How to Find Inspiration for Choosing Where to Live Abroad
Planning where to live overseas can be an unbelievably daunting task.
How will you finance the move? Will you be able to find work once you arrive? Do you actually need to insure every single one of your belongings? Should you start taking language courses, like right now?
But before you dive headfirst into organizing the logistics and ironing out the details, there’s one crucial step you first need to commit a good chunk of your time to: figuring out exactly where you’re going to live. This guide is meant to help you in gathering inspiration as well as practical information to make the transition from one country to the next as smooth and enjoyable for you as possible.
#1. Explore Instagram
One of the best starting points for finding inspiration is Instagram, which is full of millions of photographs of both well-trodden destinations and under-the-radar countries. While you shouldn’t take everything you see on the popular photo sharing app at face value, it is a great place to start your search.
Not sure where you want to go? For starters, you can follow popular hashtags such as #lifewelltravelled, #beautifuldestinations, #traveldeeper and #travelphotography. If you’ve already got a few places in mind, it might be useful for you to have a look at the respective destination tourism board Instagram accounts as well.
And while you're at it, you can also find me on Instagram @sidetrackedblog!
#2. Visualize your home base
In regards to moving abroad, finding a decent home that will fit your budget is often one of the key, if not deciding factors. When you first arrive chances are you’ll most likely be renting a place at least for a little while until you get settled.
Looking for the perfect beachfront bungalow where you’ll be able to run your online business just steps from the ocean? Or do you prefer the bustle of urban life with an apartment located in the heart of a city? Or maybe, you’re looking for an inexpensive shared home so that your money will go further in other avenues?
To get a sense of what kind of places are available in a specific location, here you can search and find apartments for rent near you. Filtering useful details such as your price range, whether you have pets, if you're looking for a place with in-suite laundry, and if you absolutely need air conditioning will ensure that the results are tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
#3. Think of your ideal climate
If you can't stand the thought of shoveling snowy sidewalks and scraping your icy car windshield every morning for several months out of the year, it's probably safe to assume you shouldn't move to any seriously cold climates. Alternatively, if you already find yourself sweating imagining having to go to work in a tropical climate, maybe moving to a place like Costa Rica or Belize isn't quite the right choice for you.
Of course, that's not to say that it'll be impossible for you to adjust, but it could turn out to be a big challenge both mentally and physically if it's not what you're used to. However, if you've got your heart dead set on somewhere with a totally new climate, don't let me be the one to stop you.
Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust certain aspects of your lifestyle and financial budget to accommodate the change in weather, like needing to shop for different clothing, protecting yourself from certain viruses found more often in tropical climates, or outfitting your vehicle with winter tires.
#4. Use Pinterest
While Instagram carries a lot of visual inspiration, it's Pinterest that is a melting pot of articles full of practical info, insider tips, and useful travel narratives that allow you gain a deeper insight into a place. Simply enter keywords such as country or city names, or things like "Moving Abroad" or "The Best Cities to Live in Europe" into the search bar, and you'll find thousands of Pins to browse and extract information from.
You can save handy articles to your own Pinterest boards, which can be public or private, so that you can refer back at any time for additional reading.
Starting your search with Pinterest and feeling a little lost for ideas? You can always begin by using their categories (select the sandwich icon in the top right of the navigation toolbar) to browse through what's popular now or search specific categories such as Travel.
#5. Read some travel blogs!
Lastly, this list wouldn't be complete without mentioning travel blogs. These days, there are thousands of travel blogs out there that brilliantly cover everything from moving abroad to living as an expat while inspiring their audiences with personal stories and advice. The benefit of reading these is that you'll be gaining real-world, first hand insight into what it's like actually living in a country other than your own, and you'll often find that most travel bloggers don't sugarcoat the details.
Some of my favorites are Tim Leffel's Cheapest Destinations Blog (for the descriptive posts about moving and living in Mexico), A Globe Well Travelled (for info on living abroad in the United States), and Eat This Poem (for the city guides).
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This article was produced in collaboration with Abodo, however all opinions are my own.