How-to July 26, 2023

How to Decide Where to Live When Moving Internationally

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Moving internationally is an exciting and transformative experience that offers the opportunity for personal growth and exploration. However, one of the most crucial decisions to make is choosing where to live. So, here is a guide on how to decide where to live in your new country. Whether you’re seeking a vibrant city with bustling streets, a tranquil countryside with breathtaking landscapes, or a coastal paradise with pristine beaches, finding the perfect location requires careful consideration.

Choosing a place to live requires balancing job opportunities with lifestyle preferences, considering factors like safety, education, healthcare, and transportation. Researching online resources, visiting potential destinations, and seeking support from expat communities are crucial. Language barriers, cultural fit, and suitable housing should be addressed while ensuring a smooth transition for children. Organizations and resources can provide guidance throughout the process of how to choose where to live.

Determine Your Priorities and Preferences

Determining your priorities and preferences is crucial when deciding where to move overseas. It allows you to align your decision with your specific needs and desires, ensuring a fulfilling and satisfying living experience. By considering factors such as climate, cost of living, safety, and cultural aspects, you can narrow down your options to areas that offer favorable conditions for your lifestyle and avoid moving mistakes.

Additionally, assessing personal preferences regarding the desired lifestyle, amenities, and access to healthcare and education enables you to prioritize what matters most to you and find a location that meets those requirements. Whether you seek a warm tropical climate, an affordable cost of living, a safe neighborhood, or vibrant cultural opportunities, understanding your priorities and preferences serves as a compass in guiding your decision-making process of how to pick where to live.

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Research Potential Destinations

When embarking on moving abroad and asking yourself how do I decide where to live, thorough research on potential destinations is essential to ensure a successful transition. To begin your research on how to pick a place to live, consider utilizing various resources that can provide valuable insights into different countries and cities. Start by exploring online platforms such as government websites, travel blogs, and reputable travel forums.

These sources offer up-to-date information on topics such as visa requirements, safety levels, healthcare systems, cultural norms, and local customs. Additionally, consult travel guides and books that provide comprehensive overviews of various destinations, highlighting key attractions, local amenities, and lifestyle options. By delving into these resources, you can gather a wealth of information, enabling you to make informed decisions about your international relocation based on your preferences, priorities, and aspirations.

Explore Online Resources, Expat Forums, and Travel Guides.

To effectively research potential destinations for your international move, it is highly recommended to explore a wide range of online resources, expat forums, and travel guides. Online platforms offer a wealth of information, including government websites that provide official data on visa requirements, immigration policies, and local regulations.

Travel blogs and websites offer insights into popular destinations, local attractions, and practical tips for living abroad. Expat forums and online communities provide an invaluable opportunity to connect with individuals who have already experienced living in your desired locations. Here, you can gain firsthand knowledge, ask questions, and receive advice on various aspects of the life of expat communities, such as housing, healthcare, education, and cultural integration.

Additionally, travel guides serve as comprehensive references, offering detailed information on the culture, history, transportation, and amenities of different destinations. By exploring these online resources, expat forums, and travel guides, you can gather a wealth of information on how to choose a place to live.

A girl looking for a job online before moving abroad
Utilize online platforms to find out as much as possible about your future destination

Evaluate the Cost of Living

Evaluating the cost of living in potential destinations is a crucial step when it comes to how to decide where to move. Understanding the financial implications of your move allows you to make informed decisions and ensure your relocation budget aligns with your desired lifestyle.

Researching and comparing the prices of housing, transportation, healthcare, and daily expenses in different locations helps you gauge affordability and determine the overall standard of living. You can compare the cost of living between two places on sites like Numbeo. It is important to consider not only the absolute costs but also the relative costs compared to your current location.

Additionally, taking into account the local currency exchange rates and their impact on your budget is essential. Fluctuations in currency values can significantly affect your purchasing power and monthly expenses. By carefully evaluating the cost of living in potential destinations, you can make a well-informed decision that supports your financial stability and enables you to maintain the desired quality of life.

Top 3 Most Affordable Countries to Live In

If you’re looking for affordable countries to live in, Vietnam, Costa Rica, and Mexico are among the top choices. These countries offer a combination of lower living costs and high quality of life, making them attractive options for those seeking budget-friendly destinations. In Vietnam, expats can enjoy affordable housing, low transportation costs, and inexpensive meals.

