Hi, and welcome to part 1 of my Efficient Travel Tips series!
The travel lifestyle requires a tremendous amount of planning to do well, and I’m often asked why we chose to bring certain things, and how we’re able to have everything we need to both live and work with us while on the road.
You mean you have to PLAN to minimize your life and head out on the road?!? Oh yeah you do! And it’s a lot more difficult than you might think. I’ll do my best to explain the whys, whats, and hows as I go. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. And without further ado:
Choosing Your Vehicle
If you’re planning to spends many months and or years overseas, then you can probably disregard this whole post. That said, chances are you’ll be spending some of your time in the United States, and having the ‘right’ vehicle can really help.
Living in Southern California Kathy and I had the ‘right’ vehicles for the area. Kathy drove a BMW 325i, and I had a 4-door Jeep Wrangler. These vehicles were great for SoCal – BMW for city trips and Jeep for Camping, Desert Trips, and 4wheeling fun!
Unfortunately neither vehicle was a good choice for driving around the country. Here’s why:
Jeep Wrangler Problems:
BMW 325i Problems:
Fortunately we were aware of these deficiencies well ahead of time, and set about finding a vehicle that would be the perfect long-term travel companion.
Here were our requirements:
In short we needed an inexpensive SUV or station wagon that got decent mileage. That narrowed our list to just a few vehicles. A Ford Focus Station Wagon (Sorry Mom, but no), A Volkswagon TDI Station Wagon (A great choice, but expensive), or a Honda Element – which is what we chose.
We found our used Honda Element (Trekkie – yes we named him) at Weseloh Honda in San Juan Capistrano. They were easy to work with, and I was very happy with the way they worked with us. They were Low pressure, flexible, and very helpful – I highly recommend working with them if you’re in the area and need a Honda.
At the time (2010) Trekkie was 2 years old, and we purchased him for $16,500. I intentionally targeted the 2008 Honda Element EX as Honda added 10hp and a 5-speed Automatic (vs 4-speed) in the 2008 models.
Hondas are generally considered reliable and low maintenance, and Trekkie has lived up to this reputation. We’ve put 30,000 miles on him and he just goes. Other Good things about the Element:
Overall I think we made an excellent choice. We’ve had trekkie for nearly 2 years now, and have taken him all over the USA, and he’s never let us down. There are certainly other vehicles that would be a good fit for long-term travel, but I don’t think you can go wrong to chose a Honda Element as we did.
FYI – no, this is not a Honda sponsored post even though it sounds that way. 🙂
Next post I’ll dig into some of the ‘stuff’ that we brought with us. Until next time, happy trekking!