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6 tips for travelling within budget

Going away on holiday is always an exciting experience with high anticipation! With all the different considerations to plan for, the trip planning portion of your vacation may not be the most enjoyable experience. We have created 6 great tips to help you budget for your travels, as well as staying within budget while away! The next best part about going on holiday is being able to come home from the trip with a full wallet!

Budget before you leave

As many trips go, there will be a hundred different things you will want to explore on your time away. Whether that be a weekend getaway or a long overdue extended trip, you should never underestimate the value in budgeting before you take off.

Whether it’s your first time in a new city or a place that has become your second home, you can never do “too much” research before taking off. It’s vital while budgeting to look into multiple sources and sites when trying to obtain information about different costs. It is important to remember that, although one source may give you tempting information, that that may not be the most accurate source out available. That is why we recommended looking into multiple different sites, platforms and resources while budgeting for your trip.

Look for hotel bundle deals

This goes hand in hand with doing your proper research, but make sure to take extra precaution when looking into hotel and flight deals. With the multitude of websites that are available to the public nowadays, you have an abundant amount of options to choose from. Whether it means not staying right in the centre of the city centre and taking a flight that’s not exactly at your ideal travel time, you may be able to save a fortune on these small compromises, which will ultimately allow you to experience many other adventures on your trip.

Always over budget rather than under budget

As easy as it is to take the lowest estimated options when scanning through different sources, we recommend that you take a more generous approach to your budget, rather than optimistic. We know it can be very tempting to downplay the costs of your trip, but at the end of the day, it is always better to come home with a little extra cash or take that extra unexpected tour on your last day rather than coming home to extra credit card debt.

 Follow your budget

After taking all the time to budget and plan for your trip, the next important step in the savings guideline is to actually follow through with your budget. A common mistake done by many travellers is to create a fantastic and well-detailed budget plan, and then fail to execute once on vacation. Not to say that you need to stay on budget for every meal and every expenditure, but make sure to stay well within the confinements of your budget.

Watch for the scams

As many cities & destinations are accustomed to having tourist and visitors around, it is important to be aware of the scams and tricks that many locals, especially in poorer countries, have in mind for visiting guests.  It’s important to note that many scams can be in the form of “too good to be true” savings. In order to be aware of these scams, keep in mind what the value of the product and/or service you are receiving, and make sure it aligns with the proposed costs.

Obtain travel insurance before leaving

One vital step we recommend you taking before taking off on your trip is to obtain travel insurance coverage for the duration of your trip. It is important to obtain coverage for the entirety of your trip in order to avoid a lapse in coverage. Unexpected medical costs can become very expensive while travelling abroad, and you don’t want to be caught without medical coverage. If you are moving abroad for a year or more, it is highly recommended that you obtain a quote for international health insurance to cover you globally.

At Expat financial, a division of TFG Global Solutions Ltd., we are able to offer individuals or group plans for those travelling abroad. To receive a quote contact us directly at info@tfgglobal.com 

 

 

 

The top 5 countries to raise expat children in

Are you planning to move abroad with your family? According to a recent survey report, the top 5 best countries to raise expat children in 2017 are Switzerland, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The rankings are based on various factors such as quality of life, political influence, business friendliness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship, and ease of obtaining citizenship. In this article, we will introduce these top 5 countries to raise expat children abroad.

  1. Switzerland
  • Introduction: Switzerland is among one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. Bordering Germany, France, Austria and Italy in Europe, Switzerland ranks at top globally for its quality of life, government stability, healthcare standards and economic development. The overall standard of living is high.
  • Healthcare: Medical services are considered to be of the highest standards in Switzerland. Expats living in Switzerland will find many English speaking medical staff and doctors. However, expats are strongly recommended to purchase international health insurance plans before relocating to Switzerland, especially for those who plan to give birth in the country.  International health insurance will fully cover the medical costs of giving birth, including medical check-ups to baby’s hospital stay, plus post-natal care. Without appropriate health insurance, the medical bills can be very high.
  • Safety & Security: Switzerland has been consistently obtaining high marks for safety and a healthy lifestyle. According to the Government of Canada, the public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. Expats living in Switzerland should exercise normal precautions as petty crime could happen in public areas.
  • Children’s Education: According to the survey, the education system in Switzerland gets top marks on a global scale. This is not only because the schools in Switzerland cater to international families, but also the flexibility of its education system. According to The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), each of the 26 individual regions has its own education department and own school curriculum. Local state schools are free of charge. However, many expat families prefer international schools to help their children with the ease of transition and continue their education in a familiar language and curriculum.

