Top 8 Most Useful Travel Blogs

by admin

top-travel-blogs

There are literally upwards of a million+ travel blogs in existence, with thousands more being added daily. The majority of these are written poorly, do not have much useful information, or regurgitate what other sites are writing. I have found the below mentioned sites to offer the most useful hacks for many different areas of your travels. There are many others that could be a part of this list, but I have narrowed it down to the ones that keep me coming back to read more.

1. The Points Guy
Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, shows every possible avenue as to how to maximize your frequent flyer miles and other travel points. He shows you how to book international trips for next to nothing and provides an updated list of the top credit card point bonus offers. It’s one of the best resources for keeping up to date with travel loyalty programs.

2. Fluent In 3 Months
Want to learn a language in the quickest way possible? Benny Lewis provides hacks and unconventional learning techniques for getting up to speed on many languages for your travels. His site offers free posts and videos on his experiences learning various languages around the world. He also offers a course and book (not free) for more in depth study.

3. Roman Fitness Systems
This is not really travel related, but provides the most effective (in my opinion) diet and workout strategies for staying in the best shape possible while you travel. John Romaniello, blog founder, takes a humorous approach to fitness, while offering innovative fitness/diet tips. He trains many celebrities and athletes, but does not take himself too seriously. His posts and comments keep you engaged and wanting to come back to read more.

4. Zen Habits
I have been an avid reader of Zen Habits for years. This is another blog not necessarily travel related, but is one of the best resources for keeping you grounded and finding simplicity while you travel (or doing anything in life). Leo Babauta’s blog (one of the top 25 on the internet) helps you focus on what is important, create something amazing, and find happiness.

5. Nomadic Matt
Nomadic Matt’s site is currently the highest ranked travel blog on the internet. He provides you with the necessary tips and advice on how you can travel anywhere you want on a low budget. His mantra is “tomorrow is too late to start your travel”. He has years of blog posts detailing how to live a life of travel.

6. 48 Hour Adventure
Provides “whirlwind” guides and travel advice for career focused people to explore cities around the world in a short time frame. Justin’s one page guides provide a rundown of the “big ticket items”, restaurants, and accommodations to check out during a weekend stay in many large cities worldwide.

7. Wandering Trader
Marcello Arrambide’s travel blog discusses his experiences while traveling/living through 80+ countries, while day trading. It is a great site for both inspiration and information on unique travel destinations.

8. Eat Your World
One of my favorite sites for finding native/traditional food and drinks for upcoming travel destinations. Sites like TripAdvisor are obviously more comprehensive, but Eat Your World offers an engaging layout and descriptive posts that make you want to take a trip only for food exploration.

Topics: Hacks


Getting a Second Passport

by admin

Obtaining dual citizenship opens up your world to multiple travel benefits that do not always present themselves with only a USA passport. Not every country in the world offers the opportunity for dual citizenship and it is not always easy to obtain. The following benefits and methods will help you understand the importance of a second passport and how one could be acquired.

Benefits

  1. Expand your travel possibilities – Travel to Cuba legally (see here for how to travel to Cuba sub-legally) and without having to obtain a visa to go to countries like Brazil. Passports from Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Sweden are the most valuable and offer the best travel access to countries around the globe, while Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq passports offer the least flexibility. See here for more details on the rankings by country for visa flexibility.
  2. Reduce your profile – In many destinations, showing a USA passport will instantly profile you as a target to terrorists, or criminal groups that think you have a lot of money.
  3. Greater travel privacy – USA passports are now equipped with new technology (bio-metric identifiers and a radio-frequency identity chip) that can track everywhere you travel. This could get you into trouble when you travel to places not favored by USA authorities.
  4. Reside and work in other countries – The legalities and difficulties of trying to maintain residence or work in another country can often be insurmountable. A second passport will open up many opportunities in this regard. For example, a passport from any member of the European Union (EU) will allow you to live and work in any of the 27 EU countries.
  5. International tax planning – If you ever want to expatriate (give up USA citizenship) and move to a place (ie. Panama) with much more lax tax laws, you must gain a second passport first.

