overseas living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7846/all en-US 14 Dirty Details of Traveling Full-Time http://www.wisebread.com/14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dirty_details.jpg" alt="Traveler in Thailand" title="Traveler in Thailand" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="152" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does a full-time travel lifestyle sound like a dream job?</p> <p>Well, it is. (Kind of.) I've been doing it for almost six years, and I can't imagine what my life would be like had I not made the life-changing decision to sell everything I owned and discover what the world held in store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 Per Year or Less</a>)</p> <p>But I've also had my fair share of <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/06/a-bad-day-in-the-life-of-a-professional-hobo/">bad days</a>. Bad weeks. Bad countries. Etcetera.</p> <p>No lifestyle is perfect. And the full-time travel lifestyle has some dirty details that can get in the way if you're not properly prepared for them. Here are a few pesky details you'll need to manage if you want to travel full-time.</p> <h2>1. Expat Insurance</h2> <p>Once you've been traveling full-time for a certain time period (usually over six months or one year) you don't qualify for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirt-on-travel-insurance">standard travel insurance</a>. In this case, you need to get expat insurance, which provides medical coverage anywhere in the world (or certain geographic regions, depending on your terms). Coverage can range from emergency only to full medical plans; generally you get what you pay for. Here's a&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/03/expat-insurance-travel-insurance-for-full-time-and-long-term-travelers/">primer on expat insurance</a>, including a glossary of terms and tips to keep your premiums low.</p> <h2>2. Mailing Address</h2> <p>Receiving mail (and having a &ldquo;permanent&rdquo; mailing address for filling in various forms) is a stumbling block for all full-time travelers. Solutions include having somebody in your home town who receives your mail and alerts you to anything you need to know about, or paying a monthly fee for a mailing service (which basically does the same thing). Here's an article detailing some <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/essential-services-for-the-road-nora-dunn">essential services for the road</a>, including virtual mailbox services.</p> <h2>3. Staying in Touch</h2> <p>You need more than mail to be in touch, and thankfully it's getting easier with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/location-independent-career-basics">location independent careers</a> becoming more common. Having an unlocked cell phone into which you insert local pay-as-you-go SIM cards gives you a local telephone number, and applications like Skype and Google Voice allow you to make inexpensive long distance calls using your internet connection (and free computer-to-computer calls).</p> <p>One frustration with staying in touch on the road and managing a location-independent career is the constant search for WiFi. Although it's quite prevalent, there are still places where it's simply unavailable or cost-prohibitive.</p> <h2>4. Work-Life Balance</h2> <p>The second challenge with the constant search for WiFi is that once you have it, sometimes it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">hard to disconnect</a>. Many of us have come to rely on it for business, pleasure, and communication. So sometimes it's a challenge to actually unplug and enjoy the full-time traveling lifestyle for what it is. There is a (often precarious) work-life balance to manage on the road and constantly be aware of.</p> <h2>5. Getting Rid of Your Stuff</h2> <p>What do you do with all your stuff while you travel full-time? This depends on the stuff you have, your intended travel plans, and your personal preferences. Paying for storage space can be cost-prohibitive, and depending on the stuff you keep, you might have a friend or family member with enough space in their garage to store it for you. (I myself have five boxes of &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; tucked away in a friend's garage.)</p> <p>If you're getting rid of all your stuff, you might want to check out these articles to get you started with some ideas:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap (Book Review &amp; Tips)</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">How to Get Rid of All Your Crap</a></li> </ul> <h2>6. To Sell or To Rent</h2> <p>If you own your home, you'll have to decide if you're selling it or renting it out in your absence. If the market values have dropped, then selling it might not be preferable (or possible), but renting your place out could be stressful in terms of tenant management if you don't have a point-person to deal with tenancy issues (like repairs, rent collection, finding tenants, and keeping an eye on the place). Using a property management company can alleviate much of this leg-work, but it will also erode your profits.</p> <p>It's a tough decision, dependent on your home, its current value, how much equity you have in the home, and your penchant for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home">being an absentee landlord</a>.</p> <h2>7. Managing Money</h2> <p>I have an entire series on my site dedicated to <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/financial-travel-tips/">Financial Travel Tips</a> since managing your money on the road can be tricky business. Issues include accessing money, getting paid online, effectively using credit cards and debit cards (and dealing with issues like theft, fraud, and complications &mdash; which can add some serious speed bumps to the process if you're abroad; I've had to deal with this three times in the past two months), minimizing currency conversion charges, and carrying cash safely, to name a few. (Check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely">Travel &amp; Money series</a> for some money management tips and tricks.)