What Airports are the best and the worst? How to get from point a to point b. Travel tips.

Uber vs Cabs in Medellin


Searching for the best country to retire cheap means getting around the city. Medellin isn’t a huge city, and it does have a bus system as well as a lrt/skytrain system.

I’ve found myself taking Uber and cabs around though, because they are are so cheap! 

A cab starts at 3000 Colombian pesos ($1.50 Cdn) and most rides around town cost $4 total. 

Uber is interesting here because you can choose an ENGLISH speaking driver or not. If you choose a regular Uber, the price is really similar to cabs (sometimes with surge pricing, a bit more expensive). If you choose the English option then the Uber will cost about 12000 Colombian Pesos vs 7000 for the same ride ($6 vs $3.50 Cdn).

How are the drivers? One interesting thing I ‘ve found here are that the cab drivers are all almost exclusively male, and speak Spanish only. 

The Uber drivers are 50/50 male/female, and even the Spanish drivers can speak a little English.

One time one of my drivers was actually, an airplane pilot who was just waiting for his papers for qualifications in Colombia!

Both cabs and uber are all over the place. The longest I’ve had to wait was 5 minutes for one.  In fact, sometimes they are so quick, by the time you book an Uber, get down the elevevator they are already there!

Both are efficient here, but if you are just grabbing a random cab, they will sometimes refuse to drive you to a destination. They just don’t want to go there for some reason. I don’t know why cabs do this, but I’ve seen it happen everywhere in Edmonton, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Kind of odd but not crazy. One thing that is nice, is that you don’t have to fight with cabs to have the meter turned on like you do in Thailand. If you are going to use Uber, feel free to use my code for free rides: 5pqae

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)
 

Uber vs Cabs in Medellin2017-04-14T13:40:39+00:00

Getting Into Town From the Airport in Medellin


Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring”. More humid, not Asia humid , but still humid versus Canada. I’ve collected my bags from the bag carousel, and now it’s time to get into town. WELCOME TO MEDELLIN!

There’s a couple ways to get into town from the international airport in Medellin. It’s a tiny little airport here. (No chance of getting lost here).

  1. Private car. If you’re reading Best Countries to Retire Cheap, you really shouldn’t even be looking at this option. 
  2. Taxi. Taxi’s are pretty standard 50k in Columbia pesos (roughly $25)
  3. Bus. This is the best option! Directly outside of the door, are two shuttle buses. White in color, they are called collectivo. And they are $9.5k or roughly $5.

Ask the driver “San Diego?”. They’ll confirm, and then you get bag tags for your luggage that they put in the back. (Remember they do not speak English. If they do it’s very very limited. About 2/10 in English speaking skill.) Do not ask them “Excuse me, is this the Collectivo that takes me to San Diego Mall?” They’ll just give you a confused look. Seriously, just say “San Diego?”

They seem to wait until the bus fills up, no real schedule. (I waited for 20 minutes.) Once the bus takes off, somebody walks down the aisle collecting the fee. (They don’t like breaking $50k bills, so try to have a $10k.) 

Coming into Medelling at 1130 pm at night, I got to see the city spread out gloriously in it’s lights on the mountain. The sight is amazing. (Like flying into Vegas at night, and seeing the lights from the plane). I would say if you have a choice, try to get into the city at night. The lights are just so pretty. 

The bus itself is a standard shuttle bus worth of comfy. You might want a small jacket though, if you get cold easy. (If you have ever brought a jacket into a movie theater, you definitely should.) 

After roughly 45 minutes you get to San Diego Mall. 99% of people are heading there. 

One thing to watch out for are baggage handlers at the San Diego Mall. They’ll accost you as soon as you step off the bus. They are literally going to go to the back of the bus grab your bag, walk 5 steps and put it in the trunk of a taxi. They’ll expect a tip for this. If you don’t want this, just shrug them off and get your own bag. Only about 1/5 people I saw took the baggage handler option. 

If you do use the baggage handler, they do shove to the front of the line for you to get your bags out of the bus. So, it’s not a complete rip off. You do save time this way.

