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Top 10 Countries for a Sunny Escape

Munich, 03 May 2018
Great weather and varied leisure options keep expats satisfied with their life abroad.
  • Greece, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Uganda, South Africa, Malta, Mexico, Cyprus, and Kenya are the countries with the best weather, according to more than 90 percent of expats living there.
  • Up to 89 percent of expats in the top 10 destinations with the best weather are happy with their life in general, compared to 78 percent globally.
  • Expats in Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Malta are particularly fond of available leisure activities.

Munich, 03 May 2018 — Expats living in the top 10 countries ideal for a sunny escape moved there for many different reasons: in the majority of these destinations, the search for a better quality of life was named as the top reason, while expats in others moved primarily for love, for their partner’s job or education, or because they were sent abroad by their employer. However, there is one thing that all ten countries have in common: at least three-quarters considered the climate and weather to be a potential benefit prior to moving, compared to only 47 percent globally. With over nine in ten expats being satisfied with the weather after moving, it seems like they were not disappointed, as the latest Expat Insider survey reveals. Based on the insights of close to 13,000 expats from 188 countries and territories in the annual survey, InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, compiled a so-far unpublished ranking of the destinations with the best weather around the world, according to expats.

1. Greece

  • Satisfied with weather: 96%
  • Happy with life: 74%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 15%

Overall, Greece ranks last in the latest Expat Insider survey, yet the country’s sunny skies appear to brighten expats’ spirits: not a single respondent had anything negative to say about the climate and weather! A British expat states they enjoy “the safe and friendly outdoor lifestyle in beautiful surrounding”. Additionally, more than three-quarters (77%) appreciate the great quality of the environment.

2. Portugal 

  • Satisfied with weather: 97%
  • Happy with life: 89%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 28%

Expats in Portugal can make the most out of the country’s excellent weather: they are significantly more likely to work part time (37%) than the global average (17%) and only spend about 33 hours per week at work (vs. 40.7 h globally). In their free time, they seem to have plenty of options to keep themselves busy, as more than nine in ten (92%) are satisfied with the available leisure activities — the highest share within the top 10 countries for a sunny escape.

3. Spain

  • Satisfied with weather: 96%
  • Happy with life: 89%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 26%

Close to four in five expats living in Spain (79%) are satisfied with the quality of environment such as water and air quality and an even higher share is happy with the available leisure activities (89%). A Canadian expat particularly enjoys “the culture of outdoor enjoyment at the beach, sea and in the mountains”.

4. Costa Rica

  • Satisfied with weather: 98%
  • Happy with life: 86%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 31%

In addition to the great weather, expats in Costa Rica are satisfied with the quality of the environment (91%) — out of the featured countries, only Portugal (94%) receives better ratings for this factor. Moreover, expats enjoy the country’s peacefulness (93%) and the local’s friendly attitude (87%) — a US American appreciates the “freedom to live a peaceful, happy life, surrounded by kind people”.

5. Uganda

  • Satisfied with weather: 93%
  • Happy with life: 76%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 2%

Most expats moving to Uganda cite work-related reasons (55%), be it their own or their partner’s job, and only 77 percent considered the weather to be a potential benefit prior to their move — this is the smallest share among the top 10 countries for a sunny escape. However, once they arrive, expats enjoy the “wonderful climate on the equator and the amazing people,” as a South African expat mentions.

6. South Africa

  • Satisfied with weather: 93%
  • Happy with life: 74%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 10%

Expat life in South Africa can be worrisome under the sunny skies, as only 38 percent find the country peaceful, which is the lowest share out of the top 10 countries. However, close to three-quarters still state to be generally happy (74% vs. 78% global). Maybe it is the high satisfaction with the available leisure options that makes life in South Africa enjoyable (89%), which is well above the global average (73%).

7. Malta

  • Satisfied with weather: 93%
  • Happy with life: 88%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 27%

Ranking 2nd out of 65 countries in terms of work-life balance, expats in Malta seem to have lots of time to enjoy the sun. In fact, a Polish expat particularly values the “laid back attitude and weather” in the country. Maybe that is the reason why 37 percent of expats felt at home nearly right away, which is close to twice the global average (19%) and the highest share among the top 10 countries for a sunny escape.

8. Mexico

  • Satisfied with weather: 93%
  • Happy with life: 89%
  • Move for a better quality of life: 14%

Mexico remains a consistent favorite among expats, ranking within the top 5 destinations for expats in general since 2014. In addition to the great weather, 87 percent of expats are happy with the available leisure options. An Irish expat especially likes the “relaxed living, with almost continuous sunshine” — maybe that is one of the reasons why Mexico ranks 1st out of 65 destinations for personal happiness.

9. Cyprus

  • Satisfied with weather: 91%
  • Happy with life: 78%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 32%

More than one in ten expats (11%) moved to Cyprus to retire, which is the largest share among these ten countries. “Life is generally easy here,” states a British expat. In addition to the great weather, the majority (91%) enjoys how peaceful the country is. However, only 64 percent are satisfied with the available leisure activities, compared to 73 percent globally.

10. Kenya

  • Satisfied with weather: 91%
  • Happy with life: 79%
  • Moved for a better quality of life: 1%

Exactly three in five expats (60%) moved to Kenya for work-related reasons (including their partner’s job). Working the longest hours out of the top 10 countries (46.5 h/week), it seems like they do not have a lot of time to enjoy the great climate. Additionally, more than two in five (41%) are unsatisfied with the quality of the environment — a US American expat specifically mentions “air pollution” to be an issue.
 

About the InterNations Expat Insider 2017 Survey

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNations asked about 13,000 expatriates representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the respondents’ personal satisfaction with these aspects and considered both emotional topics as well as more factual aspects with equal weight. The respondents’ ratings of the individual factors were then bundled in various combinations for a total of 16 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up six topical indices: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, Personal Finance, and Cost of Living Index. Except for the latter, all indices were further averaged in order to rank 65 expatriate destinations around the world. In 2017 the top 10 were Bahrain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Taiwan, Portugal, New Zealand, Malta, Colombia, Singapore, and Spain.

For a country to be featured in the indices and consequently in the overall ranking, a sample size of at least 75 survey participants per country was necessary. The only exception to this is the Family Life Index, where a sample size of more than 40 respondents raising children abroad was required. In 2017, 65 and 45 countries respectively met these requirements. However, in most countries the sample size exceeded 100 participants.

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About InterNations

With more than 3.3 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations (http://www.internations.org) is the largest global network and information site for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking both online and face-to-face at more than 6,000 monthly events and activities. Online services include country and city guides created by a team of professional writers, guest contributions about life abroad, and forums to help members with topics such as local housing and searching for jobs. InterNations is primarily a community for expats, but also global minds. As a community of trust, membership is by application only.

Press Contact

Vera Grossmann
Public Relations
InterNations GmbH
Schwanthalerstrasse 39
80336 Munich, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)89 461 3324 79
Fax: +49 (0)89 461 3324 99
Email: press@internations.org
Homepage: www.internations.org

Contact Us

Vera Grossmann
Media spokesperson
Country-specific versions are available in different languages in the download section at the end of each press release and upon request.