How and Where to Move Overseas as a Single Man
We've periodically had different readers ask about this topic, and I've had it on our list of articles to write up for sometime - how do you move overseas and have it go well? Several of the questions readers have asked:
“Chase, you are a true champ. All your material has really helped with confidence. I have started reading "How to Make a Girl Chase" and plan to start doing the homework assignments once the semester ends ;)
I would be extremely interested in seeing a post about moving abroad, going on that next adventure, getting out of your comfort zone, and "making it all up as you go."”
... that's from Lupo in the article on how to be smooth. Here's another:
“Hey Chase, a little off topic but I'd like to see a post on moving out of the country and just traveling with a suitcase around different places. It seems like this would automatically make a person much more interesting by giving them entirely new reference points, as you talked about in the below post. Maybe something about the logistics and psychology of it would be interesting. I'd like to follow in your footsteps to Europe or Asia and leave the boring, expected, average corporate world in my dust.”
... from Anonymous in "Girlfriend Moody? It's in Her Genes (But You Can Fix It)."
So let's talk about it - let's talk moving abroad, traveling overseas, travel hacks, lifestyles, money, food, friends, and women. I've broken this (rather lengthy) article down into four (4) sections, hyperlinked here for ease of browsing:
- Why Would You Want to Leave?
- Moving Yourself Away Overseas
- Where to Go to Meet Sexy Girls
- Travel Hacks
Should be fun.
There is a certain subset of men filled with an innate sense of wanderlust, who have, for pretty much all of their lives, been pulled inexorably toward a life of travel, adventure, and escape.
I am not one of those men.
I used to protest family vacations every year while growing up, and ask my parents if they could leave me at home (they never did). I'd have been much happier staying home and playing computer games than going to some unfamiliar place with food I didn't want to eat where I'd be forced to walk around all day and look at boring tourist sites until my feet practically bled.
That changed once I forced myself on my first overseas trip with a couple of friends - the striking cultural differences, the new sights and sounds, the amazing new people, and the exotic women were enough to stamp an indelible impression on me from my very first excursion off the continent, and I began traveling several times a year at minimum after that. Four years after my first serious trip abroad, having lived on the East Coast of the United States, the West Coast of the United States, and with the exploration of much of its interior under my belt done on a variety of business trips over the previous years, I decided it was time to expand my horizons, pulled up my stakes, and booked a one-way ticket out of North America.
What's Great About Life Overseas
Three things, primarily:
- Drinking in a wholly new culture,
- Exotic women who view you as a novelty, and
- Becoming more creative
On that last - here's a bit of research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published in 2009 titled "Cultural Borders and Mental Barriers: The Relationship Between Living Abroad and Creativity":
“Despite abundant anecdotal evidence that creativity is associated with living in foreign countries, there is currently little empirical evidence for this relationship. Five studies employing a multimethod approach systematically explored the link between living abroad and creativity. Using both individual and dyadic creativity tasks, Studies 1 and 2 provided initial demonstrations that time spent living abroad (but not time spent traveling abroad) showed a positive relationship with creativity. Study 3 demonstrated that priming foreign living experiences temporarily enhanced creative tendencies for participants who had previously lived abroad. In Study 4, the degree to which individuals had adapted to different cultures while living abroad mediated the link between foreign living experience and creativity. Study 5 found that priming the experience of adapting to a foreign culture temporarily enhanced creativity for participants who had previously lived abroad. The relationship between living abroad and creativity was consistent across a number of creativity measures (including those measuring insight, association, and generation), as well as with masters of business administration and undergraduate samples, both in the United States and Europe, demonstrating the robustness of this phenomenon.”
When you move overseas and live overseas, you actually become more
Opportunity is maybe a contender for a fourth bullet in that list, but it depends where you go. If you're headed somewhere with rapid economic development, like certain parts of Asia (China, India, Vietnam) or Latin America (Brazil), there's a flood of opportunity in traditional fields like architecture, imports/exports, outsourcing, manufacturing, and the like. And in most non-Anglophone countries, there's always demand for new English teachers, which, depending on the country, can have requirements as low as a 4-year university degree or a TEFL/TESL/TESOL certificate... or even, in some cases, all you need to be is a native speaker of the language.
Food is debatable - if you're not too particular about what you eat, you may find that you enjoy travel for the food as much as anything else. If you're on the opposite end of that rainbow and fall into the picky eater camp (as I do), you're probably not going to be too thrilled with the fare on offer in other countries. However, most halfway developed nations have at least a handful of Western grocery stores scattered about their major cities, so you won't have to go too far to stock up on frozen pizzas if you need them.
Friends is probably another contender for something that's quite good overseas - when you move overseas, you're an expatriate. You're someone from another country. And as you'll very quickly realize, the majority of your fellow expatriates are interesting, intelligent, educated, dynamic people - all of them. Suddenly, instead of sifting through barrels and barrels of chaff just to find a little wheat, now everyone you meet is wheat.
That's because the chaff stays home - they don't travel abroad. Not all of the wheat travels overseas... but most of those who do travel overseas are wheat. Living overseas allows you to make new friends of a markedly higher caliber with a far greater amount of ease, because you're in expat circles now, and expats are by and large interesting, higher caliber individuals.
Expense is another item that can be an advantage, if you're moving from a rich country to a poorer one, and if your income comes from that richer country or you're just going to live off savings for a while, or you have an awesome job paying you a comparable or higher salary than what you earned before. Of course, if you're always staying in hotels, unless you're in a really cheap country, you'll burn through cash pretty quick, so savings only apply if you're semi-settled with an apartment to stay in at least some of the time.
What's Not So Great
Culture shock is a big one for many travelers overseas. The way the culture shock process normally works is:
You get somewhere new, and it's AMAZING! There's so much to do, so much to explore, so much to see and taste and touch and experience. It's sensory OVERLOAD!
As you become accustomed to the sites and sounds and the new becomes the ordinary, you start to realize what you now miss from your home country (or the last country you called home): people were nicer there, or maybe they were more direct. Things were simpler; nobody cut in line; it was so easy to communicate; you didn't have to worry about whether you were going to get sick from eating at such-and-such place; you could find good Mexican food; nobody was racist against you; etc.
If you stick it out long enough, you come to accept the differences too, and then you're just fine.
I haven't dealt with this myself, as I tend to jump straight past both the "OH GOD IT'S AMAZING" stage and the "OHHHHHH why are people here so rude and I can't get my favorite flavor of Pop-Tarts here" stage, straight into the "Here's how it is here, and if I don't like it I can always leave" stage. But it seems to affect the majority of travelers and expatriates.
If you take on the "perpetual traveler" lifestyle, I gather from the travelers I've met that this gets quite tiresome - where you're always living out of hostels and bouncing from one place to the next, never pitching camp in any one location for all that long... it's SO MUCH new stimulation and constantly needing to prepare for the next place and navigate new cities and cultures and bureaucracies that eventually you burn out. In practice, I meet very few people actually doing this, and they're usually European students taking some time between graduating from university and getting a full-time job having one last gasp of adventure before settling down into a more "normal" life. Most expatriates and travelers spend a few months here and a few months there at minimum, and many will spend a few years in one place before moving to the next (with periodic trips in between).
