4 Reasons to Travel the World

Traveling is amazing.

Whether you are driving across the country in a van or flying across the Atlantic to explore Europe, trips will make you grow, they will show you the cultures of this world, they make you a better person.

According to a study published in the Hostelworld Global Traveler Report, travel-hungry British traveled on average, to 10 countries, Germans have seen 8, and the French traveled through 5 countries on average. However, Americans are lagging with only 3 countries on average. A surprising 29 percent of American adults have never even left the country! With all the opportunities out there, you almost can’t afford not to travel!


Traveling has never been this cheap

Airline deregulation, competition, fuel costs, and fuel efficiency drastically lowered the cost of travel in the past decades. Nowadays, you can fly to most of Europe for about $500 roundtrip or to Asia for under $1,000. This is nowhere near what it once was. Historically, flight prices have dropped by 50% in the last 30 years.

Traveling has never been so affordable!

Not only did the actual price of travel drop considerably but there is now a ton of alternatives to start traveling for free. All major banks are competing for clients and offering compelling welcome bonuses to new credit card clients.

By using these offers properly, you can travel the world nearly for free. Applying for a few cards, reaching the minimum requirements for the bonuses, and stacking up the points can really turn into considerable rewards quickly. With American Express Canada for example, you can get enough rewards to fly from Canada to Mexico with a single welcome bonus. Add up two of those and you can fly to Europe!


Find your card today and start earning those SWEET miles!


You can even accumulate free hotel stays with cards like the Starwood Prefered Guest card from American Express which offers roughly $1,000 worth of hotel nights depending on the booking.


Traveling makes you happier

Traveling with friends and family creates memories for a lifetime. Buying more stuff provides temporary happiness but experiences and memories are for life. When traveling, you tend to see new things and new places that you never saw before like old archeries on the mountain-tops near Florance.

The joy of discovery is an amazing thing. We really enjoy the adventure. We like to explore the lesser-known parts of cities and attractions. Going off the regular tourist route, you can find hidden gems and they are usually a lot cheaper than the tourist traps.


Vacation memories We found an old archery club wondering around Italy


You get to discover your inner self in travel. Reconnect with yourself and others around you and spend quality time outside of your usual routine. Especially when traveling alone, you get this alone time that you would not have gotten otherwise. Even when traveling as a couple like us, you get to know each other in a whole other way when you spend weeks together 24/7 outside your usual schedule.


Cheap travel ideasDon’t be afraid


You can find yourself in travel and get to know yourself better. Reconnect with yourself and others around you. Spending quality time outside your usual routine is relaxing. According to one study, three days after taking a trip, travelers reported feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood.

These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.


Holiday abroadIslands in Laos


Another discovery you will encounter is the food. Don’t be shy and satisfy your need to try, taste, and savor. There is so many cultures, so many recipes around this wonderful world, it would be such a waste to restrict your diet to steak and potatoes.

Just from our past travels, we discovered plenty of new tasty dishes we now started to cook at home. We discovered Osso buco alla Milanese in Italy, devoured Pulpo a la gallega in Spain, and gobbled up Frikadellers in Denmark.


Why should you travelPulpo a la gallega


For us, food plays a major role in our happiness. We like to explore and learn new dishes, new flavors, and new colors. Native dishes allow us to understand their culture even more in-depth. You can feel the work that goes into Italian home-made pasta and hear the chef’s passion in the kitchen when you are there. We enjoy how it inspires creativity and widens our horizons.


Plan the perfect vacationBeach and sunset on the coast of Italy


Traveling widens our perspective

By discovering the variety of cultures around the world, you get more accepting of others. Meeting new people and seeing how they live is a true eye-opener. If you take the time to eat with the locals, learn their language, and play among them, you will truly get accustomed to their culture. Acceptance goes beyond colors or languages and traveling widens our perspective of the world around us.

Of course, it is easily possible to stay in a resort and have very limited contact with the locals, only eat foods you are used to, and shop in the same shops you could back home. This home away from home travel might not be a culture shock. Not all tips will be life-changing, and that is OK. There are many ways to enjoy a holiday.


Cheap travelOur Bahamas trip was in a 5-star resort and that’s perfectly fine


If you develop the habit of asking questions, being open-minded, curious and respectful to locals, you will find your travels enriched. Life is often reciprocal in that way.

Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and talk with locals. If you have the luxury of long-term traveling, take the time to learn the language. We did so in Guatemala and never learned so much about a culture so quickly.

In Thailand for example, we were not able to learn Thai but most talked English. Anyone we have talked to was very soft-spoken and unbelievably well-mannered. Everyone was welcoming and happy to talk to us. We learned about them and the area and honestly, the best experiences we can remember of came from references from locals.


Travel on a budgetFishermen boats along the coast of Laos


Traveling gets us to disconnect

Ever got that feeling when you forget everything about work, any routine, anything in your daily life? Traveling can do this amazing thing where you disconnect from your obligations and everyday life. Not only does this feel great but it is very healthy.

A study from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who take vacations at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who traveled less than once every two years.

Forget about roaming and leave the phone for emergencies only. We all wish to disconnect from our busy lives on vacation but some easy steps can greatly help. Disconnect from social media, leave the work phone at home and enjoy your time off.



Get out there and travel the world. There is so much to see, so much to learn. We wish you the best and have a safe return. Mr. and Mrs. Xyz.


Financial Independence Traveling

What’s the Real Cost of Early Retirement Overseas?

Me and Mrs. Xyz are always dreaming up some exotic place to live once we hit our big number and retire. Tools like the Expatistan interactive map are great to estimate the cost of living overseas. If you dream about exotic destinations, or simply to lower your living expenses, maybe the solution is to retire overseas.

Living outside of North America allows you to stretch your dollar and increase your standard of living, depending on where you choose to live. The most popular stays for frugal ex-pats are in South-East Asia, especially Thailand, but there are a lot more to countries around the globe that can offer as much.


Budget Travel Tips #traveling #budget #travelSource: Expatistan


Consider the visas

If you are thinking about retiring abroad or simply moving abroad to work overseas, there is a lot more than the cost of living to consider.

The first thing is to consider legal limitations such as immigration requirements. Not all countries will welcome you and the immigration process can be lengthy, tedious, and costly. If you choose to go the non-resident way, some countries will allow up to 180 days stay on a tourist visa.

Most ex-pats from the G7 countries, including U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan,  can get a 30-day visa in Thailand and simply cross the border for a short stay in Cambodia, Myanmar or Laos to reapply for another 30 days. In the Schengen Zone (many European countries), North Americans can stay up to 90 days every half a year.

Leaving it all behind 

Once you figure out the immigration or visa situation, you need to determine the differences that you might confront overseas. If you move to a non-English-speaking country, you might have difficulties to fully integrate into the community and connect with the locals.

There is a lot of countries where English is widely spoken as a second language and you will be able to communicate but you might miss your social circles. Thankfully, there is now plenty of free ways to learn new languages with apps like Duolingo.  These are great options to learn Spanish, for example, but I would have a really hard time learning Thai, no matter how pretty the app looks. 😛

Other fun ways to learn a new language include immersing yourself in the region by spending time at a homestay, or taking a local language class as we did with locals in Guatemala.

To make such as drastic move also means that you probably cannot move all your belongings with you. If you are planning long-term expatriation, you might consider selling your belonging and renting fully-furnished apartments once overseas.

In Thailand for example, you can find plenty of luxury apartment for rent under $300 per month. These fully-furnished apartments usually come with beautiful pools, gyms, and other luxury amenities you would expect in 5-star hotels.


Things to Consider Before Retiring Overseas #retire #travel #budgetThis 10,000 Bath ($280) apartment comes with a full gym and pool.


Living in a hotel-style apartment does have its downsides, though. Space will be limited and you will not have all your personal belonging to cuddle too. This is a drastic lifestyle change that could be a shock if you are used to having your own things.

Living a minimalist lifestyle, to begin with, would ease the transition but there will always be some things to leave behind unless your total possessions can fit in a suitcase.


Things to Consider Before Traveling #traveling #luggageThere you go, all our possessions can fit into a suitcase! 😛

Another thing to consider is your returns back home. You probably want to return to see family for holidays or major events. Unless you are heavily churning and collecting reward miles, traveling back and forth might cost you dearly.

