My new favorite tool for finding the CHEAPEST flights to South America

“I paid $300 Argentina to Brazil to Chile to Ecuador,” a young, backpacker guest of mine at my place near the Quito airport said recently in the lobby.

“Wow” I thought.  Great price considering there are no budget airlines yet in South America.

So naturally I asked how she found it?

Google Flights,” she said.

So I tried it, and she was right, its great and I used it to plan my last trip a few weeks ago to the US saving me hundreds on flights.

The great thing about Google flights is you can compare the prices between two different destinations on all the major airlines for MONTHS at a time allowing you to easily pick the dates that work for you and that are the cheapest.

Google flights, a must for any expat planning travel abroad in 2018!

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1 mistake everyone makes when moving to Ecuador: Choosing the right brands

“I´m an Apple guy,” a friend who was moving to Ecuador confided recently.

“OK, better hope your Apple computer-phone doesn´t break while in Ecuador.” I responded.  

Why?  

If your Apple product breaks, if you can even FIND the part, it will probably cost a fortune.  

This ain´t Kansas no more, land of Amazon Prime free 2 day delivery and a Walmart on every corner.  

You gotta start thinking like an Ecuadorian if you gonna live here.  

It´s VERY important to stick to the brands that are prevalent in Ecuador, or parts will be almost impossible to find, very difficult to get shipped down, and if found VERY expensive.  

For instance…

For TVs go SAMSUNG or SONY. 

For cellphones go SAMSUNG.

For computers go HP or TOSHIBA.

For tablets the best well-known is APPLE iPAD.

For cars go CHEVROLET or NISSAN.  

For printers go CANON.

For cameras go NIKON or CANON.  

Any other brand if it breaks here will be almost impossible to fix, and has very little RESALE value!

Yes, I´ve made this mistake myself, I like Motorola unlocked smart phones, yet try to find a case, or a charger or anything else for one of them while in Ecuador, stinks!  Now you know!

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Driving Uber for quick cash in Ecuador

I´ve been living outside the USA for 10 years now in different places around the globe, so things like Uber are relatively new for me.

I just used ot for the first time 2 weeks ago on a quick trip back to my hometown of Cleveland, OH.

It´s great!

So naturally, I checked it out once back here in Ecuador and sure enough there are people using it, but it´s still in it´s baby stages.

But there do seem to be more user inquiries than drivers at the current time. Not many local taxi drivers know about it so it seems.

So I signed up as a driver. It was easy, just download the Uber Driver app and follow the steps, take a pic of your license and plates and basics like that.

Then in a day you are verified.

On my first drive I asked my client why he likes Uber? Price he said, it´s cheaper for the client, and it´s true! Especially in areas outside the cities in Ecuador where there are no meters.

Using it as a driver is pretty straightforward although there are some differences between Ecuador and USA.

Like in the USA, the user sends out a ping and the closest driver can accept. I found you have to be quick and click the request fast.

Then you are directed through GPS to user´s location and directed again to their destination with the set price.

The difference is in Ecuador its all cash while in the USA it´s all credit card based, so you charge the client at end of lift.

Then later you pay Uber their commissions (although I haven´t gotten that far yet).

One tip I´ve already discovered, camp out around tourist hot spots where there are a lot of foreigners and rich Ecuadorians who may have lived abroad and know about Uber. You´ll get many more requests!

Would I do this frequently?

No. not now, I´m OK financially, but if I hit hard times yes I would, for me, I´m on the Cortez plan… BURN THE BOAT.

The only way I´m going back to the USA is in a box. (Unless on a short visit, it´s a nice place, just not for me.) That´s the mentality you have to have to move abroad or it´s probably not going to work.

And yes, I´d scrub dishes at Ecuador wages before going back.

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