If you're reading this, you obviously have a passion for travel and new experiences.
What about really leaning into your wanderlust by moving to a new country?
Americans are increasingly looking abroad, pondering a life outside of the United States.
The following article, courtesy of InternationalLiving.com, details some of the hottest spots that look like attractive new homes for Americans looking for something new and exciting.
More Pondering a New Home Since the Pandemic
More than 250,000 Americans have investigated moving to New Zealand since the world became gripped by the COVID-19 crisis, according to the New Zealand Herald. In June 2020, searches were up 160 percent compared with June 2019.
International Living reports that its How to Move Out of the U.S. page has seen a surge of in traffic, with views up 505 percent since the end of May 2020.
Companies that help people get second passports say they're seeing a significant uptick in interest in their services. Clearly, Americans are looking for ways to escape, for a variety of reasons, including concern about the possible dwindling attractiveness of the U.S. passport.
The pandemic has caused job losses in the millions in the United States, so some folks are looking for places where they can lower their cost of living. For others, remote working flexibility has them thinking that if they can work from home, their home might as well be at a beach. In the right spots overseas, a waterfront home can prove remarkably affordable.
"English-speaking New Zealand, which has been in the news lately for its positive handling of the pandemic, seems an obvious place to start," says Jennifer Stevens, executive editor, International Living. "However -- it's relatively expensive, far away, and has very strict and hard-to-satisfy immigration rules.
"Other options can make more sense -- places that are closer, lower cost, and have easier-to-meet visa requirements -- but which are also friendly, safe, welcoming locales where it's pretty easy to settle in as an expat.
"In a place like Costa Rica, for instance, lots of people speak English as it's taught in the schools from a young age. Well-established expat communities make settling in easy, your dollars really stretch (a budget from as low as $1,500 can bankroll a comfortable life for a couple), and three good visa options make it relatively easy to gain residence there."
The website's editors have highlighted countries that offer good value and ease of transition for Americans looking to move.
Thinking of making a big move overseas? You might want to consider Costa Rica, Belize, Ireland, Uruguay, and Portugal.
A perennial front-runner in International Living's Annual Global Retirement Index, Costa Rica's political stability and low-key profile are strong draws for expats.
Costa Rica's landscape is stunning, with jaw-dropping expanses of coast, jungles rich with everything from spider monkeys and sloths to scarlet macaws and quetzals, gorgeous lakes and volcanic valleys.
Although just the size of West Virginia, the country has two major international airports, typically with daily flights on every North American airline from major gateway cities. With that ease of travel, it is convenient to get back home for special occasions or to easily receive visitors in your adopted homeland.
Ticos (the moniker Costa Ricans give themselves) have established one of the world's most stable democracies. The country dissolved its standing army in 1949 and the reallocated funds are spent on education, healthcare and pensions.
English is taught in schools in Costa Rica from a young age, so while it's helpful to know Spanish, a lot of expats get by on just the basics, as most citizens speak some English -- and in tourist towns, English is widely spoken. With plenty of well-established expat communities, Costa Rica is a relatively easy place for Americans to settle in.
Tourists can stay for up to 90 days on a tourist visa, and longer stays are easy enough to arrange. If you plan to live in Costa Rica long term it is best to seek residence -- The Pensionado Program and The Rentista Program are more popular visa options.
A couple a can live well in Costa Rica's cooler-weather Central Valley in a town like Atenas, for instance, from $1,518 a month.
This beautiful country has seen rapid growth in popularity as an option for expats.
There are good reasons for the retirement haven's popularity.
As a British Commonwealth country, English is the primary language, making it easy for expats to transition. In fact, Belize is the only country in Central America with English as its main language, and that goes for its islands, too.
Also, moving to Belize is easy -- U.S. currency is accepted, credit cards are widely used, and well-known U.S. brands are available too; they're expensive, but substitutes are easy to find.
Belize is a barefoot nirvana. It's hard to put its charm into words, but the best description might include the phrase "rustic paradise."
From its secluded beaches to its steamy rain forests, Belize is a country of diverse natural beauty. Its slow pace of life makes it a popular tourist destination, and the cost of living remains low. For the more adventurous traveler, activities can include a trek into the jungle in search of Maya ruins, spotting parrots, toucans and maybe even a jaguar along the way.
Belize requires visitors to have sufficient money to support themselves, a return ticket and a passport valid for at least three months beyond the date of arrival. As a citizen of the U.S. or Canada, you can stay in Belize for up to one month without a visa. If you want to stay longer, you'll need to go to the Immigration office for an updated visitor's permit or tourist stamp. If you can show proof of long-term renting or other documents showing why you are staying in the country, you can be granted a 60- or 90-day permit.
Many expats apply for permanent residence in Belize. As a resident, you can work in Belize without needing a work permit. Having your residence also makes it easy to travel in and out of the country.
You must live in Belize for 50 consecutive weeks before you can apply for permanent residence. To do this, enter the country on a tourist visa and then renew your visa every 30 days until you reach 50 weeks. At that point, you can submit your application for permanent residence. It can take a few years to receive approval and your residence card.
