Accommodation and travel strategy options

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ThriftyRob
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Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

I'm thinking aloud here and would appreciate ideas and challenges

Over the past 10 months, my wife and I have been visioning our transition to retirement after realising that we could have FIRE'd a few years ago (if we had heard about it earlier!). Pre-covid, our idea was to sell off our home (which is too large for just the two of us) and all the clutter, downsize to a two-bedroom home in a low cost area, invest the capital released and spend the next 10 years or so seeing the world and minimising our time spent in the UK during winter. Since covid, the risk of being stranded abroad in a long-haul destination is a deterrent, so we have been exploring the option of buying a motorhome and travelling Europe.

We are selling accumulated possessions, gifting to charity shops and freecycling as fast as we can while simultaneously decorating, renovating and staging our home ready for sale. We reckon this will be a 12-month project. Part of the lifestyle transition is the desire to minimise sources of stress.

DW is closed to the idea of living permanently in a motorhome. (My research suggests that a lot of couples who attempt this revert to buying a permanent base after about two years of living on the road). Home security while travelling would be relatively easy as 'lock and leave' will be high on our buying criteria.

We then face the challenge of finding somewhere secure to store the motorhome when we return to our home base – most smaller homes don't have parking space for a large vehicle and buying a home that has the space for parking a van would compromise our minimalism principle. If we rent secure motorhome storage, then in addition to the costs, we would face logistical challenges around making spontaneous trips, needing transport to and from the storage location and also the risk of damage or theft from storage (which are targeted by criminals here).

So another option would be don't buy a motorhome (big saving on capital outlay) but use a car (or public transport) for the road trips and stay in hotels and AirBnBs. No capital outlay but a higher cost per night and probably less convenience and more stress. It would be a very different lifestyle and could possibly be harder to do for the same monthly cost. There would certainly be more temptations to overspend.

That's a summary of where we are and I would really welcome some other perspectives, pointing out things I haven't considered and the benefit of your experience. Thanks.

ertyu
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ertyu »

Rent the motor home to some other person or couple who wants to travel in it while you spend time in the UK?

UK-with-kids
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by UK-with-kids »

What type of replacement property are you looking at? Although smaller homes might have less off-road parking spaces, older property in cheaper areas often has larger plot sizes as land is cheap. In fact, you can often park a campervan right on the street outside your home as there won't be any residents parking restrictions. Are you set on staying in a particular place? How big is the campervan you're planning on buying? Some types aren't any bigger than a large car.

I think you're right to be concerned about the hotels/AirBnBs option if you think you'll be tempted to overspend. Entirely up to you of course, but it sounds a bit like using a hard-earned capital asset (equity in your current property) into a kind of ATM to fund a high cost extended holiday...

tonyedgecombe
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by tonyedgecombe »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:35 am
Rent the motor home to some other person or couple who wants to travel in it while you spend time in the UK?
Or buy one at the start of winter and sell it for a profit in spring.

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Jean
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by Jean »

I've noticed a huge increase in parking restrictions targeting motorhomes this year in switzerland and Germany. I'de assume it's thé same all across Europe. You'de have to rely on Real campsites, that aren't so much cheaper than hostel or air BNB. A motorhome is also expensive to drive and maintain.
On the other hand, a Peugeot 806 allowed me to stealth camp even in touristy area without any problem.
With a permanent house, i'de go for that kind of car, or tent, with or without bicycle.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

ertyu wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:35 am
Rent the motor home to some other person or couple who wants to travel in it while you spend time in the UK?
Thanks for your suggestion. That is an option, as is renting out the house/flat when we are out of the UK travelling. Unfortunately, DW won't countenance the idea of strangers using our beds, so that one won't fly.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

UK-with-kids wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:46 am
What type of replacement property are you looking at? Although smaller homes might have less off-road parking spaces, older property in cheaper areas often has larger plot sizes as land is cheap. In fact, you can often park a campervan right on the street outside your home as there won't be any residents parking restrictions. Are you set on staying in a particular place? How big is the campervan you're planning on buying? Some types aren't any bigger than a large car.

I think you're right to be concerned about the hotels/AirBnBs option if you think you'll be tempted to overspend. Entirely up to you of course, but it sounds a bit like using a hard-earned capital asset (equity in your current property) into a kind of ATM to fund a high cost extended holiday...
Replacement property is not 100% defined yet. Almost certainly in Cornwall, probably a two-bedroom terraced house in one of the towns, walkable to shops and amenities. Possibly a two-bedroom flat. Whilst there may not be parking restrictions, I know that attempting to take up more than one's share of on-street parking is viewed with hostility by neighbours and we'd prefer to avoid that.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

tonyedgecombe wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:58 am
Or buy one at the start of winter and sell it for a profit in spring.
That's a good idea although I'm not sure that's as easy as say buying and selling a convertible car.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

Jean wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:03 am
I've noticed a huge increase in parking restrictions targeting motorhomes this year in switzerland and Germany. I'de assume it's thé same all across Europe. You'de have to rely on Real campsites, that aren't so much cheaper than hostel or air BNB. A motorhome is also expensive to drive and maintain.
On the other hand, a Peugeot 806 allowed me to stealth camp even in touristy area without any problem.
With a permanent house, i'de go for that kind of car, or tent, with or without bicycle.
Thanks for sharing your experiences from Switzerland and Germany. From the research I've done, France, Spain and Portugal are more motorhome-friendly (lots of French villages are opening aires to cater for motorhomes while boosting their local economies). For our plan to work, we need to minimise campsite usage, otherwise the costs would spiral.

