Emigration On Trial

Sunshine Instead Of Tax Liability* - So You Can Try Out Emigration First

I’m Dennis, a software developer by profession, and I signed out of Germany about a year ago. Since then I’ve been traveling and have collected 17 different stamps in my passport. In this article I am mainly targeting singles or couples who have big plans and want to leave Germany. However, this does not mean that the following ideas cannot also be implemented for a family with many children. The practice of many nomad families proves this. Nevertheless, of course, more willpower and preparation are required to travel the world with an entire family.

The Advantages Of A Permanent Traveler

In addition to the obvious advantages such as free choice of location, flexibility, dream weather and diverse cultural enrichments, there is a whole range of other amenities that you can only get as a permanent tourist:

On the one hand, your deregistration from Germany can mean tax exemption* if there is actual emigration. It should be clear to every German from the very first job that the fact that this saves half the income – or in other words – earns twice as much. But more financially below. Business freedom is another advantage. Be it tax-free companies with no accounting obligation or the hassle-free hiring of full-time remote workers via the Internet, which is a fair wage for the employee in his home country despite the minijob salary. Of course, you’d rather look for customers in high-priced countries. Insurance costs, such as for international health insurance, can sometimes be considerably cheaper than in Germany. Or you can do without them entirely, even if I would not advise you to do so, although you can get all kinds of cheap treatments abroad. Depending on the country, the medical quality does not even have to suffer. Keyword: medical tourism, which is also practiced by many permanently living in Germany.

Permanent traveler Denis at the pool
Could this be your new office? Rather not! Because in reality nobody wants to work in the blazing sun.

Abroad, there are often much more attractive investment opportunities or financial products than we are used to in zero to negative interest Germany. The following also applies here: the German tax office has no sovereign rights. And if implemented correctly, no other country would like to see taxes from you. For families with children: From now on, children are no longer subject to compulsory German schooling – for some, this is a reason for emigration in itself. But the biggest advantage for you is: you can try it out! Be it just the independence itself, which you can start much better in cheap Southeast Asia than in expensive Germany, where the next 600 euro monthly rent and GEZ would like to be paid. Likewise, you can first check in peace whether emigrating to foreign cultures is something for you at all or whether you are already homesick after 2 months. And if it is something for you, but you still have no dream destination in mind, a trip around the world has some nice suggestions. I myself am still looking where I like it best on this planet. A return to Germany is always open and until then you will gain a lot of valuable experiences, encounters and develop completely new survival skills.

How Do You Make Money?

In theory, there are many jobs that you can do as a self-employed person on the go. Of course, several pillars from smaller jobs are also recommended. Depending on your skills, the following location-independent activities and sources of income are of course predestined for travel: translation, operating an online job in a certain niche, designing products, graphics and websites, programming, photography, online marketing, consulting on all kinds of topics (not just business , but maybe also regarding your hobby?), sales and creation of info products (again depending on your area of ​​interest), writing as a journalist or e-book author, assistant over the Internet for everything imaginable (video editing, text correction and formatting, e-mails answer, customer support, telephone acquisition, research work or flight bookings), online trading, affiliate marketing, dropshipping or very old school as a work-and-travel worker. There are portals that mediate these jobs in even greater numbers than the job ideas. But it is best if you have already worked independently in Germany and can take a certain customer base with you. For example, I often work for a friend’s company in Germany. But it is important to bring a little courage. In the end, paths always open up. For example, I have been investing in cryptocurrencies since February, which has so far generated so much profit (on average 25% per month) that I was able to survive from this alone. And the trend currently seems to continue for a while. In any case, enough time to drive your own online business and to be financially well positioned as soon as possible.

Permanent traveler Denis at work
My improvised office in a backpacker hostel while traveling through Thailand. 4 euros a night. Plus 2 euros for food. Results in 180 euros a month to survive. Of course, this is the most spartan variant.

