Trip Summary

Summary MapWell it’s official. We’re back home in Florida. After nearly 10 weeks on the road, we pulled into the driveway of our home base a couple days ago. It has been a great trip. We were very blessed to be able to share this experience as a family. Being the travel freak that I am…..I started drawing up a list for our next trip, but I thought I should summarize this one……lest I get too far ahead of myself. Our trip, by the numbers:

  • Duration: nearly 10 weeks

  • States Visited:17

  • Miles Traveled: 7,000

  • Family/Friends Visited: Numerous

  • Memories/Experiences: Priceless

IMG_2003Ok, so there are some things that we will do differently next time we take an extended roadtrip like this. For one thing, we’d like to utilize a camper/travel trailer, and spend more time in each place. Mrs. IS would have enjoyed more time….in fewer places as well. I am a firm believer in always playing to your advantages in any situation. (For instance because we manage our family’s money…..we are only accountable to ourselves…….and only over the long term. Not to a Boards/investors…..and certainly not on a quarterly basis.) Before taking this trip we assessed what advantages we had. We had a reliable sedan that gets good gas mileage. We had plenty of time to travel. We had friends and family we hadn’t seen in a long time…..some of which we hadn’t seen in years. We had enough money to travel, provided we did so efficiently.

IMG_1991With that list of advantages, we set about designing a trip to capitalize on those advantages. We originally wanted to buy an SUV/truck/van and travel trailer before the trip. In assessing our objectives we determined that 80+% of the time on this trip would be spent visiting family/friends in suburban/urban areas. Therefore, we decided it was impractical to drop the $40k I estimated for the rig we settled on….in order to camp along the way. There were simply too many people to see and too many miles to cover! (A great problem to have in my book)

IMG_1743Once we realized that we weren’t going to buy a new rig, we thought long and hard about traveling in our existing Honda Accord sedan. We’ve taken several two/three week roadtrips in it over the past few years, and know it is large enough to work for us. Plus, it gets solid gas mileage and is a fairly comfortable workhorse. On this trip, we averaged a little over 32 mpg (combined driving). This represented a substantial savings relative to a less fuel efficient vehicle. If for instance we had taken my former pickup (assuming average 16 mpg for 7,200 miles, and fuel at $2 per gallon), we would have spent an extra $450 on fuel during the trip. Spread over 10 weeks, that extra $450 wouldn’t have been a deal breaker…..but we wouldn’t have gained anything anyway…..because we were mostly visiting friends/family. Amusingly enough, we did get about 27 mpg on one tank of fuel. Apparently Colorado was still running a winter blend and sporting 85 octane in their regular fuel. We noticed a marked decline in our performance on that tank. Next time we’ll get a higher grade of fuel while in Colorado.

Berkshire PassLiving in Florida, friends/family often come down to visit us in the winter time. As a result, we haven’t been as good about visiting those friends/family on their home turf. This trip afforded us the opportunity to do just that…..as well as make new friends along the way. I was grateful for my experience at the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. It was great to meet up with several new investors/bloggers/readers, and check an item off my bucket list. I had never been to Omaha before, either. For that matter, we had never been to Wisconsin…..Indiana……or the Texas hill country….. before this trip.

New MexicoThe trip wasn’t all wine and roses however. The last week and a half has been extremely challenging. After Omaha, we spent another week in Kansas because Mrs. IS’s has two ailing grandparents. While there, our two year old son got super sick. What started as some painful 2 year molars, escalated into a double ear infection, and then a nasty virus. Mrs. IS and I also caught the virus, probably because our son refused to sleep and constantly wanted to be held. (Don’t know that I will ever get comfortable with the little guy coughing in my face when he is sick) As a result, we were basically confined to the house for several days….. trying not to infect any other family members. Eventually, we piled into the car and made the two day drive home. I don’t think I appreciated how much easier it is to care for the Little Man at home, as opposed to on the road. Whether at a friend’s house or a hotel, all 4 of us (Mrs. IS/me/Little Man/Black Lab) were usually all sharing one room. As a result, no one got any sleep whenever someone was sick. At home Mrs. IS and I take turns, so at least one of us gets a good nights sleep on any given night. Sleep is a blessing, especially when caring for a sick toddler.

