Although this book describes a 5-month trip taken several years ago, most of the major costs (except gasoline) are still substantially the same as they were when the book was originally published. Therefore, I think the title is still as valid as it was when first published. As I manually transcribe the book here (can't find the original text), I'll be making a few changes for various reasons. Any substantially new text will be in red ... all else will be blue. Now on with the original Preface ...
My name is Robert ... I am a travel-a-holic. I've always been fascinated by the idea of traveling. When I was younger, I was intrigued by the thought of traveling to exotic places (South Pacific, Tahiti, Paris, Athens), but I could never quite work that out. When I was 16, I left home (Florida) with $1.50 and two bologna sandwiches with the thought of seeing California. Luckily, a flat tire about 30 miles from home turned me around. Five years later, I retired from my job as a postman, paid three month's car payments, and traveled around the country. Six months later, I returned home after clocking about 10,000 miles, 27 states (including California), Canada, and Mexico and thought I had really seen it all and had the travel bug out of my system.
When I turned 45, I sold my house, bought a motorhome, took a leave of absence from my job, left home (Alabama) and traveled for five months ending up in California. I have found that no amount of travel will ever really get the bug out of my system. My wife and I kept two diaries during this trip: One to record what we saw and did each day, and a second to record every penny we spent. Counting gas, food, entertainment (very little), and every other expense on the trip, we averaged less than $1000 each month. We don't claim to know all of the answers and there are probably many people traveling now who know alot more, but we know much more than we did at the start of our trip and decided to share it for what it's worth.
If you aren't interested in traveling around the U.S., this book probably isn't for you. If you are perfectly satisfied with your job and want to keep doing what you're doing until you're too old to travel, this book probably isn't for you. If you can't live without a shower every day, going out to eat once a week, or don't enjoy the challenge of living inexpensively, you'll get some good ideas here but most likely won't make it on $1000 a month.
Nothing in this site is copyrighted -- I'd be honored if you'd reuse anything you find here for your website
Retire and Travel For $1000 a Month
If you enjoy this, check out the sequel
Retire and Travel - 20 Years Later
First RV was a 1984 Allegro 23' like this one
Map shows the route of our trip
If you like to travel, can rough it a little bit, and want to retire (or semi-retire) early, this book should give you some solid ideas on how to do it. The first chapter contains some real basic information about Recreational Vehicles (RVs) -- if you already know about the various types of RVs and know what you want, you might like to skip the first chapter. If you want some biased opinions on why a Class A motorhome is the only way to go, then read Chapter 1. In our five months on the road, we learned alot about where to park for free, where to look for the essentials (like water to fill up your tanks and dump stations to dump your other tanks) and a few general rules on how to get along in the travel world. One of the things we learned was that the old story about getting a self-contained motorhome and parking anywhere you want to is attractive, but not entirely true. It also turns out that some of the simple things like dumping your tanks can get expensive if you don't know what to look for and where to look. The second chapter contains some hints on these and other related topics.
Before you start reading the book, there are a couple of points you probably need to know. First point, I suggest you read the whole book from front to back first, then use it as a reference later. The intent of the bold text within each paragraph is to make it simpler to find things when you are referencing later -- simply scan the bold and you should be able to find what you're looking for. Second point, the first five chapters are to tell you how to get along for $1000 a month and still enjoy yourself -- they also are intended to be entertaining reading (hopefully). The "how to" information is then in the last two chapters, where I tell my plan for early semi-retirement and describe how it worked the first time that I tried it. I guess if you already know what kind of RV you want or if you already have one, you could skip the basics in Chapter 1 -- you may still want to read it for entertainment though.
Although we only hit 13 states during our trip, these are the states of the sunbelt so are probably the more important ones for a new traveler ... assuming you don't want to spend your first few months of travel in snow or other wierd weather. We found out some surprising differences between these states relative to where you can park free, how they appear to feel about vagabonds, what time of year to visit (and not to visit) each of them, and interesting free (or real cheap) things to see. The third chapter gives you this information, along with some maps to interesting and little-advertised free (or cheap) things to see. The fourth chapter is on Ghost Towns and Gold Mines. We were intrigued by these and found a few good ones ... and a few that were big on hype but small on interest unless you've got plenty of extra money to spend on souvenirs, etc. We also found that there are some good books written on these topics and keyed to a particular state or area ... some comments on these are included. The fifth chapter has some fatherly advice on leisure time ... and how you had better have some sort of hobby if you're planning to fully retire. In this chapter, I go into some ideas we have picked up on how to make a little money as you travel ... mostly simple ideas that will bring in only a few dollars, but that you probably won't have to pay taxes on. After getting involved in sage advice in the fifth chapter, I decided to go ahead and divulge our retirement plan in the sixth chapter. This chapter is intended to serve two purposes: First, although your situation and talents are undoubtedly different from ours, the plan may give you some ideas on how to put together a similar one for yourself; second, I plan to write another book later on how it all worked out and this will encourage you to buy it also to see how successful the plan was (or to laugh about the fact that you knew it would not work when you read the plan in this book). In this chapter, I included some information about camping clubs that we have investigated, the one we joined, and how to get alot of free gifts while you're looking even if you don't join. In the seventh chapter, I stuck in a copy of our budget book to let you see where we spent our money. This might be of some help to you in planning the expenses for your retirement or semi-retirement. I also included some odds and ends in this chapter. These are things that I thought might be of interest, but that didn't fit into any of the other chapters.
Hold Everything! In response to user requests, I've updated this online book slightly and produced it as an Ebook for $5, in case you want to read it offline or print it.
ALSO, if you're interested, there's also an option for purchase of the original hard-copy book -- pictured here ------------------>>>