In my last post, I talked about what systems I set up for mail delivery, addresses for bank statements and other financial institutions, etc. Well, that is what I did some 7 years ago when I moved here. Since then, I believe that I have made a change for the better, and one that you could take advantage of right from the start.
As an American ex-pat living in the Philippines, I consider it important to maintain a presence in both countries. Primarily my presence in the USA is for the purpose of keeping a US presence for my business, but from time to time it has personal use too. I consider two different things important in maintaining that US presence: reliable US telephone service, and a mailing address in the USA. With those two things, I can do business with people in the USA, and they don’t even know that I am not there as well. This is a real advantage for me, and it can be for you too.
For my telephone service, I have been using Vonage, which gives me a US telephone number, and when somebody calls, the phone rings right here in my house in Davao City, Philippines! Also, I can make calls to any phone number in North America for no extra charge. I pay $25 per month for this service. However, over the past month or so, Vonage seems to be in trouble financially. They recently lost a court case, and I am not sure if they will make it through this rough patch or not. Because of this, at this time I am recommending Lingo instead of Vonage for this service. Lingo will give you the same service, and the price is similar also. I have included a graphic with a link to Lingo on the left sidebar of this blog for your convenience.
When it comes to mail forwarding, I have been using a service called “Access USA”. Access USA started out as a mail forwarding service for people who travel around the USA in their RV’s. They have a mailing address at Access USA, and their mail is forwarded to wherever they happen to be at the time. A few years ago, Access USA added ex-pats and others living abroad to their target audience, and thus, they are now serving people like me. I have a street address in Bradenton, Florida where I can receive my mail, bank statements, UPS and FedEX deliveries and such, and then Access USA forwards those items to me here in the Philippines. You can choose how often the items are sent, for me I get a lot of mail – mostly business – so I have my accumulated items forwarded to me weekly. You can do it monthly, or whatever works best for you. You can even have them hold the item until you tell them to send it. It’s a very convenient service, and I recommend them highly. I have been using them for more than 3 years now, and they made a mistake on my mail one time. That’s a good record, and I’ve been happy with them. I have included a banner below with a link that will take you to sign up for Access USA, if you are interested.
So, with these two tools, I am able to maintain a presence in the Philippines (since I live here) and also in the USA, where I come from. It’s the best of both worlds, and a real life saver for me!