17 Countries for American Expats to Consider Traveling to Next

Steve Cummings

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Hey there, wanderlust-filled adventurers! Are you dreaming of a new place to call home, even for a while? Well, you're in luck! We've rounded up 17 amazing countries that American expats should consider for their next big move. Even if you're seeking sun-soaked beaches, vibrant cities, or tranquil countryside, there's something for everyone on this list. 

Imagine enjoying a laid-back lifestyle in Portugal, exploring the rich culture of Spain, or immersing yourself in the vibrant street life of Mexico. From affordable living in Thailand to the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand, these destinations offer a perfect blend of adventure, comfort, and opportunity. Ready to find out where your next adventure might take you? Grab coffee, sit back, and let's explore these exciting destinations together!

1. Ecuador

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Ecuador, located on the Equator, is home to around 9,000 American expats and is renowned for its affordability. With an average expat salary of $48,000, it's an attractive option for people looking to retire or relocate. Property prices are rising, especially in Cuenca, but living costs in Quito remain lower than expected. Learning Spanish enhances the experience of living in Ecuador. The country offers inexpensive, high-quality healthcare and dental care, ranking above the US in healthcare. Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a rich cultural heritage, while Ecuador's “buen vivir” ensures high well-being levels, making it an appealing destination for Americans.

2. Portugal

Sintra Portugal
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Portugal continues to draw young expats, particularly entrepreneurs, with its low cost of living and business incentives. Lisbon is a top choice, but Porto also shines as a creative and industrial hub, offering vibrant cafes, historic sites, and nearby beaches. Braga, known as the “Rome of Portugal,” features green spaces, international schools, and tech opportunities. The Algarve coast has 330 sunny days a year, and the Azores offer affordable living.  You can’t help but enjoy Portugal's diverse cities and welcoming nature.

3. Panama

Panama City, Panama
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Panama, the most developed nation in Central America, offers a vibrant mix of Panama City's skyline, stunning beaches, and lush landscapes. The country uses the American dollar, making expenses more manageable. Apartment rentals in Panama City range from $900 to $1500 for over 1000 square feet; doctor visits can be as low as $20. Digital nomads benefit from high-speed internet and short-stay visas for remote workers, which last 9 months and can be renewed for another 9 months.

4. Singapore

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In Singapore, nearly a third of the population are expats, including tens of thousands from the US, making it a top destination for American expats. While salaries may be lower than in North America, expats often receive relocation packages, and Singapore's low taxes are a plus. However, American citizens should check their US tax obligations. Benefits include:

  • World-class education.
  • Excellent healthcare (with many opting for private insurance).
  • A high level of safety in one of the cleanest cities globally.

5. Germany 

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Germany is a top choice for American expats, with its strong economy and high salaries. Home to major brands and leading in engineering, it even attracts companies like Tesla. English is widely spoken, and expats benefit from the EU Schengen Area and social perks. The best parts are that Germany ranks top for education with clean classrooms and excellent teachers, has advanced medical technology, and offers superb, efficient public transport that's becoming more affordable. Germany truly makes settling in easy and rewarding.

6. Spain

La Bonne Mere Basilica
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Spain attracts Americans with its fantastic climate, low living costs, and great culture. Cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Bilbao have large English-speaking expat communities, while Valencia is gaining popularity, topping quality of life indexes. Spain offers modern cities, quaint towns, high-quality healthcare, and renowned dining and nightlife. It is also LGBTQ+ friendly, having legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. However, English is less spoken outside major cities, and the Spanish lifestyle requires adjustment. Politics can be divisive, particularly with Catalonia’s independence push. Expats can consider a non-lucrative visa for relocation.

7. Costa Rica

Drone shot of Manuel Antonio Beach near Quepos in Puntarenas. The best National Park in Costa Rica with the highest Biodiversity and lots of Animals, Wildlife, Tropical Plants and beautiful Beaches.
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Costa Rica is ideal for nature lovers and those seeking a relaxed lifestyle. It consists of stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and a welcoming expat community. Known for its political stability and excellent healthcare, Costa Rica attracts retirees and families alike. While the cost of living is higher than in some Latin American countries, the natural beauty and established expat networks make it appealing. Some rural areas have less developed infrastructure, but the country's biodiversity and outdoor activities are unparalleled.

8. Thailand

Woman tourist with hat and floral dress looking at James Bond island in Thailand
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Thailand offers a mix of bustling cities, serene beaches, and rich cultural heritage. It's popular among digital nomads and retirees due to its low cost of living, expat community, and excellent healthcare. The country's affordability, cultural richness, and outdoor activities make it a top choice. However, the tropical climate and language barrier can be challenging. Learning some Thai is helpful for daily interactions, but the vibrant lifestyle and friendly locals make it worthwhile.

