More and more,people in the U.S., Canada and other parts of the world are contemplating moving abroad to experience a better quality of life and enjoy greater access to some of the world’s most beautiful places. Here are the top five places to move abroad, along with the major pros and cons of each destination.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica enjoys political stability and is fairly affordable for expats compared to other tropical destinations that are known for having some of the best beaches in the world. Still, it can be tough to find a direct flight home from Costa Rica, so expats should expect to experience delays when traveling to see friends and family back home.
“Establishing residency in Costa Rica can be an expensive and timely proposition,” wrote the Huffington Post. “Costa Rica,and tourist areas specifically,has gotten increasingly expensive in the last five years and in many areas may be just as costly as living in a major U.S. city.”
Still,Cost Rica is one of the world’s most beautiful countries and despite the difficulty with residency requirements, it is also known for having a warm and welcoming attitude toward expats. Also, since utilities are much less expensive than they are in places like the U.S. and Canada, expats have more resources to spend exploring the lush rainforests, tropical beaches and rural villages this popular destination.
A recent study by British bank HSBC ranked Thailand among the best countries for expats worldwide,citing economic opportunities and overall quality of life. However, The Washington Post says families with small children should think twice before relocating here due to the extreme culture shock they may experience and the high price of education.
“Despite pricey schooling for expat children,the generally low cost of living, friendly locals and great weather are a few reasons expats are overall satisfied with life in Thailand,” wrote the Huffington Post.
Also,keep in mind that, while real estate options are available to suit most any budget,most places in Thailand require a high deposit. Alcohol is also fairly expensive in Thailand, and while healthcare may be reasonably priced, many patients complain of being sent for unnecessary tests.
Boasting a great climate, modern infrastructure and gorgeous scenery,Australia is also a top destination for expats moving abroad. Australians are also known for their friendly nature and most expats have an easy time assimilating to Aussie culture. One big negative, however, is that investing in real estate is very expensive in Australia, and the cost of living is fairly high.
“Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live,” wrote Lifehack.org.
The nice beaches and warm climate don’t hurt, either. Also,Australia is already home to a large number of expats and there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy. Keep in mind, however, that unless you’re living in a major metropolis like Sydney or Melbourne,it may be tough to find major cultural activities and events. In addition, healthcare is great,but fairly expensive, and for families with children it is quite costly to obtain an education at one of the country’s international schools.
Although Panama is known for its excellent quality of life, it is not close to home for most expats and some places are quite remote, which can make it tough to connect with friends and family back abroad. Still, the Huffington Post reports that expats in Panama are happier since they moved, with around 14 percent of expats saying they moved abroad to Panama in order to experience a better quality of life... And found it.
Panama also has some of the best beaches in the world and is ripe with real estate investment opportunities. It is also easy to meet the residency requirements in Panama, which offers a “Friendly Nations Visa” for foreigners.
“It is both affordable and easy to acquire if you’re from one of the nearly 50 countries designated as ‘friendly,’ including the U.S. and U.K,” wrote CNBC.
Still, it’s important to consider that if you have (or develop) a rare or unusual medical condition while living in Panama, it can be tough to find the specialists you need.
Mexico snagged the number one spot on this list, selected for its safety and political stability (despite what you may have heard on certain nightly news reports),gorgeous weather, affordability and high quality of life. Mexico is home to the best beaches in the world, has a friendly attitude toward expats, modern infrastructure, delicious cuisine and offers easy access to international airports with countless flights to every major destination worldwide. Reasonable residency requirements, world-class cultural attractions,exciting activities and high quality universal healthcare are also major factors for many expats. As a result, those who move to Mexico acclimate faster than other countries.
“If you love color, noise, laughter, history and culture, you’ll love Mexico,” wrote Business Insider. “After only two years, 76% of expats claim the country feels like home, compared to the 62% global average.”
Also of note, according to Expat Insider’s 2015 survey, more than 81 percent of respondents are highly satisfied with the excellent cost of living in Mexico. In addition, families with children can rest assured that there are a wide variety of high-quality and affordable schools to choose from in all of Mexico’s most popular destinations. In addition, all of the most popular tourism and expat destinations in Mexico have a very high English-speaking population and most of the locals are bilingual. Places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, for example, even have all the comforts of home – including Starbucks, Chilli’s, TGI Friday’s, Sam’s Club, Walmart, a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, a Home Depot, also top fashion boutiques, like Hermes, Benetton, Tiffany, H&M, Stradivarius, Abercrombie & Fitch, Tag Heuer, Harley Davidson, American Eagle and more, which can be found throughout the country.As more people of all ages and professional backgrounds from around the world decide to move abroad, understanding the factors that help make certain destinations stand out as the best countries for expats and why is an essential part of the process.