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Discover the Top 5 Countries for Adventurous Expats

A job. Love. Finances. Or the search for a better quality of life. There are many reasons why you might have moved (or be interested in moving) abroad.

For a small but mighty share of 5%, as our Expat Insider survey shows, it’s in fact the thought of a personal challenge that drove them to relocate. But where were they typically headed?

Find out with our list of the top 5 countries for the adventurous soul!

1. Costa Rica

From the Pura Vida lifestyle to its natural beauty — Costa Rica has much to offer! And it also ranks among the best countries for living abroad (7th). Expats particularly praise the environment and climate: “Sometimes when out on the beach or hiking in the jungle, you can feel like you are in paradise!” according to a Russian respondent.

Combined with friendly locals and a culture that is easy to get used to, it’s no wonder that the vast majority is also happy with their life there (88% vs. 72% globally). Just don’t head to Costa Rica for your career: the country lands in the bottom 5 when it comes to career prospects (48th out of 53 destinations).

2. Vietnam

A friendly population? Check. A good work-life balance? Check. Affordable housing? Double check!

Vietnam makes it easy to feel at home and connect with the locals. And two-thirds of survey respondents agree that it’s easy to afford accommodation — a much larger share than the global average of 38%. Finances in general are a highlight in Vietnam, with the country ranking 1st worldwide for this topic!

As a South African respondent puts it: “The people are wonderful, and we live a very comfortable life on a similar salary to what we earned back home, where it wasn't enough.” Expats are satisfied with their career opportunities and work-life balance, too. But finding your feet isn’t always easy in Vietnam when it comes to the paperwork (including visas) or digital life.

The biggest drawback, though? Vietnam lands in the bottom 10 for quality of life.

3. Canada

Canada, that vast country of dense forests, friendly people, and universal healthcare! But you’ll soon learn that not every stereotype is true — Canada’s healthcare in fact only just misses a place in the bottom 10.

Still, expats appreciate the country for its environment and climate (though not the cold!), and it’s a good destination to head to for a job. Canada even ranks 7th in the Working Abroad Index, thanks to a favorable business culture, good working hours, and excellent career prospects. “You have the choice of work field as long as you show motivation and professionalism,” according to a French expat there.

Once you’ve got your visa (the tricky part), handling the rest of the admin stuff is comparatively easy. Except for housing. Housing is sadly both expensive and difficult to find, at least in the big cities. And speaking of costs: Canada ranks in the bottom 5 destinations regarding personal finance, so future adventurers better save up beforehand.

4. Japan

Contrary to Canada, expats in Japan don’t have to worry about their healthcare. And they feel safe as well. The country ranks among the 10 best worldwide for both topics. “It’s comparably safer and has a better infrastructure as well as healthcare system than my home country,” shares an Indonesian respondent. Japan in general offers a great quality of life, and the food in particular is a highlight for many.

Those moving to Japan in search of a personal challenge certainly have their work cut out for them, though: overall, it only ranks 44th out of 53 destinations worldwide. Expats there don’t appreciate their working life. And they also don’t find it easy to handle the essentials (housing, admin topics, etc.) or get settled in the local culture. Japan ranks among the 5 worst countries worldwide for this point (49th out of 53).

5. Mexico

Mexico has long been a fan favorite in our survey. In 2023, it once again ranked as the best destination for living abroad. And it’s a popular country for those seeking an adventure, too. Once arrived, expats can look forward to easy finances, a welcoming culture, and plenty of things to do and enjoy.

Or in the words of a US American respondent: “I love the international community, the rich culture, the creativity, the vast opportunities, and the people! Mostly the people!” The local population is even considered the friendliest worldwide — and close to nine in ten expats in Mexico (89%) feel welcome there (vs. 67% globally).

Hardly surprising then, that Mexico is also the country with the happiest expats — despite lingering safety concerns.


If you'd like to learn more about how different countries (and cities) did, have a look at our Expat Insider survey results.

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