IMG_0649Now that we are back, the recovery is continuing. Although the Little Man has completely recovered and I am on my way, Mrs. IS is pretty darn sick again. Plus, I am spending my time addressing all the activities that have been left hanging for the past 10 weeks. Monday was all about banking. Tuesday about car maintenance and painting. Today…..who knows…..but my “to do” list is plenty long. Hence the delay in new posts. Those are just small hassles, and certainly wouldn’t deter us from taking such a trip again. In fact, we may be taking two or three week roadtrip to Texas and Kansas later this month. Unfortunately, this one will be for a funeral…..but when you have time and flexibility, it’s great to travel…….

Family Sunset at Anna Maria Island

Family Sunset at Anna Maria Island

Speaking of time and flexibility……. This trip demonstrates exactly the type of flexibility we have worked so hard to achieve. We received hundreds of dollars in dividends while we were gone. Our portfolio worked hard so we didn’t have to. Our expenses are low, and debt is nearly non existent. When time permitted, I generated revenue by writing and blogging on the road. Anyone who is interested can restructure their lives exactly as we have done! I would like to leave you with an idea that I find fascinating. Would you believe that our 10 week trip only cost us a little bit more than if we had sat at home and done nothing. We literally spent $700 more dollars than if was had sat at home and done nothing. That $700 is an extremely low cost, in my mind, for all the memories and experiences we just enjoyed. Note also, we probably could have done this trip more efficiently….but we were having fun. In addition to camping on trips like this, I would like to rent a place for a month…..a couple times per year. We have done so before, and found it to be a fulfilling experience. We just find a place in an interesting location, and invite our friends/family. So what if it costs $1500-$2000 more per month than if we just sat at home. Think of the experiences :)

While recognizing it’s not for everyone……What did you think of our trial run?!

31 thoughts on “Trip Summary

  1. James

    Although I don’t mind driving long distances, for long periods, I’m not sure logging that many miles in that time period would work for me. However, it sounds like you guys had quite the experience, my friend. Seventeen states and 7,000 miles … wow! Having a chance to visit with friends and family and traverse the country – and see all that it has to offer – had to be rewarding.
    James recently posted…Put One Foot in Front of the OtherMy Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment James. Yeah, our goal definitely wasn’t to log that many miles. Haha. As I said, next time we will go fewer places and for a longer duration. It turned out the people we needed to see on this trip were mostly on the great plains and upper midwest. From Florida, that means 3,000 miles round trip in order to even get to the area! If we currently lived in Kansas City, we would have covered half as many miles in that 10 weeks. Either way, it was an outstanding trip.

      I hope you have a great week. Loved the hiking pictures you posted this morning :)
      -Bryan

      Reply
  2. Tawcan

    Looks like you had a great trial run and had ever lasting memories. That’s a lot of driving and hopping. I would have probably stick to less states and stayed slightly longer in each city. Love what you’ve done though, that’s something we plan to do in the near future too, taking a long trip.
    Tawcan recently posted…10 Lessons I would give to my 23-year-old selfMy Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Tawcan. The goal certainly wasn’t to cover all those miles and states, but we needed to in order to gain the experiences. Trips like this demonstrate the geographical disadvantage of living in Florida. It was 1,500 miles (each way) just to get to the closest edge of the great plains. We’ll do it differently next time, but what a great trip! I look forward to reading about your next trip with the T Family. You guys always seem to have such a great time!
      -Bryan

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  3. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

    Looks like a great trip and experience. We were just away for one week and that’s just not enough time! Sorry to hear about the little one getting sick…and infecting you guys too. I’ve been there done that…it’s tough! It’s doubly tough when you are not in the comforts of home.

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Great to hear from you Andrew. I saw your post about Buffalo/Toronto. It sounded like a good trip, but I hear you that 1 week away is not nearly long enough. Thanks for the sympathies. I think all parents probably go through it, but we hadn’t gotten anything this sick…..and much less on the road :( Oh well, it didn’t tarnish our great trip. Be sure to look us up the next time you come down to Florida. It would be great to get the kiddos together and talk a little shop.

