2018 Travel Plans, Healthcare, and Finances

Tentative 2018 partial route

2018 is a BIG travel year for us meaning lots of miles — probably over 7,300!  After New Years in the Keys, we will hit several Eastern states, leave our tow in Michigan, and work our way to the Canadian Maritimes.  We plan to hit the Northern tier states (Vermont, Connecticut,, and Maine ) traveling to New Brunswick, Nova Scottia and Newfoundland and then go through Montreal, Quebec and Ontario province back to Michigan to retrieve our tow.  After that?  Maybe to Minnesota to work sugar beet harvest  and then probably south Texas for the winter.   No volunteering or workcamping for us this year unless it is late fall or early winter — we just want to travel for the majority of year.

About 20c on each dollar

States with insurance coverage

Why so far this year?  Diesel prices are presently pretty good and we’ll get a premium on the US to Canadian dollar for our 2 -3 months in Canada.  Also, traveling in the US Northeast is much more expensive  with campground averaging $40 – $50 per night and fewer boondocking (Wildlife Refuges, State/Federal Forests) options so while we are heading to Canada, we will hit as many Eastern US states as possible.   We are on the Healthcare Markeplace and this year we have coverage in 15 states! Much better than last year with only 4 counties in Texas!  This will give us a little more piece of mind:)

diesel prices for last two years

88 Toyo tow with all our toys

We’ve budgeted for more diesel and camping fees but since we are still so new into retirement, we want to preserve our ‘nest egg’ so that is why we are thinking of working the two week sugar beet harvest.  We’ve talked to several people and for a grueling two weeks we can pocket $5,000 which will cover all the extra travel expenses for this year.  As of the end of January, we still are undecided whether to take the ‘toy’ towed truck to Canada or drop it in Michigan at my brothers house.  We know ferries and bridges are more expensive with more wheels on the ground and the towns in the Maritimes are small.  We have loved having the tow truck – it does make it nice for scouting out new camping locations and to run into a town for groceries, etc.

Now that we are into year 4 of retirement and full time travel, we thought we’d provide some perspective on our finances.  We don’t have pensions or defined benefit plans, so our ‘nest egg’ is something we watch closely – especially since we aren’t eleigble for social security for a few more years.  Since retiring in fall 2014, we’ve only drawn out 3.5% from our nest egg (combined total for all the years).  Financial experts say no more than a 4% withdrawal rate per year is recommended.  We stay well below  the target with a combination of working a little, getting  good CD rates, and volunteering for free sites.  We have been very conservative with our investments.  Since we retired early, we don’t want to wake up one morning with 50% of our portfolio gone like a couple of times when we were working.

I do not have a resolution to publish in the blog more often this year, but I will try.  Hope your 2018 will be WONDERFUL!


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18 Responses to 2018 Travel Plans, Healthcare, and Finances

  1. Simon & B says:

    Hey guys,

    Cool that you are back blogging a bit.

    We’re looking to set out on this year’s long trip mid May. AZ, CO and then points north and, um, north. Not to Alaska though, not brave enough .

    Fare well voyagers 🙂

  2. Ernie & Sherrie says:

    Hi, Remember us, we met in BC during your first year out. I sent you down that very narrow dirt road across the see-through bridge to my favorite camping spot. (They did fix the bridge last year). Anyway, glad to see that your still at it and enjoying your new life. We still do our 9 to 10,000 miles each summer with our pop-up to BC and The Yukon and loving it, each summer for the past 18 years.

    You mentioned your marketplace health care and how it give you some peace of mind. I’m sure your very aware that one of our political parties would be much happier if you didn’t have any medical insurance available. So with the election coming up in November please make sure that you are registered to vote somewhere and that you either get back to that location or find out about voting absentee. Since we are both on Medicare (so far as there talking about cutting that back also) as soon as we cross the border going north we have NO insurance which I used to be very concerned about. Over the years Sherrie has used the Canadian health system twice, great care and we’ve found that it is so much less expensive than the US system that the lack of insurance there doesn’t concern us so much.

    Have a great year, we’ll be looking forward to reading your next update on your travels and life.
    Take care, be happy.

    • gconthemove says:

      So glad to hear from you two! We always think of your fall adventure in the Yukon. Our plans will include Alaska in 2019 or 2020 – this time we will be tough like you and stay into October to see the Northern lights and the beautiful tundra colors. Thank you for letting me know about the Canadian healthcare system since we might have to use it this summer in the Maritimes. All our best!

  3. Best of luck in 2018. It caught my eye where your wrote about having health care in more states.

    Withdrawal rate of just 3.5% for three years is fantastic. Suppose the market being up so much is helping with that. We are figuring on an average annual real return of 7% each year which seems to support the 4% rule. Might add, the 4% rule includes a slight increased withdrawal amount each year to cover inflation. Can’t find any good CD rates around here in my neck of the woods. It’s so hard to find a safe place to park savings that will at least return a rate equal to inflation.


    • gconthemove says:

      I negotiated a better CD rate because I moved money to consolidate at a credit union so that helped because we are in super conservative funds for our 401Ks. I used 4% as inflation for our projections before retiring and a conservative 5% return. The healthcare plan is an EVO instead of a HMO or PPO so more options.

  4. Kat says:

    Wow, Caite! Sounds like quite the year coming up for you guys. Part of me is envious – just a little. That said, we’re really enjoying our new home and exploring the area. Lots of mountains and wilderness around us. And, this year, lots of snow so we’re becoming snowshoeing fiends.
    We both wish you all the best in your travels, I’m guessing you’ll love the east coast but yes, it is more expensive and there is less boondocking. Travel safe and take care…
    Kate and Roland

    • gconthemove says:

      I’ve thought about you two a bunch and have referred to your blog to get travel ideas. We are still undecided on if we should take the small truck or not to Maritimes.

  5. Ed says:

    Good luck with the travel plans, hope to see you two again soon…remember if your in Pennsylvania near Harrisburg you can camp at my place anytime….Glen how do you like towing the truck, I only had my Cherokee out once on a short trip and a few runs out in the mountains around home, just wondering about the experience of getting in and out of places since you can’t back up….!!!?

    • gconthemove says:

      So far it has been fine to tow it. We can back it up like 15 feet or so and we have had to ‘oh shit’ unhook it and both drive out of a sticky situation. We will plan on getting by your place for sure.

  6. Richard Behling says:

    Impressive planning and execution. So hard to relax, pay attention to the details and do part time work. But that’s what retirement is like these days. Debbie’s last day at work is this Wednesday.

  7. Keith says:

    All the best for 2018! Your travel plans sound wonderful.

  8. Judy says:

    Caite, we’d love to have you show up in our driveway when you come to Michigan. Keep in touch..

    Sugar beet harvest, eh? Intriguing….

    • gconthemove says:

      We might take you up on the driveway since my aunt’s retirement home doesn’t allow for campers in their lot. $5K for two weeks of cold, dirty work is intriguing to us as well – they pay for campsite too.

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