This page answers some of the questions we’ve received about:

1) Why we completely changed our lifestyles

2) Life as nomadic travelers

3) Life as expatriates living in Portugal.  


Why quit your jobs, leave a home you love along with friends and family and start all over in a completely new direction?

Clichés become clichés for a reason and the phrase “Life is short” seemed to be beating a drum in the year 2011.  We’d reached the age where gradually, a few of our friends and close family were battling chronic illnesses and life-threatening diseases.  Living the “American Dream” had increasingly lost its allure as the things we owned gave us less pleasure and we started thinking about how to restructure our priorities.  In short, although our lives were okay, we were mired in routines that no longer mattered and we missed the anticipation of the ‘What’s next?’ part of living.  Having more time to do the things we’d put off for ‘someday’ assumed a greater importance.  Instead of waiting for a someday (which might never come) we decided we were ready for a lifestyle reset now.


But what did you do with all your stuff?

Imagine the unthinkable – getting rid of everything you own.  Selling it, donating it, or gifting it to friends, family and charities.  It took us a year to do it but that’s exactly what we did.  We passed on family heirlooms to other family members, digitized treasured photos onto DVD’s and uploaded them to our computers and the cloud, figured out what to do with our art collection, became Craig’s List experts and held two garage sales.  We leased our house and eventually sold it the third year of our travels.

Tip – Read a book or two on minimizing/simplifying and start slow.  It takes time and a major mind reset to let go of your stuff.  Two books that we read and recommend are Simplify by Joshua Becker and The Joy of Less  by Francine Joy.

What other preparations did you make?

It’s hard to believe now, but in 2011 there weren’t that many blogs online that were written by retirees deciding to sell everything and travel full-time.  We read everything available that we could find as well as blogs written by younger, full-time travelers and expats.  We made list after list of things to think about, questions that we needed to find answers to and possible problems that might come up.  Between the year that we made the decision to change our lives from traditional homeowners and employees with paychecks to nomadic retirees we:

*  Assessed our bank accounts, savings and investments

*  Assembled the documents we might need and checked the expiration dates including passports, driver’s licenses, credit cards and travel insurance

*  Talked to our accountant about how to file income taxes online

*  Updated our wills and discussed our wishes with our son and family members

*  Requested our medical records from our doctor and dentist.  We scanned these and stored them in Dropbox in the event that we would need to refer to them.  We also updated our vaccines (tetanus and flu shots) and arranged to have a series of vaccines administered for our upcoming travels including Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever and  Hepatitis A and B.

How do you support your travels?

The question everyone is thinking and no one wants to be rude enough to ask, right?  Richard receives a social security check each month (Anita is not too far away from the time she can double that income) and we withdraw savings as needed to allow for a comfortable lifestyle.  We’re not about to go bare-bones but we don’t live extravagantly either.

Tip – Either set up a budget or track your daily expenses to be more mindful of where your money goes.  It helps us to keep in mind the ‘want versus need’ conundrum.

How do you access/transfer your money?

After some research on how to avoid the high foreign transaction fee costs, we decided that the Capital One credit card and Charles Schwab debit cards would work best for us.  Capital One has no foreign transaction fees and Charles Schwab reimburses all transaction fees, both foreign and domestic, at the end of each month.  Bank of America has a traveler’s plan with no foreign transaction charges also and we use their credit and debit cards as our backup plan in the event of a damaged, lost or stolen card.  Richard’s social security is directly deposited into the Charles Schwab account and ready to access by ATM.  Also, it’s easy to transfer funds online between Bank of America and Charles Schwab as needed.

Tip – We use our credit card sparingly and for large purchases only to avoid possible credit card fraud. (This might be an example of being too cautious since that leads to the loss of credit card points we could use for future travels.)  We withdraw the local currency from the ATM and use that for day-to-day expenses.

But how do you get your mail and make/receive calls?

We use a family member’s address (a big shout-out to my sister, Kari, who acts as our fairy godmother) as our official address which allows us to keep a near normal presence in the US.  Whenever possible, we opt for the ‘paperless’ route and pay our bills online.  Since we’ve been gone for 5 years, the mail is dwindling although apparently, junk mail never dies.  We can review our bank transactions, pay credit card bills online, file our taxes and conduct other business as needed. We have a US Skype number that allows us to receive and place phone calls.  In short, unless we tell them, no one really needs to know we’re out of the country.

How did you deal with your medical needs and emergencies while traveling full-time?

For years we recommended buying an annual policy from Global Medical Insurance (IMG) with a very high deductible to cover us in case of a catastrophic accident or illness.  We both had to submit medical records and ended up with different plans with one of us receiving coverage worldwide including the US (as long as we spent at least 6 months outside the US per year) and the other obtaining coverage for any country with the exclusion of the US. We never filed a claim and the costs increased each year at exorbitant rates until we finally dropped the plan.  BUPA and CIGNA are also in the same cost bracket.  We found that going naked (or without insurance) might be an option to consider as we paid out-of-pocket throughout our travels for all our medical, dental and prescription needs. Healthcare (doctors, dentists, labs) is very reasonable once you leave the US and we’ve been pleased with the professional and knowledgeable people we’ve encountered so far. Of note, our costs for doctor’s visits and prescriptions were ridiculously (but not in a funny way) less than what we were paying in the US for insurance premiums and copays.

Tip – We’ve had several friends recommend World Nomads which is much more affordable.

What do you do about your prescription medications?

We each have a list we update regularly of our medications with both the brand and generic names, strength and the condition the medication is treating.  This includes vitamins, over-the-counter meds for nausea, cold symptoms, pain and fever, etc. In Mexico, Central and South America as well as many of the Caribbean islands, we didn’t need a written prescription to refill our meds. European countries, too, will allow you to buy a variety of medications without a prescription.  Our advice is to stock up on those prescriptions that you can and check at a pharmacy when you arrive to see how to refill what you need.  If you need a written prescription, you can get recommendations for a doctor from expat groups, hotels and the local pharmacy.  (It helped tremendously that I was a pharmacist in my former life.)

Tip – Brand and generic names may vary from country to country. Some of the names may be similar to their US counterpart or you may find that a medication you take is not available in another country.  Almost all of the pharmacies that we’ve been to have internet access and will look up the medication name and availability if you ask. Sometimes they can order a medication for you, obtain it from another pharmacy or substitute it with a similar medication.

What are some of the upsides and the downsides of full-time travel?