      I hope your week finishes out strong!
      -Bryan

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  4. Brian @ debt discipline

    Hope the little man is feeling better. Never fun to be to have a sick child, but certainly not fun when not in your familiar surrounding. 10 weeks on the road and the total cost was $700 more than if you stayed home? Sign me up! That’s amazing, unfortunately many don’t have 10 weeks of vacation a year.
    Brian @ debt discipline recently posted…App Review: WiseBanyanMy Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks Brian. He is feeling better, but mama is still a wreck. I’m hoping she’s feeling better by the time we get to the kayak camping trip next week. That cost differential was between our average monthly credit card bill earlier this year, vs cost over March and April. I thought it was fantastic. We are simple people, but even if the cost differential had been $1200 per month……that is absolutely worth it to me. I think later this year….or early next year we will look at renting a place for a month and inviting friends/family. The only thing that can spoil it is if Mrs IS decides to take this dream job she’s interviewing for. We would lose some flexibility if she does, but she loves her work also. It’s her decision, and time will tell!

      I hope your week finishes out well. Keep on educating those kiddos, buddy
      -Bryan

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  5. Alexis @ FITnancials

    I find that every great trip brings a bit of struggle. I was in Europe for 2 months and found that I had to overcome a certain obstacle in each city I was in. Anytime I overcame the obstacle, I ended up feeling much better and better prepared for the future cities I was backpacking in.

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Welcome Alexis! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I bet you learned a ton backpacking through Europe for 2 months. What an exciting trip. I completely agree that there is a learning curve when traveling, especially when traveling in a foreign country. I know my life got better when I started relying more heavily on the “TI” Tourist Information offices in the larger cities. What’s the next big trip you have planned?

      I hope you’ve had a good week, and an even better weekend ahead
      -Bryan

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  6. Vivianne

    These are amazing pix. We took a road trip last year from the east coast to Colorado. We want to do a different state this year, but my sister back out. Oh well. :) I’m gonna have to plan for something else.

    It’s great that you guys able to call it off at such young age. Spend all the time in the world together. You can actually take 10’weeks to see parents, that’s huge right there. Early retirement is key to happiness.

    Cheers!
    Vivianne recently posted…Inside the $56,900 Investment PropertyMy Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Vivianne. It was a great trip and I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. I’m ready to plan the next one, but I think Mrs IS would like to stick around here for a while. Plus, she’s still really sick from the virus that the Little Man gave us.

      A roadtrip to Colorado, from the east coast is outstanding. Be sure to let us know what you plan this time around. I love to hear about other people’s trips. They give me such good ideas. We are glad we are back, and working on figuring out what’s next. We can’t quite afford to not work at all, but I’d get bored anyway. Plus, Mrs IS loves here work. Time will tell, but as you said…..we are really blessed to have so many options in our early 30s!

      I hope your week finishes out strong Vivianne. Thanks again for stopping by
      -Bryan

      Reply
  7. DividendVet

    Awesome to hear you and your family had a great trip visiting 17 states, holy cow!

    I like think it’s important to get out of your bubble and your everyday comforts to go out and travel. See and experience different places and different people that sometimes create challenges and opportunities. Then come back home and appreciate the things back at home that much more, the people and all your amenities.

    All the best!
    DividendVet recently posted…Sale CVXMy Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Vet. It was a great trip, and I completely agree with you about getting out of our routines/bubbles and seeing new people and places. I have found my travel to be invaluable in understanding other people and communities. Plus, I really enjoy reading about history and there is no substitute for visiting a place to help you visualize that history. Good job getting out of Chevron by the way. I think in a few months you’ll be very happy you did.