Cost Of Living

But let’s get to the hard facts. How much does it cost to survive as a permanent tourist? Of course, that depends on your travel destination. For starters, I recommend Southeast Asia or some countries in South and Central America. Numbeo is a good place to compare everyday prices from different locations. A good indicator here is the average monthly earnings of the locals. If, for example, in Bangkok, which is still relatively expensive, is 641 euros, then with an average value this means that you will surely make ends meet with 400 euros. And somehow earning 400 euros a month over the Internet should be feasible for Germans. If you even bring your savings of 3,000 euros, you have more than half a year to build your own online business. And with enough will, 3,000 euros are quickly saved before the trip to Germany. In Southeast Asia, as a German you can enter some countries free of charge and sometimes stay for a few months. A change of location is also inexpensive with Asian low-cost airlines. Flights between two Asian countries can sometimes be cheap up to 15 euros. Long-distance bus connections are also much cheaper than in Europe. If he is willing to forego great luxury in the beginning, every German should somehow make ends meet in such countries. When I started my trip in Germany, I met a deposit bottle collector at the airport. Even he told me that he went to Germany to collect bottles for a few months and spent the rest of the year in low-cost countries. That gave me a lot of courage right at the start of my trip and made it clear what is possible. Don’t let any fears tell you anything. Especially not that you shouldn’t even try it. Have courage! A lot arises automatically while you are on the move. In case of doubt, the costs can be cut very hard. Overnight stays in hostels are available for 4 euros per night. I currently even live very cheaply for 6 euros per night in my own room to sublet with a family in Kuala Lumpur. With a pool, gym, air conditioning, refreshments, tennis court and private bathroom, I really cannot say that I lack luxury. My bed is comfortable and I can work comfortably at my desk. And if I want to go downtown, the Uber taxis are cheaper than the subways in German cities. You can imagine how cheap the bus is here 😉

First Steps

If you are now gripped by nomad fever, the best thing is to start selling your stuff in appropriate local Facebook groups or on eBay classifieds. This motivates because you make money and a more minimalistic life is generally much more pleasant. If it becomes more specific, you should seek international health insurance at an early stage. Because here the registration process can sometimes be very complex. For example, my insurance company wanted exact records of my doctor’s visits in recent years. Since I never kept a record of which cold I visited the doctor for somewhere, it was a great advantage that I was still registered with my German health insurance company. They could send me such logs. If I had been traveling, it would have been very cumbersome. The best thing to do is to unsubscribe from Germany before the turn of the year. In principle, if you live in Germany in the new calendar year, you will have to file a tax return for the new year. If you want to get vaccinated, take care of it early. Because some vaccinations have to be refreshed after a few months to be fully effective. Is your passport still up to date? Some countries require a document that is valid for at least another 6 months upon arrival. Maybe your rental or employment contract still has a notice period. Other contracts can often be terminated early by proof of deregistration from Germany. Generally cancel all contracts and subscriptions. The tax office could consider such things as a reason for living in Germany, which makes you taxable again. However, German bank accounts are not problematic and do not create any tax liability in Germany after de-registration. Maybe set up a dropscan mailbox for your mail. When things get serious soon, don’t forget a farewell party so that everyone really knows that you are now gone. This also strengthens your commitment and motivates you to go full throttle.

My Tips For You

Don’t take too much with you. Since the beginning of my trip, I have only been traveling with hand luggage and sort out more stuff almost every time I change location. Because I have to see that I don’t need it. If something important should be missing, you can buy it in most places in the world. With hand luggage you are also much more flexible and do not have to pay for expensive luggage on flights. Despite being 100% overweight in some cases, I have never had any problems with my hand luggage on my 23 flights. It was only weighed once, but the excess weight did not bother the airline employees. And I always fly with the cheapest airlines, where you would actually expect something like that to be a treat for them, to collect a little more.

Permanent traveling luggage
You don't need more to survive. (The sofa of my Airbnbs is of course not part of my hand luggage)

Don’t be afraid of your school English. We Germans usually speak better English than people in other nations. Every now and then you have to make a little effort to communicate, but in the end I always managed to get through well. Do not travel too much at the beginning, even if the temptation is of course very great. 17 different countries in less than a year were really too much for me. I noticed that I would like to take it a little slower in the future. So you have much more of the travel destination and can work much more productively. Don’t worry about the internet. In Asian countries in particular, it is much cheaper and better developed than in Germany. In Thailand, for example, I had an LTE flat rate for just under € 15 a month. Then it is no problem if the WiFi signal in the hostel or Airbnb is too weak. To get to a new city, it is advisable to use apps like Booking.com to search for cheap hostels in the city center. After exploring a new location for a few days, I usually rent or rent somewhere in an outer part of the city via Airbnb. Don’t worry, you will always find something inexpensive – even if you book at short notice. Especially when I change my location, I often don’t know where I will sleep in the morning and yet I have never been homeless. Nevertheless, it is advisable to book accommodation before you fly to a new country, as you often have to specify this when you enter the country. I was in Singapore one night and actually wanted to go through. The border official could hardly believe it, but I was merciful when I could not give a hotel address. However, I did get tired after all. But as I said, there is always a place to sleep. But joking aside! Life as a permanent tourist is worthwhile and offers unprecedented freedom. You learn a lot and there are always new opportunities. If you have already thought about emigrating anyway, do an internship as a permanent tourist and get out of the system for unknown time! Maybe you will meet at some airport …

About the author: Dennis also writes on the Liberated.blog about freedom and gives some insider tricks for a global life.

*Tax exemption does not apply to those citizens who have to pay taxes to their home country from abroad (such as U.S. citizens).

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