10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Retiring Abroad

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Retiring Abroad

Dan: [00:00:00] In this video we’ll cover the 10 things I wish I knew before retiring overseas .  This is Dan of Vagabond Awake. 

Qiang: Qiang Hui from Hobo Ventures

Dan: And we thought we would throw out some bones, some scraps for you guys to try to save yourselves some trouble.

(This is a machine translation of the above video).

Don’t believe everything that you read online.

So the internet, and this is even true before, but right now, especially everything’s clickbait clickbait. Now they’ll come up with some. title and image and about how the world ended and then you’ll and then you’ll think about it. For example, you’ll hear about how dangerous everywhere is and how it’s safe in your home country or don’t go there.

It’s super dangerous. [00:01:00] And after a few years of traveling around and finding pretty much most of the world is just like my home country, meaning they’re safe areas and rough areas. And you just, when you’re new somewhere, you have to be careful and have a whole report on that by the way. And, but over time you develop this, you lose the fear because now you know what that place is really like.

So don’t believe everything that you read online.

Qiang: Yeah, I can remember that. So I have two stories about that. One story is when we go to Colombia. Yeah. And then I read a lot of things online. Yeah. It’s getting me very scared. And then But when you arrive in Colombia, it’s not that dangerous like what people are talking about.

It definitely will have a specific place, it’s dangerous. Same with all over the world, in your own country, in my country, you know. So you just need to use normal precautions to go to this place. You just don’t go to that place because it’s not that, you know, crazy, like online talking, you know, and the second thing is [00:02:00] my friends who never been to Mexico and during the pandemic, I have to meet them in Mexico.

So I flew from Philippine and then I go to Japan, change, and then go to Mexico City, have to transit, take a night and then fly to Puerto Escondido. And then when I, in the Mexico City, my friends said, Hey, you cannot go out from the hotel. It’s very dangerous in Mexico. I like here. I, in Mexico, many times we’ve been there for like you know, six months.

We went to like 20 cities. Yeah, it was

Dan: probably a year at least there. Two different visits. Yeah. All over Mexico.

Qiang: I know how dangerous is Mexico. Okay. I know where I can go and where I should not go. But. Ask me don’t start from a hotel room, that’s ridiculous.

Dan: Yeah, and I’ve never been, I’ve never been robbed, beaten mistreated in Mexico.

And so, and I’ve spent years [00:03:00] there over my life. It’s been one of my go to countries, which I’ll talk about more later. So yeah, fear and clickbait. Don’t believe everything you read online. It’s okay to, to, to read, read this, maybe what the State Department says. But. The State Department also exaggerates sometimes because they don’t want someone, an American, to go to a country who’s uneducated and do stupid stuff and end up in jail and then they have to get involved.

So they’re pretty conservative with their opinion, but when you’re new, just take their opinion for what it is. Don’t go to those places. Nothing wrong with that, so. Yeah. But most of what you read online, I wouldn’t bother paying much attention to. You’ll know whether someone’s full of shit based on the story, not the title.

True. And go, good.

Moving Overseas is not a Vacation

The next thing is, moving overseas, or retiring overseas, is not… a vacation it’s not like a vacation yeah you when you’ve traveled overseas you know for temporary a few weeks maybe even a month somewhere or a [00:04:00] week you spend money like there’s no tomorrow the trip might cost you a thousand two thousand and then when you get there you throw another seven hundred thousand who knows on a credit card you get home and the whole thing costs you you know three three thousand for like seven days or something you can’t do that when you’re moving or retiring overseas You have to, you have to live there like you do in your home country and you have to and so, otherwise you’re going to end up fat, poor, and bored.

Bored even. Yeah, see, when you’re on vacation, all that stuff you do, sit on the beach all day and drink, you know, margaritas or whatever your thing is, running around just doing stuff all day long a steady diet of that the whole time you’re living overseas will be boring. You have to have, develop more routines.

You have to cook at home, you have to work out at the gym, go for runs. You have to. that develop like a more meaningful life in one way or another. So don’t, don’t, don’t spend money or act like you’re like you’re on vacation when you move. Otherwise you’re just going to go way over budget. So,

Qiang: and you will end up [00:05:00] homeless and then you will end out, go back to your U S embassy, ask them to send you home.