The Ups.  For most of the three-plus years we were nomadic, we were slow travelers and spent an average of one to three months in each country.  This allowed us to immerse ourselves into a destination, get familiar with how to navigate our way around a village or city and find out where the ATMs, markets and restaurants were located.  Traveling slow also allowed us to settle into the not-so-exciting business of living our lives with the familiar routines of cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, correspondence and researching future places to visit.  Actually living in a place, however short the time, also gave us a chance to explore and discover the landmarks and landscape at our leisure: sightseeing at its best.  We chatted up the locals as best we could in our fractured Spanglish and exchanged a lot of smiles, nods and the occasional shrug. Whenever possible, we tapped into the local expat community to ask questions and meet people, many of whom we keep in touch with still. Our favorite thing about traveling full-time was the feeling of being more in the here and now, and slowing down to appreciate the unique quality of each countries’ similarities and differences.  And always, there was the anticipation of our next destination.

Tip – We traveled like the locals too, using the low-cost and well-developed bus systems of Mexico and Central America to slow travel from destination to destination.  In countries where we were more concerned about possible violence or danger like El Salvador and Honduras, we checked with local travel agencies about shuttles and would hire recommended taxi drivers to act as our personal guides.  Many times we used public boats and ferries to take us to more remote places like Placencia in Belize, Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, and Bocas del Toro in Panama. Once we reached South America where the distances are much greater, we used local airlines which are less expensive than their international counterparts.

The Downs.  To be truthful, there were very few things that got us down for the first two-plus years.  Maybe we were in the ‘honeymoon phase’ but the sheer freedom of structuring our days (or not) as we wanted to, was exhilarating.  We loved unfolding our big wall maps of Mexico, Central and South America (something we were always glad to make room for in our limited suitcase space) and figuring out how to zig or zag our way to our next destination. Gradually though, the idea of packing and repacking, living out of a suitcase, schlepping it from bus to taxi and back, just got plain old. Deciding what clothing to pack was easy in the one-season tropical climates of Mexico, Central and South America and some of the island countries. However, once we decided to shift our travels to Europe, the clothing needs doubled for a two-season climate and our suitcases got a lot heavier.  Visa restrictions, especially the Schengen Visa (click HERE for more info) made traveling more complicated. Living in too-small rooms and making-do with just the basics in an AirBnB apartment (every traveler has experienced a dull knife or two) gradually became less enchanting. We felt a growing isolation in places where we met few people and patching together our health care needs also seemed to get incrementally harder. The glow of nomadic life gradually dimmed in year three and we knew it was time to set up a base and use it as a place to launch future travels.


Why Portugal?

Honestly, we’d always pictured ourselves living somewhere in a beach community in Mexico or somewhere in Central America.  As we traveled, we’d say, “Sure this is a nice place to visit but … could we picture ourselves living here? ” We kept a list of places that might work (interestingly, none of these were on a beach) but gradually we realized that the draw of many of the towns and cities we’d visited was more about the people we’d met than the actual places.  And, the more we traveled, the more we recognized our preference for places with historical landmarks and histories that went back centuries.  We wanted to be close to old world culture and museums as well as country landscapes including beaches and seas that we could look at for hours. We wanted to be close also, to markets and grocery stores carrying a selection of good foods and inexpensive restaurants that offered a variety of choices.  In a nutshell, we wanted our version of paradise:  a place where the cost of living was affordable, a mild climate and close proximity to many destinations for future travels.  We knew within a week of our first visit to Portugal that it had everything we were looking for – plus that indefinable feeling of coming ‘home’.  In fact, Portugal is rated Number 1 on Forbes’s 2017 Best Places To Retire Abroad and Number 3 on the 2017 Global Peace Index (right behind Iceland and New Zealand), ahead of Canada at Number 8 and a light year away from the US standing at a dismal Number 114.

How do you get a Resident Visa in Portugal?

We wrote about how to get a 4-month resident visa HERE for US citizens with some explanations and links.  To give you a recap:  you need to apply in person or by mail to a Portuguese Consulate (information can be found HERE) or the Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Information listing the various types of visas and how to apply, including a list of supporting documents needed is available HERE.  Once your initial 4-month visa is approved and you arrive in Portugal, you’ll have time to settle in before you’ll need to renew it at the SEF (Service de Estrangeiros e Frontiers or, in plain English, the Immigration Office) and submit a few more documents.  Our post detailing our first experience at the SEF can be found HERE.  This visa renewal is good for one year. The next renewal will result in a two-year resident visa which is what we have now.

Tip 1–  If it sounds complicated, we’re not going to argue.  However, think about the bureaucracy in the US for a moment (or any ‘First’ world country for that matter) and you’ll realize how many years it took to assemble your paper life.  The ‘Great Document Roundup’ as we called it may seem daunting but only because you’re amassing all the required documents at once.  Just take a deep breath, muster your patience and break things down into steps.

Tip 2 – In our various posts, we talk about hiring a lawyer to help us through the visa process.  In hindsight, this expensive assistance really isn’t necessary although a little handholding is always nice. (However, we’d rather hold our own hands at this point and save some money.)  You can do everything yourself for the first step of the visa process when you’re gathering your documents to submit to the Portuguese consulate. Once in Portugal, there are a few times when you might need a lawyer but this is a pricey way to go.  A much less costly alternative can be found in the form of a Portuguese resident who can act as your fiscal representative in obtaining a couple of documents. Check with a local expat group when you arrive for recommendations.

What is your Cost of Living?

This is the question that always interested us when we’d read about the lifestyle of other expats in various countries because, while it wasn’t our main reason for expatriating, it still played a major part in why Portugal appealed to us. We’ve kept track of our monthly expenses since September 2012, at first because we were curious as to how the countries we were traveling in would compare in terms of expenses, and as a way to monitor our own spending. We have an up-and-coming post where we’ll itemize our expenses but we have a quick and dirty estimate of our monthly costs for the last three months which includes rent, utilities, food, car maintenance and gas, health insurance, household goods and miscellaneous costs.  Excluded are travel and medical expenses.  Our monthly average is about USD $2500 – $2800 per month.  We probably eat out two to four times a month and our rent is about $900.  We’re mindful about how we spend our money but we like our comforts and splurge occasionally too.

Tip – Keep in mind that we live in the Algarve Region of Portugal which, along with the city of Lisbon, is the most expensive area of Portugal.  Your money will go farther if you opt to live in other areas.

How do you find a rental apartment in Portugal?

There’s no such thing as multiple listing here in Portugal and finding a rental can be a slog, especially in the popular Algarve where you’ll find yourself working with multiple property managers.  Rents are all over the board with the area around Lagos one of the spendiest for a long-term rental.  Anywhere between €600 – €1200 is reasonable for a 1-2 bedroom/1-2 bath apartment.  To start your own research, check out the Facebook page called Long Term Rentals Algarve for listings or type Rentals in the Algarve region of Portugal into your browser for listings and property managers.

