Archive for Expats

U.S. Citizens Examining Better Healthcare Alternatives as Expats

A recent article in exemplifies the growing concern over affordable healthcare in the U.S., and how it’s driving more citizens to seriously examine viable alternatives, such as expatriation as a possible solution. According to the article:

As legislators debate endlessly over a new health care bill in the U.S., many people are increasingly wondering if they’d be better off growing old elsewhere. Health care has become a primary motivator for many people in making that grand leap abroad.

Read more.

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Choosing an Expat Tax Manager: 25 Questions to Ask


US expatriates who are struggling with expatriate tax will find the article written by Nick Hodges, President of NCH Wealth Advisors, very helpful. The article – 25 Questions US expatriates MUST Ask provides US expatriates with the best tools, strategies and planning techniques to help US expatriates to manage their tax and financial goals and dreams on a day-to-day basis regardless of their location.

The Internet super-highway opens up marvelous opportunities for US expatriates to harvest expat tax advice and information from some of the greatest minds at reasonable prices from anywhere in the world. But it also emphasizes a crucial question: How do you know whom to trust? Sharing your intimate, personal financial information with a stranger is problematic at best. The article’s 25 questions can help any expat choose a tax and financial professional you can trust. The original article can be found at:

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Pet Immigration/Visitation to Costa Rica: Feline or Canine

dog and cat 2

Much interest continues to be shown about the rules and regulations regarding bringing pets into Costa Rica. The following from will answer many questions and help clarify the procedure. In this case, dogs and cats.

For dogs and cats and other small pets, you’ll need to prove to both the airlines and Costa Rica customs officers that your animal is healthy. Schedule an exam with your local veterinarian a week or two before your departure date—the vet should fill out a health certificate stating that the animal is disease-free and has been vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and rabies. The rabies vaccination is supposed to be more than 30 days but less than a year old, and is necessary only for animals 4 months or older. The health certificate should then be endorsed by a Veterinary Service (VS) veterinarian, but need not be notarized. The Costa Rican consulate says the examination for the certificate must be conducted within the two weeks prior to travel to Costa Rica, though anecdotal evidence suggests that a certificate up to 30 days old will do the trick.

Pet owners also need to get authorization from the Costa Rican Health Ministry; go through your nearest Costa Rica consulate or embassy to obtain this permission.

When you arrive in Costa Rica, the customs officer will do a visual inspection of your pet (for which you will be charged US$1), and look over the health certificate and the authorization from the Costa Rican Health Ministry. If all is in order, you’re through, and can find a pet-friendly taxi (not an easy task) and stuff your Irish wolfhound in the backseat. Some people traveling with pets report that they weren’t even asked for their documents, but you can’t count on encountering such relaxed attitudes yourself.

If you’re missing any documents or the officer decides your pet looks ill and might transmit disease, the animal will either be temporarily released to your care (kind of like being out on bail) or (if the official decides there’s a real health risk) kept in a state kennel for up to 30 days, until you work out what to do next—arrange for the necessary paperwork, or contact a local vet if your animal needs care.

Photo By: Petteri Sulonen

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Sluggish International Economy Forces Travel Destinations to Slash Prices


What a great time to travel overseas. Facing as much as 50% capacity, and further dwindling tourist income, cruise lines, hotels and air carriers worldwide are offering bargain basement prices that are becoming ever-so attractive to even the most budget-minded travelers.
The economic instability has meant a wild ride for the cruise industry that has resulted in some jaw-dropping prices for consumers.

“The pricing wasn’t as low as post-9/11, but it was pretty close,” says Tom Baker of CruiseCenter in Houston.

Here are the trends to watch.

Low fares

When the economy took a turn, cruise lines started lowering fares to lure travelers back, say the experts. “You can cruise for the cheapest prices I’ve ever seen in my life in many cases,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of the popular cruise Web site Cruise

Even better: Brown says in many cases travelers can cruise on newer, more luxurious ships for almost the same fares that used to apply only on older ships. For example, she said she’s seen seven-day Caribbean cruises as low as $249 – but the same cruise on a new ship for just $299.

And how about hotels? Brace yourself. Major hotel chains are offering some of the best deals in years as they try to convince more travelers to visit them. Five-star luxury is on sale for a whole lot less.

At some of the nation’s nicest hotels, it’s the summer of the discount.

“So, now customers can afford to stay in a four-star property or five-star property where they may not have been able to afford that before,” Noreen Henry with travelocity said.

Hotel owners are trying to lure travelers back as they said the economy starts to recover. You’ll find some of the biggest discounts, in big cities, where hotel prices were sky high last summer. According to travelocity, prices this year are often 30-50 percent less than a year ago.

If you need a vacation, summer is on sale at hotels all across the country. Major hotel chains are offering some of the best deals in years as they try to convince more travelers to visit them.

Five-star luxury is on sale for a whole lot less. At some of the nation’s nicest hotels, it’s the summer of the discount.

And, while airlines wing it on reduced airfares , several are offering special deals on international travel. Some with packages unrivaled in many, many years. Continental Airlines, which provides service from Austin, Texas, to San Jose, Costa Rica,  has reduced their airfare to $479 from the previously-listed airfare of $620 round trip in late 2008. However, one possible reason, in addition to the global economic, could be that this is the rainy season in Costa Rica, which usually drives lower airfares and hotel rates.

So, if you’re contemplating an international trip this summer, check out the rates and take advantage of some super buys in hotels, cruises, and airline fares.

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Have Your Dreams Been Kidnapped?

Has the sagging global economy dampened your dream of living in a foreign country ? It’s apparently on the mind of many potential expats . But say, for example, you have a spot in mind. Which one is best for you? Without a doubt the decision is tough one, with many international choices available to you, as well as various lifestyles. And what are the factors that would determine your decision to relocate to a new country?  Share your thoughts with our members.


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