Being far from friends and family is another one that may be difficult for you - this one's usually harder for people who don't integrate as quickly. If you're a Western man, you'll see this problem a lot more with female Western expatriates than male individuals (Western men have little trouble finding at least a passable girlfriend in almost any country around the world usually, who can often be a gateway to many new local friends, while Western Women frequently struggle quite a bit outside of Western Europe and South America to find mates and social circles - the men they find attractive ignore them or are too shy to approach them, and the men who approach them they often don't find attractive).
Communication can also be a pain; though, if you're traveling smartly, it'll rarely be a deal breaker.
The Women Overseas
Whenever anybody tells me she's learning a language or wants to move to another country, the very first thing I ask is, "Did you date someone from there before, or you really just find that country's people attractive?" The answer is almost always "yes" to at least one of those questions.
Fact is, in today's day and age, unless you're moving for work and at work's request (and not yours), you usually don't change countries unless you want to explore the local population of opposite sex singles. And that goes for both women AND men. I can't tell you how many women I've met studying Spanish with plans to Latin America, and a mischievous smile spread across my face and I said, "You like Latin men, don't you?" and the girl became a little self-conscious and said "yes".
Same goes for when you meet women fluent in English (or any other language) in non-English speaking countries in your travels. If she's Russian or Colombian or Korean and she speaks German, you can almost be certain that's because her ex-boyfriend (or one of them, anyway) was German.
And just as you find it exciting to meet a foreign girl in your home country (if you're like most guys), and just as your countrywomen are excited to meet foreign men (if you're in America or Britain, you know how nuts women go for Mediterranean men), so too are foreign local women often thrilled to meet you when you are the novelty. We've talked about this a bunch of times on Girls Chase already so I won't go too much into the topic; if you want to read more specifically, check out these pieces on meeting women overseas:
- Meet Women More Easily: Location
- How to Get Foreign Girls
- Nonverbal Attraction and Getting Girls Without Words
- Foreign Women: Why to Consider Dating Overseas
- How to Pick Up Girls
in Foreign Countries
Unless you have an entrenched high status role in a killer social circle at home, you'll usually find it easier to trade up quality-wise with foreign women than domestic women; because of the attraction boost you get from being foreign, you simply have an easier time (generally speaking) landing women of any given looks and caliber categories than you do at home.
At home, you're just another local guy, and have to fight hard to break out of being seen as "just another local" by the local (and foreign!) women you meet - you're plunked into an un-sexy stereotype at "hello", boxed and categorized with all the zero-intrigue zero-sex-appeal local men she's met over the years. Much of "game" in your home country really consists of showing local women that you're not like all the other boring local men they meet.
Overseas, you don't have to worry about any of this, because as a
foreigner you're automatically coming in pigeonholed into the "sexy,
mysterious stranger from a faraway land who probably isn't staying
long" box, and won't come out of it unless you aren't very good at game
yet and aren't actually sexy or mysterious or able to lead things
forward at a reasonable pace.
So if, at home, you're able to get the really beautiful girls you
hit it off with and get a phone number from into bed
with you 25% of the time, overseas it may well be 35% or 40% of the
time or higher, and you're a
fair bit more likely to hit it off with those beautiful girls and get a
phone number from them in the first place.
That's a nice added bonus to make your dating life a lot simpler and more rewarding.
That's the "why". Now let's talk about the "how" - how to do this, and what, exactly, to do.
Easing Into Travel Abroad
My first trip off-continent was in a group tour, and I feel like that's probably a good way to start. It's more expensive, but you'll have everything taken care of for you - airfare, hotels, restaurants, activities; the works. Not only that, but you'll have a ready-made group of people to go along with and explore with too, so you're never really cast off into the abyss (far from it).
The most recommended tour groups for young people generally are:
Contiki: the leader in the "young people going on tours" industry; multi-country fast-paced tours tend to have younger travelers (early 20s) who want to party hard, while single-country tours tend more toward late 20s through late 30s travelers
STA Travel: STA Travel is another tour group that caters predominantly to young people. I've had girlfriends in the past who were big fans of STA, but don't know much about it offhand
If you're older, you'll generally have an easier time finding tour groups catering to older individuals, since older individuals make up the predominant international traveling group (they usually have a lot more money for travel than the youngin's do). A quick web search for "tours to [country name]" will turn up more options than you can shake a stick at; Trafalgar is one particularly well-known option.
Short trips are also very good; if you can travel with friends or a girlfriend who knows the area you're traveling to, this is often best. My second trip overseas was when a girlfriend took me on a trip down to her home in Peru, all expenses paid, and arranged everything - staying in Lima, travel up to Cusco and Machu Picchu, and back again - so I didn't have to worry about anything. My next trip was with the same girlfriend to the Dominic Republic a few months later, and a few months after that I joined a few friends in South Korea and met an American friend who'd been living in the country for about a year who was able to serve as both guide and interpreter. Subsequent trips were similar to these, and all allowed me to get comfortable traveling with people who could guide, help, translate, and advise.
Having Friends In-Country
Having traveled to a variety of different places, I've noticed one trend in common: I consistently have much better times in places where I already know people.
Having spent a little time mulling it over, here are what I view as the big advantages of having a friend in the country who will be happy to show you around, translate, and just generally play host and help you settle in:
You don't have to plan. That's one less chore on your plate, and one that you're going to be not nearly as good at either as someone who's local. Trying to plan a trip based off of scattered online resources is a world away from your friend drawing up a quick itinerary based on a year or two (or a lifetime) in a given town.
You can relax. Rather than worry about what's up next on the schedule, or if you're going to make it here on time or get food you like there, you can kick back, put your feet up, and just focus on enjoying yourself, and NOT on what else you should be doing.
You get the good spots. Want to hit the nightlife and pick up a girl from a bar or a nightclub completely on your own in town? Good luck! Because in any given city, you're going to have tons of these to pick from, and you're not going to have any idea which are better suited to pulling from - and which are going to be big wastes of your time and energy. With a good friend who knows the area though, this is a cinch - he'll show you all his favorite places, and you're almost guaranteed to have a good time. Scouting is fun to do when you've decided to live somewhere, but if you spend a two-week-long trip trying to find somewhere good the entire time, it may be time to head home or head to your next city before you find the good places that make meeting girls easy.
You have someone to talk to. I'm a pretty independent guy, but I'll tell you, when you get to a new place and you don't pick up or meet cool people or have a good time right away, it sure is nice to have a buddy to chat with to get you out of your head so that you aren't sitting there thinking, "Oh drat - did I just make a huge mistake by coming here?"
You have a place to crash at. You can save a nice chunk of change by crashing with friends when you travel. I try to stay with friends as much as possible when I do (and try to always have a spare bedroom in my place when I'm renting to put friends up in) - not only do you save money and hassle on accommodations, but you get a more local feel for the town and get to spend more time with your buddy, too. Just don't forget to be a good houseguest if you want an invite back.
Having friends in-country is a different beast altogether than traveling with friends, which is also nice, but doesn't provide you any of the above benefits except perhaps #4. Friends in-country are usually able to translate for you too, making things smoother and easier and saving you some headaches you won't even know you didn't have.
Further, when you're getting set up in a new country to settle in
for a while, local friends are absolutely invaluable. Where should you go to
buy a pillow for your bed? How about bed sheets?
How about groceries to stock the fridge with? What do you do if the
laundry machine breaks down? How do you find a real estate agent who
speaks English? How do you know what a decent price for a place is or
whether you're being ripped off? How do you know there isn't some
"screw you" clause in that contract you're signing that's going to be
painful down the road? How do you know what things to look out for
locally, like "foreigner hunter" women or local scams that always get
all the expats? Local friends will
help you with all
of these things, and infinitely more - they make the difference between
trying to settle into a place and having a hard, annoying, painful
time, and having things go effortlessly.
