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The world’s most expensive cities for expats 2016

Moving to a new country is one of the most expensive endeavours one can undertake. Enter Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living ranking, a survey of the most expensive cities for expats.

With the UK recently voting in favour of Brexit, we at Atlas & Boots are reassessing our future. Prior to the result, we fully expected to return to France after our next big trip. Now we may have to look further afield. Whatever we decide, one useful way to choose where our future lies is to compare the cost of living in our new city compared to our old, currently London. Continue reading

Top 10 places for expat romance

Our home town of London can be a lonely place or an amazing one depending on who you are and what you want.

It, like other great cities (New York, Paris, Rome), can be a glittering metropolis of opportunity or a deeply isolating experience. It’s not unusual for first-time expats to have problems settling in and making friends. In fact, finding a partner is one of the most difficult aspects of expat life.

InterNations, the world’s largest community of expats, advises members not to ignore the importance of romantic relationships when choosing a new country. Its survey of 14,000 expats worldwide examines the top places for expat romance and highlights 10 countries in which expats are happiest in their relationships. Continue reading

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25 best-selling expat books of 2015

Over the last 18 months, Kia and I have been away from home either on the road or holed up in our tiny French village. As with many people, our reading habits changed to reflect our lifestyle which means we’ve worked our way through a rather eclectic mix of guidebooks, adventure travel books and ‘expat books’, tales of leaving behind ordinary lives in pursuit of something new. 

With Christmas fast approaching, we decided to take a look at some of the best-selling expat books of 2015 – perfect gifts for those living away from home or contemplating the leap for 2016.

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12 most common expat problems

Over the course of the past year, we have used our expat survey to gather advice for expats and their loved ones, most popularly 8 tips to know before you go and 6 things not to say to an expat.  Here, we list the 12 most common expat problems based on InterNations’ broader Expat Insider survey.

The respondents – 14,000 of 1.9 million InterNations members worldwide – named problems that fell broadly into three main problem areas: relationships, money and culture shock. We discuss these themes below before taking a look at the 12 problems themselves. 
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How to make friends in a new country

Last year, I wrote about the challenges of talking to strangers on the road or in unfamiliar social situations. I shared five ways to break the ice and endear you to your newly acquainted. One recurring question since then has been: how do I meet people in the first place? This is especially important when you’ve just moved to a new country.

We examined InterNations’ extensive Expat Insider survey, based on data gathered from over 14,000 of its 1.9 million members around the world, and put together a guide on how to make friends in a new country. Continue reading

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10 types of expats: which one are you?

“¿Por qué Uruguay?” I asked the Armenian restaurateur why he had moved to Montevideo.

He winked at me and smiled. “Por amor.”

Clearly, he was a ‘Romantic’ as defined by InterNations in their second annual Expat Insider survey, updated for 2015. The expat organisation surveyed 14,000 of its 1.8 million members from around the world to assess the living situations and wellbeing of expatriates. With this wealth of quantitative and qualitative data, they defined 10 specific types of expats as shown in the infographic below. Continue reading

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How do you really get to know a country?

As Kia and I enter the last few weeks of our big trip, naturally we are wondering how well we have come to know the countries we have visited. Over the last year or so, we have spent anything from just a few hours in a country to over two months and everything in between.

So, how do you really get to know a country? The answer is of course largely subjective, based on personal opinion rather than a delineated system. That said, there are certain factors that will always help or hinder. Continue reading

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10 most unoriginal expat destinations

Are you a female American manager in Germany, a British man teaching in Spain, or an Indian businessman in the Emirates? Then I’m afraid you’re among the world’s most unoriginal expats, according to the 2014 Expat Insider report from InterNations, an expat community with more than 1.4 million members.

We examined the report and picked out the top 10 most popular expat destinations and cross-referenced them with the Expat Insider rankings of overall satisfaction. It’s interesting that only three countries appear on both lists (USA, Switzerland and Spain), indicating that many expats might find a better quality of life in a country other than their chosen one. Continue reading

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6 things not to say to an expat

As part of Internations’ Culture Shock questionnaire, people were asked to share what one thing they were tired of hearing from people, either in their old country or new one  and share they did. Here’s a list of recurring themes in words directly from the mouths of expats. If you have an expat friend or family member, you may want to refrain…

“You’re so lucky”

Yes, we understand that we’re in a sunnier country with friendlier people and better job opportunities, but reiterating how ‘lucky’ we are implies that courage, hard work and tenacity played no part. If you want to live where we live, you can but you choose not to. That’s not because you’re unlucky; it’s a choice you have made, just like my new country is a choice I’ve made. Continue reading

8 expat tips to know before you go

So many of us dream of changing our lives; of moving to sunnier climes and enjoying better food, nicer people and cleaner air. Moving countries is portrayed as a panacea, a balm to soothe life’s ills. According to the results of our ongoing expat survey, 85% of expats feel they made the right decision when they moved abroad*, indicating that the expat life is indeed all it’s cracked up to be. However, there are several things many expats wish they knew before they flew. Here’s a roundup of expat tips for anyone thinking of leaving home. Continue reading

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The Expat Experience

At one time or another, we have all dreamed of leaving it all behind: of quitting our jobs, packing up our lives and moving to sunnier climes. Some people actually do it. In fact, hundreds of thousands make the move every single year. For many, it turns out to be the best decision of their lives. Others say the expat life is overrated. To get a first-hand look at the truth, we’re inviting expats from all over the world to take our survey on the Expat Experience. Your answers will be used to inform future posts on Atlas and Boots and will help us decide if the expat life might be right for us. Continue reading

Return to India part II: my father’s story

This article was featured on National Geographic’s Traveller magazine website on 14th February 2015.

In the first of this two-part series, Peter recounted his tale of India in search of his father’s long lost friends. Five years after his initial visit, father and son return to India to reunite with those friends. Here is his father’s story.

Christmas Eve, 2013. It was the middle of the afternoon and the sun was warm on our backs. We stood on the roof veranda looking down on the dusty streets. A soft breeze was blowing which barely stirred the tangle of electricity and telephone wires that were draped between the houses in this relatively wealthy suburb of Bhilwara, Rajasthan. Each house was painted in different pastel shades of blue, green and peach and set against an azure sky. It was quiet and the roads were almost empty. This was indeed surprising, as this was India. Continue reading

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Return to India

Six years ago, Peter retraced his parents’ footsteps on a return India to track down his father’s long forgotten friends…

When I was younger my father would write out my name in Hindi Sanskrit on scraps of paper. I thought it was some magical language from a fantasyland like Narnia or Lilliput and Blefuscu. When I was older I would sit with him and my mother in front of the TV and listen to him exclaim at Michael Palin’s latest travels through the foothills of the Himalaya or the dusty roads of Rajasthan. “We have to go back,” he would declare with gusto, turning to my mother. “The smells,” he would say. “The colours,” my mother would respond. “We have to go back…” Continue reading