When the votes are in and this political race is finally over, we won't blame you if you decide to pack your bags. Hell, we're even considering it ourselves. So for all those soon-to-be election expats, these nine countries are waiting.
Ah, Canada, America’s friendly northern neighbor. Every four years we look to you for solace, and you don’t disappoint. Your restaurants rival those of NYC and SF, your creative energy is unparalleled — you gave us Drake, Gosling and Biebs, after all — and your landscapes are jaw-dropping, from the towering snow-capped peaks of Vancouver to the craggy coastline of Prince Edward Island to the Euro-chic city of Montreal. Plus, you're way more affordable than the U.S. (thank you, Canadian Loonie).
If you need an exotic getaway to shake off the election blues but can't swing the hefty price tag, look no further than South Africa (it's one of the most affordable countries in the world). In fact, according to a GoBankingRates study, rent is 87.5% less, groceries are 71% cheaper, and consumer goods are 65.8% off. Monthly expenses in Cape Town total just under $400, and rent for a one-bedroom furnished apartment is $575. Think of all the things you could do with that extra cash: surf the swells of the South Atlantic, spot the Big 5 on safari, hike Table Mountain Home, go wine tasting and more.
This laid-back Nordic country has all the perks of Sweden and Norway, but without the crowds. Take in the northern lights on a cool, starry night, explore the vibrant capital of Helsinki (consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the world), or visit the country's craggy seashores dotted with 16th-century lighthouses. But what sold us most are the perks for families — new parents get up to 10 months’ paid leave, plus a free government-sponsored baby box full of 50 items including bedding, clothes, diapers and toys for the newborn.
Once you get a taste of Thai culture, you'll never go back. Swap the country's touristy areas for its hidden Buddhist temples (like Wat Palad in Chiang Mai), jungle waterfalls, secluded palm-fringed beaches (Trang's Koh Kradan Beach is stunning) and enchanting night markets. Our favorite: Bangkok's Siam Gypsy Junction for its Asia-meets-the Wild West vibe (think old-school toys, kitschy collectibles, ceramic ware, street eats and more).
Yes, we adore the history, architecture, museums and galleries, but it's the vacation time that has us sold on France. Employees get 41 vacation days (30 PTO + 11 holidays) per year, and most people take the entire month of August off. Can you imagine what you could see with all those extra hours? The lavender fields of Provence, the Côte d'Azur’s glitzy beach resorts, the wine region of Bordeaux, not to mention the rest of Europe.
Ask any expat, and they’ll tell you Singapore is one of the best places to live. Not only is it safe, it's ridiculously clean (some may think a little too sterile) and everyone speaks English. What we love most: the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the hipster hood of Tiong Bahru, the view from the Marina Bay Sands rooftop, and of course the insanely good food. We’re already dreaming about heaping plates of katong laksa (curry noodles), chili crab and bak kut teh (pork rib soup).
Americans have been heading to Costa Rica for its pura vida lifestyle for decades. And it's not hard to see why, thanks to its pristine powdery beaches, tropical jungles and laid-back attitude. The country's focus on wellness only adds to the allure — it's got one of the world’s best public healthcare systems, and there are hundreds of yoga centers, fresh seafood restaurants and eco-lodges (Lapa Rios is a favorite). Just picture your day-to-day involves surfing the morning swells, hiking the Monteverde cloud forest and eating just-caught fish at night.
According to the 2016 World Happiness Report, Denmark is the happiest place on earth, a title it’s held three of the four past years. (Now that’s a winner.) The country even has a tradition called hygge, which means warmth and companionship — see it come to life during Christmastime, when locals gather to light millions of candles around Copenhagen and drink gløgg (mulled wine) with one another. But we’d go just for the multi-course dinner at Noma and a stroll along the 17th-century Nyhavn harbor.
Who wouldn’t want to settle down in New Zealand? The South Island is ideal for adventure seekers, its dreamy black-sand seashores, lush mountains and volcanoes serving as the backdrop for many Hollywood films. Queenstown is the center of it all and has no shortage of thrill-seeking adventures (bungee jumping, white-water rafting, paragliding, and heli-tours, to name a few). The North Island’s cosmopolitan city of Auckland has a vibrant nightlife, booming art scene and award-winning restaurants (check out Dine By Peter Gordon). If you decide to move back after your 1-or 2-year visa expires (they’re very easy for Americans to get), you can always call the New Zealand hotline for homesick Kiwis.