I've seen you mention your 806 and stealth camping in previous posts. I'd be interested to know what adaptations you made to your car to make it comfortable for living in (and also the limitations and workarounds). A lot of people now use converted vans which are perhaps the ultimate stealth camper (as well as being much cheaper than mainstream manufacturer conversions) because they merge into the surroundings on industrial estates at night and residential areas anytime.

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Jean
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by Jean »

Converted vans are more akin to motorhome than cars in term of stealthiness. The more other campers are around (in the same area, not nescessarilly the same spot) you, the harder it gets.
I did practically no conversion. Took some seats out. Put my stuff in a row of boxes, and then a plank and a matress. It was very confortable. I would Seat in car seats to eat on rainy days or read or use my computer (get a 12v loader for your laptop). Car ventilation is very efficient at drying stuffs when you drive. Much easier than with my gf converted van.

Frita
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by Frita »

You may also want to rent or borrow different motor home/van setups to gage whether you like the lifestyle, what rig works best for you, and to negotiate any differences between you and your spouse. In the long run, it could save you a lot of money and headache from buying the wrong thing. Also, if you buy used, that will prevent the big depreciation hit.

We have a 19’ van and can basicly park it like a car.

sky
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by sky »

I would keep the house as a home base. You could still go through the decluttering exercise.

We lived in a 20 foot van for 4 months, I thought that was a long time. I was quite happy to get back to the conveniences of home.

We still have the van and use it for tours of a few days to a few weeks. Health issues have slowed us down a bit.

I suspect that travelling by van or motor home will not be as easy as it was before covid.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

Jean wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:12 am
Converted vans are more akin to motorhome than cars in term of stealthiness. The more other campers are around (in the same area, not nescessarilly the same spot) you, the harder it gets.
I did practically no conversion. Took some seats out. Put my stuff in a row of boxes, and then a plank and a matress. It was very confortable. I would Seat in car seats to eat on rainy days or read or use my computer (get a 12v loader for your laptop). Car ventilation is very efficient at drying stuffs when you drive. Much easier than with my gf converted van.
Thanks for answering my questions. Did you heat food/make drinks in the car? Did you tint the car's windows for privacy? Is there an app for locating public washrooms?

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

Frita wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:58 am
You may also want to rent or borrow different motor home/van setups to gage whether you like the lifestyle, what rig works best for you, and to negotiate any differences between you and your spouse. In the long run, it could save you a lot of money and headache from buying the wrong thing. Also, if you buy used, that will prevent the big depreciation hit.

We have a 19’ van and can basicly park it like a car.
Thank you for your tips and insights. We had caravans for around 10 years when our children were young, so we have experienced the lifestyle. With better digital tech, more battery powered devices and cheaper solar power I'd expect it to be even easier now. We would definitely buy used!

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

sky wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:05 pm
I would keep the house as a home base. You could still go through the decluttering exercise.

We lived in a 20 foot van for 4 months, I thought that was a long time. I was quite happy to get back to the conveniences of home.

We still have the van and use it for tours of a few days to a few weeks. Health issues have slowed us down a bit.

I suspect that travelling by van or motor home will not be as easy as it was before covid.
Thanks for your comments. We have to declutter to get our house ready to sell. Moving to a much smaller home in a part of the country where house prices are a lot lower will release a big chunk of capital that will generate an investment income stream. I think we will likely travel for up to three months at a time with a few weeks at home between trips.

chenda
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by chenda »

Someone told me today buying a left hand drive camper van is much cheaper in the uk, and ideal if you are driving to the mainland.

Seppia
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by Seppia »

You think Airbnb’s are expensive because you’re thinking of some sort of long vacation, but I bet if you negotiate a longer stay prices come down dramatically.
Slow travel is incredibly less expensive that fast travel.

Fellow ERE forumite @slowtraveler has been doing this for a while and I bet he’s spending much less on accommodation that he would if he had a camper/motorhome.

I would suggest you try both options and then decide.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

chenda wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:08 pm
Someone told me today buying a left hand drive camper van is much cheaper in the uk, and ideal if you are driving to the mainland.
Thanks for sharing that tip. I'll look into that. I watched a YouTube vlog yesterday by some Americans who bought their campervan in England because it's easier to do the ownership transfer, tax and insurance quickly here compared to Germany (where it's virtually impossible for a non-native to buy insurance). There are relatively few left hand drive vehicles for sale here but I will check out the prices.

ThriftyRob
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by ThriftyRob »

Seppia wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:23 pm
You think Airbnb’s are expensive because you’re thinking of some sort of long vacation, but I bet if you negotiate a longer stay prices come down dramatically.
Slow travel is incredibly less expensive that fast travel.

Fellow ERE forumite @slowtraveler has been doing this for a while and I bet he’s spending much less on accommodation that he would if he had a camper/motorhome.

I would suggest you try both options and then decide.
Thank you for the information and challenge. The stimulus for me starting this journey was Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen's book, in which they only spend a few days in Airbnb while they arrange a rental locally (at reduced rates), so I agree that your hypothesis is valid. I guess it's probably important to be looking for accommodation outside the peak season to get the best rates. Thanks for referring me to @slowtraveler – I'll do a search and start reading. :)

guitarplayer
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Re: Accommodation and travel strategy options

Post by guitarplayer »

@ThriftyRob, from your research, what towns in Cornwall are worth looking at?

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