My apologies in advance to all who were expecting an update on the Safe Withdrawal Rate Series. I posted Part 24 last week with a promise to do an update this week. Well, I got distracted a little bit last weekend and the new simulations take some more time. Stay tuned until next week! What to do now? Less math, more travel! We’re planning our June-December 2018 ERN Family World Tour and I thought now might be a good time to share our plans. The locations and dates are pretty much fixed already, though some details are still being finalized.
Let’s look at where the ERN family is heading for the second half of 2018…
Well, strictly speaking, it’s not exactly a whole world tour. We’re not (yet!) visiting South America and Africa. Maybe next year! We also have to skip Antarctica this year – hard to find Airbnb down there. In any case, we split our travel schedule into two parts. First eastbound to Europe, then come back to the U.S., then head to Asia-Pacific and back to San Francisco. It might have been more efficient to structure the trip as an around-the-globe trip, i.e., U.S. -> Europe -> Asia-Pacific -> U.S., but in the end, we preferred to come back “home” once in the Fall. To change clothes! 🙂 And to attend FinCon in Orlando in September!
Summer Trip: June to September
Here’s the big picture, see chart below:
Looks very confusing, so let’s do this in stages
Part 1: June 4-17 – San Francisco, CA to Galveston, TX Road Trip
I’ll spend my last day at the office on June 4, probably talking to HR in the morning and very likely I won’t go back to my desk after that. Company policy. Since my colleagues won’t be available for a beer at 10am on a Monday I’ll probably just head to our temporary AirBnB home and chill there. We might already get going on the on the road trip on that Monday or stay another night in the Bay Area.
- June 5: Drive to Las Vegas, NV. We’ll stay with family for two nights. There’s no better start to FIRE than visiting the Valley of Fire State Park! Sounds corny, but it’s a place that’s been on our list for many years and we never made it there so far.
- June 7-8: Drive East toward Santa Fe, NM. The route is still TBD. This is a long drive and will require two days with another stop in between. One option would be to drive past the Grand Canyon South Rim and then stay overnight somewhere along the way in Northern Arizona. Or a more Northern route through Utah and visit a few sites along the way. We’ll play it by ear!
- June 8-13: Stay in Santa Fe and explore the various sights in New Mexico!
- After one additional night along the way, we will arrive in San Antonio, TX. on June 14. Visit the Alamo and the Riverwalk!
- June 15: Head to Galveston, TX. Meet up with the inlaws and chill there for two nights. Why Galveston? That’s where our cruise starts, see the next Part…
Part 2: Caribbean Cruise and Houston, TX (June 17-26)
- June 17-24, we’ll be aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship first going to Roatan, Honduras. Then stop by Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico before heading back to Galveston.
- After landing in Galveston again on June 24, we’ll stay with two fellow FIRE enthusiasts from Houston. I met them at the April CampFI in Virginia and they invited us to stay with them! How cool is that? It will be great to compare notes on our respective FIRE strategies!
Part 3: (Continental) Europe June 26 to September 1:
I’m anticipating a question already: Why is this all Central Europe? Do we have anything against Southern Europe or Northern Europe? Well, we have a whole long retirement ahead of us and decided to cover this one geographic area this year. This is how much ground we can comfortably cover if we want to stay in each place for three to seven days! Trips to Southern Europe in 2019 and Northern Europe in 2020 are on the to-do list!
- We’ll head to Paris on a flight out of Houston on June 26 and arrive at CDG airport on the 27th. Then stay in Paris until July 4. My wife’s aunt works there and we’ll have an awesome place to stay in a convenient and central location. We did the same trip already last year, so we’ve seen pretty much all of the touristy spots in Paris and might either chill out and take it easy or do some more day trips outside the city.
- On July 4 we’ll head to East, to Strasbourg, close to the German border. Stay three nights in an Airbnb. Also visit Colmar, which is close by.
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- July 7-12: Stay with my brother in Southern Germany. Visit the Bodensee (Lake Constance) area, and Munich! This will be an area that we’ve visited many times on earlier trips so we might just chill out. But we’ll certainly do a day trip or two to the Swiss and/or German Alps!
- July 12-19: We’ll stay in an Airbnb in Salzburg, Austria. It’s a short train ride from Munich. We’ll pick up a rental car there and stay and then explore the area. I’ve spent many summers in that area as a kid so it will be fun to retrace some of my childhood vacations.
- July 19-24: Take the train to Vienna, Austria’s capital. My wife has never been and I’ve visited only once and that was 25 years ago! Looking forward to sipping coffee and wine!
- July 24-31: Prague, Czech Republic. I’m glad we have a whole week Prague! I visited once in the early 2000s and Mrs. ERN has never been here. So much to see in the city and the vicinity: Cesky Krumlov and Plzen are our planned day trips.
- July 31 to August 3: Dresden in East Germany. Lovely architecture!
- August 3-7: Berlin. Only a short stay in Germany’s capital! And believe it or not, it’s the first visit for both of us. Growing up in Northwest Germany I actually never made all the way to Berlin until this year.
- August 7-11: Stay with family in Northern Germany (close to Hannover). It’s my uncle’s birthday around that time and we’ll also do a few day trips to towns nearby, like Hameln (Hamelin). That’s where Pied Piper legend originated.
- August 11-18: Still TBD! We like to visit some of the Northern German cities, like Hamburg, Lübeck, Stralsund, and Wismar. All four are Unesco World Heritage Sites (not the entire city of Hamburg, only the Speicherstadt district) and have been on our to-do list for a long time! We will probably book one Airbnb closeby for the whole week and do some road trips!
