Questions: Travel, buying property, moving gold, second passports

February 12, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I’m happy to report that I seem to be in the final throes of my Asian jet lag– I finally managed to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable hour.

I appreciate the emails that I received giving me advice about how to deal with it more effectively… honestly though, I think time is the best remedy for everything.  With jetlag, I take a “sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry” approach, and it will work itself out eventually.

Anyhow, as I am out the door and headed to the beach in a few minutes, I’d like to spend some time addressing your questions this week:

Kevin asks: “Simon, I want to purchase a round-the-world plane ticket in order to get a sense of which country I would feel most comfortable living in / retiring outside the US.  Do you have any recommendation on how to find an open-ended round-the-world ticket on the cheap?”

“Round the world” fares are a flexible, cost-effective way to explore the world. Each of the major airline alliances (Oneworld, Star, and SkyTeam) has an around the world program, and the rules are generally the same.

You have to establish your route in advance, i.e. start in Vancouver, travel to Tokyo, then Singapore, then Mumbai, then Abu Dhabi, then Istanbul, then Kiev, then Krakow, then Madrid, then Miami, then Los Angeles, and finally back to Vancouver.

The nice part is that the dates for each flight are completely flexible. If you start in Vancouver and fly to Tokyo first, you can spend as much time as you want in Tokyo. When you get tired of it and are ready to move on, you just call the airline and they will book your next leg of the journey (to Singapore).

There are a few rules– the entire journey can only take up to 1-year, and there’s usually a maximum of 16 stops in total.

Now… here’s how you save money: If you live in North America, try to start your journey in South America. Buy a 1-way ticket to Colombia or Brazil, for example, and begin the routing from there. You will save about $1,000.

Peter asks: “Simon, I’m really interested in Panamanian property; given where I see my country headed, Panama seems like a great place to set up, and I want to get out while I can. I bought the Black Paper, and I am considering going to this International Living conference in April. Do you think it’s worth it?”

Yes. I was friends with most of the IL staff in Panama over the last few years, and I knew the conference organizers quite well. They routinely put on informative events, and if you’ve been strongly thinking about buying property in Panama, the conference is a great way to pack a lot of objective exposure into a short period of time.

Incidentally I may be back in Panama by April, in which case I might attend the conference myself to meet with some subscribers and old friends.

Helen asks: “Simon, when can we hear back from you about the sustainable community, and on the second citizenship programs?”

We have about 750 survey responses from subscribers telling me what they would like to see from a sustainable community in Panama. Clearly this is something that needs to be done. My partner Matt and I are digesting the data and strategizing how we would execute this. I will provide details next week.

In regards to second citizenship opportunities– I plan on rolling out quite a bit of information later this month, probably the week of the February 22nd. Stay tuned.

“LookingToLeave” asks: “Simon, do you have any suggestions for someone who plans on possibly using physical gold as a way to move their wealth out of the U.S.?”

Transporting gold is a great way to move wealth– a mere six pounds is over $100,000. There are three things you need to keep in mind:

First, the US government (and Canada too) does not consider gold to be a monetary instrument, so technically it would not be reportable… but be prepared to tap dance in case some Neanderthal government agent becomes suspicious about it.

I say this because in my travels recently, nearly every border guard I’ve come across has wanted to know one thing: “How much money are you carrying?”

Second, don’t forget to check the regulations on your destination country. Some places, like Uruguay, require you to declare gold upon arrival.

Third, do not underestimate security. If you’re confident, you can carry it yourself, but consider engaging a company like ViaMat to securely transport it for you.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll talk again on Monday.