What is mini-retirement?
Tim Ferris mentions mini-retirement in the 4 Hour Work Week and it really hit a nerve. It is taking the concept of the usual 20-30 years of retirement when you are old and redistributing them throughout life instead. It entails relocating to one place for one to six months before going home or moving to another location.
In Lehman term’s it is taking 6 – 18 months off from your normal hectic lifestyle and taking it easy to enjoy the world. Give yourself time to slow down and relax for awhile.
Mini-retirement vs Binge Travelling vs Sabbaticals
A lot of business people will say that’s an absurd idea sure I can just take 2-week holiday every 3 months and I will see plenty of the world but does it really count when you spend 12 days trying to switch off. Tim said from the people he interviewed it can take them 2 to 3 months to unplug from obsolete routines.
The constant business can be a huge distraction and people can easily get lost in the motion and forget the reason behind it all. It might sound like a sabbatical but the difference being is a sabbatical is a one-off event mini-retirement should be a recurring event.
Similar to a sabbatical though it encourages freedom from the stressful culture many of us call life. You cannot be free from these stresses until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mindset and impulses that caused the stresses in the first place.
This can be different for everyone but for me I saw it as a good way to reassess my life after spending 4 years working hard and learning lots of new things I still found myself as a bit of a headless chicken with no idea what I wanted to do for rest of my life. The perfect opportunity to create a blank slate.
Extra Benefit of Mini-Retirement
Decluttering is one of the biggest benefits of mini-retirement. When you must fit all your belongings into one bag you quickly prioritise what’s essential and what’s not.
Mythbusting YOU DO NOT NEED ALOT OF MONEY
Extended World Travel is for the Ultrarich is a complete myth. There is different options to suit every budget. Asia and South America are not expensive places to live. The cost of living is completely up to yourself. What you might spend a weekend at home could last 2 weeks in another part of the world. The most expensive part is the flights which they are ways and means to get the best deals possible.
I extremely advise to check out Vagabonding book where people have perfected the art of long term travelling. This is also debunked by Tim Ferris on his tips and tricks to take mini retirement blog post.
The most important thing to realise is that plans change and nothing is set in stone that is the beauty of travelling. Expect interruptions and plan accordingly. I created an excel sheet (above) which had everything covered from what we need do before we went to where we were going. This changed multiple times while we were travelling being in the months and weeks before the trip it saved a lot of headaches.
1. Picking Countries Considerations
Before you start planning where you are going to go you should take the following into consideration:
Weather: If you are going somewhere for the weather you need to make sure you are going in the right season. For example Thailand has three rainy from July to October, cool and dry from November to February, and hot from March to June so plan you’re trip accordingly.
On/Off Season: If you want to avoid the busy seasons you need to avoid when the school holidays are off for example in Halong Bay if we went a week later it would of be 10x the crowd we were just luckily!
Visas: If you can’t get a visa for a country you can’t really go so you need to double check and make sure you know how long the visa is valid for. This is the most important thing when planning mini retirement.
Political Issues: If the country if in turmoil for various reasons like the South of the Philippines is pretty unstable place at the moment which should be avoided.
2. Booking Transport
There is some transport you need to book that won’t be very flexible such as flights that will only go on certain days or locations which can be a nuisance but can’t be avoided. We flew from Dublin to Paris to Saigon to Hanoi which wasn’t fun but had to be done and from there we had loads of options.
When taking internal flights they are quiet short but will be the most expensive option for transport and you will miss all the scenery. Check out Lionair which do very cheap flights in Thailand
A good option if in Thailand or Malaysia as they do overnight options for the very long trips. A great website to find out all the train options in Asia is www.seat61.com
Bus Trips from City to City
This is how we travelled between cities and highly recommend it. Firstly it is the cheapest option and good way to save money. Second, its a great way to see the countryside and how people live (see below a where we stopped halfway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap). Genuinely a 8-hour journey flies and is still my first choice of travel to see a new country. When booking you can book these in travel agents in the city so need to book in advance.
3. Booking Accommodation
Without a doubt my favourite part of planning the trip was looking through accommodation and picking out where we were going to stay. I used two resources for this were….
Getting Half Price Hotels or Villas with Booking.com
I used booking.com for hotels in the cities where got some excellent deals as we were booking 8 months in advance literally we got the hotels half price than they were advertised at reception when we arrived there. Couple of notes…
- Always look for places where you don’t have to pay upfront and you can cancel before a certain date for free.
- Check the same hotel a few months after you make the booking as I noticed that the prices were actually cheaper and cost nothing to cancel and take the new price which is pretty sweet.
- When selecting hotels look out for free extras for booking 3 days or more. In Cambodia we got free lunch, free bikes, 35% off bar food and drink and a free massage for booking 3 days and we didn’t even realize it until we arrived.
How to save at least one weeks rent AirBnB
If you book accommodation a small bit outside the popular spots you can get a very nice place very affordable on AirBnB. Also if you book for a month you will get a really good rate compared to the weekly, we saved at least 1 weeks rent by booking 33 days for the house.
There are other website you could use such as lastmintue.com and expedia.com to name a few but the above two were the easiest and best deals that met my criteria.
4. Getting Visas
For Visas were pretty straight forward but we had a few hiccups and without a doubt getting visas is the most stressful part of traveling.
5. Do Not Forget Vaccines
One of the A great resource to find out for yourself exactly what you need is http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx#asia-(east)
6. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must for any trip make sure not to cut costs here. For any Irish readers we went with VHI backpacker insurance. If you are planning on doing any activities make sure you select the correct category of travel insurance which is explained here.
Do you have something you would add to the list? Just comment below and i wil add it 🙂
Our mini-retirement May 2016
In Summer 2015 we started planning to go travelling in 2016 before we got too settled in Dublin. Originally we were going straight to Australia but after discovering mini retirement it rationalised the concept of not working for a few months and always wanted to travel Asia. With some really good planning, we made this possible without it costing a fortune.