Red Hot Mamas Financial Story

Lessons from a Menopausal Financial Advisor Visiting Italy in August

Published: September 20, 2014

Contributed by Liz Allen, Red Hot Mamas® Financial Expert 

Ever been to Rome in August? It’s sweltering.
Since I live in Florida, you can imagine how intense the heat and humidity were if I’m complaining.

Eighteen months into my hormonal adventure, I started to feel that wanderlust to see a new country and check off another experience from my bucket list. This time it was Italy.
Not just Italy per se, but the three city hop: Rome, Florence and Venice. The last time I traveled abroad was to London in the spring of 2013 and right up until the last night of our vacation, I felt wonderful. It was the literally the last night when I started manifesting frightening symptoms-heart palpitations, unquenchable thirst, light headedness — which had me running amuck in London looking for medical help without going to a clinic ( I was told it would cost me £3000 just to walk in which roughly equals nearly $4000. I wouldn’t do it. Apparently bad judgment does have a price.) Ultimately, walking up and down Oxford Circus in 50° air helped as did eating a little something.

Once back in the USA, I learned that my hormones were off the charts and perimenopause was underway.

So between a relatively healthy diet, bioidenticals and moderate exercise, I’ve been feeling okay. Okay enough to give in to the burning desire to take this trip with my young adult daughter.

Let me just say my mettle was tested.

Between the stress of traveling, connecting flights, time change/jet lag, trying to keep my hormones balanced and the extraordinary heat, I genuinely began to regret the excursion. Rome was a complete bust. I felt horrible and we skipped most of the tours I had prepaid for. The museums we made it to were NOT air-conditioned. Cabs are not air-conditioned. Some cafes are not air-conditioned. After three days, we rode the train up north to Florence where the temperature cooled a little and thank God, the museums had air!
By the time we arrived at our final destination of Venice, it was a delicious 68°, and I felt pretty good. I finally enjoyed the last two days of my vacation.

So what does this have to do with financial planning?
I spent a lot of money which I had saved specifically for this trip.
I will not look back on it with the same fondness and affection I hold for previous pre-menopausal locations-Quebec City, Tokyo, Paris and, of course, London.
The heat did me in. Travel insurance doesn’t matter if you’re having hot flashes.

What do I recommend?
Obviously, if you’re going to spend money on a dream vacation, make sure it’s in the fall, winter or early spring.
Even if it’s peak season, eat the difference. A mere $1500 could have made the difference for me by going in the fall.

Also, be sure to bring one of those little handheld personal battery-powered fans that spritz water. They don’t sell them anywhere in Europe and mine helped me through some of the worst heat patches imaginable.
By the way, seven people approached me at the Vatican and asked where they could get a fan like mine. I explained I brought it with me from America. They wanted to buy it. I refused. A bidding war ensued going as high as €75. I still didn’t sell. If you do the math, that’s almost $100 for a $2 fan I bought at CVS. That’s a 4900% return. I’m not recommending going to Italy in August with a suitcase filled with these sought-after gadgets, but I suspect it could have paid for the trip.

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