Best Places for Americans to Live Abroad

Finding a place where you can live and experience different cultures can impact your life and give you excellent experiences. Doing so usually involves visiting a new country, so you’ll enjoy living abroad and experiencing a laid-back culture.

Remote workers can travel to other locations, enjoy the spot, and make the most of their experiences. While others can look into living abroad, they’ll wonder which places they should visit to enjoy a new life in one of the many nations.

Whether you plan to attend networking events to learn about locations or do some research online, you should review the best places for Americans to live abroad. Doing so can help you avoid culture shock while enjoying a new country and making the most of your time there.

Points To Consider Before You Live Abroad

Before you live abroad, consider some crucial points to help you with the decision-making process. Doing so will help you understand the benefits of the best countries, making it easier to determine where you want to live.

Determine Why You Want To Live Abroad

While living abroad can offer excellent opportunities, you shouldn’t do so unless you have a purpose. For example, some people live abroad to perform military service, others to experience the world while working remotely, and some study abroad for college.

As you look for a suitable destination, you must explain why you plan to go there. Otherwise, depending on the situation, you may not secure a Visa, preventing you from staying there for more than a few weeks.

Many international schools will accept students, so if you can get into the school, you can go there and enjoy your time in the country. If you plan to go this route, do research beforehand to determine which schools you can attend.

As for remote work, since you can work wherever you want, you can make money to live there while you find an apartment at an affordable cost. The same applies if you perform military service and live there, so ensure you have a reason to live there and a source of income.

Review Work-Life Balance

As you explore options outside your home country, you should go through the work-life balance. Some areas do an excellent job of giving you time to relax at home, while others have expectations for you to work tons of hours each week.

It all depends on the area’s culture, so you should reach out to international workers and talk with those in co-working spaces. Doing so can help you get a feel for the work culture, expectations in place, and how long you can expect to work each week.

For example, you may discover that Denmark has an excellent work life balance, allowing you to relax while making enough money to survive. Remember that many countries have better work-life balance than the United States, so look into the options and make it a point.

Work-life balance may not matter as much if you only plan to go there to attend high-quality schools. It all depends on the circumstances and your needs, making researching options and finding a sustainable destination essential.

Check the Cost of Living

Generally speaking, the cost of living can impact whether you plan to live somewhere. Sure, you could make good money, but if you don’t make enough to cover your expenses in another country, you’ll face problems and struggle to live there.

On top of that, some countries may require you to make a certain amount of money before they’ll allow you to live there. Of course, you could live in an expensive country, but you should check your bank account and prepare beforehand.

The amount you make also matters as you consider the exchange rate to identify a favorable cost. For example, the US dollar will have more buying power in some countries compared to others, with a European country usually higher-value currency than the US.

It goes both ways, so look for an area with low-cost amenities while offering job security. Salaries tend to stay the same, but if the cost of living increases, you can face problems, so keep an eye on the economy while you live somewhere.

Go Through Visa Applications

You can’t just move into a country without permission, so check the visa application process before choosing a location. If you discover it’ll take too long to get a visa or the process requires too much time and effort, you can try a different country that works for your situation.

However, most countries allow you to visit with only a passport, although the duration varies based on the country. If you don’t know if a country works for you, try planning weekend trips to visit different countries and see which ones you like the most.

Doing so can help you get a feel for which visa you want to apply for, especially since visa applications usually cost money. Do your best to look into a residency visa while also understanding the prerequisites to avoid problems.

Most countries offer year-round visas, so you should see if they provide one for digital nomads. Digital nomads work well for living abroad since they don’t need to work on location and can adjust their schedule based on the situation.

Consider the Healthcare System

As a US resident, you have experience with the healthcare system and a baseline to compare it to other options. Ensure you understand what healthcare you can access in different countries and how they’ll impact your time in a country.

You can’t predict when you may face health problems while you live abroad, so you must research and find the best countries regarding health care. For example, some consider Northern Europe to have the best health care, though opinions vary and depend on situations.

For example, you may find that Western Europe works best for your healthcare needs, but someone else may prefer Costa Rica while yet another person likes Southeast Asia. These opinions vary since each system offers pros and cons that impact your viewpoint of the country.

Despite that, you should review the healthcare in each area before you make a decision. Doing so can matter even more if you’re a future retiree who may want to live in one of those countries, so you’ll want to prioritize your well-being.

See What Languages They Speak

American ex-pats should also see what languages different countries speak. If you want to learn another language, check out each country’s official language. You may want to go to countries with many English speakers.

Even though in some countries the population speaks English as the primary language, the locals may speak other languages. Therefore, you should also consider countries where locals speak English as a secondary language, so you’ll have more options.

For example, if you want to live in Central Europe, you’ll meet people who speak English, but it’s not the primary language of the countries there. The same applies to other areas, including Costa Rica, South Korea, and many other locations.

