We all know the saying “home is where the heart is.” If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? I’ve started to think about this question a lot lately as I’ve decided to move abroad in 2016. If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably already knew this from a recent post. With that said, I’m still undecided as to where I should go.
Two countries, which ironically could not be anymore different than one another – have stolen my heart, Italy and Thailand. I love the people, the culture and the country is insanely beautiful. But should I actually live there? While this may seem like a rather easy answer – yes, of course I can live there – I have to take into consideration several factors.
As a freelance writer and web designer, I have the ability to live almost anywhere in the world – as long as there is an Internet connection, of course. But, with that said, I don’t want to live somewhere that has a high cost of living, poor public transportation, or lacks a major international airport – after all I may need to jump on a plane at a moments notice.
So, with my plans to move abroad in 2016, I took to the Internet for some inspiration in search of this perfect place that would check off all my boxes. Note: I did not take this search lightly.
I pulled from a lot of resources that listed everything from “the best places in the world to live” to “the happiest countries in the world” to “the safest cities in the world.” I researched Internet speeds, read through the cost of living index, the rent index, and read public transportation reports and future expansion plans. Yes, I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to researching.
After reading through countless articles and reports, here is what I have personally determined as my top 10 best places in the world to live (outside of the U.S.) – taking into consideration public transportation, accessibility to an international airport, cost of living and Internet speed.
While Florence may not have made many of the lists in my research, I have to include it because it really is one of my favorite places in the world. I mean… It’s Italy! How could anyone not want to live in Italy. The food, the culture, the people. Italy really does have it all. Unfortunately, the CPI is rather high at 73.97 and rent can be rather expensive depending on how close to the city center you are.
Rio de Janeiro
With the upcoming 2016 Olympics being held in Rio, this just might be the “it city” to live in 2016. However, my biggest issue with Rio is that it is extremely expensive to fly to international destinations outside of South and Central America. The cost of living is significantly cheaper in comparison to other destinations on this list with a CPI of 56.44 and a RI of 26.03. Public transportation is well-connected and the easiest way to get around is by the Metrô. There are integrated bus and subway lines for the parts of the city where the Metrô has not yet reached.
When I first arrived in Hanoi, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Flying in from Bangkok, I thought that traffic was complete madness in Thailand but Vietnam takes it to a whole different level. So despite the traffic, Hanoi is actually a very beautiful, warm and welcoming city. The expat scene is strong, albeit mostly British and American men who have married a Vietnamese woman. I still loved the city and would strongly consider living there. The CPI and RI is only 40.41 and 11.33 respectively, making it one of the lowest RI on this list. I would only be slightly afraid of driving my own motorbike in the city. Just walking is dangerous enough!
Berlin has become a popular choice for expats, particularly for those who work remotely due to the fast Internet speeds and accessibility to other major hubs throughout Europe. The low RI of 24.10 outweighs the high CPI of 67.03 and according to my research the cost of living is in the rise as more and more are flocking to Berlin. Many well-known travel bloggers have flocked to Berlin – take for example Adam from Travels of Adam, who has lived in Berlin since 2011. For quite some time, Berlin has been on my radar of places I might live, but I’m still undecided.
Even before I learned that Amsterdam tops several of the best places, happiest places, safest places in the world to live, it was on my personal list. From the moment I arrived in Amsterdam for the first time, I fell in love. The only problem is that Amsterdam is pretty expensive both with regard the cost of living and rent. The CPI is 79.28 making it the second highest on this list. Public transportation can be essentially free if you use the locals main method to get around – bicycle. Only pedaling around in the snowy winters doesn’t sound all that appealing.
I never really even considered Prague an option until I started delving into all of my research. I was rather surprised to find that Prague is pretty affordable – at least according to the CPI and RI at 44,24 and 17.45 respectively. Prague is a beautiful city and one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Ironically, I’ve never been and skipped on my last tour through Europe. Prague is still a destination relatively high on my list and pictures seem to be enough to sell me on taking up residence there.
Another one of my favorite destinations is Bangkok. But could I actually live there? When I first visited Bangkok, I remember telling myself, “I could definitely live here.” After researching rents and cost of living, Bangkok is a high contender! The biggest issue with Bangkok (and all of Thailand for that matter) is the Internet speed. It is rather slow, especially as you travel to more remote destinations. However, the CPI is rather low at 52.06 and the RI is only 23.93 making both some of the lowest on this list. Another great option in Thailand would be Chiang Mai, a popular choice for expats from all over the world.
Never had even considered putting Bucharest on this list until I started reading about just how amazing the Romanian capital city is. What Berlin was 10 years or so ago is Bucharest today. Despite the fact that the city sometimes gets a bad rap, it is an up and coming city in Europe. Considering that it is still somewhat off the radar, it has the prices to match. The city has continued to develop its metro system and has an extensive network of 85 bus lines, 23 tram lines, 1 light rail line and 15 trolleybus lines. It is one of the most dense in Europe and the fourth largest on the continent. The cost of living is cheap with a CPI and RI of 38.94 and 10.75 respectively. So should I move to what is often referred to as the Paris of the East?
I loved Budapest from the moment I arrived. I can recall saying to myself, “I’d love to live here for a few months.” The city is absolutely gorgeous and still feels yet to be too overly intruded by tourists. With the lowest RI on this list at 10.02 and a rather low CPI of 44.19 to boot, Budapest could be just the place to call home. Only I’ll have to make every effort possible to avoid eating the Hungarian speciality lángos – deep-fried dough smothered with sour cream and cheese. Yes, anything but healthy!
According to a Forbe’s article, Seoul is one of the cheapest places to live and work remotely as a freelancer. Ironically, my research didn’t find the cost of living to be all that inexpensive. In fact, Seoul has one of the highest rent indices on this list with a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 82.46 and a Rent Index (RI) of 44.72. However, it has a great public transportation system and fast Internet with Wifi easily accessible throughout the city. It is also well-connected to the rest of Asia making international travel easy.
So, where is the best place to live in 2016?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!