I don’t know how many times I see posts on either social media, travel blogs, ex-pat pages or relocation FAQs where people post questions regarding issues which really should have been a resolved prior to even considering becoming an ex-pat.

The problem with getting information from the sources is that it is generally incorrect or misleading. A perfect example, yesterday I reviewed the post regarding the importation of vehicles into Mexico, it was a fairly simple question however out of the 52 responses 49 of them were incorrect and one was totally misleading.

There are some basic items that must be addressed prior to becoming an ex-pat. Failure to address these items will result without a doubt in one of the worst experiences you will ever have. Ensuring that you have a viable plan will make your transition the easiest thing you have ever done.

Making a planPlans at least should include financial costs, living costs, transportation, entertainment, medical, home insurance as well as life, hospital, car and other associated insurance costs. The reason for doing these plans is first and foremost to ensure that you will have from a financial standpoint a quality of life that you can enjoy in your new home. There is nothing worse than failing to plan and then having to resort to try to find work in another country just to simply get by.

While the general cost of living in Mexico, Central and South America is much cheaper than in Canada and the United States or even Europe failing to have a plan addresses the above issues is just simply a recipe for disaster should something unforeseen happen.

The plan should also include what items you want to bring to your new home, what will the cost of these items be in terms of transportation, taxes, duty and fees versus how much would they cost in your new residence and are they even available. Can you import your car, some cars depending on age, location of manufacture, NAFTA agreements may not be able to be imported. If they can’t then your plan must include either local transportation costs, car rental costs when needed or the purchase cost of a new or used vehicle.

There are many other issues should be included in this plan everything from temporary housing or rental accommodations to legal fees, commissions and immigration costs all of these costs will impact not only your financial quality of life but also your actual quality of life.

The solution is quite simple, talk to people, professional, ethical people and get information, check that information against government websites, relocation services, realtors and then check again. The more work you do before you pack your bags less work you will when you have to unpack them.

One last thing, make your plan, check your plan, then make another plan for when that plan goes to hell.

Take care, see you on the beach,

Steve “the beach gringo in chief”Patterson.