This post was originally posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 13th.
While it may seem appealing to ditch the daily grind and live an exotic life abroad, being an expat comes with its own trials and tribulations, and not all expat locations are created equal.
That’s the gist of a recent expat survey that looked at the best locations for living and working abroad. Even if you’re not in a position to leave the country for good, you can still get a taste of what it’s like to truly enjoy international living by visiting the countries that topped the list.
The poll was conducted by InterNations, an online community for expats. Those polled were asked to rank locations based on factors like job and career satisfaction, work-life balance, and job security.
At the top of the list? The small country of Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea that’s sandwiched between Sicily and the North African coast. Seventy percent of expat respondents reported being satisfied with their lives, especially professionally. The country has also been earning a reputation for itself as an exciting travel destination replete with culture and heritage tours, family-friendly fun, stunning natural vistas, and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. Those looking to visit should head to Silema, St. Julian’s, or Floriana, all of which offer relaxing and budget-friendly accommodations and easy access to cultural and natural heritage sites.
Next on the list is Norway, which took the top spot overall for work-life balance (Expats report working the least number of hours there than anywhere else); the country also earned accolades for its public services and welcoming energy. Known for its rich history as well as natural attractions like fiords, mountains, and midnight sun, the country attracts history buffs and thrill seekers alike. Want to get in on the action? Cities like Oslo, Trondheim, Tromso, and Bergen offer the perfect blend of culture and access to natural beauty. If you’re heading to Norway soon, check out how to spend 12 hours in Oslo.
Coming in third is Luxembourg, a small European country bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. Expats love it for the job security, but the country also boasts gorgeous scenery, historical architecture, and quaint towns fit for exploring. Head to the capital city of Luxemburg to get a taste of all that the country has to offer, from historic charm to marvelous restaurants and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
What other countries made the cut? The full list is as follows:
8. New Zealand
Notably, New Zealand, Germany, and Sweden also topped another recent expat survey, the HSBC Expat Explorer.
So which countries didn’t make the cut? Greece, Portugal, and Italy are home to some of the most dissatisfied expats, largely because those countries have consistently faced economic challenges. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t great travel destinations.
And therein lies the joy of being a traveler instead of an expat: You can go to tons of nice places to visit, and you don’t need to stay there.