It’s one thing to travel — it’s quite another to move to a top destination for good. However, a lower cost of living, peace and quiet, and paradise in your backyard might just make it worthwhile.
If you’re considering making your home in a place where travelers dream of going, it’s important that you understand what it’s going to take. Medical care, source of income, taxes, and residency requirements should all be considered.
Still ready to take the plunge? Here are seven of the best travel destinations that qualify as perfect potential new homes. They’re safe, they can be affordable if you know the right neighborhoods, and the food is incredible. The right fit is out there; which one’s for you?
1. Costa Rica
A geographically small Central American country, Costa Rica is idyllic — but look beyond the Pacific coast. That’s where many retirees head, and the locals cater to tourists.
Instead, consider the outskirts of San Jose such as Escazu or the Caribbean coast, for a more authentic (and much more affordable) vibe. Health care is so inexpensive just out of pocket, and reputable, that insurance isn’t necessary.
This isn’t an international destination, so in terms of taxes, residency, and American health care, you’re instantly a step ahead. However, there’s more to Hawaii than the Big Island and Maui. Look into some of the smaller islands for more peace and quiet.
Buying a home on Hawaii can actually be fairly affordable if you don’t demand a beach McMansion. However, you do need to have your source of income in line.
The cost of living may be higher in London, but if you plan to work, the dollar-to-pound ratio is in your favor if you still have American debt. Applying for a work permit takes a few months, so plan ahead.
The benefit of relocating to London is there won’t be any language barriers; plus, travel is inexpensive and quick to many other top European cities. Consider living and working in one of the outer zones for more space and lower cost of living.
4. Medellin, Colombia
The drug war days of Colombia are over, but unfortunately the stigma still remains. Today’s Medellin is actually an astoundingly clean, highly cultural city with an excellent transportation system.
Even for a metro, the cost of living is impressive and the local fare is unbeatable. It’s a beautiful country, relatively safe, and luckily for you the stigma it no longer deserves means prices are still low.
5. The UAE
Whether it’s Abu Dhabi or Dubai you’re considering, the United Arab Emirates is a rich and relatively liberal area where the majority of people are actually expats. If you’d like to work, many jobs are high paying and all are tax-free.
The sheik usually provides housing for residents, and the world’s fastest roller coaster and tallest building are both here. If dry heat sounds appealing, this is a perfect match.
6. South Africa
Capetown and the surrounding area is truly paradise on earth, and very welcoming to Westerners. It’s easy to buy vehicles, find housing, and get into a routine here.
Compared to other parts of the continent, the cost of living is higher, but it can still be lower than many Western cities. English is the major language, which makes transitioning very smooth.
Maybe you’d prefer something a little more off the grid … and much cooler. Alaska is like another world, where there’s plenty of space and some of the most beautiful vistas you’ll ever see.
Since it’s so geographically disparate, cost of living is also low. It’s a mecca for outdoor lovers, and you usually know right away if Alaska is a place you’d like to call home for good.