Good and Bad Places to Travel

A couple of maps caught my eye today over at the Washington Post. The first is a map that HSBC put out showing the best and worst countries to be an expat in. Some of the factors don’t apply to your average GTFOuter, such as expat salaries and the ability to own property, so take it with a grain of salt.

expats

The second map shows the countries most and least friendly towards foreigners. This one was released by World Economic Forum. Some surprise good news for travelers across North Africa and the Middle East. That’s nice to know. And some surprising results from Latin America as well.

openness4

Episode 10 – Falling sick and how to deal with medication when traveling

Your front row seat for conversations with two computer hackers turned travel hackers – living globally, financially independent and semi-retired, both following their dreams and helping you to do the same. You can also find us on iTunes, YouTube or however you listen to podcasts, and we love getting your 5-star reviews. Follow the conversation with us on Twitter @GTFOutcast and stop into the blog often to read the latest and give us comments and feedback.

On the November 17 episode of the GTFOutcast, Beau and Taylor discuss travel medication and how to go about buying and carrying medicines when traveling to foreign countries.

Watch GTFOutcast Episode 10:

0:44 – Beau kicks things off with some “under the weather” talk.

2:00 – Taylor asks Beau about how to manage medications when traveling. Beau brings up the important fact that some household drugs in America are known by different brands in other countries.

5:18 – Beau often describes the symptoms to the local pharmacist. But be careful as getting the wrong drugs in exchange can be dangerous for your health. That said, doctors and pharmacists are often well-educated people and may speak English compared to the average local.

9:25 – Beau recommends getting some booster shots before setting off on travels, like vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B — which are always recommended when going to tropical nations.

11:56 – Taylor brings up antibiotics and carrying your prescribed essential medications. Beau also advices on carrying medications with your name mentioned on the casing, just to be safe when passing through security.

16:56 – Taylor recommends carrying alcohol wipes, for cleaning cuts. Depending on where you are going, it’s also important to keep all of your pills and your medications in its original packaging. Penalties in some foreign countries for (or perceived) drug peddling are sometimes death.

20:55 – Beau talks about travel insurance and the perks of having it. Taylor talks about DAN — the Diver’s Alert Network.

24:20 – As an expat, Beau doesn’t need to apply for ‘Obamacare’ — most of the plans doesn’t cover Americans internationally

26:35 – Taylor wraps up the show

 

Selling foreign goods to fund your vacation? It’s possible

One of the joys of walking around street markets of the world is coming across beautiful, artsy pieces of cultural artifacts and other souvenirs unique to that particular country. Silk clothing in East Asia, clog shoes in Netherlands, ornately designed lamp shades in Istanbul. We could go on, but you get the idea. Ever wondered about buying and selling these pieces back home to raise money and fund your vacation(s)?

Holland shoes Clogs
Image Source

It’s one of the ways we like to think a traveler can make money while still on vacation. It’s something we at GTFOutcast have thought about a lot and even done at a few occasions. Buy high quality, authentic goods from local markets in Latin America or Asia, and then sell them on eBay or through a vendor back home.

Take for example if you plan to sell your foreign merchandise back in the United States. As an American tourist, we are allowed to bring in anywhere from $200 – $1000 worth of foreign merchandise, all depending on the country* we bought the goods from. That is unless you managed to sneak in much more through customs without suspicion. Not that we endorse you do that. (Ahem)

Even if you did have to pay customs duty, it is generally less than 10% of the total bill amount you paid (converted to US$). Not to worry, this additional value on top of the price you paid for the goods is negligible if you find buyers still. Say if you bought trinkets from Thailand at $2 a piece, and you find buyers back in America are willing to pay up to $10 or more for something exotic, and definitely an item not easily found in America. Now imagine you bought a 100 pieces of trinkets at $2 a piece and sold them at $10 a piece. At an 80% mark-up, the profits alone come to $800. Sell 200 pieces and you could cover an entire travel budget. Beau Woods is currently in Mexico City and he has been trying to find how to get fresh designs on shirts in Mexico City, ship them back to the US and sell for a profit.

Mexican souvenirs market
Image Source

Selling goods in your home country back from your vacation is one thing, but how can one sell these goods while they are traveling? By using third party fulfillment for arbitrage to simplify the process. You handle the shipping of goods to a third party vendor, and the partner handles the sales process. You can even do this online by partnering with the right vendor on eBay or via Amazon Marketplace. The third party vendor will charge a fee, but it still saves you money and the headaches of handling sales transactions while on the go. And as per the stipulated agreement, the vendor simply wire transfers the money you are owed.

If online isn’t your thing, try contacting your local consignment stores. Just ship the goods via a postal service (or even the expensive courier services) to the consignment store, and they display the goods at their store and¬†act as an agent to conduct the sale.

If the foreign country you are in allows it, you could even set up a small booth or a spot at a local flea market to sell your own goods. For example, hippies who came to Goa (in India) used to be famous for selling their creations and unused valuables in a bid to raise money to fund their stay — or even a ticket back home. That’s how the famous Anjuna Flea Market got its start!

However you sell the goods — by yourself or online using a third party — you really need to be sure of the demand for such goods. To be safe, for starters, only pick products you know can be easily sold through your network of friends back home. Like all businesses, there is some risk involved. What you find cool, others back home may not. You really don’t want to have a backlog of unsold inventory of goods that have no takers. On the flip side, if in the case you are unable to meet demand, or you end up working with an unreliable third party vendor, that’s a lot of dissatisfied customers. A situation hard to handle when you are in the middle of travel.

But if successful, this a great way to make use of your time in a foreign land productively and a means of earning an income while vacationing. Our only advice is you refrain from selling common souvenirs (like fridge magnets, figurines of popular attractions, etc.) that bear the names of a city or country. That’s simply cheating the travel experience for many.

Useful resources:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Duty-free exemption, Gifts
Learn more about Amazon Marketplace