Dan: I have a videoon that too.

Qiang: Be careful about this.

Local Sim Cards for your phone

The next one up is local SIM cards for your phone. What you want to do in very few countries anymore that It will lock your phone so you can’t use SIMs other than with that provider.

Get your phone unlocked if you’re in one of those countries like the United States and then when you go overseas, as soon as you land, you put a local SIM in your card, or I’m sorry, local SIM card in your phone and it’s going to be so much cheaper. You’re probably going to end up spending 10 a month with unlimited or maybe 20 unlimited.

It will blow your mind. True. And then everything on your phone, you’ll either get through, through a wifi, wherever you are. in your house or your [00:06:00] coffee shop or wherever you are at the moment, or through your phone’s data. You don’t need to, you don’t need to roam on an international phone line. You won’t believe how much that costs.

So don’t fool with that. Get local sims.

Visa Information Incomplete

When you go traveling overseas, you should know that all over the world, the embassy webpages that describe what the visas are. To visit that country, whether tourist, retiree, student employment, they’re wholly inefficient with information. They don’t tell you everything that you’re going to learn when you get on the ground in that country and talk.

to some of the expats that have been there for a long period of time. You won’t believe the kind of visas that they’re getting. They’re not just getting retirement visas or employment visas, they’re getting all sorts of things. Student visas, charity visas they get visa runs, extensions, and you won’t only find that stuff out until you get into that country.

And the way you meet those expats is on the Facebook expat pages, and also locals, and then also visa [00:07:00] agents for that country. You can just Google the the the country.

Qiang: So you are talking that do not do not like believe everything in the immigration website.

Dan: Yeah. For example, like the Philippines, for example, like the Philippines, when we flew there, we thought we could only get, we could go for 30 free and they do one extension for 30 days. But when we got on the ground, our neighbor told us he’d been there for like six years and he’d only left the country once.

Because they have this 36 month, it’s, you can, you get up to 36 months just by getting monthly or bi monthly extensions, up to 6 months, you pay these extension fees on tourist visas. And none of that was on the webpage. You won’t see that anywhere. And so you don’t learn it until you talk to locals or you take it to a lot of these places.

Qiang: Funny story telling about the visa thing, but I don’t advise you to do that in the Philippine. One of our neighbors will say that he never go to [00:08:00] ascend any visa. So he came in with a one visa. He left after five, six months. He just paid the penalty fee. Well, you have to be careful about that.

The country will ban you that were not able to come back to the country.

Dan: Some countries will. Yeah. And in fact, I think since he told us that they’ve raised their fees. On overstay, it’s actually quite expensive now. So I’m sure he’s getting extensions now, but don’t do stuff like that unless you’re, you’ve talked to somebody who’s been doing it and you find out all the details.

Don’t assume that something you’ve read online, remember what you read online. Don’t believe you have to double research it yourself.

Qiang: I would say that. As seen in the Philippines, the extended visa is very easy, out and in, 10 minutes you are done. Yeah. So don’t risk that

Dan: thing. Don’t risk it. And it’s cheap too. It’s like 30 bucks a month or something like that. So. Okay.

Ground Transportation

Next up ground travel. You know, during your working years, if you’re going to go to a country and spend, say a month even, you might pick three cities and you’re going to [00:09:00] fly between those cities. And you might pay, you know, to get there round trip, maybe 800, 1000, 1500, depends on what country.

And then when you’re there, you might buy three more flights, or buy in advance, and those might be a hundred, two hundred each. And you can save a lot of money by doing ground transportation. Buses, trains minivans, just every country’s different. But if you’re going to be a slow traveler like we are, and travel around the world, you can’t buy…

You can ride ferries and buses and trains and the ways you can get around for cheaper, like, really amazing. And so, ground transportation is something that I wish I knew when I first moved overseas. I

Qiang: think that some people, they are new out. from the country. Yeah. So they are worried about on the ground when you’re on the public buses, they scare about that, you know, but on here, I would like to share our experience when we travel the world.

We are in Latin America, which is Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, [00:10:00] Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. And so we travel by bus. buses, we also travel by bus from Columbia, crossing border to Ecuador. And also with the buses, also crossing the border from the Ecuador to Peru. We all, all this country is connected together.