Tip – We tell people who are thinking about visiting the Algarve area and Lagos in particular to avoid the high season months June through August and maybe even the shoulder season months, May and September, when rents are at their highest and tourists crowd the streets.  AirBnB has listings for short-term rentals anywhere you want to visit and nothing beats the boots-on-the ground approach to finding a year-round rental you like.

What about buying a house or condo?

We don’t know about the rest of the Algarve, but a common sight in Lagos are the cranes silhouetted against the sky and apartments and condos in various stages of building.  Signs saying ‘For Sale’ or ‘A venda’ can be seen wherever you look. It’s a hot market and the asking prices are still climbing way past anything we’d want to spend.  Having divested ourselves of our property back in the US, we much prefer the freedom of renting versus tying ourselves down anywhere. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be upside.  At the very least, wait until you’ve been here awhile and have had a chance to explore the variety of regions and the country to find what suits you best.  We happen to like the more rural, laid-back feel and climate of the Algarve but friends of ours prefer the central and northern coasts around Lisbon and Porto where there’s more of a cosmopolitan vibe.

But what if I die?

We can give the flippant answer of We’re all going to die, which is far from helpful or give you our Hereafter philosophy.  (Trust us, you don’t want to hear it, you probably won’t agree with it, and it’s way more shallow than deep.)  That said, we drafted our first US will in the eighties, after our one-and-only was born, and we’ve updated it periodically since then.  Copies of our newest will are kept at my sister’s home along with our dwindling stack of important papers which include our Durable Power-of-Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive.  A few months ago, we met with our Portuguese attorney and had him write a will for what few assets (car, bank account) we own here in Portugal.  This will is written in Portuguese with an English translation.  It’s pretty basic but among other things, our Portuguese will mentions that we also have a will back in the US. It specifically states that we do not want our remains to be repatriated to the US which is a huge expense and a why bother? (No one in either of our families seems to care that much about our decision to remain wherever we drop either.)  And, continuing with the mortal remains theme, last week we pre-paid for our imminent demise with a bare-bones (no pun intended) international funeral plan that includes everything we can anticipate.  We’re also in the process of letting trusted friends here in Portugal know where our papers can be found.  And, in keeping with Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying, “ … the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes,” our next question tackles the second part.

How do you deal with your taxes?

Google the question, “Do I have to pay US taxes if I live overseas?” and the answer is a resounding “Yes.” The sad reality is that leaving the country does not mean you can leave this obligation behind, no matter how much you’d like to.  If you are a US citizen, you are required to pay income taxes no matter where you reside.  (For our readers who aren’t from the US, it’s worth checking out what your tax laws are if you’re considering long-term travel or expating.) Since we’re somewhat lazy and generally hazy on anything tax related, we have a Texas accountant who keeps current with the laws and has helped us file our taxes for several years.  Because we’ve done our damnedest to simplify our lives (no paycheck, no property, few deductions) our taxes are simpler to file too.

TIP – Paper tends to add weight when you’re traveling full-time and clutter when you’re not, so we scan copies of all our medical expenses and receipts to our computer and upload them to Dropbox in case we’re ever audited.

TIP – For those of you considering an expat life living and working in another country as a U.S. citizen (instead of a totally idyllic retirement like us) you are also required to file.  And yes, the IRS wants to know all about any money you make overseas.

If I get a resident visa to live in Portugal, do I have to pay taxes in Portugal?

This question gets you the wishy-washy answer of Yes and No and, since we’re not lawyers, accountants, nor remotely interested in trying to grasp any legal intricacies, we’ll try to skim-answer this question as best we understand it.  (In other words, if you want a better answer, ask someone else.)  Foreign residents who live in Portugal are called (probably one of the nicer names anyway) Non-Habitual Residents (NHR) and Portugal has a tax treaty in place with the US and several other countries that exempts these residents from double taxation on their foreign income.  Since we’re retirees, this exemption means that we don’t have to pay taxes in Portugal on our US social security and money from our retirement plans. Of course, nothing is that easy and you have to:

1) register as a non-resident taxpayer

2) obtain your residency visa

3) register as a tax resident in Portugal and

4) then apply for the NHR exemption which is applicable for ten years.

A link that explains this requirement better can be found Here and there are more answers online.  To be compliant, you need to file annual tax returns in Portugal, stating your worldwide income and provide adequate documentation as well as proof that you’ve paid your income tax back in the US.  We copied and submitted our income tax returns which worked just fine.

How difficult is it to set up a bank account?

In recent years, many foreign banks are refusing to work with American citizens because the US imposes burdensome filing requirements upon them but we found it remarkably easy to set up a bank account in Portugal and we made a good friend, Teresa, in the bargain.  (We refer all our friends to her.)  We picked Millennium BCP bank because it seems to be located in almost every city and village in Portugal, and our new BFF, Teresa, patiently walked us through all the forms. The bank account required passports, our rental lease, our fiscal numbers (trust us, this essential number, also known as an NIF, will be the most important part of your official new identity as a resident of Portugal) and a copy of our US social security cards.  We left with a stack of papers that included online instructions and passwords welcoming us and our money to the new Millennium family and received debit cards in the mail a couple of weeks later.

Note – We set up our account in November of 2015.  We’ve talked to friends who have set up accounts recently and our info still appears to be current.

TIP – If you plan to set up a bank account in Portugal (or any foreign country for that matter) this link is a terrific quick and dirty into to what you need to know about foreign bank account reporting as a US expat. And you can sound like an expat pro to your friends and family when you casually drop the acronyms FATCA and FBAR into your conversations.

Can you give me the lowdown on all things medical in Portugal?

This won’t be a surprise to anyone from the US, but we receive a lot of questions related to Portugal’s healthcare system from US citizens and retirees. As residents of Portugal, we are entitled to access the National Health Service (the Portuguese Serviço Nacional de Saúde or SNS) for almost free public healthcare.  Almost immediately after we received our residency cards, we signed up at our local health service center in Lagos bringing our passports along with us as required.  We were each issued a paper with our individual numbers to use in the event that we find it necessary to use the public healthcare system. That said, we understand that, although the care is good at the public hospitals, the waiting lists for routine visits can be longer than what we’d like and that many of Portugal’s public hospital and clinics may be crowded and understaffed. Instead, we’ve elected to access the private hospitals using our private health insurance company Medis, which was offered through our bank for a cost of €46 per person each month.  With private insurance, we have no problems getting in to see English-speaking doctors at the private hospitals in a timely manner and the care we’ve received has exceeded our expectations.  After coming from the US where many of the doctors are stressed out, overworked and all-too-often forget the human side of health care, it’s been awesome to find doctors who are warm and caring and our visits to them unhurried. The copays vary from €15 -25 and, if a prescription is necessary, we can get a discount at the pharmacy when the doctor writes down our national health service number.