How To Obtain

1. Ancestry
Many countries have programs which grant citizenship to descendants of emigrants. Here are a few examples:

  • Ireland – Ireland has detailed and clear laws in determining citizenship eligibility to descendants of Irish nationals. Check out here for more details.
  • Poland – The laws for receiving Polish citizenship from a Polish ancestor are difficult to navigate. The following article found here can give you a detailed overview on what is required. If you have Polish ancestors in your bloodline, you may want to contact a firm like CK Law Office in Warsaw to find out your eligibility.
  • Germany – Germany offers citizenship for children and grandchildren of former Germans who were deprived of their citizenship status between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 on racial, political, or ethnic grounds. You can read more about it here.
  • Italy – Italy offers citizenship to descendants of certain Italian nationals going back two generations. Find out more at MyItalianCitizenship.com.
  • Greece – If one or both of your parents or grandparents were born in Greece, you are eligible for Greek citizenship.
  • Lithuania – You have a right to citizenship if one of your ancestors was a citizen of the country. See here for more detailed information.
  • Canada and United Kingdom – Offer citizenship to those born outside of the country and have parents with citizenship.

2. Residency
Here are some of the countries that offer the possibility of citizenship after a period of lawful residency:

  • Australia – Apply for citizenship after four years lawful residence (temporary or permanent visa) in Australia. This period must include 12 months as a permanent resident immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship and absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the four years prior to application, including not more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to application.
  • Belgium – Apply for citizenship after three years of legal residence.
  • Latvia and Austria – Apply for citizenship after 10 years of legal residence.
  • USA – After five years of legal residence from the date of receipt of a conditional green card, it is possible to acquire US citizenship and to obtain a passport
  • Czech Republic – To apply for citizenship, it is necessary to spend 5 years of legal residence after receiving permanent residence permit. Note that Czech Republic does not allow dual citizenship.
  • Brazil – Apply for citizenship after four years of residency. This period can be reduced to one year if you have a Brazilian parent, child, or married to a Brazilian.
  • Canada – You must have permanent residence status for three years before being able to apply for citizenship.
  • Bahamas – Apply for citizenship if you have resided in the Bahamas for at least 6 years and have lived there for 12 consecutive months before applying.
  • Panama – Citizenship can be acquired after five years of legal permanent residence and full immigrant status.
  • United Kingdom – Apply for citizenship after being in the country for five years with not spending more than 450 days outside the UK in the period. Also, you must not have spent more that 90 days outside the country and hold permanent residence in the final 12 months immediately preceding the application.
  • Spain – Offers a reduced two-year residence before citizenship to citizens of any of several Latin American countries. Also, someone with a grandparent from Spain may apply for citizenship after one year of residency.

3. Economic Contribution
Only three countries in the world offer immediate citizenship through an investment:

  • Dominica – Requires USD 75k (100k for family) and 9-12k for government registration charges and due diligence. You also must visit the country and go through a personal interview to gain citizenship.
  • St.Kitts & Nevis – Requires USD 250k as minimum investment and 7.5k for due diligence and processing fees. No personal visit is required.
  • Austria – By investing EUR 2-3 million, you can directly get the citizenship without any residence requirement. The less expensive option is to provide a EUR 100k investment, which allows you to get a residence permit and citizenship after 10 years of residency. With a residence permit, you can travel visa free to all European ountries.

Religion
In Israel, the “Law of Return” entitles all Jews, and those of Jewish ancestry (at least one Jewish parent or grandparent), to be able to obtain Israeli residency and citizenship. If your ancestry does not fit this description, the law also provides the ‘right of return’ to all converted Jews of all denominations, and the conversion need not take place in Israel in order for it to qualify. Once your background check returns clean and you have been accepted, the applicant is entitled to immediate citizenship. For the first year, a temporary travel document is issued. After the first year, the government issues a standard passport.

Birthright
Anyone born in one of the countries below, no matter their nationality, is entitled to citizenship in that country, no matter the legality or status of the parents:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Marriage
Marrying a citizen of another country does not usually offer immediate citizenship, but can sometimes speed up the residency requirements for applying for citizenship. For example, you need to legally reside in Colombia for five years before being able to apply for citizenship. This is reduced to two years if you marry a Colombian. In Brazil, the requirement is reduced from four years to one if you marry a citizen.

