Lots of “successful” people in Wisconsin want a second home or cabin “up north.” We’ve never been interested in a vacation home for several reasons.
- a second mortgage payment.
- a second set of taxes to pay
- maintenance costs and time
- being tied down to a fixed place for spending leisure time.
Travel is important to us, so we’ve spent a bit of time and money doing it over the years. Fortunately, my wife’s profession allowed a lot of that cost to be paid by a large company that she enjoyed an association with for over a decade. As a result, I’ve experienced a variety of motel/hotel rooms from my recent $11 discounted stay at a Motel 6 to the Intercontinental Hotel in NYC ($100 priceline.com) to rooms costing over $500 for meeting stays at small luxury hotels.
The conclusion that I’ve reached is that budget hotels aren’t very nice for the most part, and luxury hotels don’t give a good bang for the buck. When paying five times the price, one rarely receives five times the experience This is perhaps best illustrated by Internet service, an expected amenity in this day and age. Expensive hotels either charge extra for this service or often offer sub par free wi-fi. Paying hundreds of dollars for a hotel room is no guarantee that the guest next door to you or in the hallway won’t be loud and obnoxious or that the light bulbs will work or that the key is properly programmed, etc.
With that in mind, I often seek the wilderness when I travel and have been relatively happy with a tent or trail shelter as my roof.
I must confess that I never slept terribly well in a tent–even during my six month thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail when I was younger than I am now. Let’s face it: the ground is hard, even with an air mattress. I often woke in the middle of the night with my circulation cut off from a hand or arm laying underneath the weight of my body. I usually awoke stiff and sore. Of course, all of that was worth it in order to be close to the beauty and relative silence of nature. By the time I finished breakfast, my body didn’t feel stiff or sore anymore.
I still enjoy tenting quite a bit. It appeals to my frugal nature (free on dispersed national forest lands). However, as I near the empty nest stage of my life, I would like my wife to go with me. Julia likes to camp, but she is not a hardcore backcountry hiker, nor is she entertained by being cooped up inside a tent during prolonged rainy stretches.
As a result, we returned to a discussion from two decades ago: getting a small camping trailer for our retirement. Neither of us have any interest in a big honking motor home or large fifth wheel. Traveling with the equivalent of a big, rolling single wide trailer with or without a motor does not fit our lifestyle.
For smaller trailers, there are still a lot of choices. I have spent a ton of time researching those choices, and we’ve narrowed things down a bit without reaching a final decision. In the next few posts, this blog will examine the pros and cons of different models and materials, beginning with our thoughts on teardrop trailers.