</p> <h2>8. Loan Payments</h2> <p>It's best to embark on a full-time travel lifestyle without any debts, but sometimes a lingering student loan (for example) might seem manageable enough to spread your wings anyway. As a precaution, it is good to have 6-12 months' loan payments stashed away in a high-interest account in the event that your ongoing income can't cover the payment for whatever reason. If you also have an emergency fund as a buffer, then you can reduce your loan payment stash.</p> <h2>9. Packing Light</h2> <p>I learned early on that the weight of your luggage is proportionate to the degree of misery you'll feel while traveling. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to pack everything up each time you move, and the more agonizing the act of traveling becomes. I also find that the more stuff I have, the more I'm concerned about the inevitable travel risks, such as having my luggage stolen, damaged, or lost. Lightening your load really does make the journey easier.</p> <p>However...</p> <p>Lightening your load also means you're probably compromising on a few items that you'd really like to have but simply can't justify. Once you've had a little time on the road you can learn to adjust or compensate, but sometimes it's simply a drag. A solution? When I stay somewhere for at least a few months I tend to accumulate these extra things that make my life easier &mdash; 2<sup>nd</sup> hand if possible &mdash; getting rid of them again before I leave.</p> <h2>10. Getting What You &ldquo;Need&rdquo; Abroad</h2> <p>Although most people are thrilled and surprised to discover they can get almost everything they need on the road (like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-shaving-with-these-razor-tricks">razor blades</a> and specific toiletries), you probably have a favorite product that isn't widely available. Under the premise of packing light it would be bad form to stock up (too much) on those items, and I've been surprised to discover some rare items (or in some cases, better replacements) lurking in distant and unexpected corners of the world. The trick is not to become too attached to a specific product in case you can't find a replacement.</p> <h2>11. Taxes</h2> <p>Your income tax situation will depend on how and where you're making money. You'll likely have to cart around some paperwork (like tax-deductible receipts) and keep it organized as you go. Filing your taxes from abroad can be an adventure as well. I keep detailed spreadsheets of expenses and income, and I email them to my accountant back home, while my &ldquo;designated representative&rdquo; who receives mail on my behalf sends my accountant any official income slips I've received. It's helpful to have a relationship with an accountant before you set off on a full-time travel lifestyle.</p> <h2>12. Refilling Prescriptions/Visiting Doctors</h2> <p>Unless you're making regular trips back home, you're subject to the whims of local doctors for medical needs and prescriptions. In some countries prescription medications are available over-the-counter or upon informal consultations with pharmacists (always ask a pharmacist for help before bothering with a doctor &mdash; you'd be amazed at how helpful they can be). Otherwise you have to decide if the doctor's visit is worth paying for with cash or claiming on your insurance policy (see the above point on expat insurance).</p> <h2>13. Vaccinations</h2> <p>Some people get pricked up for every conceivable disease before leaving home. This can be incredibly expensive, however, and sometimes unnecessary, especially if you don't end up visiting those countries rife with a disease you were vaccinated for. Not to mention there are risks to vaccinations; I have a friend who spent six months paralyzed from the waist down due to a complication with a vaccination she received prior to visiting Africa.</p> <p>Travel medical clinics are quite common around the world, and often less expensive (and no less sanitary) than your home clinic. I would suggest getting only the vaccinations you need, when you need them.</p> <h2>14. Withdrawal</h2> <p>Sometimes, you just plain miss your family and friends back home or your chosen family and new friends you've made along the way. Staying in communication via email and phone is viable, but sometimes it's no replacement for a hug from somebody you love. That's okay too; just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/route-connections-price-how-far-will-you-go-for-a-cheap-flight">book a flight</a> home for a visit!</p> <p><em>What are some of the dirty details of full-time travel that you have either had to contend with, or are worried about?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%20Dirty%20Details%20of%20Traveling%20Full-Time.jpg&amp;description=14%20Dirty%20Details%20of%20Traveling%20Full-Time" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Dirty%20Details%20of%20Traveling%20Full-Time.jpg" alt="14 Dirty Details of Traveling Full-Time" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sinking-dollar">The sinking dollar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-airlines-with-the-cheapest-first-class-seats">4 Airlines With the Cheapest First Class Seats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Travel full-time travel health insurance international travel overseas living Mon, 10 Sep 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Nora Dunn 954356 at http://www.wisebread.com The sinking dollar http://www.wisebread.com/the-sinking-dollar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-sinking-dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/foreign-currency-and-coins.jpg" alt="Foreign coins and currency" title="Foreign Coins and Currency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It takes more than $1.40 to buy one euro today. It cost less than $1 as recently as late 2002. A Canadian dollar is worth just about exactly a US dollar--a parity not seen since the 1970s. Should Wise Bread readers care? If so, what should they do?</p> <h2>Higher prices for imported goods</h2> <p>The most obvious reason for US readers to care would be if a lower dollar led to higher prices for imported goods. When exchange rates make the dollar worth less, it seems obvious that it would take more dollars to buy all the stuff imported for sale in the US. The fact is, though, prices are generally set at what the market will bear already and those prices don&#39;t change very quickly in response to changes in the value of the dollar.