How to make the most of geoarbitrage?

I first learned about geoarbitrage from Tim Ferriss. The idea of earning expensive currency (e.g. USD) and spending relatively affordable one (e.g. CNY, IDR, INR) in a city and a country of lower costs, is fun!

Arbitrage is a well understood financial concept where disparities between markets are leveraged to generate or broker a return. Geoarbitrage builds on this concept and incorporates the notion that labor on an international scale has its own disparities that can be leveraged to increase the return on our time.

Geoarbitrage may mean going to a country of lower costs to live or a country of higher costs to earn for 1-2 months, then coming back, and repeating the cycle.

Some examples to practice geoarbitrage:

  1. KidZania [1]
    1. KidZania Dubai (as of 20180419):
      1. AED 180 for All-day general child admission + 50 KidZos. Child = 4-16 years old.
      2. AED 75 for 17-64 years old.
      3. free entry for 0-1 years old.
      4. If I am bringing both Little Prince and Little Princess, we need to pay AED 180 + 75 = AED 255.
      5. Little Prince saw a 20% off coupon from the lobby of our hotel apartment. 80% of AED 255 = AED 204.
    2. KidZania Singapore (as of 20180419):
      1. SGD 58 (online) for Kid (4 – 17 years old)
      2. SGD 35 (online) for Adult (18 – 59 years old)
      3. free for Infant (under 2 years old)
      4. If I am bringing both Little Prince and Little Princess and buy online to enjoy 5% off, we need to pay SGD 0.95*(58+35) = SGD 88.35 = AED 248 as of 20180419.
      5. If you have a Maybank credit card, you could enjoy 10% off. For 3 of us, we need to pay SGD 83.7
      6.  Weekend Go Where and KLook Travel is selling SGD 49 and SGD 31 for kid and adult tickets, respectively. SGD 49+31= SGD 80 =AED 224 as of 20180419 .
    3. KidZania Bangkok (as of 20180419):
      1. For 3 of us, we need to pay THB 1000+600 = THB 1600 = AED 188!
    4. It appears that KidZania Bangkok is the cheapest.
    5. In Spring 2018, Little Prince wanted to visit KidZania as he learned from his play dates on (with his class mates), on with the daughter of my colleague.
  2. Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Cookies & Cream 500ml (as of 20180419):
    1. Carrefour UAE sells AED 23.65
    2. On 20180430, we saw a promotion at Lulu that it goes for < AED 15!
    3. FairPrice Singapore sells 473 ml SGD 14.45 (SGD 14.45 = AED 40.5 as of 20180419). For buy 2 SGD 4.95 off, it will be SGD (2*14.95)-4.95 = SGD 24.95 (SGD 24.95 = AED 35
    4. Conclusion: it’s cheaper to buy Haagen Dazs in UAE than in Singapore.
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1. As of 20180430, Carrefour UAE (FREE Delivery on orders of Groceries above 450 AED Food Items) sells
      1. Serjella Virgin Olive Oil 250ml 7.90 AED
      2. Rahma Extra Virgin Olive Oil 250mg 9.80 AED
      3. Rahma Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml 17.20 AED
      4. Serjella Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml 17.40 AED
      5. Serjella Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750ml 24.40 AED
      6. Rahma Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750ml 28.50 AED
      7. Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml 23.50 AED
      8. Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750ml 31.90 AED
      9. Serjella was produced in Syria, Rahma was produced in Tunisia, Bertolli was produced in Italy.
    2. Bertolli Extra light 1l (for sauteing, baking, and frying) Rp150k as of 20180501.
    3. Serjella Extra Virgin Olive Oil 500ml Rp90k (Tokopedia as of 20180502, > expensive that Carrefour UAE)
  4. On 20180816, I saw that NTUC Fairprice Singapore sells Yakult 5x100ml for SGD 3.2, whereas Giant Jakarta sells Yakult of 5 bottles for only Rp 8,500 (< SGD1) albeit the bottles are of smaller size.


[1] During his 2nd play date on 20180413, his classmate kindly showed him the photo albums from her visit to KidZania Dubai. Little Prince was especially fascinated by the opportunity to be a pilot through a role play. Considering how expensive KidZania is, we are thankful for the opportunities to visit the real cockpit.

On 20180419, after I explained the ticket prices of KidZania in different locations, frugal Little Prince told me that he does not want to visit KidZania anymore. He was contented to watch a YouTube video on a day in KidZania. However, we could still make a reward visit after he has done some kind deeds (e.g. read books for his sister daily) during Summer 2018.

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