Monthly Wrap: Top expat destinations in 2023
Currencies Direct January 27th 2023 - 4 minute read
For those looking to relocate overseas, the ideal destination will depend upon who’s moving, why and what they’re looking for.
Many individuals choose the location of their next home based upon factors such as the cost of living and political stability in the country – but the longevity of such things is not guaranteed.
Considering how much can change in a short space of time, it’s important to keep ahead of the curve in terms of likely political and economic shifts. For this reason, our 2023 guide has been put together to give budding expats an up-to-date assessment of the best places to move abroad over the course of next year.
In 2022, according to research conducted by InterNations, the number one city for expats to live and work abroad was Valencia, in Spain.
Reasons for its high score included an outstanding quality of life and low cost of living among other things. InterNations founder Malte Zeeck calls Valencia:
‘A safe place with an excellent climate, a vibrant nightlife and culture, a pleasant urban environment and great travel opportunities.’
Conversely In 2020-2021 the destination of choice was home, with removals company MoveHub observed that more people chose to return to their country of origin. The motivation behind such moves were considered to be Covid-induced necessity and political preference.
A study of the reasons people emigrated in past years begs the question – what are people’s motivations for moving abroad in 2023?
Why move abroad?
As it transpires, there are a number of compelling reasons to move abroad in 2023. One of these – only recently popularised – is the much-coveted digital nomad lifestyle.
Enforced remote-working procedures during the Covid pandemic awakened many to the benefits of completing assignments away from the office and since then, demand for flexible working arrangements has increased.
2023 is supposedly a particularly good year for anyone wanting to embrace the liberating lifestyle of the digital nomad. According to BrightTax, the leading online tax services provider for US expats, digital nomads can now exclude up to $120,000 in foreign income from taxes – a full 7.1% more than in 2022.
Other reasons for moving abroad in 2023 include lower mortgage rates in Europe compared with, for example, the UK, as well as lower living costs in general. In mid-2022, researchers found that property prices in Britain were almost 50% higher than the global average.
As mentioned above, reasons for wanting to move will depend upon the demographic of potential expats. Advisory firm ‘Live and Invest Overseas’ has provided a list of 2023 dream destinations for retirees specifically and includes Portugal, Cyprus, Spain and France in its top ten recommendations.
Portugal came fourth in the renowned InterNations expat insider survey 2022, scoring highly on account of its quality of life, environment & climate and safety & security. Current expats were impressed by the ease of settling into life in Portugal as well as the culture of welcoming new neighbours.
In 2023, Portugal is recommended for its competitive living costs, relatively straightforward residency process and retiree benefits. Overseas retirement expert Kathleen Peddicord especially recommends the traditional town of Tavira, in the Algarve region.
Northern Cyprus is also selected by Peddicord as an ideal retirement spot, as – like Portugal – property is extremely affordable and can be a gateway to obtaining residency. InterNations scored Cyprus unfavourably in 2022 but this was in a large part down to career opportunities and incomes: factors which are unlikely to concern retirees.
Kyrenia- the ‘tourism capital of North Cyprus’ – is highlighted as a favourable destination due to its attractive seafront vistas and its old harbour. For those with plenty of leisure time, Kyrenia boasts spas, casinos, and plentiful beach resorts.
Spain is a longstanding favourite of international expatriates and in 2022 scored fifth in InterNations top ten places for expats. Not only is the country favourable in terms of price dynamics – especially with certain exchange rates considered – it offers a top-scoring quality of life. International residents comment upon an abundance of leisure options in addition to a temperate climate and impressive infrastructure.
While Kathleen Peddicord of ‘Live and Invest Overseas’ recommends the Costa de la Luz for retirees looking to uproot, Spain has also been identified as an ideal hotpot for those contemplating studying overseas. International travel-planning facilitator ‘Go Overseas’ heralds the European country as the best place for language-learning in 2023, also praising Spain’s intellectual institutions, sporting attractions, and cultural sites.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, many factors that draw expats to overseas locations are liable to change, including economic and political security. Beware of sudden fluctuations in a country’s fortunes – if, for example, houses are fast appreciating, there’s a strong chance they’ll come crashing back down when the trigger for their price increase is no longer present.
Nevertheless, there are certain trends that have been reliably calculable over a long period of time and therefore provide a safer basis for investing in a life overseas. The cost of living in Spain, for example, has been consistently in the top twenty for affordability over the past seven years.
It’s also important to consider personal factors that may be immeasurable in data terms. Such factors may include familial connections, heritage, long-held dreams or work commitments. Make sure to weigh these against calculable factors such as climate or career opportunities – after all, moving abroad entails a lot of upheaval and is not ideally a process to be reversed.