Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Ellen
When it comes to budget travel in retirement, our readers have asked questions from a wide range of topics – from health care to lodging, hiking to restaurants.
We’ve answered many questions since 2015. Below are some of the most common questions we are asked by our readers, along with our answers.
Budget travel in retirement: Q+A with readers
A reader asks: How do you get prescriptions for chronic conditions? I can’t see a specialist or get lab tests every month! How do you do it and how do you hook up with specialist(s) as needed?
Answer: When we pay out of pocket for health care during travel, we do what we have done at home: shop around. Just like at home, some pharmacies charge more than others in foreign countries.
Also, some prescriptions are more difficult to get in some countries. For example, not every pharmacy had tamoxifen (a drug Ellen needs) in the Philippines, so it takes some research.
A reader asks: Do you ever bargain chat with Airbnb owners when you stay longer than a month?
Answer: Yes. If we see somewhere we like that is close to our budget, we will send the owner a note expressing that we are great tenants, and we will ask if there is any chance of lowering the rent for a six or seven week stay.
Many Airbnb owners allow long-term stays with discounts. We’ve done it in near Cebu City in the Philippines, Omis, Croatia, and Mazatlan, Mexico, just to name three quick examples in different parts of the world.
If you don’t see a discount offered on an Airbnb price, you can always ask! (See our popular post with more information about mostly living in Airbnb units.)
Readers ask: Where was your Tulum studio located, and how did you find it?
Answer: The craziest place — Craigslist for the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. Ellen sent a deposit via Western Union after a friend in the area checked it out.
The studio was located a few blocks from the Santander Bank, across the highway to the north. It was not on the expensive beach – it was in town. The landlords were good people. Their agent also is a good guy.
(For serious readers, contact us for more information. The original post about the Tulum studio is from 2015.)
A reader asks: Do you ever encounter violence, threats, thieves, or anti-American resistance while you are traveling?
Answer: We’ve never encountered violence, threats, thieves (aside from pickpockets in Athens) or anti-American resistance. However, in some areas of the world, we have not advertised that we are Americans.
Most of the time, when people found out our nationality, they often share their desire to travel to the USA. Many people from other countries still see America as the best land of opportunity to realize middle-class dreams.
Also, most people are exactly like us – they are not the decision makers in their countries.
If a conversation tilts towards uncomfortable (which is rare), I explain we don’t make decisions on running the country, that we are simply common folk like them who wield no power beyond our vote. We have found people relate well to this truthful answer.
A reader asks: We are headed to Mazatlan for Christmas. Where can we volunteer?
Answer: Ask local expats! Joining Facebook groups can help you get recommendations for this – and every other thing we’ve mentioned: rentals, neighborhoods, doctors, etc.
In Mazatlan, we had a great experience with a church that delivers food to people who pick through the garbage dump. Our original post has details on that, plus a link for contact information.
A reader’s compliment: I wrote to you some months back asking questions about packing and have followed you ever since. We began our long term retirement …. Thank you for leading the pack. ? You provide us lots of information and inspiration.
Thank you! That type of positive feedback inspires us to keep writing and sharing with readers!
Do you have a question about being an Earth Vagabond in retirement?
Thanks for reading, “Budget travel in retirement: Q+A with readers.”
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