From property buying tips in Maui to working remotely in Spain, there are plenty of ways you can up sticks and make a life outside of your comfort zone.
But a real problem you may run into when you leave home is geographical nuances. Specifically, there may be different rules, regulations and protocols in place with regards to financial matters in different countries.
Here are some of the regulations you should watch out for.
Money Matters: How Regional Regulations Can Affect Your Finances While Travelling
Let’s say you’re from England and your bank account is in GBP. The moment you go to a country that uses a different currency, you open yourself up to international charges and currency conversion fees.
The good news is that there are solutions to almost every problem.
To avoid transaction charges, you can use an online bank such as Revolut, or Wise. Even if your primary account balance is in GBP, you won’t be charged fees for spending money abroad.
There are also many credit cards nowadays which come with no international transaction fees, so take some time to shop around.
Financial geographical restrictions can significantly impact the cost of travel, like limitations on accessing foreign currency, or the inability to use credit or debit cards in certain regions or countries.
When these restrictions are in place, you might face challenges in accessing funds, which can result in additional expenses.
This applies to private companies as well as Government, as many companies now have geo-blocks on their services, like Netflix only making their libraries available in certain countries, or casino bonuses for new customers at Paddy Power only available where the casino is licensed.
Another example is online shopping – American Amazon consumers get better discounts than their UK counterparts. Data from 2021 by Which supports the idea that a lot of Black Friday deals in the UK aren’t much of a deal at all.
Banking wise, there are several countries around the world that have restrictions on using debit and credit cards, like:
Although credit and debit cards are accepted in some tourist areas, there are still many places in Myanmar where cash is the only accepted form of payment.
International sanctions have limited access to credit and debit card services in Sudan, and many foreign cards are not accepted. Travelers are advised to bring cash or use local prepaid cards.
Some countries have restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of the country, so it pays to do your research if you plan on traveling with large amounts of cash.
If you go over the limit you could be hit with penalties or confiscation of funds.
Local Taxes on Goods
Another financial nuance you might discover as you’re travelling around the world is the cost of comparable products due to local tax laws.
The Bahamas is a great example of this.
The Caribbean island is a tax haven, so things like income tax, which is common in most countries, don’t apply here. This is great news in some ways, but it’s problematic in others.
Why? Because money that isn’t collected through income tax goes into the system through other means. Specifically, VAT and service charges.
Stay at a resort in the Bahamas and the price of anything from crisps to Coca-Cola will be inflated by more than 25% (VAT is charged at 12% and services fees can be as high as 15%). Therefore, you end up paying more for the same product than you would elsewhere in the world.
Do Your Research
The point is to make you aware that different countries have different rules and regulations when it comes to finances, and this can affect your own bank account when traveling.
Local laws impact the way you access money, claim promotional offers and pay for things.
Sometimes you just have to accept the differences and go with it. However, the key to being a successful nomad is knowledge and planning.
Therefore, if you’re aware of possible differences ahead of time, you can find ways to mitigate them. Aka – do your research before traveling.
Doing thorough homework is the way to figure this stuff out Meg. Also, just living there for a few weeks on vacay is important because some stuff will only be found out offline via word of mouth with expats or locals. I recall how in Fiji and Bali land bought is never owed outright by foreigners but is basically a freehold for 100 years, etch. Also, Balinese need to seal business with an in-person handshake; this was the case a long time ago back in 2011. Not sure about the current climate. Smart post my friend.
For sure Ryan, and absolutely on taking note of the cultural customs when you’re actually there in person, because you’re right, there can be some very subtle but very important norms which can make a huge difference :)