Research online and on the ground

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Living in the tropics

While much can be learned about living in the tropics by studying online, particularly using social media groups of people living where you are considering as your new home, no research will be complete without at least one visit to the country.

Reading and dreaming about what it is like to live in the sun versus experiencing it on a day to day basis are two very different things.  I may be wrong, but I bet your dreams do not include a scorpion in your bathroom, so let us agree much can be learned from research on the ground.

Cheap tropical trips

Airport travelers
On the way to paradise

It would be a mistake to seek out tropical vacations or tropical travel packages, it will be better when planning your trip to concentrate on cheap tropical trips for several reasons.

The most important reason to prioritize inexpensive versus a travel package is to remember why you are visiting.  While a week spent at a resort by the sea would no doubt be relaxing and fun, you most likely would learn little about the availability of the medications you use, or the process of obtaining a residency visa.  The objective of this trip is to meet people who have already retired in the tropics and to tap their knowledge and experience.

Another objective is to see different areas of the country and get an idea of what area best fits your dream. Finally, investigate what day to day life would be like.  Go to the grocery store and mini markets, visit a hardware store,  go to a pharmacy, inquire about doctors and dentists,  visit recreational sites,  remember you are investigating your future happiness! A great way to do this is to housesit. We review Trusted Housesitters, the number one site that can help you live like a local and not pay for your lodging while visiting prospective retirement locations.

Personal friends of ours, Clyde and Terry Coles,  are avid travellers who have found a way to see the world far less expensively than staying in a hotel, even an economy hotel.  They run a wonderful blog named Travel the World Housesitting where they help people learn how to house sit and one of their blog posts is how to take a cheap vacation by housesitting.

Take notes

Before you visit make a list of things to investigate while you are there, take notes on that same list that detail what your learned and how or from whom you learned it.  Record contact information of people who helped you and those who you enjoyed meeting.  These notes will be invaluable to you once you return home and collect your thoughts and impressions.

Travel in Peace Protect Your Health

car wreck
Make sure you are covered

Many people do not realize that when they travel outside of their home country their existing health insurance does not provide coverage once they leave the country where they purchased it.

The consequences of being uninsured in a foreign country are significant ranging from having to pay for medical care on the spot out of pocket to being denied care when you really need it.  Fortunately an inexpensive solution exists, and that is to buy a travel insurance policy.  You can investigate and purchase a policy by clicking here.


If you have any suggestions, ideas and or questions please leave a comment below.

8 thoughts on “Research online and on the ground”

  1. You provided very good advice and information. I have actually thought about housesitting but I have a dog and a horse so it’s not really viable for me to be traveling all the time. I take one big vacation per year & get a dog sitter and barn staff attend to my horse while I’m gone but I wouldn’t want to leave them as much as would be required to make housesitting a full time job. I think I would rather retire somewhere in the mountains than in the tropics. I don’t tolerate heat very well but I certainly have friends who love the tropics and would benefit from the information you provided!

    1. We have dogs, but travel several times each year via housesitting and we get a house sitter to watch our home and care for the pups.

  2. Interesting article and good information. You are right I never would have thought about encountering a scorpion in the bathroom. I think many people would love to live in the tropics and enjoy sunshine and warm weather almost daily. Sounds much better than cold weather and shoveling snow.
    Although it sounds great some things that we have ready access to now may not be readily available in the tropics. For some with health conditions that require a doctor on a regular basis meeting up with people who have the experience and knowledge of living in the tropics would be beneficial.
    Moving within your country is one thing moving to the tropics can present a whole new set of problems that one should know about before the actual move.
    Thanks for the great info!

    1. Everything you say is spot on Maureen.  My wife and I have lived in the tropics for more than 8 years and we have seen many people leave disappointed because their expectations were not tempered with reality.  If you know what you need, like great medical care, or at least regular medical care you need to know where you can find it, like Panama City, world class medical care.  The key is knowing what you need, and then researching to see where it is available.

  3. Thank you for your informative post. And your advice regarding the importance of finding out what it feels like living in the tropics on a day to day basis rather than relying on information we find online. I agree with everything you have said here. I once lived in the tropics. One thing I found out was how unreliable it was to depend solely on weather reports that didn’t give a full picture of how the weather impacted on people’s lives. I like the scorpion example you have given. That’s true. A few, though, are poisonous.

    1. Thank you for your comment ZEGU.  We have been retired in the tropics for more than 8 years and have seen too many people fail at doing it because their expectations developed by reading online did not meet the reality they discovered.  Nothing beats experience 

  4. I really appreciated the reality check. Don’t go to a luxury place as it won’t help you to make good decisions. Rather work with what’s there in the tropics and see if it’s for you! Good reminders too, to have all the boxes checked regarding medical aid, residency permits and day to day shopping. Great Information! Do you know per chance any great deals on cheap tropical trips?

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