Living life as an expat (person who lives outside of their native country) can be a very enticing notion. That is why you should make the most of it. With a lot of options it can be difficult to weigh out which country would be the best fit. Nothing is perfect and that is why I am here to help guide you to the top five expat countries to live in. Together we can explore the factors that go into each of these countries.
Portugal is great because of its sheer beauty. From its architecture to its scenery this country can be absolutely stunning. It is also close to other countries making for easy travel and convenient access to places such as Spain and Morocco.
Considerations for living in Portugal:
⦁ Living in Portugal is really cheap. Due to the economic crisis it is not uncommon to live on a $1,000 to $1,200 budget per month. If you can make over $3,000 a month you are considered pretty well off.
⦁ By and large the citizen community is very friendly and depending on where you go there can be a decent amount of fellow expats too. Overall the community is pretty inviting.
⦁ In comparison to the US the consumer prices in Portugal are much lower (30% on average) meaning that everything is significantly cheaper than in the US.
⦁ Foreigners can own real estate outright in Portugal however the closing costs generally are much higher.
⦁ The crime rate is very low in Portugal.
⦁ Some say that the reason for the economic crisis is brought upon by government greed meaning that law enforcement officials and other officials pretty much do whatever they want. I have heard stories of people being stopped and ticketed for doing next to nothing by law enforcement.
⦁ Obtaining a visa (and eventually more permanent residency) can be difficult in Portugal given the beauracratic state of the country. This primarily only affects United States citizens however. The requirements are stiffer for US residents looking to obtain residency in Portugal. The main problems come from the amount of paperwork and hoops that you have to go through annually for the first five years until you can obtain a more permanent level of residency. It is not uncommon to hire a lawyer and have a large sum of legal fees pile up during the yearly visa process.
4. New Zealand
New Zealand is another gorgeous destination. It has rich scenery and is never overcrowded. It is also an excellent travel location for foreigners who can appreciate the outdoors. New Zealand is pretty open with their expat job recruitment too.
Considerations for living in New Zealand:
⦁ Another country with a very friendly community. New Zealand has been praised everywhere for their outgoing and friendly nature.
⦁ New Zealand has a very low crime rate.
⦁ The outdoors are nothing less than exceptionally beautiful. There is pretty much something for everyone in New Zealand.
⦁ The cuisine can be pretty amazing and diverse too.
⦁ New Zealand’s government appears to be pretty inclusive when it comes to bringing people to their country. They have an extremely inviting website for any people looking to move to New Zealand to work. The link is: https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/
⦁ The cost of living is pretty high in New Zealand as everything has to be imported. It can make for very little wiggle room in terms of personal spending.
⦁ If you enjoy being connected to the internet New Zealand may not be the place for you. Their internet is very limited. For points of comparison I have been told that Africa generally has better internet access.
⦁ New Zealand has an overabundance of earthquakes. If you don’t do well with earthquakes you might want to think twice here.
Having moved up the expat ladder rankings over the last couple decades comes Thailand. Reasons for this are largely due to the cost of things. Expats have reported having large amounts of disposable income when living in Thailand making it a pretty prime tropical location to go and live luxuriously.
Considerations for living in Thailand:
⦁ The cost of living is VERY cheap. For a conservative comparison your average meal in Thailand is about five times cheaper than the United States.
⦁ Since it is tropical the weather is almost always good and it is almost always extremely warm.
⦁ If you enjoy Thai food this is (obviously) your place to go. You get a lot of asian centric cuisine along with asian drinks such as milk tea, bubble tea, and chai yen too.
⦁ Despite the heat being great it can also be smothering at times due to the fact that it is relentless with no end in sight given its tropical nature.
⦁ Although it is only a small isolated portion of the population (and typically gang related) there have been incidents of violence towards foreigners in the country on occasion.
With a large expat population Spain is a pretty welcoming place for foreigners looking to live leisurely or work within the country. Spain is particularly popular given the climate and year around sunshine making it a pretty favorable place to work even in the winter.
Considerations for living in Spain:
⦁ Around 10-15% of Spain’s population are expats at any given time meaning that being a foreigner here definitely isn’t out of the ordinary.
⦁ If you are a resident of the EU you will find it very easy to move to Spain. They don’t even require a visa if you are a EU citizen.
⦁ Markets with fresh produce are highly abundant. This makes for some excellent fresh food options.
⦁ Spain during the summer can get a bit hectic with loads of tourism. This means drastically longer wait times at restaurants, hospitals, and government agencies. In other words things get bogged down during the summer time.
⦁ For a non EU citizen looking to integrate into Spain it can be difficult at times having to go through the hurdles of paperwork. You are probably also going to want a translator and potentially a lawyer too.
A favorite by expats everywhere, Ecuador is everything you would want in a single warm weathered location. Given its geographical diversity Ecuador is known primarily for its three areas on the mainland. From the beaches on the Pacific to the cooler highland climates to the forest near the Amazon Basin this South American country seems to have a bit of everything. It is for that very reason that people seem to love it though. The diversity never gets tiring.
Considerations for living in Ecuador:
⦁ The cost of living is extremely cheap in Ecuador. In comparison to the United States things on average cost three times less in Ecuador.
⦁ In major cities you can enjoy a lot of Western conveniences that you would get in most major countries if you are the kind of person who misses first world amenities.
⦁ The weather is pretty stable given its equatorial positioning meaning that the weather is almost never bad.
⦁ Despite its location Ecuador has pretty comparable health care with reasonable prices and state-of-the-art equipment depending on where you go.
⦁ Certain specific amenities such as hot water connections within houses are not overly common in Ecuador so a lifestyle adjustment may possibly be necessary.
⦁ Crime is a large problem in Ecuador. Sometimes enough to deter people from choosing it. Wherever you plan on going I suggest doing lots of research ahead of time to make sure you are going to a safer part of the country.