The pharmacies are also quite different in Portugal compared to the US.  Some medications like inhalers are available without a prescription and when your prescription is presented, the medication is located, a notation is written on your prescription indicating that the medication has been dispensed and the prescription is handed back to you. Quick, efficient and quite a bit simpler than filling a prescription in the US but, my critique as a former pharmacist would be that there seems to be little advice given nor screening for drug interactions. There are upsides however, and almost all of the drug prices are much lower than in the US.

TIP – Make sure to ask for the generic as it won’t automatically be offered.

TIP – A good reference that will help answer your questions regarding Healthcare in Portugal can be found Here.

How’s that learning Portuguese going?

In the Algarve area of Portugal, as well as the larger cities of Lisbon and Porto, it’s not hard to get by with English as your primary language.  And, because laziness is always our convenient fallback, the fact that English is spoken widely has proven to be our greatest stumbling block.  We really have to put forth an effort to find locals to practice our Portuguese with as they, in turn, like practicing their English on us expats. That said, Richard (as always more diligent when it comes to language learning) has been attending classes twice a week for several months and is actually making some progress.  I, on the other hand, have found all sorts of excuses to avoid this exercise and fervently believe that (some) spouses should never attend the same classes if they want to remain happily married.  Eventually though, I realize that I need to ‘get with the program’ so to speak, and make a real effort to learn some Portuguese since this is our adopted country.  We love exploring other parts of the country where finding English speakers is more difficult and having some familiarity with the language really enhances our experience.

TIP – Here’s a great online resource for learning European Portuguese (which differs from Brazilian Portuguese) that we’ve found useful.

And, our final question (for those of you still with us) is:

This lifestyle reset to become a fulltime traveler and/or expat sounds like a lot of work. Is it worth it? 

Yes and Yes!  We’ve heard variations of this question several times and rather than painting a rosy picture and telling a happily-ever after fairytale, we have to admit that shaking up our lives has been, in some respects, the hardest we’ve ever worked. The flip side to that is, it’s also been the hardest we’ve ever played and the past years have been some of the best in our lives. Trading the routine and the known is a great and trusting leap into the unknown cosmos of foreign plane, train and bus terminals, unique and exotic cultures and different languages, customs and rules.  And sure, there have been downsides: bureaucratic tape and finding work-arounds to get things done, patience-testing situations (that we generally fail first time around) and things that make us exercise our ‘colorful’ vocabularies. But, we can truthfully say that we have nevercontemplated going back to our old lives.  For us, going forward is infinitely more rewarding and making the decision to shake up our lives six years ago has wildly exceeded our expectations.

Last updated November 13, 2017


  • Anita and Richard. Enjoy your blog and details on the immigration process. I also love travel, Portugal and have considered retiring overseas. My question is for Anita. Would you have made this move/transition if you were a single woman of 65? Or, would you have remained more of a ‘nomad’, with lengthy trips and a US base? Just curious, and this might be impossible to really answer! But knowing yourself as you do. It helps to share some of the ups/downs of tedious relocation with a partner I think….on the other hand!

    I’m a former Peace Corps volunteer, and since my mid-20s always felt I would live or retire overseas again…just haven’t decided where, so I continue to travel solo.

    Robin – California Traveler


    • Hello Robin. Thanks for your comment and please accept my apology for a very belated answer to your great question. This question really made me think about solo travel in light of my first experience last year traveling through Vietnam and Cambodia for several weeks on my own. There’s no doubt that it’s easier to be nomadic as a couple who watch each other’s backs and share companionship as well as the ups and downs that come with international travel but I also found that it was much easier to meet people on my own versus being part of a couple. I have many independent, older women friends in and around the Algarve who have made their homes here and love it. There is a very strong presence of single women here throughout Portugal and I can just about guarantee that you would form your own community of friends shortly if you choose to retire in Portugal. But, what’s great is, you can make your decision in steps. Travel around Portugal on your own, meet some of the expats and then make the move if you decide Portugal is right for you. As a former Peace Corps volunteer and experienced solo traveler, I think you’ll find that making a base in Portugal is easier than you think and there are lots of people to ask about their own experiences should you have any questions. Please give a shout-out if you make it to the Algarve and I’ll introduce you to some of them. I’d love to meet you!


  • Jeraldine McCormick

    What would be the age limit for your Portugal health insurance? Can you share the name of your Portugal health insurance? Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good question, Jeraldine and one, unfortunately that we can’t answer with any guaranteed accuracy. However, we have a Canadian friend who recently obtained the same health insurance we carry (Medis which is offered by our bank, Millennium BCP) and he’s 73. Millennium banks are found in many cities and towns throughout Portugal. We hope this answer helps and we wish you the best of luck!


      • My thank you is coming late, thanks again! I am in Portugal now been here since May and have applied for my residency card. Am hoping it will come soon, applied for it on June 11th. So now for my next question. Portugal driver license. Your experiences in applying for one and how soon does one need to apply after arriving in Portugal.

        By the way congrats on your new location and new home!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Jere and a belated welcome to Portugal. Your question on exchanging your US driver’s license for a Portuguese DL is a good one and a great example of don’t-do-what-we-did! Since you arrived here in May, I’m going to assume that you have your 1st SEF appointment ahead of you which is when you’ll receive your 1-year residency visa. Once you receive that visa, you have a 90-DAY WINDOW in which you can exchange your US DL for a Portuguese DL at the IMT office,Institute for Mobility and Transport, in Faro. (Here’s where our lesson learned may help you as we kinda freaked and balked at surrendering our US licenses since we still visit the US and drive there. However, it is legal to drive on a PT license in the US so our initial reluctance has been a big regret since as we’ll have to take a driving test in addition to providing the documents I’ll list for you. 🙁) Here’s what you need: your US driver’s license, your passport, your residency card, a form signed by a doctor saying that you’ve passed a physical, your Portuguese fiscal number, a certified driving history from the US state your DL is from, and the €30 fee. While you’re waiting for your SEF appointment, you can go ahead and order you certified driving history from your state which is good for 6 months. Tip: The IMT wants the ORIGINAL certified copy, not the online copy that you can print out. You may need to pay more to have it mailed to PT. You can also go ahead and schedule a physical. Good luck and let us know how it goes! P.S. I may be jumping out on a limb here but I’m thinking you’re the same Jere from Bouquete, Panama who is a friend of Remi’s. If so, we’re looking forward to meeting you on of these days!


