From Traveller To Expat: Should You Move Abroad?


Should you be on that plane?


If you are a seasoned traveller, you will have spent time in many amazing towns and countries. Taking in new cultures, sights, people, and lifestyles, you may have experienced a common thought. Should I stay? We aren’t talking about an extended vacation, but rather, setting up roots and actually living for a much longer period in the country of your choosing. After all, we all need to settle down sometime right? We don’t need to return to our birth country if we find a particular place that really takes our fancy.

Maybe the thought has never crossed your mind. Or perhaps you read our recent article, and decided the life of a digital nomad is better for you. Or maybe you aren’t a traveller at all, but you are content to dream on the coattails of those who have taken up the mantle to explore and travel to faraway places, and you can see it all from the comfort of your living room as you peruse sites such as this one. However, if you have ever considered planting a home in a foreign clime, we have some advice in this article that you may find useful.

What makes people want to live abroad?

If any of the following are true for you, living abroad may be the leap you should be taking.

– You’re single with no ties, and you have few commitments at home. There is nothing stopping you from getting on a plane; bags packed, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

– You are aware of time passing, and you don’t want to grow old living a life that holds no interest for you. The idea of living abroad is rife with exciting possibilities, and you don’t want to be in the same place (literally and metaphorically) in another ten years.

– You are somebody who craves adventure. If getting on the bus every morning to go to work is the only slice of action you are getting – Will the bus be on time? Who will I sit next to this time? Oh, the suspense! – you are going to want something more.

– You want to find yourself. Possibly put in a box by other people, you know you have so much more to offer than what other people expect of you. Not only do you want to prove to others that you have what it takes, but you want to prove something to yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone and living abroad will kick in your survival instinct, and you will discover things about yourself that you never thought possible.

– You have more curiosity than a cat. You’ve read the brochures, you have seen the tv shows, you may have even been to a particular place on holiday. But to actually live there? You want to know what it would be like full-time, seeing the world through somebody else’s perspective.

– There are career possibilities that will benefit you when living abroad. Take a look at the various options on this site,, careers that are easily transferable to any location. Then consider specific jobs, such as teaching English to children, travel writing, or working as a tour guide. You will need to make some money when living abroad, so thankfully there are plenty of choices awaiting you.

Practical considerations


Don’t forget your passport! 

If we have struck a nerve so far, you may be tempted to book a flight now. But wait! Don’t pack your bags just yet. If moving abroad is a serious possibility for you, there are some things you need to be aware of. These are just some of them.

– You will need the correct paperwork, including a visa, work permits, and of course, your passport. This will vary depending on which country you are leaving from, so check with your local government.

– Living costs vary from country to country, so while you may be financially able to move overseas, don’t be caught out by the exchange rates. Head over to this excellent website,, which gives you some idea of how much it costs to live in the country you are considering. You may suddenly become wealthier than you are now, but then again you may not, so it pays to check!

– Health care varies depending on what country you are moving to, and you should find out what your rights are as an expat living abroad. When living in an EU country, for example, you will need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card, which will give you reduced or free medical care. Check with the country you are visiting, and make sure you register for medical services on arrival. It could be lifesaving!

– You will need to find somewhere to live, so it’s worth trawling through international real estate websites to find something suitable. Travellers to Indonesia, for example, should head over to, though you may need a translation tool to help you. Remember property taxes and legal fees when factoring in what property to buy, and research specific areas to make sure you aren’t moving into a crime zone. Hint: some properties are cheap for a reason!

– You won’t get very far in your chosen country if you aren’t able to speak the language. This may not be an issue in English speaking countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, but if you are heading somewhere with a specific local language, you will need to learn the lingo. You may be able to take an evening class at a venue near you, though there are also online courses and audio CD’s available that do the job just as well. Not only will learning the language make it easier to socialise with others but when dealing with foreign estate agents and solicitors as you arrange your move, you need to understand the instruction they are giving to you.

Pros and Cons


Think carefully!  

You may be raving to go, and the practical necessities may be no problem to you. However, you still need to weigh up the pros and cons. While moving on a whim isn’t possible (darn Visa wait times), you still need to consider the viability of such a move for you and your current circumstances.

Some of the pros include:

– The overall experience. As we mentioned earlier, there is a whole new part of the world to explore – the culture, the people, the food, the sights – there is so much on offer, as you may know from travelling, so living somewhere full time is going to give you a greater scope to discover new and incredible things.

– There is much to learn from living in another country, and you may pick up life lessons that will stay with you forever. Languages aside, read the following article, for other ways in which your mind will be broadened by the experience.

– You will earn money in a foreign currency. As noted earlier, this will have advantages and disadvantages depending on the exchange rate, but you may be able to build up a tidy nest egg if you live in a place where the cost of living is lower than where you live now.

Some of the cons include:

– As a stranger in a new land, you will feel lonely and disconnected from people for a while. You will miss friends and family, and there will be some home comforts that you don’t get from living in another country. As with any move, you will settle in eventually, but it takes times, and living in a foreign country will be harder because of the language and cultural differences.

– As alluded to above, culture shock is an issue. Yes, you will meet new people, eat new food, and live a whole new way of life. This could be a fantastic experience, but then again, it could be awful! As an outsider, people may not take to you lightly. You will need to become accustomed to new laws and social norms. One night you may be in the mood for your favourite takeaway, only to discover you can’t get the food you love from the local restaurant. There are pitfalls ahead, and you need to be ready for them.

– There may be issues of safety. As you may stick out like a sore thumb in a new country, people may try and take advantage of you. Of course, common sense needs to prevail wherever you are, but you may need to take extra steps to ensure your safety. There is great advice at, so take note of the tips given.

And so…

There is much to think about, but we hope our advice helped. If you are keen to move abroad and don’t have too many commitments holding you back, then go for it! Living in a new country could be a life-changing experience, and it may just be what you need now or in the future. However, think through your options carefully. You can still see the world without setting up roots on a temporary or permanent basis, and you may prefer the luxury of coming home to your usual comforts on a regular basis. Good luck in whatever you decide.

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