While the United States has a lot to offer, it is most definitely not the cheapest country to live in. There are people who dream of living abroad in countries where the cost of living is significantly more affordable.
Not only does becoming an expat allow for financial savings, it can open your horizons to new experiences, environments and cultures, enriching your life. However, even if you find the most affordable country out there, don’t forget that there are many costs associated with moving abroad that you need to factor in before you go.
Here are 10 expenses to consider before you make the leap.
Airfare and Lodging
The country you’ve settled on calling your new home may be cheaper than the U.S., but airfare often isn’t — nor is transportation from the airport to your destination. Remember that you still have to factor in the cost of airplane tickets and other transportation, be that renting a car, trains, buses or more, as well as lodging, if you haven’t already snagged yourself a semi-permanent abode.
Costs of Shipping Your Stuff
You might have picked out an incredible country with an affordable cost of living to move to, but you still have to get all of your stuff overseas, and that is not cheap. According to International Van Lines, shipping by ocean is the most common way to get your stuff across international lines, and that typically can run between $3,000 and $8,000. According to Nomadic Fire, the average cost of moving internationally is closer to $20,000 for everything.
Shipping a Vehicle
If you’re planning to bring along your own vehicle, then you’re going to have to get it there — once gain, most likely by ocean shipping. According to International Van Lines, the average cost of shipping a car is between $1,800 and $5,000, depending on which country you’re going to, the shipping method and other factors. Of course, you’ll need to pay all of the requisite registration and license fees for the vehicle once you get it there.
Moving overseas means that all of your precious and personal items, from the smallest set of dishes to the biggest pieces of furniture, run the risk of damage or loss in transit. To make sure you’re financially compensated, you might want to invest in moving insurance. It can vary in price, at least $100 for around $10,000 worth of declared value, according to Nomadic Fire.
Every country charges different fees to incoming travelers; but, if you plan to stay for more than a couple of weeks — anywhere from months to years — you will have to pay fees related to obtaining a visa and potentially other legal fees, depending on the country. These can range in the hundreds of dollars, according to Travel Noire.
If you are shipping any of your personal items overseas, you may have to pay customs duties or taxes. Those vary from country to country, according to the International Trade Administration. This may be a flat fee by weight or a percentage rate charged on the value of your goods.
Expat Health Insurance
When you move abroad, you’re no longer going to have access to the U.S. healthcare system, so you’ll need to get hooked up with some kind of healthcare in your new country. While healthcare is often cheaper in other countries, it may not be — especially if you’re not a permanent resident. You can get a quote at International Citizens Insurance.
You might arrive in your new country with a bunch of stuff before you’ve secured a permanent place to live — whether you’re renting or buying a home. This may require finding short-term or monthly storage, which can run up to several hundred dollars per month.
It’s likely that there is still mail you’ll need to receive from the United States, and shipping that overseas is not likely to be feasible. Instead, you can look into getting a virtual mailbox, which allows people to digitally send you important information that you can view via a computer or smartphone.
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