</p> <p>The most immediate effect of of lower dollar is higher costs for importers--higher costs that they largely can&#39;t pass on to consumers. The result of that is a profit squeeze on the importers. Faced with such a squeeze, they do their best to push back at both ends--trying to get lower prices from their suppliers and trying to push higher prices onto their customers. It&#39;s hard to know to what extent they&#39;re being successful--companies keep that sort of data secret--but there&#39;s been no sign of a spike in prices for ordinary imported consumer goods.</p> <h2>Higher prices for raw materials</h2> <p>The price of oil, quoted in dollars, has risen for most of the year. Looked at in euro terms, though, the change is less stark. A $60 barrel of oil at the end of last year would have cost €46 versus €57 for an $80 barrel today--a 22% change in euro terms versus a 33% change in dollar terms. The price of oil really is up, but not as much as the price in dollars might suggest.</p> <p>Oil isn&#39;t the only raw material, of course. Prices of most basic materials--iron, gravel, lumber and so on--are all up in dollar terms. Like with oil, this is partially a real increase in prices, and partially just an effect of the falling dollar.</p> <p>(Given the high oil prices, the price of gasoline has been surprisingly low, at least in the US. Enjoy it while it lasts.)</p> <h2>Expensive travel</h2> <p>If you&#39;re an American traveling overseas, you will definitely notice the difference--everything will cost more. Without the buffering effects of importers and retailers who are willing to sacrifice some of their profits in the interests of maintaining market share or customer relations, you&#39;re stuck paying the local price.</p> <h2>People whose income and savings aren&#39;t in dollars</h2> <p>A good number of Wise Bread readers live in countries other than the USA. Of course, where you live doesn&#39;t matter so much as where you earn your money and how it&#39;s invested.</p> <p>To the extent that your wealth and income are in something other than dollars, the decline in the dollar provides some initial benefits--commodities priced in dollars are cheaper, as are goods and services from US sources.</p> <p>Longer-term, though, the benefits are less clear. Those foreign manufacturers benefiting because many commodities are priced in dollars, are in many cases the same ones taking a profit hit to keep selling to US importers. For those products where the US is still an exporter, the US firms have a growing exchange rate advantage--they can cut their price to foreign buyers and still bring home just as many dollars as before. If you&#39;re an owner or an employee of a firm with a US competitor, the lower dollar may hurt as much as it helps.</p> <h2>Longer term</h2> <p>Last week&#39;s <a href="http://www.economist.com">Economist</a> makes the point that, &quot;It is how steadily the dollar is falling that counts, not how swiftly.&quot; However much importers and retailers try to buffer the changes from the falling dollar, over the longer term the exchange rate matters, and there are plenty of doomsday scenarios that play out if people in other countries decide that they&#39;d just as soon not hold dollars anymore. Even a small shift in the preferences of the people and institutions that have been lending money to US borrowers could push the dollar down very quickly.</p> <p>The only way to retain those investments, if people start to move money out of the dollar, would be to raise interest rates sharply. But with the US economy already suffering from the <a href="/how-the-subprime-lending-boom-hurt-everybody">subprime lending crisis</a> and the resulting <a href="/credit-squeeze-formerly-know-as-a-panic">financial squeeze</a>, the flexibility for the Fed to do that is minimal--indeed, the Fed just lowered interest rates last week.</p> <h2>What to do?</h2> <p>Since we don&#39;t know which way exchange rates will move in the future, it&#39;s hard to provide any slam-dunk suggestions. Having some international <em>diversity in your investments</em> is always wise, but moving out of the dollar just as it hits record lows is not necessarily the best strategy. (You&#39;re too likely to find yourself unprofitably buying high and selling low.)</p> <p>If it were easy, probably the best thing to do would be to arrange to have some international <em>diversity of income</em>. It would be very nice if everyone had 15% to 20% of their income in foreign currencies so that it would grow when the local currency fell and vice versa--adding a stabilizing influence to household income. Sadly, that&#39;s not really practical for most people. Working for a multinational corporation provides a tiny sliver of the same benefits, but most of the upside will probably go to investors rather than employees.</p> <p>Still, as long as you have your income in the local currency, you can at least take advantage of the buffering effects mentioned earlier. The worst situation is to be living in a country with a rising currency while earning your income from a country with a falling one. (The situation of Americans living abroad just now.)</p> <p>For most Wise Bread readers, there&#39;s probably no benefit to taking any sudden or major actions just now. Maintain or gradually work toward an <strong>internationally diversified investment portfolio</strong>. Consider trying to develop some <strong>foreign-source income</strong>. Over the medium-term, arrange to <strong>live in the same country that the majority of your income comes from</strong>. If you can do at least a couple of those things, you&#39;ll be fine.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sinking-dollar">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sinking-dollar-as-viewed-from-overseas">The sinking dollar, as viewed from overseas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-dirty-details-of-traveling-full-time">14 Dirty Details of Traveling Full-Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar">5 Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper Due to a Strong U.S. Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance dollar exchange rates foreign currency international investing international travel overseas investing overseas living Mon, 24 Sep 2007 22:23:45 +0000 Philip Brewer 1202 at http://www.wisebread.com