- August 18-22: Bielefeld. My hometown! I was born there and went to school and college there! I haven’t been back for years and look forward to reconnecting with friends from school. I will miss my high school reunion on September 1, but we’ll likely have an informal mini-reunion with some of my high school buddies during our stay!
- August 22-29: We booked an Airbnb in Ghent. It was one of my favorite places when I visited Belgium in 2012. We will probably do day trips to Brussels, Brugge, and Antwerp!
- August 29 – September 1: Amsterdam. I’ve flown through Schipol Airport so many times but never explored the city very much. Looking forward to exploring the Dutch capital!
Part 4: Cruise to Florida and back to the West Coast (September 1-30)
- On September 1, we’ll board a cruise ship that takes us from Amsterdam to Tampa, Florida by September 17. I did the math and it was actually a pretty good deal. We got the cruise for just under $3,000 for the three of us (but plus around $600 gratuity). Sounds expensive but we would have spent around $1,800 for a one-way flight already. Now we get 16 extra days of vacation for not much extra money! And that includes food and lodging and visits to Waterford, Dublin, Belfast, Cork, and the Azores along the way! Only retirees can “waste” vacation days like that! 🙂
- After landing in Tampa, we’ll head to Pompano Beach 9/17-9/22 and then to Orlando from 9/22 to 9/30. That’s perfect timing because I’ll be there for FinCon this year! My first FinCon ever! Also, spend more time with the inlaws who will be driving down from Atlanta!
- September 30: Head back to the West Coast!
Fall Trip: October to December
- We leave San Francisco on October 9 and arrive in Seoul, South Korea on the 11th in the early morning. Two days later, thanks to a long flight and the time difference! Since we have about 14 hours of layover we’ll do a city tour of Seoul. We’ll arrive in Manila on the 11th at night. Whoah, what a long trip! But we’re retired and we have the flexibility to take the long route. The plane ticket on Asiana for the SFO-MNL-SFO trip was only $600 per person!
- We’ll stay with Kristal’s relatives in Manila from October 11 to 14. We’ll probably need that time to recover from the jet lag and the long flights!!!
- Phuket: October 14-18. Some R&R at the beach!
- Bangkok: October 18-21. My wife has visited before but I’ve never been!
- Siem Reap, Cambodia: October 21-24. Visit the historic sites and then head back to Manila.
- We’ll then have almost a week in Manila to explore the city, visit relatives, chill out, dental appointment, etc. before we head to Sydney on October 30. It’s an overnight flight and we’ll stay and explore Sydney from October 31 to November 7. This stay may even be long enough to visit another place, maybe Cairns/Barrier Reef. But nothing concrete planned yet.
- From November 7 to 16, we’ll go on a cruise again to visit the South Pacific: Isles of Pines, Mystery Island, Noumea, and the Loyalty Islands. I had to look that all up to find out that those places belong to Vanuatu and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Cruise back to Sydney and arrive on the 16th.
- A short stay in Sydney again from November 16 to the 21st.
- Then go on another cruise, this one is one-way to New Zealand, passing by the Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound while at sea and land visits in Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Napier, and Tauranga before landing in Auckland on December 1.
- Spend four nights in Auckland and fly back to Manila on December 4.
- Between December 4 and 27, we’ll do one more trip to the province: Iloilo from 12/8 to 12/12: Wedding reception of a friend and some relaxing at the beach afterward!
- There might be another trip between December 12 and Christmas, but we haven’t planned that yet.
- Spend Christmas with Kristal’s aunts and uncles and cousins and head back to San Francisco on December 27.
Countries visited: 21! USA (yes, we do count the the U.S.!!!), Honduras, Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, UK (Belfast), Portugal (Azores), South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Vanuatu, New Caledonia (purists might claim it belongs to France, though), New Zealand. I’m not counting Singapore and Malaysia because we just change planes there. But we might do a quick day trip to Slovakia (close to Vienna) and/or Poland (close to Berlin), so the final count could even be higher.
Days on the road: 197 (117 in U.S., Caribbean, Europe, 80 in Asia)
Cost: We set a budget of $250/day for the three of us, including everything (transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, etc.). Quite pricey, I understand, but we will do this kind of extreme travel only before we eventually settle down. We are homeless right now and have zero expenses on housing, utilities, etc.! Not everything is booked yet, but if you’re curious here are the costs we’ve incurred so far:
- Airfare: We used miles to fly one-way from Houston to Paris for a pretty nominal cost. We got great deals on the flight for the Asia trip. One round-trip SFO-MNL-SFO, the six one-way tickets within Asia (MNL-Phuket-Bangkok-Siem Reap-MNL and MNL-Sydney, Auckland-MNL) and the roundtrip ticket to Ilo-Ilo cost us a total of $4,500 for the three of us. Combined! We once paid that much for one single round-trip ticket from SFO to Europe for the three of us! We still have to book the plane ticket from Orlando back to the West Coast.
- Hotels/AirBnB: We lined up all the Airbnb reservations in Europe except for the 7-day stay in Northern Germany. A total of 43 days, costing pretty much exactly $100/day on average. Amsterdam is shockingly expensive, but everywhere else we can stay for around anywhere between $66 and $100 per night. Most of them with washer and dryer!
- Cruises: 4 cruises for a total of 42 nights cost us just under $10,000 total. This includes gratuity ($14.50 per guest per night) but excludes the cost of the cruise in the Caribbean, which is paid for by my in-laws (thanks, Mom and Dad!!!).
- We’ll keep tabs on the total cost and post some updates here!!!