You can always consider Central or South America instead of Europe or South-East Asia and find cheap flights on sale. Not considering the flight costs can quickly offset the savings expected from a lower cost of living.


Culture and lifestyle

Unless you move to a secluded ex-pat community, being overseas means that you will face a change of culture and lifestyle. You might miss North American entertainment like hockey or tail-gating your favorite football game but now with the internet, at least, you can stream anything from anywhere. Most rentals offer high-speed internet and extended TV packages with American channels.

Being open-minded and willing to discover events and entertainment offered in your new location as well as opening yourself to the culture and lifestyle will make you more appreciative and connected with the locals. You will notice that, in most countries across the globe, the pace of life is much slower than in North America. Things just take time.

People are not stressed out about everything. Embrace the slower pace and enjoy your time abroad even if it might be frustrating to deal with government agencies or other essential services. Simply sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself.

In addition, most countries offer a very different shopping experience than in North America. If you are used to huge shopping malls, grocery stores, and 24/7 Walmarts, you will be shocked to see how most of the world shops. In smaller cities, you might only find markets and local retailers but that’s really the only thing you need if you are living a minimalist lifestyle.

 Things to Consider Before Traveling Abroad #traveling #budget #travel


Your dining experience might also greatly differ. In Thailand, for example, the best food is not found at a fancy, sit-down, restaurants but rather, right around the corner. Street food vendors are everywhere, even in the countryside, and the authentic dishes they serve are simply delightful. You can easily find amazing meals for no more than 30-60 baht ($1-2 USD).

Now, if you are planning to move abroad to retire or for work simply for monetary reasons, you need to also consider cheap local options. There are plenty of cities in America where you can find reasonably-priced houses and low-cost of living without too many compromises. There is so much to consider when moving abroad that short-term trips might be the simpler option.

Using Expatistan again, the lower-cost cities in America are still considerably more expensive than what can be found abroad but should still be considered. For this metric, the value of 100 to a central reference city that happens to be Prague. Both Memphis, Tennessee (143) and Boise, Idaho (139) ranked under Barcelona, Spain (146) and many cities in Texas and Tennessee ranked under 150.

All of these North-American cities ranked in the middle of the index;

  • Montreal (Canada) 155
  • Indianapolis, Indiana (United States) 155
  • Omaha, Nebraska (United States) 154
  • Rochester, New York (United States) 153
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (United States) 153
  • Kansas City, Missouri (United States) 153
  • Winnipeg (Canada) 153
  • San Antonio, Texas (United States) 151
  • Knoxville, Tennessee (United States) 150
  • Louisville, Kentucky (United States) 147
  • Kelowna (Canada) 146
  • Kansas City, Missouri (United States) 153
  • Winnipeg (Canada) 153
  • San Antonio, Texas (United States) 151
  • Knoxville, Tennessee (United States) 150
  • Louisville, Kentucky (United States) 147
  • Kelowna (Canada) 146
  • Memphis, Tennessee (United States) 143
  • Boise, Idaho (United States) 139


And if you are wondering, here is the bottom 10;

  • Yerevan (Armenia) 77
  • Timisoara (Romania) 77
  • Tirana (Albania) 76
  • Tunis (Tunisia) 76
  • Baku (Azerbaijan) 75
  • Madras (India) 71
  • Ahmedabad (India) 70
  • Tbilisi (Georgia) 69
  • Hyderabad (India) 68
  • Pune (India) 67
  • Kiev (Ukraine) 66


How about our plans to retire overseas?

We love to travel a lot! We are currently exploring the world two or three weeks at the time but, once retired, we want to travel months at a time. I personally am not ready to sell everything and make the leap to become an ex-pat but there is a nice middle-ground that can be attained.

I think that the most important step when choosing to live overseas is trying it before completely taking the plunge. We traveled across the globe and would love to retire in Spain, Mexico, or Thailand. However, there is more to consider than what those new countries can offer. What would we be giving up?

We live in a relatively low cost of living city for Canada. The benefits we would be giving up (free health care, great schools, pensions, family) out-weighs the potential benefits we would get overseas. We are planning to travel throughout South-America, Eastern Europe, and South-East Asia for about a year at a time, then come back home for a while until we get the urge to travel again. 🙂

What about you? Where would you retire?