          • Many thanks for the tips. I received my residency card this past Thursday. Since, I have a Panama driver’s license, I need to do this via Panama. I just wanted to know if it was same thing, I was told and seems that it is. I am havig a lawyer in Panama look into it. To do anything online in Panama is hopeless, one has to rely a lawyer unfortunately.

            Yes, I am Jere and my companion Remi mentioned receiving your email this morning. We both look forward to a visit and I for one look forward to meeting you both. Thanks again.

            Liked by 1 person

  • Can you please advise on two things?

    1) I know you opted to travel light but did you ultimately have any clothing in the states sent to you? If so, can you please explain how that works and any customs issues you may have experienced? For example, paying duty and VAT on clothing you already bought previously in the U.S.?

    2) Similar to #1, do you buy things like clothing and other products and ship it to Portugal? I have heard horror stories about customs. Just not sure if everything I read is legit. I am an LL Bean fanatic and would like to buy online and ship to Portugal when I am there. An alternative, of course, is fly to America for a visit and bring stuff back in my luggage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gary and welcome to our blog. We understand brand loyalty and miss our Levi jeans and Tevas. The one time we tried to have shoes and clothing mailed to us from the US was about two years into our travels when we were in Guatemala and it was not a pleasant experience as they were held hostage in customs. We finally retrieved them but have to confess that we never tried it again. That said, the mail service in Portugal is reliable and we’ve been tempted to order some American brands online but have never done so, exactly because we’ve heard those same stories about customs charges. Our solution has also been what you’ve suggested – stock up like crazy on our favorite brands of clothing, shoes and other items when we visit the US. We take the added precaution of removing the tags. However, the shopping here in Portugal is great with some familiar US brands and many other quality European manufactures. And, after two-and-a-half years here in Portugal, we’re finding that it’s getting easier to switch our loyalty to other brands.


  • I have been following your transition to Portugal…please don’t think I’m stalking…I am learning! Husband and I spent 5 weeks in Portugal this summer and we are in love. Still working, but your blog has helped us think that making the transition is really possible. Spent 9 days in the Algarve and I have been on websites looking for an apartment for next year. Still wondering when is the right time…both 65 and wanting to do this yesterday! Came back from Portugal and going through closets giving things away…it’s a start!
    Bravo to you for taking the leap. I am ready…Hubby is skittish, but getting there. Hope to meet for a coffee in the Algarve soon. Obrigada for all your helpful tips!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re so happy that you’ve found our bog posts about Portugal to be useful and informative. We try to write information that we wish we’d read when we were navigating our way through the visa application process and settling into life as residents in Portugal. 🙂 And isn’t Portugal an amazing country? It’s hard to say what the right time is for each person to make the leap into expat living and perhaps the thing to do is look at it as an evolving process. For us, we started with the downsizing and tidying up all the loose ends in our US lives which took several months. And it took us a few years of full time traveling before we landed here with a “Eureka” feeling of discovery that it sounds like you’re echoing now! We’d love to meet you on your next visit (or when you move) to Portugal. Coffee and conversation with people excited about travel and Portugal is one of our favorite things to do!


  • Robert and Jenni

    Hello Anita and Richard, 1st I’d like to thank you for doing your blog on Portugal, it by far is the best out there for information on what it takes to retire there. Like the two of you my wife and I sold everything, packed it all up and left the USA in 2015 for Thailand. We currently live in Chiang Mai which is wonderful 😉 and a great base to explore SE Asia. But our gypsy wind is blowing and we feel the need to find another base to explore another part of the world which we are now thinking is Portugal, possibly around Porto. The steps you provided on extended stay Visas helped us build a plan and we have booked a trip there to spend a few months there this Sept. We are also looking at Spain and Croatia. As you well know it is all the “Visa game” that really in the end makes the decisions (The Portugal embassy in Bangkok is being very helpful with expat Visas according to our Venezuelan friends! Let’s hope 😉). Besides Agoda and other hotel sites do you know any good local Portuguese sites to rent long term for a month or so? The AirBnB deal isn’t what it used to be. Also, any recommendations for an immigration lawyer in Porto? We are planning to sit down with someone and get all the nuts and bolts information it will take to move there long term. Thanks again Robert-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robert and Jenni! Thanks so much for your kind comments and we’re glad that the info we’ve provided on living as a resident in Portugal has been helpful for you. It sounds like we have a lot in common since you too have shed the things from your old life and made the big leap into a new one. We’ve just picked different areas of the world to explore although SE Asia is still on our list!
      As for longterm rentals – AirBnB is still our go-to site for longer term rentals. We always ask for the monthly rate and it’s surprising how much cheaper it can be. You can also haggle a bit back and forth, especially if it’s the low season. Another alternative is to arrange for accommodations for a few days and then do an on-the-ground search with rental and property agents when you arrive.
      We have a lawyer that we can recommend who’s based out of Lisbon but, to be perfectly honest and looking back at our experience, most of the steps you can do yourself if you’re watching your Dollars, Euros or Baht. Of course, there’s nothing like a handhold through every step which is what we got when we retained him. Since we didn’t know anyone else who had been through the experience of being a US citizen applying for a Portuguese visa, Duarte proved to be an excellent choice. His full name is Duarte Ornelas Monteiro and his email is dom@lugna.pt. Feel free to mention our names as we still do business with him (most recently a will leaving our car and bank account to our son and our tax report) and he’s become a friend of ours.
      I’m going to copy and paste this note and send it to your email too along with a link to my email. If you find yourself in the Algarve area, we’d love to meet up with you and trade travel stories! Anita


  • Hi Richard and Anita. I have enjoyed following your blog for several months and I can’t tell you how much you have inspired us! And gave us courage! We just retired and sold our house as of March. We’re spending April to recover and plan our future. We have a flight booked for May and will spend a month in the Algarve region. We have now officially become roving retirees and our plan is to spend at least a year exploring Europe, jumping in and out of that pesky Schengen zone. We plan on using Airbnb and also hope to do some house sitting along the way. We’d love to meet you and other expats in the area, if possible. I do have a question if you or any of your readers could answer. What are you doing about your phone service? I looked at the ekit but it looks like they charge quite a bit for texting and phone calls. Thanks for any help you can offer.
    Best regards,
    Becky and Larry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment and we’re so glad that our story has resonated with you. And congratulations on your retirement and decision to pursue a totally different lifestyle. Retiring early, traveling full-time for three years and now part-time, this lifestyle has been the best decision we’ve ever made!

