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Advice and Tips for Life Abroad: Our Guide to Your New Journey

As global travel trends continue to pick up again after lockdown, our life abroad guides and recommendations explain everything you need to know about living abroad, from money-saving apps for expats to renewing residence permits.

What is Living Abroad?

To live abroad means to live outside your home country for a purpose other than tourism — such as for education, employment, business, or retirement. Living abroad can be done for a fixed or indefinite period of time.

Whether you are a newcomer resident to a foreign country or a digital nomad who calls a new country home every few months, get ready to join an exciting group of global citizens.

There’s never been a better time to start learning about the world of residency in foreign countries, international money transfers, neobanks, international insurance, and much more.

Where to Live Abroad

sunset horizon

Before you move abroad, it's important to do some thorough research so that you find the place that suits you best and you know what to expect upon arrival.

How to Move Abroad Checklist and Top Research for Expats

We cover dozens of different factors to consider in this guide, but we've summarized the main ones below for you to think about as you begin your journey:

  1. Research the best countries based on your priorities;
  2. Search and apply for work abroad;
  3. Check the cost of living and find accommodation;
  4. Gather required documents to apply for the right visa;
  5. Get expat health insurance;
  6. Move your belongings abroad;
  7. Open a bank account and transfer money overseas.

What are the Best Places to Live Abroad?

beautiful lake landscape

Cost of living, safety, job opportunities, education, and health care are a few major factors that people often consider before moving abroad. To calculate Monito migration scores for countries, we used four overall criteria: Economic Attractiveness, Healthcare & Safety, Migration Process, and Quality of Life.

Best Foreign Country To Live In for Expats

Here is a list of the top 10 countries to live in, ranked by overall Monito migration score:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Norway
  6. Portugal
  7. Sweden
  8. United Kingdom
  9. France
  10. Denmark

Learning the Language Abroad

Language is the door to the culture and to the community. For some, language acquisition is easy while others struggle for years. Luckily, there are so many online tools and in-person classes that can help you learn the language.

Whether you have difficulty with grammar, speaking, listening, or anything in between, there is a solution for you.

Easily Call Your Family Back Home

If you’d like to all a friend or family member while abroad, then you can do so from the comfort of your home. Have a look below at our resources specific for country-to-country phone calls.

If you also want to send airtime top-up to your the mobile phones of your friends and family, you can also use Monito’s airtime top-up tool.

Eat, Drink, and Spend Like a Local

While travelling, moving, and working across borders, many citizens cling on to the conventional habits of the past about bureaux de change kiosks, international bank transfers, Western Union, and PayPal — but such advice applies less and less every day.

Instead, read our guides on the cheapest way to get cash with foreign ATMs and spend the local currency with the best travel cards.

For your leisure, we also review the best VPN providers on the market and help you watch your favourite shows with our foreign TV tips.

Which Country is Best to Live Abroad?

Ultimately, the best place to live is the one that matches your lifestyle most. While you should consider factors like affordability and safety, the best place for you will be the one where you can maximize your days enjoying your hobbies, doing meaningful work, and spending time with people you care about.

Learn more about the Monito migration score and common countries for migration with our tool below:

Research and Compare the Best Places for Living Abroad

Sort by
  1. Switzerland Monito Score 9.0
    • Languages
      German +2
    • English proficiency
    • Climate
      Mild continental +1
    • Living costs
      Very high
    • Ease of migration
    • Quality of life
      Very high
  2. Canada Monito Score 8.7
    • Languages
      English +1
    • English proficiency
    • Climate
      Tundra/polar +1
    • Living costs
      Very high
    • Ease of migration
      Very easy
    • Quality of life
      Very high
  3. Australia Monito Score 8.7
    • Languages
    • English proficiency
    • Climate
    • Living costs
      Very high
    • Ease of migration
    • Quality of life
      Very high

Education and Job Opportunities Abroad

Work and education are perhaps the two most important factors in helping you and your family flourish in your new home overseas.

Family on a beach

International Education

If you are an expat parent, then education for your children is a top priority. Lay out your options, including the public school system, local private schools, and the international education system. Have a close look at the curriculum that your child will be exposed to, know the tuition costs, and prepare your kids with the best opportunities for success.

Finding a Job Overseas

Unless you are moving abroad for retirement, then you will likely need to search for jobs and get a grip on the local job market before you move. Job opportunities and the employment market vary widely by country — and is especially dependent on your level of fluency in the local language.