Costa Rica provides a lower cost of living compared to many Western countries, with affordable healthcare, housing, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Mexico offers a favorable exchange rate, affordable real estate options, and a vibrant culture. These countries present great opportunities for individuals seeking a more affordable lifestyle without compromising on comfort or experiences.

money in the jar
Cost of living is a very important factor to consider when deciding where to live

Consider Job Opportunities

Considering job opportunities in your potential destination is crucial when deciding where to live internationally, if you didn’t already get a job before the move. It is essential to research the job market, industries, and demand for your skills in the desired location.

Understanding the job prospects and availability of positions in your field will help you determine if your professional goals align with the opportunities offered in the new country. Additionally, assessing the potential for career growth is important for long-term success. Look into the presence of industries that match your expertise and determine if there are ample opportunities for advancement.

Consider the availability of networking opportunities, professional communities, and events that can help you build connections and expand your career prospects. By carefully evaluating job opportunities in your potential destination, you can ensure a smoother transition and increase the likelihood of finding fulfilling employment in your new home. Ample job opportunities are one of the biggest benefits of moving.

Business woman
Consider opportunities for career advancement before moving

Examine Safety and Security

Examining safety and security is of utmost importance when considering potential locations for moving overseas. It is crucial to research crime rates, political stability, and the quality of the healthcare infrastructure in each destination if you want to move safely. Understanding the safety landscape helps you make informed decisions about the level of risk you are comfortable with.

Additionally, exploring the local culture and social dynamics provides insights into the overall safety of the community. Factors such as social norms, attitudes towards foreigners, and the presence of support networks can impact your sense of personal safety. By thoroughly examining safety and security aspects, you can prioritize your well-being and choose a location that offers a secure environment for you and your loved ones to thrive in.

Top 3 Safest Countries In the World

When it comes to safety, Iceland and New Zealand are consistently ranked among the top three safest countries in the world. Iceland, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, boasts an extremely low crime rate, political stability, and a strong healthcare system. New Zealand, famous for its breathtaking scenery and friendly locals, also offers a safe environment with low crime rates, effective law enforcement, and a well-functioning social welfare system.

These countries prioritize safety and security, making them ideal destinations for individuals seeking peace of mind and a secure living environment. According to the Global Peace Index, which ranks countries based on various indicators, including levels of violence, political instability, and societal safety, Iceland and New Zealand consistently demonstrate outstanding safety records.

View of Iceland
Besides gorgeous landscapes, Iceland has the lowest crime rates

Assess Education and Healthcare Systems

Assessing the education and healthcare systems in potential destinations is crucial when deciding where to live internationally. Researching the quality of schools, universities, and educational opportunities is essential, especially if you have a family or plan to pursue further education.

Consider factors such as the reputation of educational institutions, curriculum standards, language of instruction, and extracurricular activities available for your children. Additionally, exploring the availability, accessibility, and quality of healthcare facilities and services is important for your overall well-being.

Look into the healthcare infrastructure, including the availability of hospitals, clinics, specialists, and emergency services. Evaluate the healthcare system’s reputation, quality of care, and insurance coverage options. By carefully assessing education and healthcare systems, you can ensure that your family’s educational needs are met and that you have access to quality healthcare services in your new international location.

Top 3 Countries for Students

When it comes to studying abroad, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany are consistently ranked among the top countries for students. The United Kingdom is renowned for its prestigious universities, rich academic traditions, and diverse cultural experiences. It offers a wide range of courses and degree programs, attracting students from all over the world.

France is known for its world-class higher education institutions, including renowned universities and prestigious specialized schools. It provides a vibrant cultural atmosphere and a strong emphasis on arts and humanities.

Germany, with its excellent reputation in engineering, technology, and scientific research, offers numerous tuition-free or low-cost education opportunities for international students. Its universities provide high-quality education and access to state-of-the-art facilities. These countries stand out as top destinations for students, offering a combination of academic excellence, cultural richness, and career opportunities.

A classroom with a teacher and student
Make sure you research the education system

Visit and Experience the Destinations

Visiting and experiencing potential destinations before making a final decision is highly encouraged. Planning exploratory trips allows you to immerse yourself in the culture, lifestyle, and day-to-day living of different locations. By personally experiencing the atmosphere, exploring the neighborhoods, and interacting with locals, you can gain a deeper understanding of what it would be like to live there and minimize culture shock.