Ensure you spend time learning the primary language if you plan on moving abroad. You should also bring a translation app to help you navigate the country and find fellow ex-pats in the area, so you’ll have someone you can speak with while you learn the language.

Learning another language matters since you can get by on just English in multiple countries, but others can pose serious challenges if you don’t learn the language. You may want to research the language and start learning before you go to help you communicate.

Learn About the Country’s Tax Laws

Even though people don’t always consider this point when they review different locations, you should understand the tax laws and how they work in a country. No matter where you go, you still need to file taxes in the US even if you live out of the country.

On top of that, you may need to pay local taxes if you live in some countries, even if you work online. You definitely must pay taxes if you work within the local economy, so learn about the country and see how taxes work if you live there as a foreigner.

While some countries may have a slower-paced culture focused on relaxation, they can still have strict or clear-cut tax laws. On top of that, taxes will vary depending on where you go, meaning you must research each location to understand how taxes work.

Even though it takes time to research taxes, you can avoid confusion and issues as you inform yourself on the subject. Luckily, you can go online, search for tax details about living in a country as a foreigner, and see what you should expect if you live there.

Compare the Best Countries for Americans: Personal Preferences

After you narrow down your choices, you can compare the best countries available to determine where you want to go.

This part comes down to your personal preferences and how the choices compare based on your liking. Consider the following.

  • The various sites available
  • The potential social life
  • World-class museums and sites
  • Expat essentials
  • Friendly locals and community events

It never hurts to see what sites you can visit while you go to a country, such as world-class beaches. Most people love sightseeing and enjoying different experiences, like going to hot springs and visiting a tropical paradise.

The same applies to the social life you may enjoy in different countries. For example, you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife, visit the big cities, and even enjoy a three-hour ferry ride. To learn about the local culture, visit museums and take cooking classes.

Ensure you identify what you need to get by, such as access to American food and fellow expats. You can also look for tools to help you navigate a city while interacting with the locals and getting involved with the different events there.

Although these details may seem small, their differences can help you narrow your search as you choose between a few locations.

Do your best to consider these smaller points and look through multiple options, such as Central America, Mexico City, and even Northern Cyprus.

The 8 Best Places for Americans to Live Abroad

Now that you know what to expect, you can review the best places for Americans to live abroad. Doing so will help you narrow your search since you can look through the best locations to see which offers you the everyday life you want to enjoy while considering the other choices.


If you want a straightforward choice with minimal culture shock while experiencing a country full of culture, you can pick England. The other nations in Great Britain also work well if you want to expand your choices and consider the other countries in this region.

Either way, England founded the US, so you’ll notice plenty of similarities between your home countries while also picking up on other cultural differences to make it a more unique yet exciting experience while you live there.

As you get a residency visa to stay in England, you’ll enjoy the particulars of the country. Since people speak English as a primary language, you won’t have much trouble getting around and communicating with others, allowing you to make friends with locals easily.

You should also visit multiple historical locations, such as Big Ben and the cathedrals of most major cities while visiting the country. England also has plenty of museums and historical buildings, making the location ideal for anyone interested in the humanities and history.

Even though it won’t be a low-cost environment, you’ll have plenty of food to enjoy and try while you live there. You can also find a large group of American ex-pats in England, allowing you to talk with them, get used to the culture, and learn about the best activities in the area.

South Korea

As you explore more options and locations, ensure you look into South Korea. This country offers a rich culture, excellent places to visit, and the beautiful city of Seoul. The country is easy to travel around and most people speak English.

South Korea also has a wide range of delicious food you won’t find anywhere else, making it amazing to try and enjoy. From hot buns to Korean barbecue, you can look at delicious food and a great restaurant culture to see which ones you want to try as you live there.

Korea is also a well-developed country, offering you all the modern conveniences you enjoy in the United States. You can also take some time to learn the Korean language if you want to expand your knowledge. However, bear in mind that it’s a difficult language to completely master.

South Korea has a history of religion, so you should visit beautiful temples and locations while you live there. You’ll also meet plenty of ex-pats, so do check it out and see what you can experience if you live in South  Korea.


As you check various rankings and look at livable cities, you’ll encounter Switzerland as an excellent country. For five years in a row, Switzerland was reported as the best country in the world, making it an ideal location for Americans to live there.

The country has a fair amount of people who speak English while allowing you to learn multiple languages. It remains a modern hub for people to live there and work as digital nomads while experiencing excellent food and cultural scenes.

If you enjoy going outdoors and participating in nature activities, you’ll enjoy your time in Switzerland. For example, you can join running groups and visit the different mountain ranges, giving you the versatility to enjoy the wonderful geography of the country.

You have activities to do during the summer and winter, making the country a solid pick for anyone looking to spend their time outside. You can also find different landmarks and even go on trains as you visit the country, allowing you to experience more.