What if you don't have friends in various countries? Well, start
making them! Many of the friends I have in different countries I met
through the pickup community originally; I was active on discussion
boards, and met cool people in various countries there who eventually
became real life friends when
I went to visit them. We have a discussion board here with
people from various parts of the world - guys from Europe, Asia, India,
and North America are there - that
I bet you can participate in and make some friends from far-flung
places, and you can often find forums on classifieds sites local to
wherever you're moving, or other travel social networks like Couch Surfing that can help
you meet new people to stay with and get to know.
Picking Where to Go
Before you select a country to relocate to, make sure you know your objective. Is it to:
- See the sites / some major tourist spot?
- Cross that country off your list?
- Sleep with sexy local women?
- Visit a dear friend?
- Get a new job?
- Relax on the beach?
Depending on which one it is, research the country thoroughly FIRST and talk to as many people as you can to make sure you've got the right expectations.
I've plenty of times headed to a country because friends told me the women there were beautiful and extremely friendly, only to get there and find the women roundly unattractive or more cagey than advertised. Likewise, I've had friends warn me off of places that I then went to and found to be paradises for me. If your friends are of sufficiently different personalities or inclinations than you are, their declarations about a given place may not match your experiences, so do your homework.
Likewise, I've met people who'd been told they have an easy-as-pie time finding a job in XYZ country, but there they were, struggling for months to find work, until at last they gave up and went back home. And, I've met people who thought they were going to be in for an epic slog, or moved somewhere not even intending to work because it wasn't on their radars, and they ended up falling into fantastic positions with rock star-like pay.
Before you go somewhere, whether for a week or a year, know why you're going there, research the hell out of it to get as many opinions as possible on it, and know your backup plan if it doesn't turn out as expected.
Countries very often are nothing like what you expect, because it's very difficult to convey the full reality of a place through words, and also because your experiences are always going to differ from the experiences of someone who lives his life and operates in a different way than you.
Also consider scouting expeditions to new countries before you move
there on a more permanent basis - go, try a place out for a few weeks
and see how it suits you, then head home and have a think about it. If
you find yourself dying to go back, it's probably time to go there.
I'm a little hesitant to put an article out there quite like this, because I'm far from having covered the whole world at this point, but I probably have more insight on this than many guys since I do have a large assortment of friends who've traveled to most of the four corners of the globe.
So, this is a combination of firsthand and secondhand information, which I'm only including because we've had a number of requests for it.
If you have more information on any of the places below, and you're a guy, DO share for your fellow readers in the comments section (girls, we appreciate that you want to help, but in my experience girls will often say, "The girls in this city are GREAT!" or, "The girls here are TRASH!", but men visiting these places will find they vehemently disagree - probably because what men are looking for, and what women think they're looking for or should be looking for, often are very different).
If you're skimming, here are the quick links to the continent guides below:
North America, particularly the United States and Canada, offer a
diverse range of women to meet. While the dominant ethnic group is
Caucasian, you can find a large number of Hispanic, Asian, and African
descent individuals here too, and quite possibly one of the largest
portion of exotic-looking mixed race women as well. The wealth of the
Anglophone North American countries means you won't have to worry about
modern conveniences, and so long as you have a driver's license, or
stick to the cities with better mass transit options, you'll be able to
get around just fine.
The obesity epidemic sweeping North America - in 2012, 32% of North American men and women were obese, and 70% of North American were at least overweight; Mexico surpassed the United States as the most obese country in the world, bumping the U.S. down into a close second place - means that you have a slimmer pool of women to pick from, and more competition for the remaining thin women - incidentally probably the largest contributing factor to the rise of the pickup industry in the U.S. and Canada.
However, if you can find the right locations, and your fundamentals are handled well, you can allow yourself to have a great time in North America regardless, and enjoy its wide variety of women with ancestry traceable back to all over the world.
Potential destinations in North America:
Canada: Vancouver is not bad - fitness is BIG in Vancouver, and you'll run into plenty of slender, attractive women here (and lots of gigantically muscular men). People are quiet and very polite here, at least compared to some other parts of the globe. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm told, is Toronto, which is a single man's worst nightmare - boring, unattractive women, and infested with mediocre pickup artists, a last, desperate plea by the men there to try to get SOMEWHERE with women. Montreal I've heard mixed things about, but don't have enough information on to give you a recommendation.
United States: New York City and Washington, D.C. I can personally say some nice things for. There are plenty of thin, attractive, educated women with good personalities in these cities who are reasonably friendly if your fundamentals aren't a complete mess. Miami is supposed to be quite good, and is the top destination for young European partiers and revelers visiting the U.S., too. Las Vegas is non-stop debauchery, though the quality here is questionable; just be careful you don't get pickpocketed or swindled; if you're not too picky about whom you're picking up, you'll probably take someone home.
Mexico / Central America: I hear the best things about Panama, usually. Costa Rica has a lot of buzz, but seems to be primarily an older adults' vacation / relaxation spot, not a place to meet girls. Belize is something of a honeymooner's spot. Nicaragua I occasionally hear some good things pickup-related coming out of.
San Diego has a good number of well-dressed women, who were a good bit thinner in 2007 than much of the rest of the States, but they've ballooned in recent years and you run into fewer and fewer acceptable options (still better than many towns though). Competition is strong in S.D., and you'll need to step up your game and your fundamentals compared to East Coast cities. L.A. I found disappointing in the five weeks I spent there; maybe I missed the right places, but going out in Hollywood led to me being surrounded primarily by overweight, sloppy women. San Francisco was a little bit better, but not much. I was very pleasantly surprised by Milwaukee, which has a decent nightlife scene and thin and attractive women. Honolulu has lots of beautiful American, European, and Asian tourists, but most are with their boyfriends, husbands, or families.
South America is another melting pot continent, with Native American blood mixing in and absorbing influences from Europe, Africa, and even Asia (you'd be surprised how many Spanish-speaking Asian-descent Latin Americans there are). The Mediterranean influences of Spain and Portugal make for some saucy, sensual women, and the mishmash of races make for some truly exotic beauties. My girlfriend from this continent was part Spanish, part Inca, and part Chinese - South America may be the only continent in the world that produces mixes quite like this.
The region is poor but developing, and while it's not as dangerous as it was a few decades ago (or as your family members will probably caution you it is), muggings and robberies still are not uncommon, and you'd be well-advised to stick to the major cities and stay out of the rougher neighborhoods and slums. Be careful how you transit between cities - even for short distances, if you can travel by air, this is preferred, simply for reasons of not getting held up on the road to your destination.
Some degree of Spanish is probably advisable if you plan to make your home here (or Portuguese, if you'll be in Brazil); but of course, you can always find a local girlfriend or two who'll be more than happy to help you learn.
Potential destinations in South America:
Brazil: if you read Colt's piece on Brazilian women, you've probably already booked your ticket here. Generally agreed to be one of the most sensual places in the world.
Colombia: I extensively researched Colombia, and it's been at the top of my list to visit / live in for quite a while (still haven't made it yet). The women of Colombia are supposed to be South America's most beautiful; many of them are mostly or entirely European decent (white); the culture is very warm, friendly, and open; and the cost of living is extremely cheap. On the downside, robberies are common; one friend who'd toured the country reported that half the expatriates he met had been robbed. It's advised to carry a second wallet with a small amount of money in it to hand over in the event you're surrounded by bandits, who usually come out at night in gangs of six or seven young guys, and carry knives.