      I like your term, “roving retirees” and think your plan of traveling through Europe (in and out of the Schengen zone) is going to be a lot of fun. There are so many amazing countries nearby and just a short flight away that taking your time, traveling slow and living locally will be an amazing experience for you. We love AirBnB and use it whenever we can – we also enjoyed our experiences with housesitting.

      We are using a local phone service, MEO with a Samsung unlocked phone. For a small charge per call, we’ve been told that we can use this service anywhere in Europe and I know it worked when we were in Spain a few months ago. The sim card can be exchanged to a T-Mobile sim card when we visit the US. In Portugal there’s also Vodaphone and NOS for local services and I believe they have about the same benefits. To be truthful, up until we moved to Portugal we managed just fine using Skype as our main service. Skype has a subscription service (about $90/year) where you can call any phone in North America: US, Canada and Mexico. We also have a Skype # where people can call us or leave a message. This is handy as not everyone hangs out in front of their computers and we can talk to our family anytime as well as contact our bank, accountant or other businesses occasionally. You can also purchase credit and make calls to a multitude of countries as desired. However, maybe we’re old school, but we do a lot of our communication by email and, unless we’re expecting a call, forget our phone about half the time! Kind of a nice tie to break as far as I’m concerned! 😁

      We’d love to meet you while you’re here in the Algarve. Once you arrive and have an idea what you want to do, give us a shout out and hopefully we can meet for coffee or lunch.

      Welcome to the golden years!


      • Thank you for your lengthy and informative reply! You two are the best at responding to your followers and I know we all appreciate it!

        You are the reason we decided to start our adventure in the Algarve. After the whirl that has been our life the last few months we need some serious down time. Can’t wait to lay on the beach and read a book and have no agenda. And load up on some vitamin D (hey, we live in Seattle).

        We have a condo booked in Tavira for May 12 to June 9. I know it’s on the other end of the Algarve region, closer to Spain, but I’m sure we’ll be exploring the entire are and will certainly get to Lagos.

        We’d love to get together and hope we can arrange something when the time gets closer. Thanks in advance for any other questions I may pepper you with!


        Liked by 1 person

        • We love Tavira. It’s a beautiful little city and you’re sure to enjoy it. And, by US standards, it’s not that far from Lagos! We’ll be out of the country until the end of May but would love to meet you while you’re still here in June. Enjoy your downtime, soak up that Vitamin D and for sure, let’s try to get together in June!


          • Thank you so much! We will!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Becky and Larry St.Clair

            Hi Anita and Richard. I assume you’re back from your trip by now? We’d love to meet you if possible and we’d be willing to travel to Lagos. We have plans on June 6 (a cooking class!) and we leave on June 9 but otherwise we’re pretty flexible. I guess you have my email so just contact me when you feel rested after your trip. Thanks!
            Becky and Larry

            Liked by 1 person

            • Your email was timed perfectly. We’ve been back for a few days, washed a mountain of laundry, had houseguests from Curacao (we were there 3 years ago) for the weekend and are now are taking deep breaths! Hope you’re enjoying your time in Tavira and I really hope that you’ve have some time to explore around the Algarve as there are some pretty little villages and cities up and down the coast and, of course, some gorgeous beaches too. It’s a great place to kick off your travels. Yes! Let’s meet up. Things are very flexible for us as well up until the 8th so lunch and some conversation anytime works out great. Did you want to come to Lagos and see a bit of the city or … ? We’re looking forward to hearing about your plans for the next chapter in your lives. This is a great time to be travelers and Europe is an amazing place to start!


              • Becky and Larry St.Clair

                Wonderful! We’d be happy to meet you in Lagos somewhere as we have a car rented. Does Sunday or Monday work for you? Just let me know and we’ll be happy to work around your schedule. We’ve only spent a little time in Lagos so we’d love to look around more. Thanks again!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Let’s get together by email and work the details out. I’m sending a note to your email *the_stclairs* now with some ideas. Let me know if you don’t receive it. Looking forward to a meet up!


                  • Becky and Larry St.Clair

                    Hi Anita. I haven’t received an email yet.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Hi Becky– Nothing? Hmm. Re-sent again… but here’s a copy & paste: Sunday works out great for us and we can plan on lunch anytime. How does 12 or 1 ish sound? There are a number of restaurants that serve traditional Portuguese dishes as well as a few Indian restaurants and good Japanese/Chinese offerings too. Lots of restaurants to choose from and the outdoor seating lets you people watch for added entertainment!
                      Since you’re a little familiar with Lagos you might remember seeing the carousel which is on the main street coming into Lagos that parallels the marina canal. We can meet there, pick a place for a drink and even move on to another for lunch if you’d like. There may be street parking nearby (good for 2-3 hours only) but our preference is the underground parking garage which is just a little ways past the carousel.
                      Let me know if this sounds like a plan to you. Then we’ll figure out a way to make sure we recognize each other! 😊 Anita


    • Husband&Husband

      We are considering our retirement and our biggest concern regards healthcare. From the US we will retire on our social security at age 62/63 My spouse has type 1 diabetes and it seems that private insurance isn’t available. I also have read that after 90 days residency you can apply for the national health program. I assume we will have to have travel insurance initially but will be responsible or all his diabetic supplies, test strips, etc.. Is the national program available to non EU people who become residents there? Any insight you can provide will be appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People who aren’t from the US don’t understand our obsession with healthcare or why it’s so outrageously expensive in our country. In fact, that was one of the big reasons we decided to leave the country when we retired early because we couldn’t afford to pay for a policy on our own. You will need travel insurance initially and then can sign up with a private insurance company (we use Medis but there are others) when you move here. You can start to use it after 3 months and there’s no exam, no questionairre and no pre-existing exclusions. We pay roughly $50 USD/month per person. Once we met with the SEF (Portuguese Immigration) and obtained our residence cards, we signed up with the National Health System and were assigned numbers. As far as we understand it, we are eligible to use the National Health System just as a Portuguese citizen would do. (The waiting list is long but you do eventually get there!) So far we’ve been quite happy with our private insurance – we pay a copay but we get right in to see our doctors and also specialists. We do use the National Healthcare # to get discounts on our prescriptions. It’s a complicated subject and we hope this answers your question. Congratulations on starting a new chapter soon and enjoy those “golden years.” If you make it to Portugal, make sure to drop us a note!


