Mayhem in the Quiet Car

If you’ve ever taken Amtrak, you may be familiar with the “quiet car.” This car (as recently described in a New York Times article) is a haven from the constant noise, music and conversation that invades many of our lives. I myself am a regular quiet car rider. It’s a usually peaceful experience and I use the time to catch up on research reports or read a book. But every so often we experience an “incident.” The Wednesday before Thanksgiving …

5 Travel Tips for Thanksgiving Travelers

There are a lot of things that come to my mind when the subject of Thanksgiving Day comes my way. I think of my dearly departed grandmother who made the best Thanksgiving Day dinners in the world with nearly everything made from scratch out of her garden. I think of my departed mother-in-law Rita who loved putting on a big Thanksgiving spread and having her family around her. And, I think of my own mother’s pumpkin pie.  Yum. Yum. Yum. …

If I Retire Abroad, How Do I Pick Where to Live?

My husband, Dan, and I will soon celebrate 11 years of living the expat life. We’ve lived in seven different locations (in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Ecuador) and spent a considerable amount of time in many, many more – especially Belize and Costa Rica. Believe me, we’ve learned a lot in the past decade! Importantly, we’ve learned that it’s impossible to compare and contrast the merits or disadvantages of entire countries. And if you’re thinking about retiring to a foreign …

Booking a Trip? Timing Is Everything

The giant travel aggregator site Kayak has some advice for consumers on the best times to book travel in order to snag the cheapest airfares. Drumroll please… Don’t book too early, and don’t book too late. OK, that’s slightly glib. But that’s basically what the site — which says it averages 100 million search queries a month — concluded after sorting through a year’s worth of data. Among its recommendations: Book domestic trips 21 days before departure. Those who went …

How To Start Your Own Volunteer Adventure

While showering one Tuesday morning, I had an epiphany. This enlightened thought inspired me to travel through the forty-eight contiguous states in forty-eight weeks doing volunteer, service, and charity work. The main goal was to promote a “service-to-others” lifestyle by lending a hand to people and organizations of all ages, backgrounds, and affiliations. While the “ah-ha” moment came all at once, getting to that point took several months to figure out what I loved to do and how each of …

If I Go Abroad, What Happens to My Medicare?

No matter what happens this November or in the four years that follow, one thing is for sure: your Medicare coverage won’t be going with you should you decide to retire overseas. Luckily, though, there are many countries where, as a legal resident, you can qualify for a local health care plan that’s often even more comprehensive and less costly than Medicare. Here’s what you need to know:”¨ Medicare doesn’t normally cover health care costs outside the U.S. (And the government’s definition …