Use the Monito migration score to filter for countries by language or economic opportunity. Most importantly, do country-specific research to see where your professional skills are in demand.

Live Abroad Programs

One of the most popular ways to live abroad as a young person is to work using a working holiday visa. Holiday visas are only available for certain nationalities, and not every foreign country issues them.

Some governments have adapted to today's technical progress by issuing digital nomad visas, which allow anyone with a remote job to take up residence. The government website of your target country will offer detailed resources on all the unique visas available to you.

Immigration and Formalities of Living Abroad

Choosing to become a permanent resident of a new country is a major life decision. While you should always consult a legal expert when gathering your documents and applications for residency, we have prepared and written procedural information to help you get started on your exciting journey.

Entry Requirements, Visas, and Residence Permits

We have reviewed and recommended legal services that can expedite your immigration application and improve your chances of gaining full residency.

Life as an Expat

While living abroad, make sure to know the contact information of your representing consulate. They are your liaison for renewing your passport while abroad.

Finding health insurance to get access to quality healthcare should not be overlooked either. Other details to pay attention to that may improve your standard of living abroad include obtaining a driver's license from the local country.

Retire Abroad

Many expats are not working residents but rather those who are living their retired days abroad. If you'd like to make the most of your retirement funds, then comparing the cost of living between countries may be important. If you have other priorities, like safety or proximity to your hobbies, then you should consider those in your country of choice.

Find the Best Expat Medical Insurance For Your Trip Overseas

We totally understand that travel insurance can seem both daunting and undesirable. There are so many providers to choose from, and many companies are not very transparent with their long and convoluted terms and conditions.

To help you make your choice, we have written concise guides that summarize the strengths and weaknesses of high-quality travel insurance providers.

We compare insurance companies side-by-side so that you can make the best decision for your next trip, whether you’re going alone, with a group of friends, or with some elder family members.

Opening a Bank Account as a Foreigner or Non-Resident

man with a laptop

Before making the firm decision of moving to another country, it’s important to have access to the local financial system. That means you’ll be able to wire money from your country of origin to your new home, deposit your salary into a local bank account, and spend in the local currency.

In each guide, you can discover if you are eligible to open a bank account in a foreign country, how to open one, and powerful alternatives to traditional high street banking.

You'll see that banking regulations vary widely by country. Some provide non-residents with avenues to open bank accounts while others strictly require you to hold official residency and be a taxpayer of that country.

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If you'd like a wider overview, read our guide on opening a bank account online as a foreigner. In it, you will find our comprehensive list of bank account guides sorted by region and country.

Neobanks Offer Powerful Alternatives to Traditional High Street Banking

If you've decided that traditional banking is not right for you, then online banks, or neobanks, may serve you as excellent alternatives.

Neobanks have boomed in popularity in recent years because customers have been able to open accounts remotely from their smartphone devices. Plus, almost all of them offer plans with no monthly fees.

While larger traditional banks do serve important roles to business clients and those with mortgages (for example), neobanks often make more sense for retail customers who simply need checking and saving accounts. A few neobanks even give you access to stock and crypto trading.

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Read through our extensive guide on neobanks, which comes full with a list of the best online banks in the world.

To get a small snapshot of the industry, see below for the Monito scores of some of the best neobanks on the market:

A Few of the Top Neobanks to Support Your Life Abroad

Send Money Cheaply to Your New Bank Account Abroad

compare international money transfers with monito

If you start to work for a local employer or are running your own business as an expat, then you’ll be well on your way to living abroad.

However, you’ll want to transfer money over from your home country to your new place of residence during your first few months of transition. Or if you are making income denominated in foreign currency, then you’ll want to avoid unnecessary fees by spending your money in the local currency.

To get local currency, so many of our colleagues worldwide used to remit money to their home countries with post offices and high street banks. Yikes.

Since then, we’ve learned about the revolutionary services that fintech companies have provided to send and spend money internationally, instantly, and cheaply. And to date, Monito's comparison engine has helped readers save over $38 million in transfer fees.

Compare the Fastest and Cheapest International Money Transfer Services:

With our extensive library of international money transfer services, you’ll be able to weed out expensive companies and move your money overseas with specialists you can trust.

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Our Full Library of Reviews

Get started by browsing our library of reviews of international money transfer services.

To see how all of the services compare by Monito score, fees, speed, and customer service, read our guide on the best international money transfer specialists in the industry today.

Below you will find eight of our most fundamental guides for how to get started with using international money transfer services:

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito
  • Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

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