Feel free to look into the different food options while you live in Switzerland, enjoying a unique love of cheese. Also, feel free to look through social support groups and see what you can enjoy if you want to try Switzerland as your living location abroad.


Speaking of locations where you’ll speak English, Australia is another excellent option. Not only will you find plenty of American ex-pats here, but you can enjoy the excellent living standard and try various outdoor activities while you stay in Australia.

For example, you have plenty of enjoyable beaches to go to, you can try the different parks, and even walk in downtown Sydney and other large cities. Not only will you have access to these locations, but you can talk with the friendly locals and make plenty of friends as you live there.

You should keep the immigration process in mind, especially if you’re a future retiree aiming to find a place to live. Australia’s immigration process is not as straightforward as that of other nations you may be considering, so research is crucial here.

Keep in mind you won’t face a mild climate if you live there since Australia has extremely hot weather, so prepare accordingly. You should also look into the different local activities and clubs since Australia can have exciting nightlife if that’s your cup of tea.

You’ll always have more things to do if you live in Australia, so give it a try if you want to stay busy and live in a fun place with plenty of outdoor activities. You’ll make the most out of your visit while also experiencing a culture different, yet similar to the US. 


Japan is an excellent location where you’ll have an opportunity to learn a complex, yet rewarding language if you live there. Don’t expect to master the language, though, as it’s the most difficult language to become fluent in.

Japan’s love of technology can be something to enjoy while you live there.

You’ll have plenty of local food if you want to visit the country, including authentic Japanese dishes. You should visit the various buildings, temples, and various other venues when you live in Japan, allowing you to experience the unique Japanese culture.

The island has several breathtaking views and natural attractions for you to visit, encouraging you to spend time outside and make the most of your time there. Many people are fluent in English in Japan but be prepared to use translation apps and learn some Japanese.

You’ll naturally come across some ex-pats if you live in Japan, so reach out ahead of time and see what you can learn from them before you move there.

They may tell you about how to enjoy each season, what to visit in Tokyo, and how to enjoy the large range of small and large cities in the country.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great Central American location for American ex-pats. It is in an excellent location to visit various other countries to its north or south. You can use it as a base to visit the countries in Central and South America while being relatively close to home.

Costa Rica will have warm weather for you to enjoy since you’ll be close to the equator. Check out the beautiful rain forests and have fun while you spend time outside and go through the natural sites. If you love both the sea and the mountains, it is the best place for you.

You can easily live by the ocean, an excellent place if you like to fish or enjoy swimming. Likewise, you can choose to live close to the national parks and other nature-rich locations available in Costa Rica, so you won’t ever get bored while you live there.

The local food scene is extremely rich, so try out hole-in-the-wall restaurants to see the best of what Costa Rica has to offer. You can explore the different cities, reach out to others who live there, and make the best of what the beautiful island has in store for you.


If you want to go to a location with beautiful cities, plenty of art, and a rich history, you should try France. France’s greatest attraction is Paris, so you can visit it, take in views from the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy the wonderful cafes you can find on any street corner.

France has plenty of sit-down restaurants, allowing you to enjoy world-famous food while visiting with other ex-pats or your own family. As you visit, you can also enjoy some outdoor activities. Most cities have plenty of biking areas you can take advantage of.

You can also take some time to learn French, though you’ll encounter many people in France who speak English. You won’t run into too many issues if you only speak English. 

If you live more rurally, however, it’s a good idea to learn some French.

As a bonus, France makes it easy for you to visit other countries in Europe, so you won’t have to spend much money to travel to other places. From Italy to Austria to Germany, you can expand your horizons and see what the rest of the continent offers while you live in France.


If you want to live abroad, but don’t want to be too far away from home, you can move to Canada. Most of Canada is English-speaking, although you can also take the time to learn some French if you move to Quebec.

Canada gets bitterly cold and snowy during the winter, allowing you to snowboard, ski, and try other winter sports. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the country is going to become your giant playpen because it has more lakes and mountain ranges than many other countries.

While not comparable to European destinations, Canada has an eclectic art scene to enjoy while you live there. It is great for those interested in culture. Depending on where you choose to live, you can participate in cultural activities, visit museums, and meet others with similar tastes.

As a bonus, you can easily go back home and visit your family whenever you want. It won’t cost as much money to go back to the US as it would from other countries. Canadians are famous for being friendly, so you’re likely to make lifelong friends if you move there.


While you look into moving abroad, you should do some research about the best place for you. Doing so will help you identify the best location for your needs, allow you to experience a new culture, and cover all your bases while you live outside of the US.

Finding the best places for Americans to live abroad can take some time, but once you find your perfect spot, it will be worth it. As you go through each choice, remember the best locations, compare them, and determine where you want to live.

Feel free to contact fellow American expats to learn from them and take advantage of their knowledge. Doing so can help you have world-class experiences regardless of where you decide to live abroad.

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