        2. Canada

  • Introduction: Known for its cultural diversity and natural beauty, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Few countries can compare with the geographic diversity of Canada. The official languages are English and French. Canada is a high-tech, developed country with a high standard of living. The country’s economy mostly relies upon energy, agriculture and minerals.
  • Healthcare: The provincial medical plans provide Canadians with excellent emergency and non-emergency care, and it is publicly funded. Expatriates who are not covered by provincial medical care should obtain international health insurance plans. The medical cost for inpatient care at hospitals without it can be very expensive.
  • Safety & Security: Being one of the safest destinations in the world, the crime rates in Canada are low. Expats living in Canada should maintain common-sense precautions however, such as not leave valuables unattended to protect the security of your property.
  • Children’s Education: The standard of education in Canada is high. There are many public-funded schools and private schools including language schools, career schools, community colleges and secondary schools. Since Canada is a bilingual country, English and French language schools are available throughout the country.

        3. United Kingdom

  • Introduction: The United Kingdom contains four countries united under one government. The countries are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With an area of around 242,500 square kilometres, the nation has a population of 65.1 million people. The capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom is London. There are also many cultural heritage sites across the UK, due to the nation’s long and rich history.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare service in the UK is generally of high standards. It provides patients with primary care, in-patient care, dental care, etc., and it is free of charge. There are also private medical facilities throughout the country. Most expatriates living in the UK would want to seek medical insurance coverage globally. Additionally, it is important to obtain an international health insurance plan that will allow the private medical facilities access, due to long queues at public facilities.
  • Safety & Security: The public transportation in the UK is excellent. According to Government of Canada, the risk level of travlling to the UK is “exersise a high degree of caution” due to the threat of terroroisim. Although terror attacks can strike in any nation, due to the recent increase in attacks across Europe, expats should be weary of the increased risk.
  • Children’s Education: More than a quarter of the world’s top 200 universities are located in the UK. The education system in the UK is famous for its high quality, excellent education methodologies and research facilities, as well as academic freedom. Across the UK there are five stages of education: early years, primary, secondary, further education and higher education. After a student reaches the age of 16, he or she may choose to continue studying. Further Education is not compulsory. The UK school system is more lecture-based, with a few assignments throughout the semester. The cost of education in the UK is high, but not as expensive as in the US, as the government sets limits for tuition fees.

4. Germany

  • Introduction: With a total population of 82,667,000 people, Germany is a leading European country. As the world’s second-largest exporter, the standard of living is high in the nation. The Official languages in Germany are German and English. The high-income capital city is Berlin. Germany is also known as one of the most industrious countries in Europe, with major industries including automotive engineering, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Germany is excellent. The government-funded public medical care system provides healthcare services and products to patients, and the private medical facilities make a considerable contribution to society. The medical staff and doctors in Germany have usually received extensive medical training. Many expatriates living in Germany will want to obtain international health insurance plans to cover their medical costs in private healthcare facilities.
  • Safety & Security: Violent crime in Germany is low. There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Germany, according to Government of Canada. Expatriates living in Germany should exercise normal security precautions if attending large crowds events or visit local markets.
  • Children’s Education: Germany’s education system is different from the ones in many other countries. Lectures in public schools are usually taught in German, where expat children will gain a high academic ability of German. After grade 4, the students are separated by their overall academic performance and are divided into three different kinds of schools: Realschule, Hauptschule or Gymnasium. Realschule focuses on theory learning from grades 5 to 10. Hauptschule focuses on practical skills more than theory. The Gymnasium is a path to the university. The education system in Germany is different from state to state. There are also many international schools. Among these private schools, Montessori education is one of the most popular teaching models in Germany.

5. Japan

  • Introduction: Located on the east coast of Asia and southwest to Taiwan, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city of Japan is Tokyo, with a population of approximately 9 million people in the area. The country has one of the world’s largest economies, and is famous for its highly skilled workforce and fast pace. As a developed country, expatriates will enjoy a high standard of living in the city. Also, Japan’s population enjoy the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare system in Japan is among the best in the world. The universal health care insurance system offers citizens with fees set by the government. The healthcare insurance is mandatory and is required by law to all residents. However, hospitals are privately run and owned. Expatriates living in Japan for under a year is suggested to buy international health insurance to cover the medical cost.
  • Safety & Security: There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan, according to the Government of Canada. However, after the strong earthquake on March 11, 2011, reconstruction efforts are ongoing at Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki. Therefore, some transportation routines may be unavailable. Expatriates visiting these areas will want to make sure that you have secured accommodations and transportation. The overall crime against foreign nationals is low. Expatriates are advised to exercise normal levls of caution throughout their stay in Japan.
  • Children’s Education: According to a recent study, the Japanese education system leads the world in numeracy and literacy skills. The Japanese school system consists of 9 years of compulsory education period and 3 years of senior high school. There are many after-school workshops where students will learn more than in the regular classes. According to a recent survey, nearly 85% of the students feel happy in school.

