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Break Your Routine Without Breaking the Bank

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Success stories are regular features of our Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter service, where we share profiles of people who have become financially independent. One of the most remarkable stories we've come across is that of Billy and Akaisha Kaderli. In their late 30s, they left their fast-track lives and started traveling the world. Here, Billy and Akaisha encourage finding a fresh perspective by adding some affordable travel to your life.

Need a new perspective?

With the news on a continual loop telling us how poorly the economy is doing today and what it's likely going to do tomorrow, unemployment figures up and seniors being forced to go back to work, sometimes it's good to get some new mental scenery. Take a trip. But if your portfolio has been ravaged, how can you afford this seeming "luxury"?

During the nearly 20 years of our retirement, we have asked ourselves this same question many times. The answer is more likely to be, "How can we afford not to go?" Refreshed orientation gained by traveling has profound value.

Time to get creative 
Those of us who are skillfully living the retired lifestyle know that most spending occurs in the four categories of housing, transportation, taxes and food. When one travels, even for a long weekend, three of those categories get hit pretty hard. That doesn't mean you can no longer afford a break from the routine. Some imaginative rearranging will produce rewarding leisure time away from the mundane and still save you lots of money.

We've all gotten pretty comfortable with Internet travel sites such as Mobissimo and Kayak -- comprehensive travel search engines that provide information on airline tickets, hotels, cars, cruises, and other travel necessities. Many sites offer some of their best deals for last-minute travel. Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO  ) has its Top 20 list of the week's best travel deals, which the company's expert team researches, evaluates and then recommends to you. There are hotel specials, vacation specials, cruises, shows, events, and airfares.

Think cost-conscious
OK, so what if even with these deals and packages, the getaway still seems out of your financial reach? You can save on lodging by trying one of the many sites that make various housing options available for travel:

  • Extended-stay hotel sites list affordable studios with housekeeping, in-room wifi, and kitchenettes.
  • The organization Couch Surfing helps you make connections worldwide or across your state. You overnight 'free' in members' homes; stays can be as short as a cup of coffee or a night or two, or as long as a few months. All places are rated, couch-surfing etiquette is offered, and tips on safety for both sides of the deal are posted on the site.
  • Craigslist is also a solid source of finding apartments, housing, temporary housing, or rooms for rent. Simply click on the state, city or country you will be visiting and begin searching!
  • If you would like to secure house-sitting jobs while on the move, try the Caretaker Gazette.
  • Want to swap homes? Home Exchange allows two families to agree to trade homes for a defined period of time. You can live like a local, not like a tourist, thereby saving tons of money.
  • Sites like Vacation Rentals by Owner offer worldwide networks of vacation homes for rent by the owners themselves. This is an option that presents affordable, substantive value with the local touch.

Stay safe
This is all well and good, but what if you are a single woman traveling alone? The Internet is an amazing resource these days. Journey Woman is a travel support network for women, and the site gives safety tips, travel secrets, guide services, and suggestions of what to pack. You can choose from spas, cruises, tours or eco-adventures, and they'll tell you about women-friendly cities, how to best travel with children, or how to go it alone.

Similarly, Women Welcome Women World Wide helps women to make friends in foreign lands or just around the corner. You can travel to faraway places or choose to have a woman stay in your own home.

And if educational travel appeals to you, try Elderhostel. Learning adventures are available across our 50 states and around the globe with subjects including history, culture, nature, music, outdoor activities and study cruises, whether you are traveling as a single person or as a married couple.

Learn more
For more on all these ideas and several others besides, we have a page full of useful information on our Retire Early Lifestyle website.

Gaining a renewed perspective, especially during these challenging times, is a worthwhile pursuit. The humdrum of daily life can push you into the doldrums, so why not break out of your routine and come back strengthened?

For more Foolishness:

Fool contributors Billy and Akaisha Kaderli write regularly for the Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter. They retired in 1991 from the brokerage and restaurant businesses to a life of international travel. Visit their website at RetireEarlyLifestyle.com and check out their new CD book, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement. Neither Billy nor Akaisha owns shares of any companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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