Expats Would Rather Spend Christmas with Pets than Inlaws According to Study

Posted By Gerardo (gerardo@expatistan.com) on 11/12/2012

This is a guest post from James Cave from TrustedHousesitters.com

Just how bad are your inlaws? According to pet sitting website Trusted Housesitters.com, the majority of us expats – 79% of us to be exact – would rather spend Christmas with our pets than with our inlaws. 

Now before you start nodding your head in agreement, the study wasn’t designed to highlight just how bad our inlaws really are, although interestingly in France the number of people who favour pets over inlaws rises to a whopping 94%! Instead the study focused on expats and pets and just how important they are to us at Christmas time.

Of the expats who took part in the survey, 72% plan to buy a Christmas present for their pets and just less than half plan to cook a special Christmas meal up for Fido and Fluffy. Typical spend on animals is less than 15 GBP, although 8% of expats plan to spend 50GBP and up on their pets. Interestingly no figures were given on how much these people will be spending on their inlaws, but you can be certain that a lot more thought will be going into the pet’s presents.

Money struggles and a general tightening of the purse strings won’t be playing any part in this Christmas’ festivities either; 83% of those who took part in the survey said that they weren’t going to let the current economic climate influence how much they spent on their pets.

Trusted Housesitters owner Andy Peck commented on the study saying:

“A large proportion of the pet sitting assignments that are posted on TrustedHousesitters.com come from expats so we’ve always known about the close relationship expats have with their pets. It’s good to see that the financial crisis isn’t going to affect Christmas for pets this year and that they can expect as good, if not a better, Christmas than the rest of us.”

What’s your take on the story and who would you rather spend Christmas with? Pets or Inlaws?

About the author

This article was contributed by Trusted Housesitters, the one-stop global house sitting site for homeowners and the right trusted house sitters.


Expat News Roundup - week 50, 2012

Posted on 11/12/2012

There’s good news for expats in the Middle East this week, as a result of two separate stories: Enviable expat bonus and benefits packages appear to be returning the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the construction industry in Dubai appears poised to create a multitude of new jobs.

Elsewhere, France shows no sign of losing popularity with UK expats and is yet again the top destination in a British survey. Expats in France are also more likely to be able to continue to watch British TV programs – something becoming less likely in more Southern parts of Europe, as another story shows.

Finally this week, there’s more positive expat news from Malaysia, where the government is creating a brand new department to look after migrants’ visa issues.
France Still Top Choice for UK Expats

A survey by HiFx has revealed that France remains the number one destination for prospective British expats.

The report showed that nearly 25-percent of those surveyed about their plans for buying abroad expressed an interest in moving to France – the UK’s closest continental neighbor.

Spain also retained its second place position in the annual survey.


Malaysia Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Expats

Malaysia will be making a concerted effort to attract expats in the coming year, with the launch of a new Expatriate Services Division.

The new government department is intended to help prospective expats deal with visas and administrative issues and make the destination more attractive to skilled professionals.

This new initiative will be supported by the re-launch of a 10-year working visa for expats and their families.

The Malaysian government is clearly hopeful that these new measures will lead the country to emulate the expat success story of neighboring Singapore.


Bonuses are Back in the UAE

Current and prospective expats in the United Arab Emirates have two positive pieces of news this week.

The first is a report in The National stating that attractive expat pay packages are beginning to reappear, after becoming thin on the ground as a result of the global recession.

Salaries and bonuses for expats appear to be rising steadily, but are not expected to reach their pre-recession heights.

The UAE has to compete for talented professionals with countries i... (keep reading)


Hey, It’s Not Always the Chickens –It Could be a Flood

Posted on 06/12/2012

As I’ve mentioned previously, when it comes to living as an expat, there are three different standard choices. If you’ve relocated due to a career or contract assignment, you may find yourself in the enviable position of having your living arrangements looked after by a company that will take care of all the details. However, you’re pretty much depending on the competency of the company’s Human Resources department, so things can go either way. I want to point out, though, that this is not a situation that requires much investigation. When you (and your spouse) are on your own, it’s a completely different story. Some of the things that I would like to point out will also hold true in circumstances where “helpful” family members are pointing you towards what they consider to be a “great deal”. You see, it’s always a good idea to try to understand people’s motivations when it comes to their advice. In my case, I was quick to notice that my Filipino in-laws would think nothing of having me and my wife living next door to a highly aromatic chicken ranch (especially during the extra hot months) – as long as everyone was in close proximity of each other. So, I figured that the best way to go would be to approach matters in much the same way that I would if we were still in the U.S.

