Ruth in the premium lounge at Toronto's Pearson Airport.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Greenwich, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on September 1st.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Paying for our new motorhome

Sometimes the logistics of making a big purchase in a far away country can be a little overwhelming. 

I remember when we bought our truck and camper in Australia how we jumped through hoops trying to follow all the right procedures. After all, we were physically in Mexico at the time... and we were buying an Australian vehicle by paying a Swiss bank from our Canadian bank. 

And, we didn't want to get taken advantage of by the big banks in Canada. 

The motorhome we are buying now is quite a lot more expensive than the camper and truck we bought in Australia. At €52,700 ($80,300 CAD, $63,500 USD), the fees the big banks charge would add a lot to the final cost.

So, the same way we did last time, we are using TransferWise (soon to be simply called "Wise") to handle the funds transfers.

We use ScotiaBank for our personal banking in Canada. They recently came out with a new program for doing International Money Transfers, so I compared the fees to see if they were competitive.

Of course when you initially look at things, they tell you there are no fees! Or that the fee is "only" $1.99. But when you read the fine print (and I already knew this) they tell you that their profit for the transaction is based on using "their" exchange rate for the foreign exchange conversion which is of course an inflated version of the true market rate.

As a side note, I am doing all of the payments in €6,000 batches because in Canadian funds that works out to about $9,130 CAD at true market rates which is under the $10,000 reporting limit required by the Canadian government. Not that I am doing anything illegal, or underhanded. I just don't think what I do with my money once I have paid tax on it is any of the government's business!

I did a test this morning based on a €6,000 transaction, and I was actually surprised that the cost of using ScotiaBank wasn't as bad as I thought. It's still bad though.

Transferring from Scotiabank to TransferWise using direct debit and then using TransferWise to send it to Germany, the cost would be $9,156 CAD and the money arrives in the German dealer's account in 2 days. More specifically, it takes 2 days for the money to go from ScotiaBank to TransferWise. When I transfer directly from TransferWise to the German dealer's account, it is instant!

Using ScotiaBank's new program, the cost would be $9,363 CAD and the money arrives in the German dealer's account in "under 5 business days".

So, it would cost us $207 more per transaction. And we are doing at least 8 transactions. Now it really starts to add up, and using TransferWise saves us at minimum $1,656 CAD in fees on the final cost of the motorhome!

I know this information doesn't mean a thing to most of you, but hopefully it helps someone else somewhere along the way.

Okay, back to Tanzania...

Many stores and businesses here take a break in the afternoon. So we did as well! It was after 4:30pm when we finally walked into town with a plan to pick up a few things and find somewhere for dinner.

We took a different route that brought us closer to the coast and we finally saw the Indian Ocean!

Local fishing boats.

We have actually seen the Indian Ocean before. Or at least the corner of it! When we were in South Africa in January of 2014 we were at the official point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.

There was some kind of wholesale fish market going on with the locals. Our host here told us that he sends a local down to the market because they get a better deal! He said he would get us some next time.

Not my favorite... a little too rubbery for my liking!

"How are you, white man?"

We were crossing the road and a local black guy said this to me. I thought it was funny.

We learned when we were in South Africa that the locals still call each other "black", "white", or "colored". And yes, there is a difference between "black" and "colored". There are many people here from India and they are typically darker skinned, but not black.

And they don't do it to be derogatory or offensive, and nobody takes it that way.

They don't seem to have many of the racial issues that exist in Canada and the U.S.. I find it pretty refreshing actually. Of course South Africa itself still has lingering issues from it's history, and they will likely never go away.

City park with public television.

Although most people here would be considered "poor" by western standards, many homes still have satellite dishes and televisions. And almost everybody has at least a basic cell phone. 

We did some fruit and vegetable shopping, and then found a restaurant called Kitisha's which had pretty good reviews on Google.

I had the mushroom steak with chips and Ruth had the pepper steak with rice. We laughed when we saw the lady leave and come back with the fresh mushrooms that she had to go out and buy!

We were pleasantly surprised, and the meal was delicious and the steak was tender. A little pricier than we have been paying, but it was worth it. I didn't take any pictures. The bill was 32,000 shillings ($17.50 CAD, $13.80 USD) for the two of us. We will go back there.

Nice deal on this Bicycle Smart Phone Holder.

And in Canada...


  1. We used transferwise to send USfunds to the American owner of our Mexico house when we purchased it. As the funds had to in a hurry and all at once we got stuck having to prove where the funds came from. It was the cheapest way to transfer money but a pain because the transaction was very large.

  2. Glad you are having a good time. Just to let you know that ads are taking over your page. Good for you annoying for us however. Stay safe!

    1. I have no problem ignoring ads. If you ignore them, they won't annoy you. :-)

  3. I enjoy reading your posts each day. I'm currently working on setting up an Amazon seller account in the US (I live in BC) and have been researching banking options. Transferwise was suggested as an alternative and I spent a fair bit of time yesterday on their website. Have also been considering BMO Harris. Appreciate reading about your experience with Transferwise this morning. Great timing!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I love TransferWise. I also use them for my Amazon payments from the U.S..

  4. I agree about not having to say where our money is going. We spent it and that's it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your motorhome.

    It's about time.

    1. Yes, except that when it is in big amounts the government just wants to be sure that it isn't being used for something illegal.

      Whenever we can actually get to our motorhome, we have no doubt that we will enjoy it. :-)

    2. Or that the money didn't come from some illegal activity ;)

  5. I just ignore the ads. I will take the ads over a subscription

  6. I will enjoy seeing your new rig! It sounds great! How exciting, and I'll bet it will take a little time before you 2 get the hang of it. Take care, Rawn

    1. We will enjoy seeing our new rig too!

      I bet it won't take us long at all to get the hang of it! We are both really good at just getting in and taking off. Most of it will be very similar to the rig we used for two months in Spain and Portugal back in 2017 and we have driven in Europe a number of times before so that won't be different for us either. :-)

  7. Yes, you 2 have lots of experiences with RV'S! I like your attitude, get in and drive!


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