We are using all the public transport as on the bus. Yeah. So it’s very easy. And in the Southeast Asia. We are also taking buses, trains, and also the jeepney, tuk tuk, ferry, you know, whatever they have. And it costs really less money. And it’s comfortable when we are taking the ferry as well. You know, they have a bed and everything.

But only one thing, one thing in Latin America that surprised me when we’re taking the buses. Yeah? In Ecuador as you know, why are we taking the buses instead of [00:11:00] flight? Because the flight, they weigh your luggage. They will charge you for over you know, the certain luggage, after like 20, they will charge you more money.

So we were thinking it’s cheaper to take travel by the land, by the bus. And then in Ecuador, they say, Oh, sir. Your luggage is over 20 kg, we need to charge you after the 20 kg. I’m like, what? Yeah. I never hear about that. Yeah. It’s unusual. Unusual. Taking buses, and you have to charge me for the extra luggage.

Yeah. Well, we just. Pay. You know, that’s only one, you know, but it’s, but it,

Dan: but it was a lower fee, wasn’t it? Than trying to pay for luggage on an airplane. Oh yeah, definitely. Like 80% off or something. And the other thing is, when you’re on buses, traveling around the country, you really get to know that country.

You see what the towns look like, what the streets are like, what the landscape is. Mountains, streams, rivers, lakes, beaches. You really get to know a country when you’re on a bus. Yeah. When you fly over to, well, I don’t know how planes fly, [00:12:00] but how high. But you know, you look down and look out the window, you might make.

out a mountain or something or a city, but no detail. You have no idea what that country is really like, and that’s the other thing we love about ground transportation.

Qiang: And also that to be honest, it’s cheaper to be traveled by the bus than the plane.

Dan: Way cheaper, way cheaper, like 90 percent most of the time, instead of a hundred dollar flights between cities are only, you know, three, four hours apart, you’re talking 10.

Finding Local Food

So, next up is restaurants. When you’re… So, in, in many parts of the West, when you want to go out to eat somewhere, you either go somewhere you know, or you’re like, hey, are there new restaurants in town? You pull out Google, you start reading comments on new restaurants, you start seeing what the rankings are.

Hey, look at this one. Four, five, two hundred comments. And you read their comments, it all sounds good. That’s called social proof, okay? So social proof. is a little different when you go overseas. You might be walking somewhere, Peru, Thailand,

Qiang: All the Southeast

Dan: Asia. Yeah. [00:13:00] All of, actually all of the worlds in the retired chief reports on vagabondbuddha.com where we’ve been almost all of them, you’ll be walking down the street and you’ll see a line of people like, why are they standing there? And you’ll walk up a little closer and you’ll see, it’s like a restaurant and it’s all locals in line. And if you eat in that restaurant, you’re going to find what really good local food is because that’s.

It’s called social proof outside, you know, the West. Also the West could have lines, but but when you’re in these countries, that’s how you find the best local food. It’s

Qiang: true. And also that if you go and interview those people on the line, I bet you they, they say that, I don’t know, I just see there’s a line, I think they must be have a good food.

So I was, I also jumping on the line to get, you know, Asian people, like, they don’t want to to lose face, you know. They want to show, oh, there must be a good food over there. I should go there and get the food.

Dan: Next up is pricing. When expats move overseas, they’re a little bit crazy with money because they’re so used to what it costs [00:14:00] in their home country.

And so, But after you’ve been there a week or two, you’ll start to understand what things should cost. And when someone quotes you a price for something, you should have a bell that goes off in your head, and it says, Dummies pay that. And then you should be able to spend a little time trying to find out what the actual local prices is, or go somewhere else.

Don’t even fool with that place. I mean, it’s okay to negotiate, but generally they’re trying to pick your pocket, if you will. They want, they want you to buy them lunch. So They’re… You want to try to pay local prices. And so it’s kind of like when you’re a kid. You remember, you’re probably, you’re going, your family’s going somewhere and your mom said, put on your shoes.