Argentina: Buenos Aires is supposedly very difficult to meet women in, largely because of Argentinian women's beliefs that they must play hard to get even when they very much like a man, and features predominantly European descent (white) Argentinian women. The cost of living has remained low since the Argentine economic depression of 1999 to 2002, and offers European-style living for roughly a third of what you'd pay in Europe. Women outside the capital are mixed blood or native South American, and generally easier to meet and make headway with than the more cosmopolitan B.A. girls.
The women here are also supposed to be difficult to bed, though it's common for both men and women to have multiple lovers. Colombia also features the least amount of English ability among all South American countries. Cali is a laid back beach town, similar to San Diego in the U.S.; Medellín is up in the mountains; and Bogotá is the capital and largest city of Colombia, with the most diverse population and best English. Women in Cali and Medellín supposedly have a penchant for breast implants, with these being extremely common in these cities.
Other parts of South America: I was only in Peru for a short time, and didn't see the nightlife much. Like Colombia and other parts of South America, it remains dangerous to travel between cities, with armed robbers stopping vehicles on highways to confiscate money and watches and other items worth lifting, but inside the city is considerably safer (though pickpocketing remains high; my ex-girlfriend used to carry around a set of brass knuckles, and used them on a would-be thief; and an aunt and uncle of hers who sold their home and were en route to use the money to buy another home were ambushed and beaten nearly to death, and robbed of all they owned only a few years back). Peru seems to be developing though, and the women are great.
Venezuela is known for beautiful women, but the country is unstable at the moment, and has a lot of anti-Western sentiment, so I probably wouldn't venture there. Chile I've heard some nice things about, but don't have much to go on.
The Old World, Europe is a wonderful mix of old culture, architecture, and rich tradition, and vibrant, youthful energy, change, and progressivism. The Germanic nations and Scandinavia are leading the charge of the new European direction, and these areas offer some of the continents friendliest women, too. However, all parts of the continent offer something enticing and alluring: from scintillating Mediterranean women to bawdy Celts, and from the cool-but-romantic Franks to the cool-and-calculating Baltics.
While Europe held the crown of world's most overweight continent in 1980, its growth has slowed, and today its numbers are roughly even with those of Latin America and Oceania, about 12 to 15 percentage points beneath North America. While you still will run into larger women here, being thin is simply more commonplace, which means generally nicer, less competed-for women with healthier attitudes toward men (fewer bitter fat girls and entitled thin ones), though Asia and Africa still have the region roundly trumped on body size.
The biggest disadvantage of Europe is perhaps its cost; compared to
elsewhere in the world, Europe is an expensive place to live. If you're
short on funds, Eastern Europe is a definite option, though it's
somewhat less developed, cosmopolitan, and safe than Western Europe.
Potential destinations in Europe:
Britain: I don't know much about Scotland or Wales (or Northern Ireland), but I repeatedly hear that English women are on average the least attractive of all European women, and also some of the most overweight and uninteresting. When I've met British women overseas, they've been pleasant, witty, and not unattractive, and not any more difficult to take to bed than your average American girl is, though often a bit more demure and better able to laugh at themselves.
Ireland: I've heard both praise and condemnation for the women of Ireland. It's no doubt a stereotype (and I'm half Irish myself), but what I repeatedly hear is that Irish people spend most of their time drinking, fighting, and telling jokes and stories (sounds something like my own youth, come to think of it). I hear complaints that Irish women are not very attractive, but, then, can't verify this myself.
France: French women are good at appearing quite aloof, and if women acting aloof intimidates you, you'll come away with a bad opinion of the French. But if you can carve through it, you'll find that French women hide an earnest girlishness behind their superior airs and haughty opinions, that's frequently quite the amusing - and refreshing - mix if you can get through it. The only city I've visited in France to-date is Nice, about which I'd say: make sure you have sturdy sandals for the beach, because walking on those sharp stones to get to the water sure hurts.
Spain: the women here are very elusive, and will make you chase, chase, chase. They have the same passion you see with Latin women, but it's a controlled passion, and they're much better at throwing you hints, then leaning back to let you pursue. You will have a tough time adapting if you go to Spain looking for quick flings with local women - most of my friends who've spent any time in the country end up focusing on fellow expatriates instead.
Italy: similar to Spain in the cageyness of its women - probably due to the country having perhaps the MOST aggressive men in Europe, on average. This site does seven times as much business with German buyers as it does with Italians right next door - Italian men don't need help getting women (or maybe it's the economy). But everybody else needs help with their women - that's for sure. Italian women you meet outside of Italy are a bit less difficult to land, but still maintain much of their allure. Like all the Mediterranean countries, the women here take great care of their appearances, and are thin and beautiful and colorfully dressed, even into their later years.
Germany: just above Italy lies Germany, a country with disarmingly friendly and humble people with a solid work ethic and somewhat quiet demeanor. German women are quite nice, and not at all the solid Big Berthas you see them stereotyped as in Western films - in fact, they're very feminine. I've spent a little time in Munich, and the town itself is very pleasant, with greenery everywhere, good food, and a decent nightlife scene.
Austria: a smaller country, and pretty quiet. Salzburg I found to be a pretty dead town for singles (though great for sightseeing), and a friend reports that the women of Vienna aren't the most devoted at keeping themselves attractive. Nice for the scenery, though.
Sweden:whenever I meet Swedish women in my travels, they're among the friendliest and quickest to warm up. Swedish women have lower barriers to sex than most Europeans you'll meet; it's not uncommon for them to have multiple lovers and to enjoy the kinkier side of sex. Sweden itself seems to be one of the more female-friendly countries in Europe, though I haven't visited personally. On the downside, I hear that Swedish women are starting to put on some weight, though I've personally never run into anything other than thin women from Sweden.
Scandinavia (Other): my general impression of the rest of Scandinavia (Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland) from what I hear is that it's similar to Sweden, though a bit toned down / less highly sexed. English is commonly spoken throughout Scandinavia.
Poland: Poland's another country with loads of English speakers, feminine women, and women whom you'll generally have an easier time getting into bed. On average, they're somewhat less attractive than women of some other European countries, however.
Ukraine: the women of the Ukraine are tall and rail-thin, which is probably why the country produces so many fashion models: no belly, but no breasts or stomach, either. Ukraine is modernizing and becoming safer, though it's still not as safe as Western countries, and it's not as easy to sleep with women here as some might think from it's third world status. Women from Kiev in particular generally wear an aloof, superior attitude and retain a poised elegance no matter where in the world they are.
Bulgaria / Romania: these are two that I repeatedly have friends rave to me about, but I have too few details than to say anything other than my friends who visit here claim that the women are all gorgeous, have incredible bodies, and are easy to talk to and get dates with and get in bed. As a rule of thumb, I take my most enthusiastic friends' opinions on things with a grain of salt, but until I can check it out myself, that's what I hear.
Latvia / Estonia / Lithuania: on the opposite side of the spectrum, I'm repeatedly told that these countries are very difficult to meet women in, and that they operate primarily on social circle and are very resistant to cold approach, which is what you're going to be doing as a traveler. They likely won't be very productive for meeting women in.
