How On-Line Tools Help You Live in Two Countries for Less Than One
Updated July, 2017
Being an expat has helped me truly appreciate all the on-line tools that would have made the life unthinkable for me as a single person even 10 years ago. If you consider how these tools apply to international living, you will see how anything is possible, whether you live it full or part-time.
Transportation Tools – One of the things about living in another country is figuring out what to do about your car. If you lease your car, companies like Swapalease enable you to swap your car lease with someone looking for a car, or obtain a car at the end of someone else’s lease, but it does take time.
If you live in an urban area, you might find it far less expensive to occasionally rent cars or utilize services like ZipCars, Lyft and Cars2go when you’re at home rather than owning a car. Even digging around Expedia and travel sites can yield good deals.
With a little research, you might find a monthly rental to be less than what you are spending on payments, car insurance and taxes and fees.
Renting or Subletting Your Place - Many apartment complexes allow you to sublet. I have sublet both my apartment and vacation condo in West Virginia through social media sites like Air BnB or even Craigslist. If you streamline your belongings properly, the process should require only a few days of moving some seasonal clothes and personal items to storage or owner’s closets.
I ask for a healthy damage deposit, personally interview people and thoroughly check references. Prospects might be professional athletes only in town for their playing season, students doing their thesis and women new to town who want to live in the city at least six months before deciding where to buy a house.
Entertainment Sites– Perhaps you are not aware that programs such as Netflix (although the offerings are somewhat different), Spotify, cable television from U.S. and England and of course Amazon Plus are all available in Mexico just like home. Spotify Select in Mexico is nine pesos. That's right, less than a buck a month.
Find Online Concierge Services – I think this applies much more to single people who are doing everything themselves.
Ultimately, when you do the math you should find that you are saving money with your expat lifestyle. After a long day flying, nothing beats walking into whichever place you’ve left and having it freshly cleaned and stocked. You will feel like a movie star, and a little less single.
After all, the point of expat life is not to feel rootless, it’s to feel like you have two (or more!) homes. I have come to recognize that opening a completely empty refrigerator is a lonely moment distinct to being single. This is the time to reward yourself with a concierge service for all the solitary work you've done to make your more exciting life happen.
All your systems, physical and technical, will be prone to the bugs that seem to surface after travel. You will feel much less stressed trying to get back online and connected if you can make yourself a hot meal soon after you walk in the door.
Several times, I have had problems at the ATM when I've landed. Once I came in the door with a whopping 20 pesos to my name until the next day, which won't buy you dinner even in Mexico. Every time I haven't had a few days worth of food already stocked in my refrigerator, I have regretted it.
Yes, it's a bit of a splurge but not too much in Mexico, where you can probably find someone online to do it (or buy my book with its list of rental concierges) for less than $100 over the cost of the food you tell them to buy (see my Pinterest board for food suggestions), half that cost if you have someone on retainer.
If you happen to be a single person setting this life up, you don't have someone rubbing your shoulders at the end of the day. You deserve a little self-pampering.
Property managers and rental agents often are willing to do these duties at a very reasonable price.
These are just a few of the ways online services have make ex-pat living easier for me.
Related Links: The secrets of subletting or renting out your place and home to save money with the part-time expat lifestyle. Ventanas Mexico
"How Experienced Expats Use Concierges" - Ventanas Mexico
Most Recent: Single expats in Mexico talk about their perfect day.
Next up: More on Online tools.
Hola, I'm a partner for Ventanas Mexico and author of the "Interactive Guide to Learning Spanish Free Online" an interactive tool for adults wanting to prepare for life in Mexico.
I also just released "If Only I Had a Place" - written for aspiring expats desiring to rent luxuriously for less.