Yesterday, I wrote about the first four criteria that we have discovered making long term world travel affordable for us as a retired couple (Tom retires on Halloween), on a fixed monthly income. Let’s review those points before I continue with the others:
Criteria #1: Do not have a permanent home!
Criteria #2: Do not own cars!
Criteria #3: Do not stay in hotels unless absolutely necessary!
Criteria #4: Do not pay more than what we were willing to pay for rent in our chosen retirement community!
Criteria #5: Use the cruise! As described earlier, we have booked five cruises so far with two more in the works. Of the 571 days, we have booked thus far, beginning October 31, 2012, 71 days will be spent living aboard a cruise ship, rated a score of 4 or more (out of a possible 6).
A vital factor in maintaining the integrity of our budgeting is that cruising results in a maximum average cost per day, not to exceed a combined $350 including fees, taxes, and tips. This amount far exceeds our average daily rental of $50. However, we are booking cruises to be a mode of transportation to and from countries where we’ll have booked a vacation rental.
Cruising replaces the following usual travel expenses:
1. Cost of Rental
2. Three (or more, if preferred) meals per day
3. Transportation to and from the rental location
4. Taxis, car rental, trains, buses and other local modes of transportation while getting around the area
Some cruise pricing includes tips, others do not. Keep in mind that tipping may be as much as $25 per day, per person. We have included them above in our daily total. Also, every cruise has an ongoing credit account for the charges, WiFi, non-included tips, drinks, meals in specialty restaurants, spa services, certain activities, and of course, the casino and shopping in the “tourist trap” shops.
Internet access to your digital equipment is very expensive. Turning off data and roaming features will avoid the shock of one’s life when seeing the bill at for the onboard WiFi fees.
It’s imperative to check in advance with the cruise line as to WiFi policies and charges. Future posts will explain cell phone usage and Internet access while traveling abroad, a challenge for long term travelers like ourselves visiting 25 countries in less than 2 years (Yes, the itinerary will be posted soon)!
The cruise guy (and company we are using) Joaquin, at Vacations To Go has an appealing pre-booking incentive: book cruises in advance and as prices drop, the customer receives the benefit of the reduced pricing, up to 90 days prior to sailing date, being unaffected by potential price increases.
Pre-booking secures a decent cabin that we choose at the time of booking by paying the deposit, usually around 25% of the cost of the cruise. We refuse to stay in an inside cabin many of which have little space, if any, to even walk around the bed. All of the cabins we are choosing are either a “Balcony” or “Mini-Suite.”
In summary, cruising costs about $200 more per day than staying in a rental. Building a budget that allows for this expense, adds much to our enjoyment while freeing us on transportation costs, preparing meals, and handling baggage. The opportunity to see a little piece of many locations in a short time span is appealing. Adding to the experience is choosing a cabin on the correct side of the ship, allowing the best viewing advantage of land throughout the cruise.
Most cruise fares include port charges but getting off the ship at various ports will undoubtedly result in often hundreds of dollars in additional charges for excursions, meals, shopping, and the usual hawkers selling their wares. We will stay on the ship as much as possible to avoid these tourist traps.
Soon, Criteria #6 will be posted. Thanks for stopping by!