn’t make anyone any happier.
Once we’re above the survival level, the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude. —Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.