Taxis to anywhere in the city from San Diego Mall are metered. There’s no need to fight to have the meter turned on. (I was expecting the standard taxi cab hassles that I got used to in Bangkok.) Not here. Taxis are all pretty good, meter is automatically on.

I didn’t have a reservation any place to stay, so I headed to Lleras Park (pronounced PARKAY YERAS) the entertainment area. There are a ton of budget hotels, and hostels in this zone. It cost me roughly $8k or $4 Cdn to get here. Successfully arriving checking in, and a cerveza in hand….I settle down into day 1 of Colombia.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Getting Into Town From the Airport in Medellin2017-04-05T19:21:01+00:00

Las Vegas on the Cheap For Canadians


Retiring cheap from Canada means not losing all of the government benefits you’ve built up over the years. One of the key facts is that you can’t leave the country for more than 6 months consecutively a year. That’s why I put together a fun visa run guide to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas can be super expensive but you can have a great time for a minimum cost. Just follow my handy guide.

Getting there by plane, I took Allegiant. It’s a super no thrills cheap flight (they charge extra for everything from a carryon bag to priority boarding but you don’t have to buy those options) Flying out from Bellingham International airport  cost half of what it does from Vancouver. $189 for the flight return, taxes included.

To save some money I took a quick shuttle from the River Rock casino in Richmond. That cost $39 return to Bellingham. Renting a car was another more pricy option.

My hotel a few minutes off the strip was free from accumulated points. Ideally you’ll want to stay on the strip for cost and and convenience, but free hotel points makes it all worth while. Just make sure it’s close to the strip or downtown old Vegas.

Grabbing an Uber from the airport to the hotel was $12. Generally taking Uber is the best idea for cost saving in Las Vegas. All the hotels have designated Uber pick up spots.

Food in Vegas can be cheap, from $2.49 Nathan’s hotdogs at the Casino Royale to $5 for 20 McNuggets. The MyVegas app also allows you to accumulate points towards hotels, food and shows. There’s 4 of these MyVegas apps, download and play them for a while before you go to Vegas. I saved up enough to get several 2 for 1 buffets and sandwiches within 1 year. The best thing is you can play these free slots while you’re traveling in other parts of the world.

Another tip, is if you are married or can prove you share a house with your travel companion you can attend time share presentations. These 2 hour long, high pressure sales presentations are horribly boring but they give you free tickets and shows just for sitting through them.

Between all the free coupons and bonus points, my Vegas visa run  in total was pretty much just the cost of the airfare. 4 days of fun , shows and people watching all under $250! As you know my budget for 4 days is normally $60, so a Vegas visa run isn’t the cheapest option but it’s a great option for occasional fun.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Las Vegas on the Cheap For Canadians2018-11-25T16:35:43+00:00

3 great spots to sleep for free in klia 2 Kuala Lumpur 

If you’re traveling looking for a cheap place to retire you’re going to spend a lot of time in airports. This is my handy guide to give you the best place to sleep in Kuala Lumpur klia 2. Klia 2 aka the low cost carrier terminal is gigantic.
There are are many spots to hang out and sleep, but these are the 3 best. I’m honestly a little worried that if I share it with you my BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com fans that I will miss out myself. (So keep it secret ok!) if somebody else to know swear them to a blood oath first.

These 3 great sleeping spots are all in the mid way area of klia 2 before you go into the gates area, but after first screening (Confused? Read my story about illogical stuff in klia 2)

To find these secret spots first head to the bottom level by the movie zone.

Spot 1 (my favourite) is tucked in the back behind a Starbucks and the smoking lounge. Even though it’s close to the smoking lounge there is no smoke smell.  It’s space for 1 so not great for couples is its downside. Why is so great? It’s very private, has very little activity around it and has its own wall charger. The charger is placed at mid thigh level so you can lie down and use your phone while charging. A little nook with its own floor charger and surrounded by 3 sides keeps you safe from having your stuff nicked when you sleep. If you pull your luggage trolley in after you, you make a very private sleeping hole. Hang up a sarong and you can make a fort!