9. New Zealand

The Southern Alps, New Zealand
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New Zealand is perfect for stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures, and a high quality of life. Known for its safety, friendly locals, and excellent work-life balance, it offers a peaceful environment for expats. The country’s natural beauty, from mountains to beaches, is unparalleled. However, its remote location means long travel times and higher costs for international travel. While the cost of living is comparable to the US, New Zealand’s outdoor lifestyle and community spirit are major draws.

10.  Mexico

Guanajuato, Mexico
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Mexico attracts expats with its lively culture, beautiful landscapes, and proximity to the US. It offers affordable living, excellent cuisine, and welcoming communities, especially for retirees. Major cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara have thriving expat communities and modern amenities. However, learning Spanish can enhance the experience. Mexico’s rich history, diverse climate, and outdoor activities, from beaches to mountains, make it an appealing destination for those craving for adventure and cultural immersion.

11.  Italy

Cefalù, Italy
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Italy offers expats a blend of rich history, stunning architecture, and world-renowned cuisine. Cities like Rome, Florence, and Milan are cultural hubs with diverse expat communities. The healthcare system is excellent and affordable. The cost of living varies, being higher in major cities but reasonable in smaller towns. Italy’s scenic landscapes, from Tuscany's rolling hills to the Amalfi Coast, are breathtaking. However, learning Italian is beneficial for daily interactions and thoroughly enjoying the Italian way of life.

12.  Japan

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Japan attracts expats with its ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology. Cities like Tokyo and Osaka offer lovely urban experiences, while smaller towns provide cultural immersion. Japan’s public transportation system is efficient and reliable. The healthcare system is top-notch and affordable. Although the cost of living can be high, especially in major cities, Japan’s safety, cleanliness, and quality of life are significant advantages. Learning Japanese can enhance the experience and ease daily life.

13. Australia

Melbourne, Australia
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Australia is known for its high quality of life, beautiful landscapes, and friendly locals. Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane offer urban amenities and outdoor activities. The healthcare system is excellent, and the cost of living is comparable to the US. Australia’s climate, ranging from tropical to temperate, suits various lifestyles. The country’s emphasis on work-life balance and outdoor living is appealing. English is the primary language, making it easier for Americans to settle in.

14. Netherlands

Haarlem, Netherlands
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The Netherlands offers a high standard of living, excellent infrastructure, and a welcoming environment for expats. Cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht are known for their culture and bike-friendly infrastructure. The healthcare system is top-quality, and many Dutch people speak English fluently. While the cost of living is high, the quality of life, safety, and a strong sense of community are worth it. The Netherlands’ progressive values and beautiful canals make it a desirable destination.

15. Malaysia

Penang Malaysia
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Malaysia is an attractive destination for expats seeking a low cost of living and a multicultural environment. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, offers modern amenities, diverse cuisine, and crazy nightlife. Malaysia’s healthcare is excellent and affordable. The tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and lush rainforests provide numerous outdoor activities. The country’s rich cultural heritage and friendly locals contribute to its appeal as a relocation destination.

16. Ghana

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Ghana saw a surge in popularity in 2019 during the Year of Return, inviting African Americans and the diaspora to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans were taken to Virginia. Many visitors chose to stay, and more arrived during the racial uprisings of 2020, seeking refuge from US violence and racism. Accra offers affordable rents, such as $700 a month for a three-bedroom house with security, an energetic nightlife, and excellent international schools, making it an attractive destination for expats.

17. Brazil

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro with Christ Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain. Brazil. Latin America, horizontal
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Brazil, with the third-largest economy in the Americas and the 12th-largest globally, offers a mix of modern living and rich cultural experiences. American expats can enjoy advanced urban amenities at a lower cost, like renting a lovely apartment in Rio de Janeiro for just $900 a month. Brazil is a haven for sports enthusiasts, with soccer, volleyball, basketball, and capoeira being popular activities. The country's lively festival calendar, highlighted by the famous Carnival, ensures there's always a celebration to join, making life in Brazil an exciting adventure.

Exploring New Places Opens Up The World

Toledo Spain
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Exploring new horizons as an American expat opens up a world of opportunities. These destinations offer unique advantages from different cultures, affordable living, excellent healthcare, and welcoming communities. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or a mix of both, there’s a perfect place for your next life chapter.

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boats in Corfu
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Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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