Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of two suitcases

lynne martin tim home sweet anywhere
Lynne Martin and her husband Tim gave up their home to travel the world.
Credit: Lynne Martin

Three years ago, Lynne Martin was “living the California dream … in a darling house,” as she describes it, when she had an epiphany: The author of “Home Sweet Anywhere” wanted to give it all up to travel the world.

“I finally got up the courage to say, ‘I’m going to be 70 pretty soon and there are so many places I want to see’ … and Tim [Martin’s husband] said, ‘How do we do that? Just leave all this behind?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, pretty much,’” says Martin.

Just four months later, the Martins sold their house and hit the road with just two suitcases and two computers. The Martins have traveled through Europe and South America, and they have no plans to settle down. They spend a month or longer in each destination so they can truly explore and live like locals.

Martin, now 73, shared her pearls of wisdom on giving it all up in the name of wanderlust.

1. Do the math: Martin says she and her husband crunched the numbers on the costs of living in their California house as opposed to living on the road. Much to their surprise, they learned that living on the road was slightly cheaper.

She says it is vital to make sure you can afford your trips. “Do those calculations,” says Martin. “You certainly don’t want to spend your capital. We have an investment portfolio that we don’t touch.” Martin says she and her husband only use the profits from their investments, social security and money from selling their house to travel.

2. Live like a local: The Martins love traveling, but they’re careful not to act like high rollers on vacation. Most importantly, they always stay in vacation rentals instead of hotels. “We have a refrigerator full of food and most of the time we eat at home, just like we would if we were in California,” says Martin. “The difference is we’re in thrilling places like Paris or Portugal or Italy.” Martin says they also usually stay in residential neighborhoods instead of tourist areas.

3. Plan ahead: Satisfying your wanderlust doesn’t mean you should be reckless. You don’t want to get stranded without a place to stay; you also want to make sure you’re sticking to your budget. “We know pretty much six months in advance where we’re going to go because we’re too mature to wing it,” says Martin. “The last time we were on the road was for nine months. We were pretty well-organized before we left.”

4. Get rid of what you don’t need: The Martins need to be ready to leave every few months, so they only carry two suitcases. “Our rule is if you buy something, something else has to go out,” says Martin. “That’s how it has to be. Sometimes we even rent clothes.” Martin admits that it means you have to get accustomed to wearing the same clothes over and over again. “We want to burn our clothes when we get home,” she says.

The Martins also have a storage unit in the U.S. so they can swap out their things when they return.

5. Learn the language: You certainly don’t need to be fluent, but Martin says it’s helpful to learn a few key phrases wherever you are. “Please, thank you, excuse me and beg your pardon are useful,” says Martin. “People are really pretty wonderful when you try to speak their language.”

6. Take a day off: Martin says she and her husband would not enjoy their travels nearly as much if they didn’t take off a few days once in a while to relax. “When you know you have a month to explore a place, there isn’t this sense of urgency,” she says. “We learned that we have to take time on the road to regroup. We have to spend days at home to completely cocoon and rest up.” Martin says doing this helps her recharge and regain her energy.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.