Don’t forget International Health Insurance 

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across the world. We offer plans from several different international health insurance companies that are designed for foreign nationals living outside the country for which they hold a passport or some local national living outside the US or Canada. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

business travel

Seven business travel tips for 2018

Business has become even more global over the past ten years, and for most companies, it means that business travel overseas is an absolute necessity. Your clients are no longer local, they are global, and you need to keep in touch with them through email, phone, Skype, chats and of course, travel. Experienced business travel professionals are always sharing their tips on how to make their corporate journeys as smooth and productive as possible. We have gathered seven business travel tips for 2018 to share with our globally mobile employees and associates.

Business Travel Tips

  1. Try to be loyal to your favourite airlines so you can rack up your travel miles with one or two carriers. It will also give you added travel perks and upgrades when you often travel for the same airline.
  2. Dress professionally when you travel, especially in business class. Yes, we love to be comfortable when travelling, but if you are travelling for business, you have to remember that you are representing your business and your brand. You never know whom you are going to meet – maybe a new or existing customer or your boss. It may also help you get an edge in being upgraded by the airline.
  3. Pay attention to travel warnings if you are travelling to countries with current or previous travel safety problems or political instability. There are lots of great government websites such as the US State Department or UK Foreign Office which can provide excellent safety information that is continuously being updated. Your employer may have access to exclusive private country intelligence information, especially if they have a corporate kidnap or evacuation policy through our firm.
  4. Check with your doctor or travel clinic if you require specific vaccinations for the travel destinations that you are going to for business. You don’t want to come back with unwanted diseases or illnesses. The CDC provided some excellent information for business travellers, but talk to your doctor for more details.
  5. Make sure your travel documents are up to date and provide for full entry as a business traveller. You should check first if your passport is valid for at least six months after travel is started or has recently expired. You should also check to see if you have the correct visa entry requirements as business travellers are often viewed differently than tourists. You may have to apply well before you travel to avoid being denied entry into your country destination.
  6. Staying healthy is always good advice, but have you taken steps to ensure you stay healthy when you travel? Here are a few sub-tips for you to consider when travelling abroad:
    1. Try to get some exercise and use the hotel gym.
    2. Bring hand sanitizer and wash hands regularly to avoid unwanted germs and viruses.
    3. Get up during the flight to improve circulation and avoid deep vein thrombosis.
    4. Stay hydrated during the trip and when at your destination. It can do wonders for your travel health.
    5. Try to eat well when travelling, including fruit and vegetables. It can be difficult when you are being wined and dined during your business junket.
    6. Be careful where you eat, especially in developing or third world destinations.
  7. Perhaps the most relevant and important tip for business travellers is to make sure you are covered for emergency medical and evacuation expenses by purchasing travel medical insurance before you go on your business trip. Your corporate HR department may have purchased a single trip or multi-trip business travel insurance policy that will cover your business travel. If you are going to add some pleasure travel days to your business trip, make sure your corporate program thoroughly covers sojourn travels. If you are travelling to areas where terrorism, war and civil conflict are possible, make sure the policy doesn’t exclude war or terrorism. Some plans will also provide some trip delay, trip cancellation, liability and Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage as well.

We hope that the above seven tips for business travel will be well received by all the business travellers who are expanding markets, meeting customers and delivering solutions to clients around the world.

What are the Best Solutions for Business Travel Medical?

The best solution for business travellers is to have your HR department contact our firm to quote on a corporate multi-trip annual business travel insurance policy. Such a plan can cover all the business travel for the entire company throughout the year. All employees who travel will receive a particular travel card that they can use in the event they suffer an illness or injury while travelling abroad. The plans can even cover employees in different countries travelling for your company, and some insurers can also include some sojourn or pleasure travel. To learn more, contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Hong Kong is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its return to China

July 1, 2017, is the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong‘s return to China after many years under UK rule. President Xi Jinping is visiting Hong Kong for the 20th return anniversary. After around 100 years as a British colony region, Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 under the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement. Hong Kong is known for its advanced healthcare system, excellent transit system and an active nightlife. It is a popular destination for expats from around the world, and many coming from western countries find it relatively easy to adapt.

Cantonese and Mandarin are the dominant languages in Hong Kong, but English is also widely spoken so it can be an easy place to adjust for expatriates living there. As a global city, English is taught at schools. In fact, there is a constant need for expat native English speakers at both international schools and adult English learning institutions. Hong Kong is also recognized as a prosperous global business center. If you’re used to a fast-paced lifestyle, then Hong Kong is the place for you. It also has an excellent health care system for expats and locals alike.

Communities and organizations across China mainland will be celebrating the 20th return anniversary, from gala shows and culture festivals to fireworks, sporting events, and exhibitions. Expats living and working in Hong Kong are encouraged to explore the various events and celebrations. All travellers are welcomed to discover Hong Kong by participating in major events and activities taking place in the region.

For more information on celebration events and publicity materials, please visit the official site of Hong Kong’s 20th return anniversary or click here for events brochure:

6 Tips on How to Become an Expat