And she said, go to your room and put on your shoes. You run to your room and you go like this. Oh, can’t find my shoes. Mom, I can’t find my shoes. And your mom comes back. She looks in the room and goes, they’re right there, right in front of you. And then you, Oh, okay. And you put your shoes on. It’s the same thing.

Dummies Pay That

Dummies pay the high prices. If you look as if it’s there, [00:15:00] instead of, I can’t find it. I have to pay the high price. If you look and believe it’s here somewhere, you’ll find the more of the local price. So dummies don’t, dummies pay that you don’t. Oh gosh, we were just in the market with vinyl floors and shopping carts and we’re, you know not the the public market.

Qiang: I would say it’s a supermarket, it’s a generous supermarket, big supermarkets, clean, it’s beautiful.

Dan: Yeah. And so I, I saw tomatoes. I went, wow, these are beautiful tomatoes. So I picked up four of them. I put them in a bag. Now there was no price anywhere, right? I took him over to the place, he weighed him and said 298 pesos which is like 6 bucks for 4 tomatoes I’m like, $1.50 per tomato? That’s crazy! And so I wouldn’t I put them back, you know in the little bag with the price on them

And then when we were when we went to a little neighbor a little neighborhood place near our house Chung was able to find how many tomatoes? [00:16:00] Six tomato there’s like six tomatoes and it was paid. How many 40 pesos?

Qiang: I think 40 or 60. I can’t remember

Dan: so more at 80, 60, 80 percent off whatever that is. 40, 40 pesos. Crazy. And so don’t pay that. Don’t pay that. Go look for, look for the shoes like your mom looked for your shoes. Not like you did.

Don’t Marry First Country

Next up I want to talk about don’t fall in love with the The first country that you see overseas.

Okay. It’s very common when you first leave your home country and you’re spending time somewhere that you maybe you’ve read about, or maybe you actually spent some time there on vacation and you’re used to it. You’re already comfortable there and the prices are right and everything’s lovely. You might be tempted to just fall in love with and retire there and move there.

But while you’re there, if you move around to some of the nearby countries by buses and trains and take a little more time, you might find some. Something that’s even feels more more like home to you, or more comfortable, or more like, I don’t know, [00:17:00] just feels better to you than the first country you’ve fallen in love with.

So, that’s something I would say you need to really look around a little bit before you make that final decision. For most of my life, I have done some travel in Canada, I’ve been to Europe. Been to the Caribbean a couple different places, but I really fell in love with, it was the first country I really fell in love with.

And I would just go Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, like probably eight outta 10 of my vacations. Vacations would be down to Mexico. I’ve been, you know, Puerto Vallarta, plao, Carmen, Cancun Tuco. I’d only, only on the beaches and stuff though. And, and I it was Mexico, Mexico, Mexico. I fell in love with it. And then finally when I went to Southeast Asia, I totally fell.

in love the first time with Thailand. And then it was Thailand, Thailand, Thailand, Thailand. And then I later went to the Philippines. It was Philippines, Philippines, Philippines, Philippines. So this idea that the first one you fall in love with is, is your last love. I think you might be surprised at all the other places you go.

It’s not like finding a needle in a haystack. You’re going to love a lot of places around the world. Do a little bit of looking around before you [00:18:00] make up your mind to go permanent somewhere and put down roots. Yeah.

Back-Up Banking

Yeah, so one of the things you need to do is have a backup banking source.

When you’re overseas, anything could happen. If you have a single ATM and credit card you need multiple banks and multiple credit cards. An example when I first left overseas, I was in a taxi and I had my ATM card. And after I got money out of an ATM, somehow that card went missing and I didn’t know if it was stolen.

I didn’t know what happened. And it took me a month. to get that ATM card replaced. Luckily, I keep some cash around, so I was able to last until that came, plus my credit cards. But if I had a backup banking plan, which I do now, I would have been able to use that ATM for that whole month. And imagine if…

The credit cards have gone missing too. It could be trouble now. I also, as I said, I keep some cash around in case of this sort of thing, but backup banking is something I recommend and I recommend at least one of your banking banks be [00:19:00] Charles Schwab because they rebate foreign transaction fees.

