Every so often I run into great resources created by other travel bloggers. One such blogger is Jodi Ettenberg, a Canadian who left the legal world to become a ‘food” traveler for the past eight years. She has created a fabulous resource for travelers of all sorts. Enjoy!
Though it may not seem like it, people get turned away at customs all the time. Short of having stinky breath, usually the most common reason to turn a traveler away from a country is because they can’t prove they’re only visiting for a short time. One-way tickets are usually a huge red flag for this and if you get asked for proof of onward travel, don’t be surprised.
Though it seems strange that an airline employee might also get in your face about it, realize that it’s also on the airline’s dime if you’re rejected from a country. If they decide to let you board the plane, be aware they may ask you to sign a waiver that excludes the airline from any personal or financial responsibility. Basically, they want to make sure that the buck is going to be on you. Was I freaked out when the United check-in agent told me it was a $10,000 fine for being rejected from immigration and whatever else it would cost me to send me back at 5 in the morning? Only just slightly.
There are a couple of options available to you when showing proof of onward travel, though, short of creating your own fake itinerary. There are a lot of gray-area methods I’ll cover later, but be forewarned, these definitely carry their own risks. If you have proof of an onward ticket to somewhere that’s not through a traditional routing, make sure you have a copy of that. Whether it’s an airline ticket, bus ticket or ferry ticket, this is the easiest out you have with authorities.
The second-easiest solution is to buy a fully refundable fare (side note: they are also great if you have to show proof for a visa). If you buy the correct ticket, and I do mean, the correct ticket, you should be able to refund your ticket later in full without any penalties. Unfortunately, in some cases, this might mean temporarily absorbing a $9,000 first-class ticket on your credit card. But if you’ve got a great credit limit and want to keep your options open, this is your best bet.
Of course, praying that no one asks you about your travel plans is always an option. If you plan on winging it, I would suggest allocating a lot of time at the airport just in case you have to resort to buying another ticket just to be allowed to board. It’s also worth pointing out that depending on what time you’re at the airport, well, the ticket sales counter can be closed. That’s a problem you definitely don’t want to run into and something to keep in mind.
Short of all of that, the other options involve using actual e-mails from real airlines and carry their own risk. One traveler I ran across once suggested using KLM’s Trip Planner, which allows you to create and print an itinerary without booking a ticket. While I can’t seem to get it working on any of my browsers or computers, it seems like it’s primarily designed for group travel and for sharing with others. The video seems to indicate that you’ll be able to send a copy of the itinerary to someone, so you may be able to use it if you aren’t traveling by yourself.
The other option would be to book a ticket on any American airline—United, American, etc.—that allows you to immediately cancel your ticket within 24 hours. Once you have the actual confirmation of the e-ticket in your inbox, you can then proceed to cancel the actual ticket and print out the now-void email to present to authorities. I’ve actually done this once myself, but if anyone bothers to verify your ticket with the airline, you could be in some deep doo doo. Here’s a better idea: wait until you get off the plane to cancel your ticket.
Lastly, the most controversial method is to create your own fake e-ticket. Before I can continue, though, you guys should realize that I am not endorsing this in any way, shape or form. (There’s no way this blog can handle getting sued!) It’s pretty easily done by amending an old e-mail confirmation—no, I’m not going to provide you one—and changing the details on it. While you can probably take the risk of showing an airline employee a fake e-ticket, you should never present fake documentation to an immigration, consulate, or embassy officer. Getting caught has the potential for much farther-reaching consequences, like getting blacklisted for good.
Also, practice your biggest smile.
This is a great way to travel while in the Yucatan, but what the video doesn’t show is that the collectivo drivers will try and fill their buses to capacity and beyond. It’s similiar to riding coach class on US planes. Also at capacity it tends to be a little warm so dress appropriately. And be sure to gather all your belongings when exiting the bus because you’ll likely not see them again if left behind. All in all it is a great way to get around while in the Yucatan. Enjoy!
Fellow adventure bloggers from MyTanFeet.com have been using a drone to get some incredible aerial photos of some of Costa Rica’s beaches. Enjoy there most recent work!
One of the things I like about house sitting is that it can be done in just about any country. I have been a follower of the writings of Billy and Akaisha Kaderli for some time now and they have been pioneers in the concept of retire early and travel the world. They have frequently written about house sitting as a form of seeing and living in communities you may wish to visit. I found this most recent article right on target.