Hungary: Hungarian women I don't know much about, though their women appear to be well-endowed with large natural chests (for what it's worth, I've had several different girls comment to me about how well-hung their Hungarian boyfriends were, so it's not just the girls who are well-endowed). That's really all I know at the moment, but as large natural breasts and itty bitty waists are the ideal combination for me, this one is somewhere near the top of my to-visit list right now.
Russia: Russia's one that gets a lot of strong opinions. Some of my friends have told me it wasn't any good, while others have gushed about it. When I hear reviews like this, that generally means that it's the kind of country that's open enough to cold approach that a guy with tight fundamentals will clean up, but it's not so easy that women will sleep with you anyway if you're still getting your act together. This one's probably a country to hit when you're already in a place where women adore you if you want to maximize your success rates.
The Middle East is a curious mix of religious conservatism and repression and wild sexual rebellion. Its mix of tension, violence, and repression means that you can find some of the most explosive sexuality in the world here; both Israeli and Muslim women rank among the most passionate women you will wrangle into the sack.
Sexuality also emerges in some unusual ways here; my (male) military friends report that the saying in the Middle East is "girls are for reproduction, boys are for pleasure", and often these friends of mine are hounded by local men who want sex with them. Male-male sex is considered "not homosexual" in the Middle East because, in the man's mind, this is just to tide him over until he's married, or give him a release away from his wife, similar to the "down low" subculture of bisexual American black men.
Due to the anti-Western sentiment here, I've avoided traveling to
the Middle East, and would recommend you probably do the same too, with
exceptions perhaps for the three countries listed separately below.
Even Asian and Indian men have run into trouble with exploitation and
terrorist attacks in the Middle East; it's simply a dangerous, unstable
region right now, both for inhabitants and for outsiders, and many of
the individuals committing crimes merely use religion as a front, with
their true intent being robbery or ransom for personal gain.
Potential destinations in the Middle East:
Turkey: I've heard various things - some good, some bad - but Istanbul is supposedly a wild party city. The few Turkish women I've met have been a bit socially stunted, but that may just be small sample size problems there.
Israel: I hear a lot of rave reviews coming out of Israel - that Israeli women are beautiful and passionate, and that the nightlife scene in Tel Aviv is spectacular. If you're planning to visit Muslim nations in the region though, go here last, or make sure the stamp is put on a piece of paper and not on your passport if you must go through first - many of Israel's neighbors don't like it very much, and won't let you in if you're carrying a stamp.
United Arab Emirates: Dubai's one I used to hear was exciting for picking up expatriates in, but most of the talk I hear now is that it's very boring. However, I mostly hear this from women, and when women think a town is boring, that often means it's good for picking up - bored women need a little adventure in their lives. That said, it's quite expensive here, even if they have halted construction for now to wait for better financial times. Dubai women, in my limited experience with them, are calm and steamingly sensual, and not overly religious or conservative (at least, the ones traveling overseas are not), but don't talk about Israel at all if you don't want to turn the conversation into an explosive political one - there's a lot of bad blood there. They may have boyfriends back home they intend to go back and marry when you meet them abroad.
Rest of the Middle East: women are generally jealously guarded, and penalties for even meeting men in public can be severe. One military friend who spent a great deal of Saudi Arabia - one of the most restrictive nations in the region - claimed that in the right circles, you could have a GREAT time in Saudi, though I suspect he was mostly limiting himself to expatriate women, or perhaps some sort of prostitution, since he rolled with many of the very rich there. I've also heard tell that Beirut was a wild party city with an overabundance of lustful secular young women, though it's been years since I've met anyone who's gone there simply because of all the instability in the country and the region.
I know little about Africa, though the African women I've known overseas have been high-spirited, highly social people with strong work ethics who said that most Africans are this way too. A friend from Nigeria used to boil her water to drink it, because she'd grown up drinking boiling hot water (to kill diseases in the water) and cold water tasted bizarre to her, and said that walking down the street in Nigeria, if you met a stranger, you would stop and get into a great, happy conversation (starting with, "Hello friend! How is your day today?"), sometimes lasting for a long time.
According to Naughty Nomad - a Western guy who's spent quite a bit of time in Africa - "[m]ost sexual relationships in sub-Saharan African are transactional" (due to African women simply being poor and needing the money) and "90% of the women you meet at night are prostitutes." I don't know how true these statements are - I've visited some of the same towns as Nomad, but have found we had sometimes very divergent experiences - but without any other basis to go off of, I'd at least start here. Naughty Nomad has a couple of articles you may want to read if you're interested in moving overseas to Africa:
Africa is a dangerous continent; assault, murder, robbery, and rape
of both sexes is extremely common. Disease is also rampant; HIV has a
high degree of prevalence in Africa, as do many other sexually
transmitted diseases. If you're traveling or moving here, make sure you
know what you're doing, and make sure you're at least starting out
staying with someone who's intimately familiar with the continent and
can download his own learning and cautions into your brain.
Asia is the world's thinnest continent, and not because of malnutrition; Japanese women are the healthiest and longest-lived individuals on Earth. Asia's collective rate of being overweight is a mere 23% to North America's 70% and Europe's 57%; obesity in Asia is at a mere 6%, compared to 24% in Europe and 32% in North America.
What that means for travelers moving to or visiting Asia is that there is a far wider pool of women who qualify as "attractive"; whereas a large chunk of North American and European women are automatically out of the running as mates, elevating thin women's rarity and leading to males focusing all their competitive energies on comparatively fewer women - making those women behave more aloof and choosy as a result - in Asia, being thin is not special - it's normal. That leads to much less competition for an average thin, attractive girl in Asia than in any other continent, since that competition is being spread among a greater portion of the female population in Asia than it is in other continents, meaning the women you do meet are more excited to meet you and have warmer dispositions toward men and less bitterness (from being passed over) or entitlement (from having been heavily competed for).
A side benefit of the "Asian thin" effect is that Western women who
expatriate to Asia see markedly less interest from men than they saw in
the West - even very beautiful Western women. There are simply too many
thin, attractive women around for them to command as much attention as
when they were comparative rarities back home. You will almost never
have an easier time meeting and sleeping with stunning Russian,
European, Australian, and North American women than you will meeting
these women in an Asian city once they've been living there 4+ months -
they simply can't be as picky or demanding.
Potential destinations in Asia:
Japan: Japan is most Western men's introduction to Asia. With a bit of time in the country, you can understand why: it's very clean, incredibly modern, the people are very respectful, all the women are slim, well-dressed, and well made-up with great hair, and Westerners are accepted and reasonably commonplace. Despite the large Western presence in Japan, Westerners haven't lost much of their appeal, and it's still quite easy to sleep with Japanese women as a foreigner - you just have to lead, lead, LEAD until she comes with you. Japanese women have a charming mix of playful girlishness and almost reverential treatment for and loyalty to their mates - they make for generally very good girlfriends.
Korea: a bit of an odd place is Korea. On my first visit, I thought that Korea was possibly the most different place I've been, culturally-speaking, and I still think that a half decade later. Seoul's a bit of a gloomy town - the only people I feel like match Seoul residents in dourness are the residents of Bremerton, Washington. Seoul has good nightlife, and many men will tell you its women are difficult to get in bed, but I've found Korean women quite warm and accommodating, and actually rather enjoy its women.
Only major downside is the expense - Japan is very expensive to live or stay in. Tokyo is the bustling urban megapolis with tons to do and see (and mountains of nightlife and day game spots), while Osaka is the quieter, dense suburb-like city in its feel and lay out - plenty of nightlife spots here, but they're not as active as Tokyo's, and Osaka's day game is your best bet - it's crawling with cute girls out by themselves all day every day.