Spot 2. Outside the washroom in that zone. At the very back of a massive room full of seats, there are chairs with no arm rests. Sleeps multiple people. Downside smells like nearby washrooms. Upside not on the floor.

Spot 3. A sleeping nook just outside washroom area but farther than those chairs so not as smelly. You can find it by looking for currency exchange place across from it. You can always lie down anywhere in an airport but this place is where to sleep.This one is designed for sleep. It also has a private charge outlet. Downside is it’s in heavy traffic area, so people are  constantly walking by. This spot is easily noticed so chances are it’ll be occupied as well.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

3 great spots to sleep for free in klia 2 Kuala Lumpur 2018-11-10T02:30:27+00:00

Cheapest food klia 2 in Kuala Lumpur


When you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap, you are going to be visiting a lot of airports. And that also means eating at a lot of airports.

Just like every other airport in the world klia 2 in Kuala Lumpur the food choices are a blend of overpriced chains, over priced fast food or over priced local restaurants. I don’t mind overpriced food, but what about that $5 a day food budget? On travel days it’s almost impossible to keep that budget. What’s a budget minded travel blogger to do?

I scoured all around the massive klia 2 terminal and found the cheapest food. Nope, it wasn’t McDonald’s, it was instant noodles!


Bowl of instant noodles can be found at WH Smith. WH Smith is located on the bottom floor by the movie lounge. You can get scalding hot water at water fountains in the nearby restroom area. $1 (36 myr) for dinner definitely helps keep that budget in line! 


I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Airports are money pits so eat cheap! Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

Cheapest food klia 2 in Kuala Lumpur2016-12-12T00:10:40+00:00

Illogical things about klia 2 airport in Kuala Lumpur you need to know 


I have a hate/love relationship with klia 2 (aka the low cost terminal) in Kuala Lumpur. I love the sleeping spots, and cheap food but I hate  the illogical parts. It’s like airport was thrown together by drunken people with a random parts generator. Don’t believe me? Here’s some things you’ll see at klia 2 in Kuala Lumpur that will make your brain go “does not compute” and blow up.

  • Walkways that go one way on both sides! You’d think with mobile walkways one would go one way, and the next one going the other way. Nope. Both going in the same direction.
  • Multiple checkpoints. After landing you go through a check point like you would normally, but the gates have another one. So do not go to your gate right away. There is nothing past the final gates but waiting. ALL the good stuff LIKE the movie lounge, food areas and sleeping spots are in this sandwich hole of security.
  • No trolley areas. They designate the elevators no trolley areas. So you have to take your luggage off at one elevator, use the elevator then walk around looking for another one. Strangely there aren’t trolleys next to both the top and bottom. Usually it’s nearby, but still if you are carrying a heavy carry on bag this can suck.
  • Little bonus rooms outside of the actual gates for people who are taking the flight. Kind of makes sense? But what doesn’t make sense is that these room are sealed until close to departure time. Or DOES IT? This is a tip I wish more airports would adopt. The point of these private rooms is that at the entrance they check your passport/ticket before the plane lands. This speeds up that line tremendously during the actual boarding
  • Lots of charger outlets but all of them are the Asian outlet. Not 1 is North American or Euoropean. No usb chargers either. Bring a travel charger!
  • They announce every flight that is ready to board over the entire airport. So yes, it’s every few minutes. And in 3 languages. This doesn’t annoy me till I tried to sleep.
  • They also announce gate changes over the same system so it’s like having to filter through all this audio spam in case you have a gate change messages. And yes they make final calls too on this system.

While there are many illogical things about klia 2 it’s not horrible. It doesn’t compare to Changi in Singapore or the Hong Kong airport, but it’s not bad. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Illogical things about klia 2 airport in Kuala Lumpur you need to know 2018-03-01T07:46:49+00:00

You’ve lost your passport? Now what? 


You need 3 essential things when you’re travelling the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap. A passport, money and a good mindset. I really want to emphasize that last bit. A good mindset is going to be just as essential as money, and a passport. Stuffs going to happen when you’re in a different country wondering if this will be the place you’re going to retire cheap. Some of these things will great and grand like discovering secret temples, or making new international friends. Others will be not so great, like getting diarrhea from dodgy street food, or being ripped off by cab drivers. One of the worst things that can happen will be losing your money or passport. 