House Sitting in Antigua, Guatemala
by Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Those of us who live in Antigua know her splendid offerings; Photo opportunities everywhere, Maya culture, great weather, international restaurants, music, amicable residents and natural beauty.
Still, on occasion one might want to go to the beach or back to our home country to visit family and friends. What then, do we do with our home and pets? We could board our home up and place our pet into someone else’s care, but that idea doesn’t hold much appeal.
What to do?
Recently I was speaking with another expat living in Antigua and I mentioned opening her home up to house sitters. She gasped at the audacity of it.
“What!? Let a stranger into my home? How could I ever trust them?”
Garden area of our housesit
But let me share something with you. My husband, Billy, and I house sat in Antigua and it was a win-win for everyone. The homeowners spent several months in Canada, and we were able to live in the grandeur of this Colonial city.
This is how it works.
There are reputable house sitting organizations offering memberships to sitters and home owners alike. Home owners list their home on the site, naming the benefits offered (large kitchen, Wifi, close to the plaza) and the expectation of care (walking the dog, watering the plants, dealing with the maid). Then they get to choose from hundreds of people who have applied to house sit. These sitters have a repertoire of skills, aptitudes and experience along with letters of reference for their character and for their proven abilities to house sit. Often there is also a police background check.
Maybe you want a non-smoking, professional couple who love dogs to take care of your home and Fifi. You can then sit with a cup of coffee, and write to these sitters who fit this description along with the list of dates for your vacation. House sits can range from long weekends to months at a time.
House sitters who are interested in staying in Antigua will write back to you and the conversation has begun. You might even choose to Skype them to get a better sense of your applicant. You may have started out as strangers, but after a few conversations, you will gain a sense of whether these people will fit your circumstances or not. Since there is a written code of conduct for both sitters and home owners alike, the chances are more than excellent that you will find just the right people to care for your home.
Having house sat for people in various locations throughout Mexico and Central America, we have found that friendships form. Since we have done such a good job of caring for their home and pet, we have been asked to return for another sit time and again. This arrangement is good for both the house sitter and the home owner.
If you are thinking about taking a vacation but are concerned about your home or what to do with your houseplants and pets, you might consider the option of utilizing house sitters. It doesn’t cost anything to browse, and you just might find a villa in Italy or a flat in NYC where you might want to stay yourself!
Why not open your life to the world of house sitting?
I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written. I mistakenly thought I had nothing of interest to share, but a talk with a good friend convinced me otherwise, thus this post today. I’m hopeful I’ll develop other interesting content in the future. Please forgive the extensive break I’ve taken from writing.
My last posting found me in attendance and completing a Social Media Marketing and Branding retreat with Spanish language lessons in Cancun, Mexico put on Tim Anderson and Cristina Barrios of Marginal Boundaries. Just prior to completing this retreat I was researching my next move after leaving Mexico prior to my visa expiring. I came across an interesting ad on Housecarers.com for a house sit in SE Florida near Vero Beach. This ad interested me because it was longer term (5 months), located near a beach, minimal pet care (one cat), and was within driving distance from my daughter’s home making grand kid visits possible. Typically, a house sitting website allows lookers but to contact potential sit opportunities there is likely a fee involved. Since this particular house sit seemed right for me, I went ahead and paid the annual fee and began to develop an initial contact of the homeowners for the house sit.
As a first step, I had to create an attention getting profile on the website. This is an important step when trying to get a house sitting gig. It’s almost like applying for a job, where you want to put your best foot forward. Some of the elements you may want to profile is any experience in maintaining a home, any special skills that may apply toward home maintenance or pet sitting, any life experiences which may be applicable to house sitting, some key information about yourself that may make the homeowner comfortable with turning over the keys to their home. Of course, you are going to add appropriate references and some homeowners will want a background check which you should be ready to supply. Further, it’s important to be honest and straight forward while profiling positive attributes and experiences. Just don’t over embellish as it will be found out.