China: China's a country with nearly as much landmass as the United States or continental Europe, and several times the population of either of these regions, so it's understandably diverse. The women from different provinces often are as different as the women from different U.S. states or different E.U. countries are, with women from Hunan province being tall, slender, light-skinned, large-breasted, and very quiet and marriage-oriented, while women from Southern China (like Hubei or Szechuan) tending to be shorter, fiery, dynamic, and darker skinned. People in Northern China are quite tall; one of the few places in the world I've ever felt noticeably short (at 6 feet tall) is in Beijing.
Random men will step
in to try to break up conversations between Korean women and foreigners
- I saw this happen repeatedly to friends, though never had it happen
myself. When I saw it happen with friends, the friends were more
clearly "pursuing" the women, so I'm guessing it's a case of Korean men
being able to tell clearly that the man is chasing and the woman won't
object too strongly to a local men interjecting himself to play white knight. Korea is
expensive, though not as much as Japan, and also considerably dirtier than Japan, though also
Taiwan: Taipei, despite its modernity, is actually more traditionally "Chinese" than mainland China is, thanks to the cultural reset button the Party used to wipe away old traditions and build something new in the PRC. Taiwanese women are friendly and put more time into their appearance than their mainland counterparts, and usually have better English, too. However, they'll be somewhat less excited / intimidated to meet you than mainlanders will, and frequently try to do things in groups, which can be annoying (you simply have to be very insistent in telling them to come with JUST you). Taipei is somewhere in the middle in terms of cost of living between mainland China and Japan / Korea, and it's where, I have it on good authority from the celebrity crowd in Taipei, the Hong Kong bankers all come to party on the weekend, since Hong Kong clubs are 70% men.
Shanghai is the Westernized city with the best nightlife in mainland China and the most English spoken; Beijing is second in line, though it's distinctly more "Chinese", which may be good or may be bad, depending on how much immersion you want or far you want to get away from Western paradigms. So long as you're comfortable being dominant and leading, you'll have an easy time with women in China, but if you can't do these things, or come across as someone who's planning to settle in the country, expect to struggle. Hong Kong (now part of China) features a great deal of English speaking, and is well-liked among several of my friends, though I've yet to visit there.
Thailand: if you're a partier, you're probably familiar with Thailand, sex tourism capital of the world. Simply for the spectacle, it's worth dropping by Soi Cowboy in Bangkok - you've never seen so many strip joints in your life, let alone ones where you can easily pick whatever girl you like, pay a small fee, and take her back to your hotel. Thailand's Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is an event to be experienced, with thousands of (mostly Australian and European) young people bouncing up and down to music all night long on the beach, drunk and high out of their minds, and is one of the easier places in the world to pull (start early though - it might be easiest during the daytime, paradoxically).
India: I suppose personal tastes vary, but in my opinion, the majority of Indian women are just flatly unattractive... but the select few who ARE attractive are GORGEOUS. India's a very conservative country - in estimates of sexual partners per country, the women of India have the lowest lifetime partner count of any nation surveyed (1.6 partners lifetime on average), but the women who travel outside of India sometimes are the party animals and, I'm told, the ones in Mumbai and Delhi who go to the bars and clubs and spend time with Westerns often are, too. One of the few women I've known who could probably out drink me was a thin, beautiful, sensual Indian woman who was constantly losing her futile battle to stay faithful to her guy-de-jour (each of whom was always madly in love with her). Every charismatic Indian woman I've known has gotten under my skin, and that's a difficult thing to do. This country has a high place on my to-visit list simply for that reason.
Personally, I find it rather challenging to find a truly
beautiful woman in Thailand, though they're certainly not lacking on
passion, personality, or sex appeal - guess that's the tradeoff. Thai
women themselves are a strange dichotomy
of working girls - who frequently have a foreign boyfriend who sends
them money from back home in the United States, Australia, or Europe to
not work, but who will still go out and take new clients anyway (while
insisting to their faraway boyfriends that of course
they are staying faithful) - and traditional conservative women for
whom sex is a very big deal and who will not give it up easily. Expect
Thai women to become very attached to you after sex - even the
prostitutes. But just because they've fallen for you doesn't mean
they've quit taking on new clients, either; that's just business (you'll be expected to stay
faithful, however - it's quite funny). Oh, and look out for the
ladyboys - they're everywhere.
Mongolia: there's really not too much good I can say about Mongolia. The women are masculine and ugly; the men are violent and pugilistic; street rats abound, and will pick your pocket as soon as they think you aren't paying attention; foreigners are warned not to go out to bars or nightclubs, because of the risk you'll be attacked (we were) or gypped (they tried). On the positive side, Mongolians are extremely clever, crafty, hard-working people, and they have a giant national ego. They don't like Russians very much, and they strongly dislike Chinese; as a landlocked country, Mongolia only has two neighbors: the Russians and the Chinese.
Vietnam: if you like women with hairy legs, you're going to love Vietnam. The foreigner hunters here sometimes carry around little books with English phrases in them and ask you robotic-sounding questions to engage you in dialogue - then take you on a tour of the city the next day and ask you to buy them expensive gifts. The women who don't do this are quite sweet, but you may need to learn some Vietnamese to communicate with them - else you'll be stuck looking for Westernized Vietnamese back in the country on holiday from school. The food here is excellent, and the cost of living is quite low - you can frequently find nice-enough hotels in the heart of downtown Ho Chi Minh City for 20 dollars a night.
Cambodia: I didn't find the women of Cambodia especially attractive while there, nor did I find them especially astute or personable, which was something of a turnoff for me. The only thing I can report positively about the country (and it's questionable whether this is something positive or not) is that according to my friend who likes prostitutes, beautiful women can be had here for the whopping sum of five American dollars. Cambodia is quite possibly the poorest country I have ever visited - the driver I had while in the country proudly pointed out to me the clumsy-looking stick lodge he lived in when we drove past it (much larger than his neighbor's dwellings), and turned white as a sheet when I tipped him $25 for three days of driving (we'd been paying the hotel $25 a day for the car; the hotel probably paid him a dollar or two out of this) - we had to beg him to take the money.
Singapore: if you want the Western experience while living in Asia, Singapore's about as good as it gets (neck and neck with Hong Kong). It's a pristine city - extraordinarily clean - and sparklingly modern; no city in the United States holds a candle to Singapore's modernity and cleanliness, that's for sure. It's also a dense city - like many other Asian cities, you will find yourself walking down streets that are positively swarming with people - and lots and lots and lots of pretty girls (fashionably attired). The problem with Singapore is that it feels a bit like a giant tropical shopping mall - the palm trees are nice, but it feels like the only thing to do there is buy stuff.
The women are very pretty, but don't have a great deal of
personality. They're not very
to get in bed, but they're not as much of a shoe-in as the women of a
number of other Asian cities are. Singapore is a closed community,
similar to Estonia or Latvia in Eastern Europe - people do things
through social circles here, and are not very open to outsiders. Most
of the people here are of Han Chinese descent, with some Indian and
Malaysian mixed in. English is very widely spoken. My favorite place
here was Sentosa Beach - it was quite nice to very casually find your
way into conversation with women while lounging around the beach bar.
Oceania is a region filled with Pacific Islanders and more recent settlers of European and East Asian descent. Australia and New Zealand are majority European, while Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are composed mainly of indigenous populations, though with a strong Chinese minority.