  • Thank You Anita & Richard.
    I too would like to retire there. Do you know any realtors that can help me find a place?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We can give a heartfelt recommendation of our property managers/realtors, Fred and Doreen Lloyd who helped us find our place and manage the apartment we rent. We referred a couple of our friends to them and they’ve been pleased with their help, too. (In fact we joked we might have to ask for a commission!) They can be reached at doreen@algarveapartment.co.uk or they have a web page at http://algarveapartment.co.uk/ . Just let them know that Anita & Dick mentioned them. Several friends have had luck with renting short term rentals through AirBnB and, if you belong to Facebook, typing in longterm rentals Algarve in the search box will bring up web pages. The best time to look for a place to rent/buy is during the low season, September to May when the Algarve isn’t overwhelmed with tourists. One last thing to keep in mind is that the rental pool isn’t multiple listed: you may have to work with several different agents to view the one or two property listings each has. Good luck! 🙂


  • Hello Anita & Richard. What made you decide on Portugal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Paulo. Thanks for stopping by our bog and also for commenting. And you’ve asked the million dollar question! There are lots of answers but the simplest one is that Portugal “felt” like a place where we could live for as long as we want right from the start. The weather in the Algarve is moderate year round with temps that are easy to live in both summer and winter and there’s over 300 days of sunshine. We both wanted to live near the sea and here in Lagos we have an ocean view and can walk to the beach in less than 5 minutes. English is spoken widely, the cost of living is much cheaper than in the US and quality health care is very affordable. We’ve talked more about our reasons for moving here in-depth as well as jumping through the hoops to get our resident visas and you’ll find much more information under the heading, “Moving to Portugal” at the top of our blog. Hope this answers your question and maybe you’ll find additional info on things you hadn’t even thought to ask! But, if you have more questions, feel free to ask. You’re talking about our favorite topic, Portugal!


  • Great Blog! We are planning to something similar starting in April, 2017. In fact our starting point will be Portugal. We have been doing a lot of research and one area that concerns us is health insurance and we have been looking at IMG. I am 65 and my wife is 59. You stated that Richard has dropped his IMG since he is eligible for Medicare which i am too. However it is my understanding that Medicare does not cover us outside of the US. What plan did he sign up for? Any help on health insurance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Steve and thanks for stopping by our blog and commenting. Congratulations on making the decision to travel and live abroad. We can tell you without any reservations that we’ve never regretted our decision to “give it all up” and in fact feel that we’ve gained far more than we gave up! Our lives are both fuller and richer.
      Ah, but there’s that pesky matter of health insurance. We both carried IMG insurance while we were traveling full time and, despite the fact that we never made a claim, our rates kept climbing each year. Richard’s plan covered him in every country but the US which was solved once he turned 65 years old and became eligible for Medicare. You’re right, though, Medicare only covers recipients located in the US. Once we received our resident visas in Portugal, we signed up for a private health care plan (€45/month/person) and are now covered in the country where we spend the greatest amount of time. Richard is covered in the US (Medicare) and now Portugal and we’ve decided to pay his costs elsewhere out of pocket if a need arises during our travels. Since I still have 5 more years before I can qualify for Medicare (like your wife) I’ve elected to keep my IMG plan (which required a health exam) even though it is prohibitively expensive because it covers me everywhere in the world including the US.
      It’s a complicated answer and an even more convoluted solution. I wish I could give you a better answer. Many of our friends that we’ve met along the way have simply elected to pay out of pocket or “go insurance-naked.” Definitely a tough choice and, if you come up with a more elegant solution, we’d love to hear from you!


  • Hi Anita and Richard, I have never been to Portugal and I am wondering if you can recommend a place where a single woman may stay for a month? I do not drive and anyway prefer to walk and take public transport. I love museums and gardens, food and the sea 🙂 And if she can’t speak Portuguese? Though I guess one can learn. I spent 30 days in Istanbul last year and didn’t have to speak much Turkish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mary. We could go on and on about Portugal and what an awesome country it is to travel in and I’m so glad to hear you’re interested in a visit. In the Algarve Region, where we are currently based, English is widely spoken due to the high number of Brits and European tourists for whom English is a common language. (In fact, English is so widely spoken that I’m mortified to admit that we’ve procrastinated learning some Portuguese due to sheer laziness.) We’ve also had no problems traveling to other areas in Portugal as there is always someone who knows some basic English and you’ll find tourist info businesses will be fluent.
      As for places we’d recommend with good public transportation and museums our first recommendation would be Lisbon which has the bus, metro, sea, multiple museums, etc. We’ve not yet been to Porto but from what I hear it’s also a pedestrian friendly city. And of course, Lagos is easy to navigate around by foor or by taxis, buses and a train that goes up and down the coast. It has miles of coastline and the sea but few museums.
      The best times to travel to Portugal would be anytime but June, July and August when the prices along the coast and especially the Algarve can triple. We’ve found some great and reasonable rentals in Portugal through AirBnB and have a property manager we can recommend if you’re interested in the Lagos area.
      Hope this helps and let us know when you make the trip to Portugal. Face to face meet ups are always fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  • ME BE in Panama

    Love reading the blog, keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I just found your blog today. I’ll have to give more of your posts a read! We’re a couple starting our year off starting this august, and travelling for the entire year, South America before Christmas and then heading to Europe for the remainder of the year. If it works out we would like to live abroad when we retire for real. We are considering a trip to Morocco because we have to watch our days in the Schengen zone. The goats in the trees look really interesting! Great Pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by our blog and we’re so glad you enjoyed browsing through the posts. Deciding to travel has been the best decision we ever made and we’re enjoying living in Portugal now so that we can continue to explore Europe at our leisure. Part of the fun of traveling is the actual planning and research and then comes the hard part of making the choices – there are so many fascinating places to visit. If you make it to Portugal let us know!


  • Hola Anita & Richard, we’re on the downhill run of our 9 week trail of Boquete, Panama. We’ve enjoyed so much of the culture here and can easily picture ourselves settling into a comfortable retirement here. However, the rental market has become very tight (we’ve been told a group of 200+ people following their pastor down here) within the past year.
    Our second expat destination is Cuenca, Ecuador and we’ve decided to give it a harder look, especially costs of quality rentals as compared to Boquete. Do you follow/recommend any blogs from Cuenca? Thanks for any suggestions. Mariah & By

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boquete was a very popular expat destination a couple of years ago when we were in Panama and, even then the prices were rising and (IMO the housing prices were outrageous!) I think your plans to check out and compare different destinations in Central and South America are a great idea so that you’ll find a place that’s a good fit for you. After all, look where we ended up 🙂 ! And do I have a great blog for you written by an online and facebook friend of mine, Dyanne Kruger who’s lived in Cuenca now for about 2 years. Her excellent blog can be found at http://www.travelnlass.com/ and has all sorts of great info. We also have an acquaintance who’s a realtor there that I can put you in touch with. I’ll be interested to hear what you think! Anita


  • Hi just spent all morning enjoying the reading many of your posts! We loved reading a lot your experiences.
    We immigrated from the U.S. To Vancouver Canada in 2005 and never looked back.
    We did take a year to experience, albeit not as extensive, world travel and being nomads.
    Like yourselves,,the experience was memorable and life changing. We are now back HOME in
    Vancouver but will plan to leave once again in a few years for shorter trips.
    Letting go, living with less, allowing open minds, too, have enhanced our enjoyment and joy of living.
    We especially liked your entry on Merida where we lived for four months falling in love with its people and places.
    The very best to you both!
    Here is my simple blog, not as extensive or as well written as your enhanced entries but a start.
    I have not decided if we will upgrade our free blog yet or whether the story will continue on the pages of a blog.
    Thanks again and we will be following you!