Connecting with local communities and expat networks provides valuable firsthand insights and allows you to ask questions, seek advice, and build a network of support. These connections can offer invaluable information about practical matters, cultural nuances, and the overall experience of living in the destination. Visiting potential destinations and experiencing them firsthand enables you to make a more informed decision, ensuring that the location aligns with your expectations, preferences, and aspirations.

When You Pick Your Next Destination Hire International Mover to Help You With the Move

In conclusion, when you have picked your next destination for an international move, it is highly advisable to hire international movers to assist you throughout the process. Moving to a new country can be complex and challenging, with various logistical considerations and legal requirements to navigate. An experienced international moving company can provide invaluable expertise and support, ensuring a smooth and efficient move.

From handling the logistics of packing services, shipping, and customs clearance to coordinating the transportation of your belongings by sea or by air freight, an international mover takes care of the intricate details, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your move. So, contact us at Schmidt International Relocations and let our experienced movers take care of your move while you focus on settling into your new home.


How Can I Find the Right Balance Between Job Opportunities and Lifestyle Preferences?

Finding the right balance between job opportunities and lifestyle preferences involves identifying your core values and non-negotiables, researching potential locations that align with your preferences, and assessing the job market and opportunities in those areas. Prioritize both your career aspirations and personal well-being to achieve the right balance.

What Are the Considerations for Families With Children When Choosing a Location?

Considerations for families with children include researching the education system, availability of international schools, quality of public schools, child-friendly environments, access to healthcare facilities, recreational spaces, and support networks such as expat communities or organizations catering to families.

How Can I Overcome the Challenges of Language Barriers in a New Country?

Overcoming language barriers in a new country involves learning the local language or key phrases, enrolling in language classes, joining language exchange programs, utilizing language learning resources, immersing in the local culture, and connecting with expat communities or international clubs for support and practice.

How Can I Assess the Cultural Fit of a Potential Destination for My International Move?

To assess the cultural fit of a potential destination, research the cultural norms, social dynamics, and local customs. Visit the destination to experience the culture firsthand, observe social interactions, and connect with locals. Engage with expat communities or online forums to gain insights and recommendations from those who have lived in the culture.

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Location for Retirement Abroad?

Considerations for retirement abroad include the cost of living, climate, lifestyle preferences, safety and security, access to healthcare services, recreational activities, support networks, tax laws, retirement regulations, and ease of obtaining long-term visas or permits for retirees.

How Can I Research and Evaluate the Transportation Options and Infrastructure in Potential Destinations?

Research transportation options and infrastructure by assessing the availability and reliability of public transportation, quality of road networks, traffic conditions, accessibility to key destinations, availability of ride-sharing services or taxis, connectivity of airports or seaports, and insights from local transportation authorities, travel websites, and expat forums.

What Are the Considerations for Finding Suitable Housing or Rental Options in a Foreign Country?

Considerations for finding suitable housing or rental options include budget, location preferences, type of accommodation, proximity to amenities and transportation, the safety of the neighborhood, virtual tours or visits to assess the property, advice from expat communities or online forums, and research on local real estate websites or reputable agents.

How Can I Navigate the Process of Obtaining the Necessary Visas or Permits to Live in a Specific Country?

To navigate the process of obtaining necessary visas or permits, research visa options, understand the application process and important documents, comply with financial or health-related requirements, seek guidance from the embassy or consulate of the destination country, and consider consulting immigration lawyers or reputable immigration consultants for specialized assistance.

What Resources or Organizations Can Provide Guidance and Support in Choosing a Location for an International Move?

Resources and organizations that can provide guidance and support include online platforms, expat forums, relocation services, international moving companies, social media groups dedicated to international relocation, expat communities, and local services in the destination country. These resources offer insights, advice, networking opportunities, relocation packages, and connections to facilitate your international move.

How Do I Balance the Desire for Adventure and Exploration With the Need for Stability and Familiarity in a New Location?

Balancing the desire for adventure and exploration with the need for stability and familiarity in a new location involves finding a destination that offers both. Consider locations that provide a sense of security and stability while also offering opportunities for new experiences and adventures.

Look for places with a stable economy, reliable infrastructure, and access to necessary amenities. Seek out destinations known for their cultural diversity, outdoor activities, and opportunities for exploration. Finding a balance that suits your personal preferences and comfort level is key.

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