Most Expensive Cities/Airbnb Insurance/Online Passport Renewal

Nomadico issue #110

A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations. See past editions here, where your like-minded friends can subscribe and join you.

The Most Expensive Cities to Live In

The annual Mercer cost of living study is out and it’s always fun to read. This isn’t really applicable to most of us since it measures costs for salaried executives or government workers posted abroad—those people in your book club or biking group paying $12K per month of company money for rent in Barcelona for instance. But it is interesting to see which locations are rising and falling from exchange rate issues or macro economic factors. Cities in Japan and China have gotten cheaper. Mexico City jumped up a lot, while Buenos Aires went the other direction. One trend is clear: if you want to live somewhere expensive and pay a lot for housing, the USA and Switzerland are ready to oblige.

Think Twice About Airbnb Insurance

Similar to when you have a minor fender-bender in your car, you might want to work out payment directly with your Airbnb host if anything gets damaged, rather than letting them file for insurance. The customer profiled in this article spilled some food on the host’s sofa and then got banned from the platform after the host filed an insurance claim. It required a lot of intervention to get the guest (who was also a host) restored.

Chill Out in Lake Toba

When I first started backpacking in the early 1990s, Southeast Asia was full of idyllic spots with small crowds that only backpackers in the know seemed to visit. Many of these are overtourism poster children now, like Ubud, Ko Phi Phi, and Hoi An, but somehow Lake Toba on Sumatra is as chilled out as ever. See the recent report from James at Nomadic Notes here.

Online Passport Renewal for USA Now Open

My wife just had to renew her U.S. passport and after paying for the expedited option and mailing it back, she had a new one in about three weeks. Apparently it’s tough to copy this new hi-tech version because if you use the just-opened online portal to renew and pay, you can hold onto your old passport for a souvenir without sending it to get a hole punched. The site says to not plan any international travel for eight weeks though, so it’s not promising to be speedy.


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