A couple living and renting on Ambergris Caye can live well on a monthly budget from $2,875.
Even if you have no familial ties to Ireland, you've likely heard plenty about what this small island nation in the North Atlantic has to offer: the stunning beauty of its dramatic coastlines, historic castles, a rich culture of music, dance and literature -- and warm, witty, friendly people.
The whole nation -- but particularly the countryside -- takes a small-town approach to life. Everyone in Ireland speaks English (even in the few Irish-speaking areas). The Irish are friendly, hospitable people. It may be a cliche, but it's true: the literal translation of "hello" in Irish is "a hundred thousand welcomes to you."
You don't have to make a hard choice among seascapes, mountains, tranquil lake lands or verdant river valleys. Ireland has them all.
Ireland is small. In most towns and villages, you're never too far from the ocean, golden beaches swept clean by rolling Atlantic waves, views of mysterious smaller islands shimmering offshore and quaint harbor towns with hand-painted shop fronts and color-washed cottages.
And Ireland is a key player for folks who want to explore Europe, thanks to the island being outside the Schengen Zone. That means that a trip to the Emerald Isle (or another country outside the Schengen Zone, such as Cyprus or Croatia) for under 90 days, stops the clock on their EU tourist visaâallowing travelers to pick up where they left off when they return to the Zone.
On a monthly budget of $2,762 to $2,806 a couple can enjoy a coastal retirement in a community like Waterford.
This small country on the east coast of South America is also among the top countries in the region when it comes to infrastructure.
Here, you'll find the best overall road system, the most reliable electrical grid and one of the fastest overall internet speeds in Latin America. You'll also find quality medical care, safe drinking water and good public transportation.
The country's interior is part of the South American Pampas used for cattle grazing and farming. On Uruguay's coast, you find beautiful sand beaches popular with vacationers. Most expats are attracted to Uruguay for its tranquilo (calm) lifestyle -- a healthy, stress-free approach to living.
Even though Uruguay is a small country, it offers a variety of lifestyle options. Choose among places like Punta del Este, the continent's most sophisticated beach resort; La Paloma, a small beach town on the Atlantic coast; a small farm or rural town in Uruguay's countryside or Montevideo, the capital city with an active cultural scene.
Montevideo, a coastal city on the Rio de la Plata, is a place where the traditional and the modern weave together to form a sophisticated European-style feel. It is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in South America.
From its Old World theaters and opera houses, to its jazz festivals and exquisite restaurants, Montevideo looks and feels like modern Europe.
The city has many large parks, plazas, tree-lined streets, sandy beaches, and wide avenues. The "rambla" -- the promenade that runs the full length of Montevideo's seven-mile coastline --provides a long-paved strip ideal for walking, running and bicycling.
You can stay in the country for 90 days at a time as often as you like. And for a small fee, a tourist visa can often be renewed, for stays of 180 days at a time. However, if you are thinking longer-term, becoming a permanent resident enables you to live in Uruguay full time, make Uruguay your home country, get a job or start a business in Uruguay. One of the benefits of Uruguay residency is the ability to import your home furnishings and household goods duty free during the residency approval process.
Two people can live in Montevideo on $3,200 a month, renting a one-bedroom, furnished apartment in Pocitos, the most popular expat neighborhood in the city.
"Safety, quality affordable healthcare, a relaxing lifestyle, a rich history and culture, savory cuisine, geographic diversity -- you'll discover all these elements in Portugal -- on about a third of your current budget," says expat Tricia Pimental. "I know. It's where I've spent the past seven years and I love it.
Portugal offers so much to retirees. Expats typically find their expenses in Portugal run about one-third of what they are in the U.S. You can live a comfortable, although not extravagant, lifestyle for about $2,500 a month.
If you choose to live in Porto, Lisbon or in the expat havens of Cascais or the Algarve, that number bumps up to $3,000.
Rental and housing markets offer diverse options. Naturally, it is more expensive in prime areas like Lisbon and in the southern region of the Algarve.
"But by searching within 20 minutes of a specific town, you can find a gem that fits your budget,â Pimental says.
As a retirement destination, Portugal is simply fantastic -- but it is also a top destination for digital nomads.
"Since the late 2000s, Portugal has been implementing a plan to develop a preeminent, state-of-the-art infrastructure," Pimental says. "That's evidenced by one of the highest per-capita fiber optic networks in Europe and also what is arguably the most modern highway system, per mile driven, in all of Europe. The speed of this development has attracted international high-tech firms, even luring the Web Summit a few years ago from its home in Ireland to a ten-year contract in Lisbon."
A visa is not required for tourist visits to Portugal for a period of up to 90 days for U.S. and Canadian citizens. However, note that your passport should be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry into Portugal. If you wish to stay in Portugal for longer than the tourist limit of 90 days out of every 180 days, then you should look into getting a residence visa. There are several types of visas available, including visas for students, the self-employed and investors. Portugal also offers a so-called Golden Visa for high net-worth individuals.
What do you think? Do any of these destinations stir a little expat wanderlust in your soul? Do you think you would like to try living at least part time in another country?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,