Real Life Retirement:  what real people are doing after age 55 


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Budapest may be on your list of destinations, but the city of Pecs in southern Hungary is worth a 2 or 3 day side-trip.  Mosques sit side-by-side with churches.  Ancient Hungarian traditions still survive in public events.  Roman ruins are being excavated. Modern museums thrive. And it is much less expensive than Budapest.


Cheap travel using internet connections 

A limited income does not mean you are forced to stay home and watch the trees grow.  You can follow these tips from experienced budget travellers. And thanks to the internet there are new ways to take that trip to Santa Fe or London or San Francisco without hotel costs devouring all your dollars.  

The secret is a new variation on that old standby, the vacation rental. You can, of course, find vacation or short term rentals on Craigslist or by searching for “vacation rentals” at the destination you have in mind. Unfortunately, the information and photos you find for accommodations in this free-wheeling online want ad world can often be flakey and, obviously, you cannot be quite sure who you are dealing with. 

The newest wrinkle on short term rentals tightens up some of the loosey-goosey aspects of renting a room or apartment for a few days while you are taking in the sights. 

Several websites in particular have become popular with thrifty travelers of all ages.  San Francisco-based AirBnB is clearly the largest and most experienced.  And there are also Roomarama and 9flats.  They all have listings for everything from single bedrooms in private homes and apartments to entire urban condos to gorgeous ocean front villas--all at astonishingly low rates.  There is also which is noted for vacation rentals of entire homes around the world.

This is important:  AirBnB holds the money you pay until after you have actually seen the place you will be staying.  Only then do they release the funds to the owner of the home.  (For more tips about avoiding vacation rental scams, go here.)

Thousands of short term vacation rentals around the globe. 

AirBnB, for example, has listings in San Francisco starting as little as $80 a night.  You will also find listings for Santa Fe and in London, again starting at about $80 a night in both locations. In all, they currently claim to have over 100,000 listings worldwide in 168 countries.

A Real Life Retirement: 

For his 60th birthday, Tim and his wife Rosalie took a month long trip through Europe.  It was a real splurge!  However, he saved by making many reservations himself, including renting apartments in Paris and Provence through AirBnB. 

In Paris they were in an apartment near the Eiffel Tower and their host drove them to the train station so they wouldn't have to go by Metro.  In Provence they lived in an updated ancient house just outside an historic village. In the village almost no one spoke English, but it did not matter.  Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful.

Alongside listings are reviews by people who previously stayed there.  Reviews can only be submitted through AirBnB by actual guests, so you don’t have to worry about “fake reviews” by the homeowner’s friends.  Read the reviews to discover if you will get the added bonus of having your host give you tips on local sights to see,  little-known restaurants and the best affordable entertainment.

And you will see photos on AirBnB and the other websites.  Plenty of photos.  In fact, AirBnB offers to send a photographer to take pictures of the rooms that homeowners want to list for rent.   

They do not, however, screen 100% of the listings.   Neither AirBnB nor Istopover are  travel agents.  They charge a modest fee on the rental amount and serve as a financial intermediary between the renter and the homeowner.  You pay ... and there's more  

NOTE:  All names on this site have been changed to protect individual privacy.  The stories are real, the names are not. 

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