Ethnic Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia comprise a small but wealthy majority in these countries. They're the business-owning class - Asia's answer to the West's enterprising Jewish population, though they're frequently pushed to the edges of society and are sometimes the subject of government or mob persecution. The Chinese and native populations tend not to mix, each one commonly thinking itself superior to the other.
Potential destinations in Oceania:
Malaysia: Singapore's neighbor (and, at one point, part of the same whole as Singapore), Malaysia has darker skinned and livelier women than the city-state next door, but is also much poorer by comparison. Kuala Lumpur is an okay town - stay near the Petronas Towers if you want to be close to the center of the action and the nightlife area - but many of the bars frequented by Westerners are hooker havens, and you'll have to watch out for the women wearing headscarves - it's against the law for Muslim women to go to bed with you, and probably worse for you than it is for them.
Indonesia: I've only been to Bali - the Hindu part of Indonesia - mostly because their is a fair bit of warring between the Muslims and the Christians in the main part of Indonesia, and foreigners aren't always the most welcome there, with periodic bombings in Jakarta hotels catering to internationals. Bali is touristed-out, and the local women you'll meet here are almost exclusively prostitutes - and lots of them. Foreign women are around on vacation too - many Australians, plus some Europeans and some Asians from other parts of Asia - but never the most attractive ones. If you're picky about looks, or don't like paying for sex, you probably won't be very happy in Bali; on the plus side, it's quite cheap to live, stay, and eat here, and the beaches are nice and waters are calm.
Kuala Lumpur - as a
transportation hub for the reason - entertains a number of foreigners
doing business or passing through, so you'll usually be able to meet
foreign women here too.
The Philippines: Colt covered these quite well already in his article on Filipinas. I'll just add that while prostitution is rampant here, it's also quite easy to find regular girls just about anywhere and pick up with impunity. Probably one of the easiest places in Asia to quickly take girls to bed, though the Filipina look is also a distinctive one, and you may or may not like it.
Australia: before I researched Colombia, I researched Australia, and was all but ready to pick up and move. I talked to a number of Australians and expatriates in Australia about their preferences, and generally came up with the recommendations of Sydney, if you like beach towns and somewhat more looks-focused people and a relaxed lifestyle, or Melbourne, if you're more partial to culture and a diverse pool of citizens from various parts of the world and don't care so much for the beach.
New Zealand: I don't know much about NZ, aside from the fact that it's predominantly European, and the famed Maori make up a mere 10% of the total population, but I do hear it's beautiful, and I also hear good things about the women there...
Perth I've had some Australians tell me was a happening, crazy party town, and others tell me was a closed-minded, insular farming community. Brisbane and Canberra are supposedly pretty dead. I meet surprisingly few Australian women in my travels; most of the Australians I meet are male; not sure why. Australia has a very welcoming immigration program for those who want to move there - it's quite easy to get a work and residence permit if you're even remotely skilled in some field... you just need to fill out the necessary forms and applications. The country wants more immigrants.
... and, I'm told they have nice sheep.
Now that you've got an idea about a place or two you probably want to go to, let's talk getting there, getting situated, and doing it all without breaking the bank.
For finding plane tickets, I'm partial to using Adioso these days, for sheer reasons of simplicity. It's just a more streamlined interface than anything else out there. Do check it out; you'll love it.
The cheapest days to travel by air generally are:
... in that order. That's directly proportional to the times people fly; because all the business travelers are hitting the skies hard all day Monday, that's when prices are highest. And because airports are dead Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday, those are the days when prices are lowest.
Flying at odd hours - 4 AM, 11 PM, etc. - can get you some savings
sometimes too, but usually not much, and usually not enough to make
these wrecking your sleep cycle.
For getting "free" trips - here's a wonderful airfare hack you may not be aware of - you can combine two or more trips into a single trip, all for the price of one (or not much more), by including multiple cities as "layovers" into one single flight. Here's an example: in 2011, I traveled from Beijing to Tokyo (4 days) to Philadelphia (2 weeks) to San Diego (1 week) then back to Beijing to work on an education business I was running in town there for the same price I'd have paid to go from just Beijing to Philadelphia and back. I simply booked a multicity flight that stopped at different cities I needed to visit for varying lengths of time along the way.
So long as a layover stop is fewer than 30 days, it counts as a layover, and doesn't add anything to the price of the flight if it's along the route to your final destination.
These routes depend on the airline, of course; some airlines pass through Heathrow, while others pass through Frankfurt. Some stop at New York LaGuardia, while others have their hub at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Kayak allows you to book multicity flights quite easily here; it also has an extremely cool tool called "Kayak Explore" that allows you to view the cost of flights to anywhere in the world from wherever you are, which may clue you into interesting travel destinations that hadn't even been on your radar formerly.
If you're super strapped for cash, and need airfare for the absolute lowest possible price you can get your hands on, you have an option: Priceline's name your own price tool.
To do this:
First, use a site like Kayak or Adioso to determine the absolute lowest retail price you can find for a flight
Next, go to Priceline, and scroll down the page to the "Name Your Own Price" feature, and select the one for flights
Name a price that's a significant discount over the lowest retail price you found - 30%, 40%, or even 50% less if you're feeling adventurous
If you win the bid with Priceline, your card is charged and the flight is non-refundable, so don't do this until you're certain you need to fly. And, you're going to have a good chance of ending up flying at odd, inconvenient times of the day, simply because those are the flights that airlines are willing to go super cheap on. But if you really need to save, you can use Priceline to get the price you pay down even lower.
While I rarely bid on flights, as the time of day the flight is at is more important to me than saving a few bucks (I really don't like trying to hail a cab when there are none around because it's the dead of night or the middle or rush hour, or waking up at 2 in the morning to catch a flight at 5), one thing I DO always bid on is rental cars... because it's just a lot of fun.
Something I learned back in my corporate world days was that even if you select "Economy" - the cheapest, bottom-of-the-barrel option for rental cars - you almost never get an economy car, and in fact will almost always get a compact, mid-size, standard, or even full-size car. I've rented cars dozens of times, picking "Economy" every single time, and I think I've actually gotten an economy car once.
Even if you're not going to bid on Priceline for cars, you can still use this hack, because economy cars are always the cheapest, and unless you're arriving on the weekend after all the business travelers have returned their rental cars and gone home, they're almost assuredly going to be out of economy cars when you arrive and will have to upgrade you.
This is important: when you get there, they may ask you if you'd LIKE to upgrade to a compact, mid-size, standard, or full-size. Say "no." They'll then check the computer, and say, "It looks like we're all out of economy cars; is a standard size okay?" Then you'll say sure, and they'll upgrade you at no additional cost.
You pay the economy price. You get a bigger / nicer / safer car anyway. Nice.
If you're going to use Priceline, you can save even more. Again, do a search for what the going rate is on other sites (not Priceline) before you bid, then bid significantly less. I've had plenty of times where the minimum rate for an economy-size car was $32 a day and I got it for $17 a day by bidding on Priceline - nearly half. If you'll be holding onto the car for a week or two or more, you can save yourself a nice little bit of money - maybe treat yourself to a night on the town or two.
I'm a big, BIG fan of staying with friends, as mentioned above. The one exception is if my friend's place is really tiny, or really dirty, or, the worst, both (I stayed with a friend in Osaka who had a TINY Japanese apartment, which he probably had not cleaned since moving in 7 months earlier - I had to sleep on the floor, and the place was so cramped that he could not get out of bed or get to his computer without stepping over me. I've stayed in hotels on subsequent visits to Japan).
