Travel to develop your internet business – where to go

Written by Mike

Topics: Mobile living, Travel

Regarding my post: traveling to develop your internet business, Claire asks:

That being said, I have to say your blog post on how to reduce your living expenses by going abroad is very well thought out. However, if you don’t happen to be a citizen of that country, won’t they eventually kick you out? I would like to do this in two or three years and I am now investigating my choices but I am finding that my best choice may be in the U.S.!

My experience only extends to Asia but I believe there a number of countries in the world which let you stay for periods beyond a short vacation period.

Generally poorer, less developed countries allow foreigners to live for extended periods without having to hold down a job, or run a business, particularly in South East Asia. The governments of these countries welcome foreigners, often to stay as long as they want, as they believe that they bring in valuable foreign currency and investment.

Since local people’s salaries are so low, it is unlikely that foreigners will be taking away jobs from local people. Immigration officials basically assume that all westerners are rich and let anyone in.

Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and India allow foreigners to apply for visas that are longer than the usual one month tourist visas, that most countries seem to offer. Generally there are no special requirements to get a visa for people from most western countries. As Lonely Planet says, “if you have the cash, they have a visa”.

Cambodia offers a 6 and 12 month business visa. Once you have the visa you are basically free to work, start a business or lay on the beach for as long as you want. Thailand has become stricter in allowing people who do not have proper business visas to stay in the country long term. At one time Thailand was the place for foreigners to escape from the western rat race.

The big disclaimer to this post is that visa conditions and regulations can change at anytime. Immigration officials are corrupt and can change fees/rules at anytime they see fit. It is important when dealing with officials in any country, but particularly Asia to stay calm, don’t argue and to dress conservatively. Follow the laws and rules of your chosen country and you won’t have a problem.

5 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Claire says:

    Hi Mike,

    Gee, thanks for answering this question more directly. I was actually looking to move to Australia from the U.S. I am looking at different options. They have business visas that are longer than tourist visas and I think their economy is very strong. Their housing prices though are too high! Here in N.C. I can get a nice mansion for what they want for a little apartment, even counting the exchange rate which isn’t much different now. I hear New Zealand might be a better bet, but I don’t know anyone in New Zealand. You are from Australia. If you were me, how would you approach moving to Australia from the U.S. Would it not be worth it financially?


  2. Mike says:

    Claire, thanks for your comment. Yes, the economy is very strong right now and we basically have full-employment – the first time ever that I can remember (I am 34). If you have a skill that is in demand you should be able to find work.

    Which part of Australia are you thinking of? Sydney is expensive, but salaries are higher. If you can freelance, you will find it cheaper (like most places) by moving out of the city.

    NZ is also a good option. Their economy is also doing well but living costs are a little lower. Their dollar is very strong right now, or perhaps it is just the US dollar is weak.

    It is hard for me to say if you will be better/worse off financially. You have moving/set up costs to consider, but whole experience should be a rewarding one.

    Have you been to Australia before? It is probably a good idea to go there for a holiday first before you make the decision to move there.

    Also, please check out my new site:

    All the best,

  3. sipbkk says:

    Hi Claire,

    I have been “hanging around” outside the US for the last couple of years, as Mike mentioned, several countries in SE Asia have become homes for many expats from the US, Europe, Australia, and NZ. It’s definitely cheaper to stay here than in the US – I moved here from Atlanta (which is a cheap place to live by US standards).

    I head to NZ and Australia when I need a fix of “The West” – both are nice places. If you are thinking about working, NZ might be a better choice. I’ve read a couple news items where they say that their Citizens moving over to Australia, and leaving the country short handed in the IT field – if you’re inclined, that might work to your advantage.



  4. Nick says:

    Nice post, once again. Your original post on this subject really kind of inspired me, and it’s something that I’ll definitely consider sometime.

    Do you know where I can find more of “the numbers” about housing costs in SE Asia? Or do you have some to share Sip?

  5. Mike says:

    Apartments and housing is usually cheap. I would say a very rough figure of $200 for something basic. Many places are furnished. Someone told me you can rent a room in a house for $80 a month in Hanoi. Of course you can also pay a lot more, but like anything in SE Asia, prices are completely negotiable! Did you have somewhere in particular in mind?

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