      I hope you have a great weekend
      -Bryan

      Reply
  8. amber tree

    The trail run looks to be a great success! You guys had ton of fun, experiences and great stories/pictures to share. Doing a long trip like that is on our mind as well… Not sure when/how, but clearly on my wish list.
    Seeing that it is possible with a little budgets a good motivation for me.
    amber tree recently posted…Covered call curse or bad behaviour?My Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      It was a great trip AT. I’m glad you found the updates and posts inspiring. We were playing to our advantages and staying mostly with friends and family. Clearly the trip would have cost a great deal more if we stayed in a $200 hotel every night. I’m sure you guys can take the trip you’ve discussed, fairly efficiently. It will take some work, but I’m sure there is a way!

      I hope you have a great weekend. Enjoy those kiddos :)
      -Bryan

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Being home is a funny thing Graham. When my wife and son were sick, there was no place I wanted to be more. Especially with the expensive oddities of the US health insurance market. But, I would love to go back out on the road in a week or two. Instead, I have a sailing outing planned….and some kayak camping….but those are just short activities. We will go on cool adventures again once we figure out a few things. I’m glad you enjoyed the trip posts. Being a single guy, I am sure you can travel very efficiently. What’s new with the Costa Rica jaunt?

      I hope you have a great weekend
      -Bryan

      Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the support Stefan. We feel likewise and will be jumping off into new adventures shortly. There is lots to experience in this world. I am glad we are taking the steps to go and share those experiences. It doesn’t hurt that this trip was pretty cost effective either :)

      I hope you’re having a great weekend
      -Bryan

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  10. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    Sounds like you and your family had a great trip! Sorry to hear about Little Man’s rough last week or two though! I’m sure it is nice, but also a little difficult to adjust back to everyday life at home!

    Reply
    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the kind words Thias. It has been a little odd being back, and we’re actually looking at another road trip later this summer. We’ll see if it materializes. Funny that we have all this time, and yet we’re hesitant to plan time away. That issue should subside with time.

      I hope you three are having a great week.
      -Bryan

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  11. theFIREstarter

    Sounds like a very exciting adventure!

    I love the fact that you only spent $700 more than if you were at home. One of the many benefits of slow travel.

    People normally take what their 1 or 2 week whirlwind (aka stressful) foreign holiday to an expensive resort costs, and extrapolate that cost into the assumption that to travel for a long time or permanently must costs hundreds of thousands. So not true!

    When you have time on your hands you don’t feel the need to blow money on expensive food and lodging and are more than happy enough with the new experiences you are constantly having instead and soaking up different areas and ways of life.

    We did a road trip from NY to LA in 2008, it was awesome but we did it just 6 weeks… it was way too fast and therefore we spent too much and didn’t get to stop and smell the roses. Still… it was as I say awesome and something not that many people would get the chance to do or even think/have the balls to do (certainly not people from the UK at least!) :)

    Looking forward to reading about your next trip
    theFIREstarter recently posted…what’s luck got to do with it?My Profile

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    1. Income Surfer Post author

      Thanks for the kind words FIREstarter, and sharing your experience. Taking 6 weeks to drive across a foreign country is quite the adventure. Bravo. Now I’m going to go back and look for posts about that trip! We are fairly frugal people anyway, but this trip was even less expensive because the primary focus was to see friends/family. No resorts or airfare for us.

      You bring up a great point though, and we experienced something similar last summer. We had a family wedding in the northeast US (about 1,100 miles from where we live). I figured out that if we bought plane tickets, hotel and a rental car for a 5 day weekend it would have cost like $1700 for my family. Instead, we took 16 days…..visited a different group of family…..and a historic city Mrs. IS hadn’t seen (Savannah, GA)…..and spent a total of $2200. The trip was far more relaxing and cost effective. When possible, we live to travel slowly :)

      I hope you are having a great week, and look forward to hearing about your next adventure!
      -Bryan

      Reply
  12. theFIREstarter

    Slow travel is the future for sure!

    If you meant looking for a post on our road trip on my blog you won’t find one sorry :(

    Trip taken in 2008 and blog only started in 2013!

    That’s not to say I couldn’t write a post about my memories of it though… thanks for the idea in fact! :)
    theFIREstarter recently posted…what’s luck got to do with it?My Profile

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