This can also be a borderline area if you're staying with
ex-girlfriends you are trying not to sleep with to avoid hysterics, but
they're working hard to change your mind about that while you're
there... that can be a situation where sometimes it's just better to
get a hotel room, too.
If you don't have friends you can stay with, you might try Couch Surfing; I've not used this personally, but I have several friends who swear by it.
If you'd prefer your own place, you can often rent a private room in a hostel for a decent price; if having your own bathroom is important, you'll most likely need to call and ask.
Before I travel to a new city, if I'm going somewhere I don't have friends, the first thing I do is plot where the nightclub areas are on maps, then look for hotel options nearby that look comfortable enough and are within my target budget. If nightlife isn't important to you, you might select some other area (dining area; shopping area), although nightlife areas, shopping areas, and restaurant areas are often all very close to each other in the heart of downtown.
If you're super budget conscious, you can, again, use Priceline - I do, from time to time, and have gotten, say, a $50 a night room at a 2-star hotel on the Strip in Vegas when the cheapest thing available in a 2-star on the Strip online at the time was $180 a night - or, you can either book a hotel for one night or alternately don't book a hotel at all, and set about combing the city for the hard-to-find hotels that aren't listed online and don't have a website after you arrive. These places generally have lower room rates, simply because they don't get the kind of discovery that hotels listed online tend to have.
Sometimes you can find hotels like this by searching Google reviews or TripAdvisor and find that they aren't in any of the hotel search engines and don't have their own website, but you can call a phone number listed somewhere online and check rates and make a reservation that way.
For just general lodging, if I'm not super price conscious, I prefer Agoda to some of the larger hotel search engines like Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels, etc. All the larger ones are mostly owned by one of two conglomerates - either Orbitz or Expedia - and both have pretty terrible customer service, and I've had problems with both (Orbitz mailed me a paper airline ticket - who mails a paper airline ticket? - that had to be mailed back in for a changed flight, which took 7 days to process, which I could not wait around for, and by the time it was processed I was told I could only change flights, and had a year to use my $900 credit for one specific flight that I'd already booked another flight for since I couldn't wait for Orbitz - that credit has since expired; nasty business; Expedia I booked a hotel through, only to arrive at the hotel and be told that there were no rooms, sorry, and I then spent the better part of a month trying to wrestle a refund out of the company for the rooms that never materialized), whereas Agoda has been repeatedly gracious, responsive, and flexible any time I've need to change things, even last minute. It's a top quality company.
Before I go anywhere, I always hit Wikitravel first. Even if I'm meeting a friend, I hit Wikitravel. And I always check at least two things: taxis, and the "Stay Safe" section.
Taxis are essential to get some intel on, because in some countries they try not to use the meter, and in other countries they won't use these at all. You should know the price of the ride from the airport to the hotel, and not get screwed over. I had a taxi driver in Vietnam pick me up at the airport and on the way start telling me the ride was going to cost an extortionist amount because it was "after midnight, and there's an extra charge." I knew how much I was supposed to pay because I'd done my homework, and I knew how ridiculous what he was saying was, and I told the guy to drive me back to the airport. He ended up having me talk to a manager, whom I yelled at too, and by the time we got to the hotel he still managed to con me, but out of a mere $10 instead of the $200 he was going for originally. I chalked that $10 up as a learning experience, and it didn't happen again.
You'll find a lot of "fake taxis" when you start traveling overseas - they're in Asia, they're in Europe, they're even in the U.S. (I run into them in San Francisco). These are the guys who start walking after you when you're not even out of the airport yet going, "Taxi? You need a taxi, sir? Where are you going?" or yelling out prices at you. Again, if you read Wikitravel's section on taxis in your destination city beforehand, you probably know exactly where you need to go to find the REAL taxis and make sure you don't get scammed; just ignore the guys yelling at you or wave them off.
The "Stay Safe" section of Wikitravel basically tells you what to look out for - pickpockets, violent crimes in the area, crooked cops, people posing as crooked cops, etc. It generally tells you what to do or say if you encounter a certain situation too, which is invaluable. Very necessary reading if you don't want to be going crazy when something outrageous and unexpected occurs.
For making phone calls over the Internet, I recommend both Google Voice (if you're U.S. based and have a U.S. number you can link this too) and Skype, which offers various inexpensive calling plans - the U.S. and Canada plan is enough for me, but if you're making calls in Europe / Asia / Latin America / etc., the "Unlimited World" plan is the way to go - still quite a bargain if you're making a bunch of calls ("Unlimited World" is somewhat hidden in the site - click on a country to call, then click "See details", then scroll down to "Unlimited World").
Also, before you start traveling, I'd recommend purchasing a money belt (like this one) for storing money, credit cards, your passport, and other important documents on your person in areas with lots of pickpocketing or if you don't feel safe leaving them at home...
... and a sturdy computer carrying case and a combination lock to lock the zipper with - it's usually more a deterrent than anything else, but it saved me from having my computer stolen out of my case by a pickpocket in Mongolia, and may have prevented me losing my computer and documents / extra money in the case other times that I wasn't even aware of simply because no one got into the case.
Let's wrap this puppy up.
So the main points we covered at the start of today's article were:
Travel is wonderful because it enhances your experiences, makes you more creative, and gets you easier access to women thanks to you now being a novel, exotic foreigner, instead of "just another local"
Travel can also be nice for living more cheaply, making higher caliber friends a lot more easily, and opening up new opportunities you didn't even know existed
Some of the downsides of travel are culture shock, separation from friends and loved ones, and communication difficulties in your new home
You automatically become more attractive when traveling overseas (generally) as a foreigner, assuming your fundamentals are otherwise in good shape; an Indian guy with bad body language and low charisma in the U.S. will struggle even more than an American guy with bad body language and low charisma, but an Indian guy with killer body language and charisma off the charts will clean up in the U.S. in ways that an American guy with killer body language and charisma off the charts will envy
You can ease into traveling overseas by starting with a group tour - everything's taken care of for you by the tour, so that instead of having to worry about details, all you have to do is go and enjoy
When you change cities or countries, you generally want to go somewhere you already have friends - it makes settling in a lot easier
Before you select the country you want to relocate to, make sure you know whyyou want to change countries, and research your choice as much as possible to bring your expectations as in-line with reality as they can be without having actually spent time in the place before
Try to make a scouting expedition to a potential new country first before moving there on a more permanent basis to get a feel for the place, whether you like it, and where in town you want to stay
Airfare, transport, and lodging all can be done on the cheap if you do a little homework first
Make sure you study up on how the taxis / transit system works going from airport to your friend's place, new apartment, or hotel in any new city, and find out what to watch out for and how to stay safe in a given area
Invest in a money belt to keep documents safe on your person whenever you need to, and a sturdy briefcase for your computer, spare money / cards, and documents that you can lock with a combination lock to keep pickpockets from slipping these easily out when you aren't paying attention
Again, please do share in the comments if you have experience that can fill in some of the blanks I have on any of these countries, or any other countries I've left off the list. I'll personally appreciate it (to inform my own wanderings better), and you can be certain the other readers hitting this article will appreciate it a great deal too.
Also worth sharing, if you have some nifty travel hacks I don't know or haven't thought to cover here - do comment and do tell!
And, enjoy planning and moving to a new country - it's something that will change your perspective on life, the world, women, and yourself for the better, forever.
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