What to Look For When Choosing Your Destination

On this blog we often talk about what to do when you are already living in your chosen destination. However, what about actually choosing where you want to go and live? What factors should you be looking at to help you decide upon your eventual destination?

Here are a few of the things that you might want to spend some time looking into to help you to choose the location that is right for you.

Paradise @ Mount Rainier National Park © by lawdawg1

Cost of Living

The overall cost of living is going to have a large effect on the quality of life that you lead in your chosen destination. Before you go, try to find out as much as you can about the price of accommodation, transport, food and entertainment to work out a budget for how much you will need to spend to live the quality of life that you want.

If the cost of living is high, and you will end up working all hours of the day just to support yourself, then it may be worth having a rethink.

The best place to find out such information is on a local expat forum where you will be able to get up-to-date information from people who are currently living there.


Some countries may look very tempting propositions for expats, but when you arrive you may find that you end up paying a very high level of income tax on your earnings.

If you are working online for a few months then you may not want to go to the trouble of setting yourself up as a resident in that country, but if you are going to be living there for a longer time period then it may be unavoidable.

Finding out exactly how much you will have to pay in taxes when you live and work in the country is crucial to getting a good idea of the lifestyle you will be able to enjoy.

Ease of Setting Up a Business

If you intend to set up a business within your new country then make sure you find out just how easy it really is to do so. Some countries are a lot easier than others when it comes to establishing a business, and in some countries it can be a lengthy and bureaucratic nightmare.

Time Difference

Depending on the type of work that you will be doing from your new location, the time difference may be an important issue. Although you can realistically work from anywhere in the world no matter what the time difference, it is likely to have a large effect on when you hold meetings, send emails and arrange other issues with your clients and freelance team.

Remember, you can still travel a long way from home and remain in a similar timezone if you head north or south.

Transport Links

If you plan on returning home occasionally whilst living in your new country then the transport links will be something that you should definitely consider. If flights are long and involve a number of changes then it may be more of a challenge to return home when you want to.

Also look into the cost of flights. If you plan to return regularly then a location where there are good prices on flights will be very useful indeed.

Expat Community

Getting involved in the expat community is more important for some people than for others. However, if you want to meet up with other foreign residents when you are in your new country then it may be a good idea to check how active the expat scene is before you go.

This can easily be done by searching online for blogs and forums of people in your chosen destination, and if there is a lot going on then you will probably come across a few active forums, social networking groups and other organisations fairly quickly.

Have you signed up as a member of LWA yet? Keep up to date with our favourite resources for starting a new life abroad. 


  1. Ryan@generationyworking.com
    June 22, 2012

    Excellent post Phil.

    I think the community angle is a great point. It’s essentially something people would quite easily overlook. For some they would be actually looking for a place without an expat community as that may be a reason for moving abroad however personally I’d feel secure having a community on my door step.

    I guess it falls down to the individual but i’m like you in the sense that it’s a main point in my decision process.



    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      June 22, 2012

      Thanks for your comments Ryan. There are many reasons to move and hence many things that we want to find when moving, all in all at some point we all need each other!

  2. Scott Rousseu
    September 26, 2013

    I agree with Ryan. While the subject of community may be hard to completely address before you leave for your destination, once you arrive the community around you is where you’ll find support, advice, and enjoyment. This is especially important if you have a family. They need to have the support of friends, as extended family is not close by anymore.


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