The moment you know you’ve  lost your passport is one of those “I’m going to die, why am such an idiot” moments. Don’t panic. You can get through this! Here’s the process you’re going to go through and some quick tips. 

First you’re going to have to get all the stuff you have previously prepared. Being loyal and smart BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com readers, I’m sure you’ve already prepped the emergency passport kit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go read that article. (It’s in travel tips.)

The very first step you’ll have to make is ….

  1.  Go to the police station to file a report. You’ll need that report in your passport application.

Another tip, the consulate may be helpful but remember it’s a government office not your mommy. If the hours are 10am till 4pm. That means it closes at 4pm, not 4:06pm. I’ve seen a girl turned away because she missed it by 6 minutes. Just like that it’s another day onto your waiting period. 

There isn’t an emergency rush option for your new temporary passport. It’s a minimum of 3 business days after you submit all your documents. That’s a minimum. And remember those are business days. Losing your passport on a Thursday, means waiting till Wednesday. 

After the wait you’ll get a temporary passport, that allows you to continue your vacation until you get back to Canada. It costs 

  •  $110 temporary passport.. 
  • 10 year passport is $260 for applying for outside Canada. 
  • $45 lost passport fee. 
  •  3 % credit fee. You can avoid this if you have local cash.
  • Total about $400 (2400 HKD)

TIPS

  • Call your credit cards immediately. Why? They’ll help you cancel those hotels you’ve previously booked.
  • Be aware some web info is old. The internet isn’t always up to date. This report was written September 5, 2016
  • Bring an original birth certificate when traveling. They don’t take copies or faxes.
  • Reach out to all your contacts immediately. You need two references as guarantors. Be aware of time differences. They’re going to call these guarantors so the more reliable the better.
  • Be aware they will take your phone when you go into the consulate. That’s right, write down all the stuff you need on paper 
  • If it’s your travel partner that has lost their passport, try to be as supportive as possible. 

Hopefully you never lose your passport, but if you follow these steps it’ll make your experience a little better. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!). 

You’ve lost your passport? Now what? 2016-12-12T00:10:44+00:00

Canadian passport stolen? 7 things you NEED to do BEFORE leaving Canada.


You’re travelling the world looking for the best country to retire cheap, and the worst thing in the world happens. You lose your passport. It might be stolen, you might have it destroyed in an accident or you could lose it on a boat like my friend Romus did. It doesn’t matter. As soon as you realize it’s not there where it’s supposed to be you are going to feel like vomiting and passing out. Follow these steps BEFORE you lose your passport to make the loss not as earth shatteringly bad.MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT

  1. Make a photocopy of your passport. Put this paper copy in a separate area from where you keep your regular passport.
  2. Take a photo on your phone.
  3. Send the picture to yourself via email.

GET A COPY OF THINGS YOU’LL NEED AHEAD OF TIME

  1. Birth Certificate. That’s right. In this age of finger prints, biometrics and dental scans you’ll still need a paper birth certificate. Gross, I know. You can get this from a registry thankfully and don’t have to go to a government office.
  2. 2 Passport photos. One of which needs to be signed by a guarantor.
  3. The PDF application signed by a guarantor. Go to the government of Canada website for this.
  4. A drivers license, or other valid government ID. This is on top of your other ID

NOW WHAT?If you’re super smart and have followed these steps ahead of time you’ll probably never ever have to use them but now you’re super prepared in case of emergency! I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap.(And that you’ll never lose your passport!) Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)Want more articles? Go here! LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

Canadian passport stolen? 7 things you NEED to do BEFORE leaving Canada.2018-07-09T11:26:01+00:00

Super Luxurious Taiwan Spas…What are they like?


I love spas, massages and taking it easy. So, I’m always checking out the local spa experience in my search for the best place to retire cheap. I’m in Taiwan today trying to see if this is the best country to live cheap. After a long flight, going through customs and navigating though 30 degree weather, is there anything better than grabbing a beer and finding a luxury spa?

