Traveling the Country as a Nomad Retiree

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

There are many preconceptions about how we should spend our retirement years. Most of us imagine settling down, claiming our own plot of land, and taking it easy as we live out our golden years.

But maybe this prospect doesn’t sit right with you. After exiting the workforce, you want to use your free time to truly live life to the fullest, without the burden of a 9-to-5 job. And you wouldn’t be alone in this desire, either.

Thousands of Americans are making a radical change by pursuing a nomadic lifestyle — traveling across the country in RVs, vans, or campers, taking in the sights from coast to coast.

Is it time to sell that nest egg and hit the road?

Keep in mind that this freedom comes with certain costs. Memorizing some thrifty travel tips can help, but committing to a nomadic lifestyle requires overcoming certain challenges and preparing for possible difficulties on the road.

Here are some tips for those considering traveling the country as a nomad retiree:

  • Weatherproofing Your RV

    The first step to getting ready for a nomadic lifestyle is to weatherproof your car. Yearlong traveling in the U.S. entails rain, hail, sleet, snow, and temperatures running the gamut from subzero to well over 100 degrees.

    Preparing your RV or camper to handle this wide range of elements may seem daunting, but it can be accomplished with perseverance and regular maintenance. This includes regularly checking your brakes, battery, ignition system, and exhaust system.

    For harsh winter weather, there are several considerations to keep in mind. First, you will want to insulate your windows and exterior door. This can be done with spray foam insulation or caulk.

    Some travelers even invest in a portable propane furnace for use during the night. When driving over snow or ice, practice extreme caution.

    If you find yourself unable to stop on a slippery road, decelerate your vehicle, swerve around any obstacles, and regain control of the vehicle.

    When things heat back up, be sure to de-winterize. Recheck your tire air pressure and condition. You may also need to refill the water heater if you used low-pressure air to empty the system earlier in the year.

    If you used antifreeze, clean the water by flushing the system. These steps will keep you moving, no matter the climate.

  • Preparing for Emergencies

    There are a number of emergencies that can occur on the road. Keeping financially prepared for these eventualities is essential to ensure your safety and security.

  • Dealing With Illness

    Anyone who frequently travels knows that your immune system hates road trips. This is due in part to being in unfamiliar environments full of new contagions — but it is also because of the stress inherent in frequent traveling.

    In addition to taking steps to keep your immune system healthy, do what you can to make your RV a place where you can unwind. Make your mobile home a true “home.”

    If you get a minor illness, such as a common cold, take a few days off the road to recuperate. Be sure to have enough supplies to last a few days in case this occurs. If you suspect you may have a more serious ailment, contact a healthcare professional.

  • Natural Disasters

    If you find yourself affected by a natural disaster, follow directions from authorities regarding evacuation plans, and keep the following tips in mind:

    • Read the local news for places you intend to visit. If a hurricane or other disaster threatens to visit the area in the near future, reconsider your plans. Such areas may be dangerous, and your RV may further congest traffic during an evacuation.

    • Keep an old-fashioned, battery-powered emergency radio on hand. If you lose internet access, you need a means of getting information about the evacuation or other developments.

    • Maintain enough supplies to last at least a week, in case you are unable travel due to extenuating circumstances.

  • Getting Into an Auto Accident

    Naturally, spending so much time driving increases your chances of getting into an auto accident. Expect the unexpected. Medical and auto repair bills are unexpected retirement expenses that you should be prepared to deal with.

    If saving money to be prepared for these costs means you have to delay your switch to a nomadic lifestyle, so be it; being unable to support yourself while you are separated from the support network of friends and family can be a serious problem.

    While on the road, stay vigilant at all times. It can be easy to fall into a lull while on the road for hours on end, but it only takes a few moments of inattentiveness to become involved in an auto accident. While riding an RV, be aware of your blind spots at all times.

    While driving smaller vehicles, including motorcycles, avoid accidental rear collisions by upgrading your headlights and making stops with caution. As long as you can stay aware, the dangers of the road shouldn’t be a deterrent to those seeking a nomadic way of life.

  • Tax Considerations

    Finally, let’s discuss the least appealing part of the equation: taxes. Tax debt can weigh you down — figuratively and literally. Indeed, $50,000 in debt can keep nomads from living the life they truly want to pursue, especially those looking to travel globally.

    Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to take a tax deduction by claiming your RV as a home. Explore your options, and do the math before making any serious investments.

Don’t forget: it’s never too late to start planning your retirement. Even if you aren’t ready to retire yet, you can work towards attaining the retirement lifestyle that you want.

Eliminate your debt and start saving. If an idyllic life on the homestead is what suits you, that’s fine. But if you want to spend your retirement years exploring the wonders the country has to offer, start planning now. You’ll find that the best experiences life has to offer are still on the horizon.

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