Once I was satisfied with a completed profile, it was time to make my initial contact with the homeowners of the house sit I had found near Vero Beach. This initial contact is critical and deserves some thought. I began by reviewing the homeowners ad on housecarers.com. I especially looked for concerns or problems they may seem to have. It is key to address these in your initial contact. In my case, the owners needed a cat looked after and were concerned about leaving the property during hurricane season. In my initial contact, I provided some information about my experiences having cats as pets, with home ownership and maintenance, and surviving a SW Florida hurricane. I also uploaded a photo of myself with a former cat who looked remarkably like the cat they needed sitting. A little luck on my part. But it makes sense to use profile pictures of you with pets from your past or past home sitting experiences to show you can identify with the type of pet they are asking to be taken care of.
After an initial contact, a dialogue began. This is the time to ask important questions such as;
• Has the number of pets changed since your house sit advertisement? Pet ownership tends to expand and contract suddenly. You don’t want any surprises.
• How firm are your leave and return dates? An important question especially if you are paying for and scheduling travel to and from the house sit location.
• Is there a house-sitter agreement involved? Some homeowner’s feel more comfortable having written agreements with their house-sitters.
• Are there expenses I’m expected to pay and how much are they? Not all homeowners expect any payment. Some require payment for utilities for longer term stays.
During the dialogue is the time to develop a relationship to lead to the next step of a personal “meeting”. In my case, it was convenient for me to personally drive to their location after returning to the states to see each other eyeball to eyeball. Many homeowners prefer this, but if you are not able to do this, suggest a technological alternative such as Skype or Google Hangouts meeting. Bottom line is that to avoid nasty surprises ensure you ask lots of questions.
The good news is that this formula seemed to work for me because I was selected for the Vero Beach house sit. I found the owners to be delightful to work with and very accommodating making my stay very comfortable. While there, I had a chance to join a Crossfit gym having never experienced this type of gym. Believe me I got my eyes opened about what fitness is and my own personal fitness. I also had a chance to run in a local 5k event though my time wasn’t anything to brag about. The location of this house sit made for some very enjoyable treks to the local beach, river front, docks, and restaurants.
I can honestly say it was a great experience so when the homeowners invited me back this year for additional house sitting gigs I decided to put some international travel on hold and take them up on their offer. Also, I kind of missed my ol buddy “Spot” who was easy to take care of.
Once this house sit gig was completed, it presented an opportunity for some additional travel or catching up with family and friends. But my experiences of between house sits will be saved for another post. So until next time. Be Calm – Just Travel!
PS: Listed below are some great resources for house sitting for those interested in adding to your travels.
Like many Americans, I have gone “naked” when it comes to health and dental insurance because of the high costs. This situation has caused me great concern at times, but it has also made me keenly aware of the impact of food and lifestyle choices have upon one’s health. Regardless of how well one takes care of one’s health and body, there are times when the need to use a professional health or dental services provider is a necessary and prudent strategy in order to uncover hidden problems that can cause an impact to your health if left unattended.
I found myself in such a situation with regard to some dental issues while still back in the US. I had lost the major portion of a molar filing and also had a broken molar which I had lived with for some time always telling myself I’ll get them fixed soon. It wasn’t until I noticed some minor pain in one of the molars that I became serious about addressing it. As luck would have it I was able to find a dentist locally where I was living at the time, Palm Coast, that offered an initial examination for new patients for $39.95. I made an appointment. I walked out with an estimate of cost to address just one of the molars plus some much needed cleaning.
With a total cost estimate of just under $4000, I wasn’t too keen to get these problems addressed right away. I kept searching for a solution that would be less expensive. As time passed and I planned out a dream of going nomadic in my travels I failed to come up with a viable solution stateside.
After arriving in Mexico I began to inquire with other expats about their experiences with local dentists. After several inquiries, I settled on Caribe Dental Spa in Cancun as my choice to start addressing some of the dental issues I had.
My first order of business was to get an initial exam and cleaning done. I walked into the office conveniently located in centro Cancun to set up an appointment, but to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Oyuki Alderete, had an opening immediately and was able to start work on cleaning and examining my teeth. Dr. Alderete does speak the necessary English to explain and direct English speaking patients. This was a bit of a relief as I had only recently started Spanish language classes. I did try to use some broken Spanish words when I could. She was very forgiving with my poor Spanish and we were able to communicate clearly as she explained everything she did while performing each procedure.