What’s in a super luxury Taiwan spa? And how is it different from North America? The whole experience is a bit different  from anything I’ve tried out before. 

First you’ll take your shoes off and into the shoe locker they’ll go. (This isn’t your clothing locker). Then you grab a pair of flip flops, disrobe and drop your stuff into a separate locker.

That’s when you’ll enter the actual spa area. The mandatory showers are in the actual spa area. Walking in with my towel wrapped around my nether regions I discover it’s a towel free zone. All these Taiwanese guys are totally naked. That makes sense for the shower area, but I wasn’t expecting it in the actual jacuzzi! It’s a big pool of naked dudes. (You’ll have to be ok with this level of nudity, swim suits are not allowed.) 


I now know how the wonton in a big bowl of soup feels. Between the massive size of the jacuzzi tub and the jets, you can maintain enough personal space from your fellow wontons. After a while of being naked and gloriously relaxed in the hot tub I wonder why all hot tubs aren’t swim suit free? There’s also a  cold water tub for soaking when you get too hot in the Jacuzzi. It isn’t really that cold, but after soaking in the hot tub, it’s super refreshing.

Included in the spa was also a steam room, and hot sauna. Nice but not too different.What’s extra cool was that after using the facilities there’s a separate chill out area where you can unwind some more.

They provided a Yakuta robe because this is a clothed area. 

This is a no phone area, but they do have wifi, so bring your Kindle. There’s also a tv, drinking water and tea.

I felt so relaxed after the whole thing, goodbye travel stress. I spent an hour overall in the spa, but there was no time limit or sense of hurry.

I loved the spa experience in Taiwan and would definitely recommend to all of you BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com readers. I hope this article helped you with your personal quest of finding the best country to get great spa experiences and retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

Super Luxurious Taiwan Spas…What are they like?2016-12-12T00:10:49+00:00

Is Asia the best place to retire cheap? 


If you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap, I’m going to recommend Asia. Asia is a huge place, and I know that you’re thinking,”But where in Asia?” You’re also wondering why Asia? Here’s my comprehensive list. 

ASIA IS MASSIVE

  • There’s just so much to see, and it’s so different as you go from place to place.
  • Every country is different. Read my previous articles for an in depth look at each country.
  • Once you get to Asia, flight choices are mind boggling. I like using Skyscanner to see where I’ll be going next. 

VISA RUNS ARE CHEAP

  • On average a flight is about $150. You really can’t complain about that.
  • Once you get here you can easily do Visa runs by planes, trains, boats or even car.
  • Most countries in Asia are only a few hours away from each other by plane. You’ll have no problems doing one day runs.

ENGLISH IS A PREVALENT LANGUAGE

  • Each country I’ve gone to in Asia has spoken English. Depending on where, the fluency and proficiency differs. So far Hong Kong has the best spoken English, while Thailand and Kuala Lumpur the worst.
  • Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs. The amount of signage and notifications in English you’ll see will differ. I’d say there are no problems figuring things out though 80% of the time.

COST OF LIVING IS LOW

  • See my cost of living reports for detailed cost amounts. Most of the places I’ve been to here can fit in the $1000 a month mission.
  • South East Asia gets you so much more for your dollar than North America does. $6 massages, $1 beers and $2 lunches exist. You just have to come to Asia.

VIBRANCY AND CULTURE IS LIVELY

  • Every country in Asia is different, but I’ve noticed one thing. It all feels so alive. Millions of people just living their lives add a hustle and bustle you might not see back home.
  • If you immerse yourself in the culture you won’t regret it. You can retire here and really fit in, or you can just sit on your patio drinking cheap beers. The choice is yours, but I’d recommend immersing yourself in the culture as much as possible  if you don’t want to be isolated and lonely. I’ve written a few articles about that as well.
  • Such scenery and choices. There are little isolated beaches or condos with pools, the choices are yours about where you’re going to stay.

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best place to retire cheap. I am loving exploring Asia as my retirement hub, and think you should too. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

Is Asia the best place to retire cheap? 2016-12-12T00:10:51+00:00

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