Moving to the DR. I need advice please!

Hello everyone,
I currently live in Canada and was offered a job as a teacher in the Dominican Republic. I’m relocating to Santo Domingo soon.

I’ve never moved abroad before. I am having a hard time deciding how to bring money with me.  Of course I will bring a few hundred dollars for survival but I really don’t want to bring thousands of dollars with me. Once I get there, I expect to open a bank account in the first few days.

I am worried to use westorn union there because there are always people in line who can hear or see your transactions. I’m worried to walk outside with a lot of cash on me. I read a forum that travelers checks are not very useful in the DR and that you get charged a large fee.

What is the safest and most affordable way to transfer money? Would I be able to withdraw money from my debit card at the bank I plan to open an account with? (Not atm machine)

Also, silly question; I have an apartment ready for me when I arrive but I do not have a bed and I really don’t want to pack a sleeping bag as it is bulky and takes a lot of space in the luggage. I plan to get an inexpensive mattress to put on the floor for a while before I buy a bed. Are there any recommendations as to where I can get something inexpensive?

Does anyone have any other advice or tips (aside from visa and medical insurance as it’s all taken care of) for me as a new mover? For example: affordable ways to survive and transportation tips, comparing prices. I do not want to get hustled there because I don’t speak Spanish.

Thanks for your help!
God bless

Hi Believer33,

Wherever you'll withdraw money there will be people around seeing more or less what you are doing. The best place is to do it in a shopping mall.

In my opinion, the best way to regularly withdraw money is from ATMs,  with a debit card wearing the Maestro Logo. The advantages are :
- low cost
- debit card is useless if stolen
You should have 2 cards from 2 different banks, one at home and one with you.

You can withdraw from 3,000 to 10,000 DOP by transaction, according to the bank.
If you need 20,000 DOP you'll have to do it twice or more.

Maestro withdrawals are accepted by Banco Popular, Scotia Bank and Banco del Progreso.

The Maestro network is locked abroad for security reasons, you have to contact your bank in Canada and ask them to unlock the system for the DR and mention for how long.

You could buy furniture at IKEA, not that they are the cheapest but they have a delivery service and you are likely to find out someone who speaks English among the staff.
The cost of delivery is fixed, you can check it on their website.

Concerning your other questions there is much to say, read the forum as much as possible using keywords ( transportation , safety ect ...). If you never traveled to a "developing country" prepare yourself to the new reality : nothing nor nobody is reliable.
Try to learn basic Spanish as soon as possible.

When will you arrive to Sto Dom ?
Transportation is not safe, where is located your apartment ?

These are from my personal experiences from my first trips to the DR. I carry at minimum 500 dollars with me. Exchange 200 dollars for pesos at the bank inside the terminal of the airport in Santo Domingo.  You want a mix of large and small denomination bills. Make certain you have an unlocked GSM smartphone. Preferably a dual SIM phone. Stop in the Claro cellphone store, purchase and load data,  talk,  and text onto a sim card.  Install that into your phone, and use your new dominican number. Don't take a taxi that is at the airport. They will quote you a extremely high price,  some as much as 50 dollars or more.  Download Uber, set up an account, and have a driver pick you up from the airport. It's about 20 dollars, but I always tip 5 or 10 more.   Have good directions to where you will be living in Santo Domingo. Google maps works awesomely here.  I have had drivers pretend they don't know a location simply to get a few cents more in fare, by driving around the block once or twice. Definitely learn to say take a left or right here in giving directions.  If you don't speak Spanish,  use google translate to communicate with the driver.  I have found many uber drivers who know some English. To make yourself less of a target for criminals,  simply don't flash jewelry, cash,  or an expensive cellphone. Always be aware of your surrounding and the people around you. Unlike in America where no one looks at anyone or speaks. I look at people and say hello,  good morning,  good afternoon or good evening. A potential criminal now knows that you have seen him/ her, making you less of a target.  My Dominican phone is a cheap Chinese knockoff Samsung S8, that cost 40 dollars from the Wish app.
You can open a bank account here with a passport, and  a letter of good standing from your home bank. The letter preferably translated into Spanish. 
My final advice to enjoy living here is to act like you belong here. That may take time. But the quicker you get comfortable in your new surroundings the less of a foreigner you will feel, and be treated.

100% Right on Bro!  Pay attention to Julian. His information is intelligent, succinct & won't waste your time.  Plus he knows solar!

Tinker 40, thank you. My traveling in the Air Force definitely prepared me for living practically anywhere.

I have travelled in the DR and Mexico and have used my ScotiaBank debit card extensively in both countries. Scotia is well recognized and represented in the DR being one of the oldest foreign banks there. I have also found that their exchange rate is fair and service charges are based on the type of account you have back home. I would strongly recommend opening an account with them. No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.

Glad you are content with your decision.  International banks here have sibling connections. As siblings often do, there are differences in opinion, laws & operation.  Be aware that they are not the same bank.  It isn't quite the same as being the Bow Man in a white water canoe. Have fun & welcome.   OH, lest I forget, patience & humor are prized possessions to have here.

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