Qiang: I have multi bank bank ATM card. I don’t use credit card. Right. Yeah. The banking system in USA and Malaysia is different. You know, if you got scam or anything, the bank doesn’t protect you. It doesn’t protect you. Yeah. So I don’t use credit card. Right. And I have two bank card or three, I have three, four bank card.

So I carry with them. I only use one bank card, which is I put a little money. Right. And then I use them to… Wrap the, you know, the machine ATMs, ATM purchases. Purchases, okay, whatever. I use that card, right? So I move my money from one bank right to the bank, the card that I need to use.

Dan: So you only have enough in there so that if something’s stolen, you only lose what’s in the little banking account instead of what’s in the big one.

Yes, that’s smart.

Time is not Money

This one might surprise you. Time is not. Money when you go overseas [00:20:00] you see during your working years You may only get a couple weeks off per year and times very valuable to you So you go somewhere, you know You’re gonna love if you rent a really expensive place on the beach or someone you really love because you only have seven days You really want to take advantage of you of your time off because you’re gonna drag your butt back to work and you’re gonna be There the other 50 weeks to the year or whatever it is So you those two weeks you want to make the most out of and so in that case time is money because you, you want to make sure you have a good time, so you’re willing to spend more because you’re only going to be there a few weeks.

But when you move to a place or when you slow travel like we do, you have time. So time’s not money anymore, especially when you’re retired. What you have what you have a lot of is time and you have more of a, you’re trying to keep your budget down in retirement. And so time is not money anymore. I would say any, if you’re going to go some, someplace from that.

For more than a couple weeks, you need to start figuring out how to save money. Get out of this mindset is that, Oh, I can save five [00:21:00] minutes by paying 10 instead of 2. Or I can, I can I can save three days of looking around for the perfect apartment because this one’s nice enough. It’s got what I need.

It’s in a good area. Hey, I’ll pay their 600 a month. Time is not money when you move overseas.

Dating Overseas

The last thing is if you’re going to be dating overseas if you’re single and you’re going to be dating overseas. Just remember to throw up your profile wherever you go. When I was single, I had my profile up on Tinder.

And everywhere I went, I would just put whatever city I’m in, in Tinder. And once in a while, I would get a date with someone interesting. So whenever I go, when I was single, slow traveling, whenever I’d go to a new city, I would just throw my, my location in whatever city I was in. And once in a while, I would go on a nice date with somebody.

And the interesting thing about Tinder internationally was, it’s not a different app, it’s the same app. Is it, if I was in a country where they didn’t speak English, it wasn’t the primary language, I would get, you know, hit here and there, and I would be able to go and meet somebody and go out and have fun or whatever.[00:22:00]

And no, it’s ok, and, and, and because they spoke English, and maybe my language wasn’t, skills weren’t so good in that country. Also if you’re going to be there longer term, more than a few weeks or whatever, find out whatever the local dating app is and throw your profile up in there and just put your app in English.

Or you can translate it both in English and the local language on Google Translate and then see what comes out of it. People might contact you just because you can speak English with them and improve their English skills. So keep that in mind if you’re single.

Qiang: I do. When I think of when I’m traveling, when I go overseas, I also put my profile.

It’s not only in Tinder. I put on all the different kind of profile. But if they don’t speak English, I don’t talk with them. I don’t want to waste my time. I, I, when I go overseas I also put It’s my profile on those dating apps and not only Tinder, I put different apps also they are using. And yeah, so I can meet [00:23:00] someone who speak English and to show me about, not show me, I’m not really like to hang out with them when I first know them.

I will like listen to them about where is the best place of the best part of the city that I can go around for the food, you know, all of this. Exactly. Cool. Cool. It’s a very nice apps, dating apps to meet someone that who can bring you around and maybe if you have a chemistry or anything is, it would like to lead to the friendship or even more, you know?

Yeah. Yeah.

Dan: We met on Tinder. Yeah. And then finally I have an, I have, if you’re interested in slow traveling, like we do, I have a video up called. How to slow travel the world for 14 years On a tourist visa. I’ll put that up here somewhere click and watch that. Yeah. Anyway, thanks for watching that video Thank you so much If you if you’ve enjoyed the video, please like

Qiang: comment and subscribe. We’ll see you later.

Dan: See you in the next video. Bye. Bye[00:24:00]