Following the exam and discussion with Dr. Alderete, it was clear she had come to the same conclusion about my molar treatment back in the states. It was going to require a root canal with a specialist performing the procedure. Further, I would need the broken molar repaired using an inlay along with several small cavities addressed and some resin applied as protection on some areas of my teeth where the enamel was missing. All in all it was going to take several appointments to complete, but of immediate attention was the root canal and crowning of the worst molar.
Of course I was concerned about the costs of all these procedures having such a high estimate from the states. I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Alderete listed out the costs associated with the most pressing problem and we set an appointment to go forward with the root canal and installing the crown.
Following the appointment, I had time to reflect upon my initial experience using a foreign dentist and came to the following conclusions;
- The dentist I selected was very accommodating and explained all procedures before performing them.
- Dr. Alderete worked hard to make sure I understood in my own language even though it was a secondary language for her.
- The office and equipment were just as modern as any dental office I had been to in the US.
- Dr. Alderete was very professional and took care to ensure the procedures performed were without pain.
- The costs of dental work in Mexico tend to be a fraction of what the same work would cost in the US.
Below is a listing of all the work that was recently performed and the associated costs.
Actual Cost (MX)
Actual Cost (US)
1 MXN = .08 USD
Estimated Cost (US)
Exam, Teeth cleaning, X-ray, Fluoride treatment
Root canal, temporary crown
Crown Post installation and prep
Two cavity sites filled with resin
Porcelain crown installation
Two cavity sites filled with resin
Partial inlay in molar
3- Resin filings at tooth erosion sits
3- Resin filings at tooth erosion sits
As you can see the savings is substantial so you can understand why I even had a bit of cosmetic work done.
The total experience was pleasant and professional. I would recommend others to consider using recommended foreign dentists when faced with dental issues. I believe I effectively saved over 75% as opposed to having the work done in the US.
What, if any, have your experiences been with using foreign medical or dental practitioners? Please feel free to comment.
With summer nearing, I thought I’d take an opportunity to recommend some travel reading that you may enjoy. Being a traveler myself you can be assured these titles are offered digitally to lighten your load. Enjoy and select those which may fit your interests.
Marginal Boundaries: Live Like A Local in Cancun, Mexico
Tim Anderson of Marginal Boundaries breaks down living in Cancun, Mexico for us. This is the very book that convinced me to become a nomad with Cancun as my first stop. Most people think of Cancun as a vacation or spring break location, but Tim points out there is much more to this city than just the “hotel zone”.
With 105 pages of in-depth information that is designed for location independent digital nomads and expats as well as savvy adventurers and pensioners who enjoy getting the most out of their travels and experience life on the ground like the people who live there, the Marginal Boundaries Live Like a Local in Cancun, Mexico guide gives you everything you need to know to explore and live in the city just like the locals do, ranging from:
- Tips on navigating local immigration policies
- Detailed breakdown of the various residency visas and how you can apply for them
- Local accommodations and referrals based on places I’ve lived so you can enjoy prices as low as $250 a month for fully furnished and equipped studio apartments, houses, condos and beyond, places you will never find on the Internet (such as my current two room apartment, which rents for $300 per month as of June, 2012; fully furnished and fully equipped)
- Local restaurant reviews and recommendations you will never find on Google, including which restaurants have discount days ranging from 30% to 50% off, every week
- Local market breakdown, plus a detailed overview of discount days so you can get the best prices on groceries (check out my YouTube video on saving $5,000 a year on your grocery bill by shopping like a local)
- Negotiation tips and practices specific to Cancun, and Mexico as a whole, as well as local discount rates to avoid paying the gringo tax
- Detailed overview of transportation options in Cancun, and the real prices for buses, taxis and car rentals
- Local customs and culture advice to avoid making social errors
- Detailed breakdown of the various plazas throughout Cancun
- Referrals ranging from local accommodations to local fixers, handymen, immigration specialists and more
His personal connections in the city, ranging from bankers to immigration lawyers to local fixers, shop owners, handymen, restaurant owners, real estate brokers, language teachers, medical tourism experts, school teachers and beyond. This Cancun guide is current as of December, 2012 with everything you need to know to enjoy your time in the Mexican Caribbean, regardless if you are here for two weeks or six months.