Topics: Hacks, Tools


Living in Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro

Being host to the fast approaching 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics has opened Brazil’s gems up to the world. From its booming economy, to its diverse landscape of rainforests and picturesque beaches, to its beautiful and welcoming people, Brazil is coming to the forefront as the destination everyone wants to relocate to. Before you dive in, you are going to need to learn the intricacies of the country and how to navigate the culture:

1. Learn Portuguese
Like many of us, your plan to live in Brazil is a few months away and you do not know what ‘bom dia’ means. Even though English might be prevalent in the larger cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, it will be beneficial to you to know how to speak the local language if you want to make lasting relationships.
Many people are overwhelmed with all of the Portuguese language resources available online. Focusing on the right technique and program will allow you to hold your own in a conversation within a few months. You will be a step ahead if you already know some Spanish, as many of the words are similar (with slighty different pronunciations). The following resources will show you how to ‘hack’ your language learning and internalize the most Portuguese in the least amount of time:

  • hackingportuguese.com – Comprehensive reviews and strategies for learning Portuguese. Everything you need to get started on your Portuguese journey can be found on this site.
  • travelhack.org – One of my previous posts on the best method for tackling a new language.
  • fourhourworkweek.com – The premise of learning guru Tim Ferris’s strategy for accelerated language learning is to learn the most used words and phrases first.

2. Jobs
Now that you have your sabbatical planned, how are you going to pay for it? Especially with the cost of living in Rio and São Paulo rivaling Manhattan. To sustain your lifestyle, many ideas for jobs can be found in my previous articleon working from anywhere.
If you are planning on staying for a long period of time or finding a job locally, you are going to face some difficult hurdles. You have a few options for gaining entry and staying in the country:

  • Tourist Visa – everyone in the USA must obtain one to be able to enter Brazil, though it only allows you to stay in Brazil a maximum of 180 days a year.
  • Business Visa – this is difficult to obtain. You must first get hired by a Brazilian company and have them provide a formal invitation, which is needed to present to a Brazilian Consulate. A long line is always waiting for approval and you must prove that your skills go above and beyond what any other Brazilian could do. This process can also take months to find out if you are approved or not.
  • Investor Visa – this is perhaps the easiest way to obtain a long term visa, but you need to start a Brazilian company and have $75k USD to invest in it. See this article on the brazilforlife.com blog for more info on obtaining this.

Note that the Tourist and Business Visas can be obtained through a Brazilian Consulate in the USA. You can use a site like travisa.com to obtain through the mail.

3. Culture
People are much more family and relationship oriented in Brazil than the USA. Knowing the right people will help you get anything done much faster and minimize frustrastions, especially in a business sense. Socialising and spending time with each other are a must to build trust and succeed in business.
Brazilians also tend to live at a slower, relaxed pace. Punctuality is not always common, which can frustrate someone from a high speed, New York City lifestyle. Do not ever try to rush a business dealing.
Even though it is against the law, differences in class (mostly related to economic differences and skin color) are still prevalent. Darker ethnicities tend to be disadvantaged.
Although culture tends to be informal, Brazilians are very fashion oriented. Make sure you dress smart and conservatively in any gathering you are invited to.
The culture is very diverse as well. It is not uncommon to see a mixture of different races in a relationship.

4. Where to live
With many diverse and interesting cities to choose from, you should do your research and make a couple of visits before settling down in any given location. Here are a few of the more popular destinations:

  • Salvador – has great nightlife, bars, restaurants, arts, and shopping centers. Average yearly tempurature is 80 degrees Farenheit. Known as Brazil’s happiness capital.
  • Rio de Janeiro – most well known city in Brazil. Beautiful beaches, modern infrastructure, great nightlife and restaurants, and site of the 2016 Olympics. Average yearly tempurature is around 80 degrees Farenheit. It does have a high cost of living.
  • São Paulo – huge city and center of all business in Brazil. It is also the richest and most populous city in the country. High cost of living and high traffic. Known for music, theatre, museums, car racing, sports, and varied ethnic cuisine.
  • Fortaleza – located in the North East and know for its energy and excitement. Well know for its nightlife, carnivals, comedians, cuisine, music festivals, and 16 miles of urban beaches.
  • Florianópolis – amazing beaches, nightlife, weather, low crime rate, and smaller city. Very young and vibrant, with a focus on sports and eco-oriented activities.
  • Macapa – located in Northern Brazil and surrounded by the Amazon and its tributaries. Known for its great food (fish and different types of fruit).
Topics: Hacks