How to Pick a New Expat Home

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

With so many options of countries to call home, it can feel overwhelming to know even where to begin. Ultimately, where to move to as an expat is a very personal decision, and a place that is right for one person may not be right for you. I have made an easy checklist to reflect on when you are in your decision-making process for your new expat home.

Expat Home: Language

I'm all about writing it down! By Erin Colton-Enberg
I’m all about writing it down! By Erin Colton-Enberg

While not everyone says it, the language of your host country can influence your experience living abroad.

If integrating into a different culture is important to you, are you up for learning the local language? How much is English spoken? In some countries, like Thailand and Costa Rica, locals are accustomed to expats, and it is possible to get by not knowing the local language.

Personally, being able to speak Spanish living in Colombia made me feel so much more at home and part of the community.

Expat Home: Weather

Do you prefer four distinct seasons? Year-long spring-like weather? Tropical storms and humidity? Rain six months out of the year? Your chosen expat home climate is another important factor to reflect on when deciding where to move. It will also influence how many suitcases you will need to pack when moving (winter coats take up a lot of space!).

Expat Home: Cost of Living

The cost of living is always a factor to think about when choosing an expat home. For this reason, expats flock to countries in Asia and Latin America for the affordable cost of living and the high quality of life.

Do you want to work full time? How would you feel if you only had to work twenty hours a week and had the rest of your time to enjoy life? Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Expat Home: Proximity to Original Home

Sunshine in the City of Eternal Spring by Erin Colton-Enberg
Sunshine in the City of Eternal Spring by Erin Colton-Enberg

A factor to think about when choosing a new expat home that often goes unconsidered is the time zone and proximity to home.

Is it important for you to being able to hop on a flight and be home in half a day? Or are flights so expensive that it will limit you to how often you can visit home?

The time zone is also important, especially for those working remotely and when thinking of staying in touch with loved ones from home.

Expat Home: Visa Opportunities

So you start to narrow down your options, only to find that you can’t stay in that country for over three months without a visa! Most countries require visas if you are looking to stay more than 3-6 months out of the year. Work visa? Retirement visa? Student visa? Medical visa? Digital Nomad visa?

It is important to find out what options are available to you so you won’t have to be border-hopping every few months!

Yes, there is a lot to think about when moving abroad, but planning is half the fun! For more information on expat life, connect with one of our many ambassadors around the world who have built the tools for a successful life abroad! 

by: Erin Colton-Enberg