    Ron and Ben

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by our blog and your kind words. It’s always great to meet people with a passion for travel, learning and new experiences in their own country as well as foreign places. “Letting go” is a great feeling and can really put into focus the things that are most important in life as well as what’s extraneous. I enjoyed reading many of your blog entries and your well written descriptions of Merida brought back a lot of great memories. Wishing you the best of luck too and great times whether at home or on the road! Anita


  • Great blog! I’m the publisher/editor of the Ecuador Coastal Newsletter.com (http://www.ecuadorcoastalnewsletter.com), and I would love to re-post a portion of this. It would have full credits to you of course, and would push readers to your site for ‘the full story’.

    ¡gracias y salud!


  • Wonderful what you are doing. My husband and I plan to travel long term once our pets pass on. Just wondering how are you dealing with staying in Europe for an extended period of time due to the schengen visa rule of 90 day limit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great question Kimberly about that pesky Schengen visa and its 90-day limit! Originally we had planned to move in and out of the Schengen area in 3 month intervals. That is, travel in the zone for the 90 days then leave and spend 90 days in non-Schengen countries such as England, Scotland, etc. before returning. However, the more we traveled in Portugal, the more we fell in love with the area and … spoiler alert! we returned to the US a couple of weeks ago to gather our documents and apply for a residency visa for Portugal which, once it’s approved, will allow us to claim Portugal as a residence (working toward a permanent visa) and continue our travels in Europe with Portugal as a base. We’ll be writing about our decision and the process in a few more weeks. Fingers crossed! As for your plans, congratulations! We’ve been traveling full-time almost 3 years and still think that this is the best decision we’ve ever made. Anita


      • TabogaIslandHouse

        Good day! I and my husband will be doing (hopefully soon) what you are currently doing – traveling and ultimately getting our Portugal visa. We sold everything in the U.S. and moved to Isla Taboga, Panama 10 years ago and are now ready for new adventures! Wanted to receive emails when anything new is posted to your blog. However, when we hit “follow” there was nowhere to enter my email address. Would you be so kind as to advise on how to accomplish this? Also, really looking forward to seeing how you experience the “visa process” first hand as every one has a different story to tell. Ciao! Jeannette & Thijs


        • Congratulations! This is a momentous decision even though as expats you’ve gone through some very similar preparations 10 years ago when you moved to Panama. We’ll be writing about the Visa process for Portugal and hopefully we’ll have a better idea after August 27th as we will be presenting our application to the Consular Section of the Portuguese Embassy in Washington DC. Only a few days to go … I think you’re set up to follow our blog as I received a notification that a new subscriber (you) had been added. I’m not sure what happened but if you find that you’re not receiving our posts (right now we’re posting every other Saturday) we’ll follow up with our WordPress site. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to write with questions or comments anytime! Anita


  • Wow! A really inspiring story Anita and Richard.
    I hope that I can do the same as you real soon. I am currently woking, but planning on be a nomad or a lifelong traveler.
    Hopefully you will be travelling to Romania soon! I live in Bucharest now, and I am pretty sure that you will love the city and Romania as well.
    If you come, please email me at laura@familyvacation.com, I would be very happy to give you insights and tips about where to go our or what to visit in the city or country.

    It is a must visit!

    Be great,
    Laura Oana


    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting on our blog, Laura as well as your lovely offer to give us some local insights and information when we visit Romania, hopefully in the not-to-distant future. Good luck in your preparations to become a long term traveler. We say it often but it’s still the best decision we’ve ever made and we’re excited to hear about others getting ready to see as much as they can of this amazing planet!


  • Hi Anita and Richard,
    We are preparing to do the same as you guys in the next year, although I think we’ll begin in SE Asia. Tell me about your experience with the IMG insurance. Have you been happy with it? Did you go with the Silver or Gold plan?

    Also, which documents have you had apostilled? Have you needed them in your travels/getting visas, etc? Did you guys bring extra passport photos in case you decide to stay longer in a country?

    Thanks in advance,
    Amanda & Dan


    • Congratulations on your decision to make long-term travel your life-style! It really is the best decision we’ve ever made and we’re hoping to continue traveling for a long time.
      Our main concern with insurance was what to do when we returned to the US for visits and that was the big reason we chose IMG when we first began our travels. This year (our 3rd to use it) Richard decided not to renew his policy as he is now eligible for Medicare in the US. I will carry my policy but, truthfully, I’m not sure that it is worth the money. We have made no claims, choosing to pay for everything out of pocket and, even though Richard has some health problems, health care is much cheaper outside the US. To insure or not – It’s a real dilemma…
      As for the apostilles – that again was something that probably isn’t necessary and we’ve never used the documents that we had apostilled. Our thinking was that they might be necessary for teaching English as a second language but they’ve not proven necessary. Furthermore, most of the documents are date-stamped and we’ll have to go through the process (and expense) once again if and when we decide to apply for a residency visa in a foreign country.
      We do have a couple of extra passport photos in the event that our passports are lost or stolen. We usually carry only a color photocopy with us as we go about our sight-seeing and leave the originals at our apartment or hotel to decrease the chance of loss or theft.
      We’ll be interested in hearing from you as you prepare for your new life. Please stay in touch, Anita and Richard


  • You guys rock! It’s great to see some kindred spirits. Safe travels.


  • Whatever you’re using for FB, we all certainly appreciate it!!!!!!!! Your friends back in Corpus Christi, Texas!!!!!!!!!


  • Great advice on pursuing prescriptions. Re: your phone, I had great luck using the eKit phone. Have used it on five continents with no problem, pretty good rates. Could get a signal up to five miles off the coast.
    Hope you can make it to the Falkland Islands — charming anomaly worth the long ride.


    • Thanks for the recommendation about the phone. I hadn’t heard the name “eKit” before so I checked it out and it sounds like what we’ve been looking for. As for the Falkland islands, they sound great. Our bucket list is getting longer and longer! Anita and Richard


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