How To Live A Life Of Travel
How To Live A Life Of Travel is the most comprehensive guide I’ve read for people who want to get out the door and travel more.. It is a complete resource with Wandering Earl showing you the way and tackling every problem from multiple angles. Along with Earl’s entertaining personal travel story, by the end you’ll be encouraging your friends to come with you since you’ll be more than convinced a life of travel is possible for anyone.
How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship
Get paid to travel around the world by learning how to get a job in the cruise ship industry. That’s exactly what Earl Baron did and he’s been traveling for over 11 years now. This guide is essential to help you crack an industry that’s notoriously difficult to navigate helping you avoid many of the scams out there. This 175-page detailed guide is the best information about working on cruise ships you’ll find anywhere online.
How To Travel For Free (or pretty damn near it!)
Shelley Seale and Keith Hajovsky were tired of the conventional wisdom which says that you have to spend a lot of money to travel the world. These two well-traveled vagabonds have managed to do it for decades and in this book they offer travel-cheap insights they have accumulated over many years of gallivanting around the globe.
While there are many travel resources and guidebooks out there that tell you how to travel on the cheap, how to save money, how to get the best airfares. They have read and used many of them, and there are lots of good ones around. “How To Travel For Free (or pretty damn near it!)” is different in that they share their own personal resources and experiences to show ways in which you can travel not just cheaply, but for free – or damn close to it.
If you or someone you know wants to learn how to see and experience the world without the need to have or to spend large amounts of money like so many in the travel industry will have you believe, then buy this book now and start your own personal journey toward your dreams of independent travel freedom!
Extended World Travel
Maria Berkestam and Magnus Drysen show you how you CAN change your life forever by traveling the world, no matter what your circumstances are. This eBook is dedicated to guide, support and inspire you to follow your dreams. It is not for finding out about the cheapest airline or the most affordable hotels. Nor is it about what tourist sites to visit around the world or what currency they use in different countries. After reading this book you’ll have more clarity about things like:
• Why traveling actually is good for you. You’ll see how you too can benefit from taking time off and going out in the world
• How to get the money you’ll need to go traveling the world
• How to find the time that will allow you to take months off from your everyday commitments
• What you can do to make it possible to leave your job and go on the journey of your life instead
• How to handle the school issue so you can take your kids out in the world and let them collect first hand experiences
• How to deal with dream stealers like unsupportive friends, coworkers and family members and instead find the support you need to really be able to go on your dream trip – with a good conscience
• How to handle issues you might have around travel and health, travel and crime, or maybe fear of flying – and learn how you can prepare yourself and feel and be more safe
• What you want to do on your trip, how to let your specific interests and needs allow you to indulge in the things that really make your heart sing
• Means of transport and how to get around on your trip, how to find accommodations and, of course, where you want to go. You’ll be excited when you find your perfect way to create your best trip ever
• How to travel and stay for free. How your personal areas of interests and your own network of friends can make your trip both extra fun and interesting as well as extremely economical
• How to continue to live a freer and more independent life even when you’re back from your trip (if you do choose to come back)
Their own journeys have also brought them in touch with numerous people who have traveled the world for extended periods of time, and quite extensively. What they have learned from them, combined with what they learned for themselves, can create a reality out of your dreams of traveling long term.
Note: While these are real recommendations and comments, I must mention I do get a couple of bucks if you decide to buy. But hey look at it this way, you’ll be helping a retiree out who’s on a fixed income!
Arrgh Mateys, I’m defendin’ a treasure prize here so you’ll get a chance to win some loot!
As a celebration of the launch of the Nomadic Retiree newsletter, I’m offering a monthly Giveaway prize valued at $500 to new newsletter subscribers. Offering prizes to subscribers is new to me, but if all goes well we will continue to offer prizes on a monthly basis.
How it works?
Sign up for our FREE newsletter and enter the contest by entering your email address in the giveaway popup box on the bottom right side of the page here. Once signed up you are eligible to win a $500 Visa Gift Card.
After you sign up, follow the directions to increase your chances of winning by sharing the contest through various social media outlets.
The winner will be announced between May 31st and June 10th via email. The winner must respond within 7 days in order to obtain their prize. Upon successful validation and reply the prize will then be delivered.
Any new and existing subscribers also need to stay tuned for next month’s giveaway, where we’ll be giving away another $500 worth of cash and prizes!
I wish everyone good luck on being selected for one of our monthly Giveaways!