The first thing that I considered was living in a gated community. There are a number of advantages when it comes to this type of living arrangement. First of all, there is question of security. Gated communities are enclosed and the entrance consists of a gate that is usually watched over by security guards. You won’t have to be concerned about being awakened at night by the armies of chickens that inhabit the neighborhood and then try to visit your yard in case your alarm clock is malfunctioning. You also have better access to things like garbage pickup and other services that you may have taken for granted, in the past. In addition, if you haven’t lived in a country like the Philippines during Christmas time, be prepared for an endless stream of carollers. During the regular months, you’ll have solicitors, charity cases, etc. showing up on your doorstep if you don’t live in a gated community.

Living out in town, in my opinion, is more of a question of expanding ones experiences in life. Now I have absolutely no criticisms regarding wanting to live a quiet, peaceful life in an atmosphere that mimics life in one’s home country as much as possible.

... (keep reading)


Expat News Roundup - week 49, 2012

Posted on 04/12/2012

This week’s expat news begins with two stories from Asia, both relating to employment. In China, high-level job roles are becoming hard to come by due to competition from local executives and multicultural expats. The news is good throughout Asia, however, if you happen to work in risk management, with something of a job boom underway in that sector.

Meanwhile, British expats have two good pieces of news from Southern Europe. Portugal has clarified its tax exemption laws for expat pensioners, and a new air route has been announced that will make life in Mallorca seem even more attractive to those who require fast access to the UK.

Heading East, wealthy individuals considering how to invest their capital now have another new residency visa option, this time coming from Australia.

Expats Face Local Competition for Jobs in China

Expats in China are likely to find increasing competition in the job market over the coming years.

China Today reports that local workers, who have important cultural knowledge and are typically bilingual, are gaining an increasing number of executive roles. The paper states that the majority of expats believe it’s difficult for foreign workers to gain high-level roles, with 42% believing natives are favored.

With China continuing to enjoy economic strength, the nation is sure to attract expats from all over the globe. However, even in a developing economy there are only so many jobs to go round.


Expat Compliance Workers in Demand in Asia

The global economy continues to struggle, and job opportunities are harder to come by in many countries. However, those working in risk management and compliance will be pleased to know that there are plenty of vacancies in these fields for expats in Asia.

The Telegraph reports that while many banks are laying off staff, an increase in regulation in Asia means that many financial institutions are in need of trained and experienced compliance professionals.

Recruitment site eFinancial Careers reports that there have 22% more adverts placed for jobs of this nature during 2012.


Portugal Clarifies Tax Exemption for Expat Pensioners

The Portuguese government has approved legislation that allows retirees to live in the country without paying local income tax on their pensio... (keep reading)


Moving on Up…

Posted on 01/12/2012

One of the first things that I wanted to accomplish, after making my move to the Philippines, was to find a good place to live. Originally, I stayed in a rather small (think large closet) apartment that I was able to secure from my wife’s family. Actually, it wasn’t too bad and pretty inexpensive. It had two narrow floors with the one bedroom on the top floor and the kitchen, “dining area”, toilet and shower on the lower floor. I couldn’t actually complain, since it served our purposes and we were only charged 5,000 pesos per month. With the exchange rate at that time, it came out to about $115.00 USD (!)

Of course, one thing that you need to remember, in any location in the world, is to find out what the utilities cost. Unfortunately, the Philippines has the highest electric costs in Southeast Asia (and most of the world, actually). I only ran a small air conditioner in the bedroom at night, a couple of fans, refrigerator, etc. and I ended up paying about twice what I paid in the U.S. where everything was electric! You can save a bundle, though, if you can get by with just fans and no A.C. But that wasn’t me, since I was convinced that I was catching on fire the moment I stepped out into the sunlight.

The apartment was also convenient because we had a lot of helpful family members living nearby. At first, I got the feeling that they just wanted to keep an eye on the new “foreigner”. You never know, I might be one of those New York types that they regularly saw on various movie DVDs and cable TV. If those guys aren’t blowing up the neighborhood, they’re most likely engaged in some hideous drug trafficking venture. Here’s another tip, if you happen to be from New York City (which I am, by the way) it’s best not to introduce that tidbit until the in-laws get to know you a little better (if you can help it). But in a relatively short period of time, I learned that one of the biggest advantages that you can have, when relocating to a new country, is a group of helpful family members who are focused on getting you up to speed in your new environment.

So, after I became acclimated to my surroundings, I decided to set out and find a more permanent place to hang my hat. One of the first things that I noticed is that if you’re not already destined to live in a location with housing provided by a work assignment, there are two major options you can take. The first one is living in a gated community with a number of other expats. The other option is living out “among t

... (keep reading)