On 15 October, we set off for 6 weeks in the Philippines. Travelling normally means that:
We will spend more, and
I don't do well with my targets
Time to see if these are true again for these travels.
Early retirement targets
Maybe I should set the targets aside and forget about them while I'm travelling/on holiday. There's sense in that - I think of the word "vacation" as referring to a period when we vacate or become free from our normal lives.
But that's not exactly me. Even while I'm away, I like to keep at least some of the structure and routine that I'm used to, so I'm still paying attention to my targets. In particular:
I'm trying to keep up with my 4 exercise days a week target (but with more stretching and core work and less running - it's good to give the legs a vacation too).
To still publish blogs. My normal target is at least 3 a month, but with my weekly travel journal post, perhaps this could be more while I'm away.
At least do a few minutes of French on Duolingo each day. It will be better if I can do more, and maybe even arrange some lessons to start in the new year.
While only a one-off action, make my monthly investment of surplus cash.
And maybe, start to plan for hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc with my friends next July. We need to reserve accommodation as I hear it gets booked far in advance.
Have our health check-up. We'll do this for sure as it's already booked.
While I've certainly been out of my routine for the last two weeks, I've managed to maintain my exercise, blogging and Duolingo. I've also done the cash investment, and we'll be home by the time that one comes round again. Overall, not too bad while out of my routine.
Planning for next year's Tour du Mont Blanc hike is something still on my to-do list, but hopefully when I write this post next month I'll have made some progress.
Our 6 week trip isn't travelling in the same way as we've done before. This time, we're spending 4 weeks in one location - that makes it feel like part holiday, part travelling, and part trying out normal life that just happens to be taking place in a different location.
Early retirement costs
The first half of October was normal life in France, while for the second half we were on our trip to the Philippines.
Travel normally means higher costs, but it hasn't turned out too bad so far. That's despite the Philippines feeling more expensive than I expected. Accommodation, cafe and restaurant prices are more than I thought they'd be - I'm sure there are cheaper options, but we're just not choosing them.
The biggest line item is holiday/travel. Mr G, my retired friend whom I'm visiting in the Philippines, asked me what budget I've set for our trip. Typically I don't set a rigid budget, instead I focus on:
Understanding our spend. I like to know what we've spent our money on so that I can make a mental check as to whether I'm happy with it or want to try to make some changes for the future.
Ensuring our spend is affordable. Ideally, the income from our property rentals will cover our early retirement costs. That's quite conservative because we have some ETF investments which we could draw on too, but I'd rather be on the safe side.
Checking that I'm happy with the value that I get from my spend. This is subjective and will differ from person to person. I base value on getting good utility/use or a good experience/memories from what I spend. Good value doesn't need to have a low price - I'm happy to pay if I know I'll get good use or good memories.
Returning to Mr G's question, I didn't have a budget for our Philippines trip, but so far we have spent:
In case you're wondering why the travel specific costs don't tie up with the numbers in the October costs table, it's because we paid for one of the flights back in March.
We still have all of November in the Philippines, so these costs will go up. Accommodation will probably be the biggest future spend. I show groceries (mainly food), coffee shop and restaurant spend as a "below the line" item because we must eat whether or not we're travelling, and the costs so far are collectively in the same ballpark of what we would spend when not travelling.
We're having dinner with the G's this evening so, while I still don't have a fixed budget for our 6 week trip, I will be able to tell Mr G how much we've spent so far. I'm interested to hear what he has to say.