My wife and I have traveled around the world without paying for a long-haul flight. No, really. Since we started traveling full-time in January 2012, we’ve taken 84 free flights and saved $21,231. You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute. Are these guys flight attendants? Stowaways? Out of their minds?” None of the above. We’re travel hackers. And you could be one, too.
I moved to Roatán for the warm Caribbean waters, white-sand beaches, lush jungles, and laidback island lifestyle. But despite all the island’s attractions and its low cost of living, many would-be expats are concerned about healthcare. What’s it like on an island off the coast of Honduras? Well, through my eight happy years here I’ve become well acquainted with all aspects of healthcare on Roatán. And I can tell you that your healthcare options are affordable…and about to get a whole lot better.
While sitting on a shaded terrace in Santa Catalina, you may hear a voice calling out over a loudspeaker. It’s a vendor selling fresh, organic produce—watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, onions, tomatoes—from the back of his truck. Nearby, young surfers carry their boards to the beach for a day on the waves. Fiberglass boats bob in the water, waiting to carry passengers to the nearby islands to snorkel, scuba dive among colorful corals and exotic fish, whale-watch…or catch the marlin and tuna this region is famous for. This little beach town knows how to chill.
When people tell you why they want to retire abroad, a few big reasons crop up again and again: the lower cost of living…escaping the worst of the North American winter…finding a more adventurous life…access to excellent, affordable healthcare. But there are other benefits to embracing a life abroad—benefits most people don’t even think of. Many expats are pleasantly surprised to discover that you can also find a healthier lifestyle overseas—without even trying.
“We have dropped an incredible amount of weight,” says expat Armand Brodeur, who lives with his wife Joyclyn in Las Tablas, Panama. “And we’re not even eating as healthy as we ought to.” The Brodeur’s story is not unique. They’re just two of the many expats who come to Panama and lose weight without even trying. “I didn’t realize I was losing weight” is a constant refrain here. The outdoors beckon…there are produce stalls, fish markets, pristine beaches, and rainforest parks to visit. In much of the country, walking is the preferred method of transportation. So much so, that many expats here don’t even have cars. Imagine the effect on your waistline…
Some places around the world really stand out in terms of the healthy lifestyle they have to offer. So much so, that National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner has even discovered special spots—Blue Zones—renowned for the longevity of their populations. In these Blue Zones you’ll ﬁnd plenty of people living past 100. What is their secret to long life?
In real estate, you make your money buying. By buying well and being smart, you lock in gains from the get-go. But buying at the right price is not the only thing you need to get right. You also need a strong and clear exit strategy. That means knowing how you’re going to exit the investment…understanding who your eventual buyer or renter will be…and if they can pay the price you need to get a good return. Your personal, financial, and investment circumstances will shape your exit strategy. You and I could make exactly the same investments, yet our exit strategies might be completely different.
In 2002, there were only 1,300 movie theaters in all of China. Think about that: 1,300 theaters to serve more than a billion people. To put that in perspective, the U.S. had a whopping 35,688 theaters in 2002, or roughly one movie screen for every 8,000 people. China’s paltry 1,300 screens meant there was only one screen for every 1.04 million people. That’s like going to the drive-in with half the population of Houston, Texas.
Owning an investment property overseas can be a smart—and lucrative—way to truly diversify your portfolio. In the right markets, overseas real estate can generate excellent rental returns and increase handsomely in value over time, giving you a generous profit when you choose to sell. But you often need cash on hand to make this kind of purchase. And for many folks, that can prove a hurdle.
It was a spectacular bust. On February 10, police in Thailand arrested a kingpin of passport scams, Hamid Reza Jafary, a.k.a. “The Doctor,” and five of his accomplices. Nearly 200 forged or altered passports were found in his home, along with a laser-engraving machine, rolls of ribbon, and thin leather for passport covers, as well as fake metal plates and stamps from various countries.