Picture this: it’s January 2024 — blizzards, icy roads and frostbite are back again. However, those aren’t the only things that will send a chill down your spine. The aftermath of the holiday rush has sent you spiraling into a polar vortex of renter’s debt. Not to mention, the rising cost of food, transportation and entertainment — so you start to ask yourself: there has to be a better place for Canadians to live, right?
We can all agree that in terms of a global ranking, Canada is an overall good place to live. Universal healthcare, diverse job markets and well-maintained infrastructure are just a few of Canada’s great qualities. That being said, if you’re 35 and under — you’ve probably been feeling the pressure of the cost of living for quite some time now. It’s apparent that the costs of goods and services will not decrease — so is it time to look elsewhere?
To satisfy your wandering eye, we’ve compiled a list of countries that young Canadians will be looking out for in 2024 — not only to visit, but to live. Who knows, maybe your next home away from home is just across the pond.
Does your dream home exist somewhere with tons of sun? Ours too. In the past five years, we’ve seen a significant increase of Canadians moving to Mexico — partly thanks to the introduction of the digital nomad visa. Aside from the gorgeous climate, Mexico is also culturally vibrant — with a sprawling food and arts scene. While that all sounds great, what are the living conditions like?
Depending on what city you’re looking to move to, Mexico has some of the most affordable housing in all of North America. Although cities like Mexico City, Oaxaca and Zapopan might be on the pricier side — they are nowhere near the cost of housing in Canada. Healthcare can be accessed by private insurance or the IMSS at an affordable rate.
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If you’ve ever wanted to live in the fastest growing country in South America, here’s your chance. Chile is a gorgeous mountainous country spanning nearly the entire longitude of South America. With recent political reforms, sustainable technological advancements and investment in infrastructure, Chile has really made a turn for the better in the past decade.
According to International Living, Chile’s average cost of living in 2022 was well below $2,000. Average rent prices vary between $400-750 and the cost of groceries is much less than that of major Canadian cities. Not to mention, Chile’s culturally rich community means there is no shortage of events and festivals to keep you active. Visas vary but are not too complicated to obtain with the appropriate documentation.
France: the most-visited country in the world — and hailed as one of the most beautiful. France boasts excellent public services similar to Canada such as great healthcare, education and job security. Though it might be a fantasy to most, it’s important to know that accessing these services is not easy. Due to the shortage of healthcare providers, it does take quite a bit of time to find a medical practitioner, dentist and specialist — especially in smaller communes.
If France is on the top of your list, know that there are a few visas you can apply for whether you’re in school or not. The holiday working visa grants you one year in the country and is a great way to explore the various regions without fully committing to long-term residency. Though rent in most major cities is similar to Canadian prices, the cost of living when it comes to groceries and everyday essentials is much more affordable by comparison.
In 2024, is Spain calling your name? You’re not the only one. Dubbed the second most-visited country in the world, Spain’s gorgeous climate and delicious food has caught the ire of Canadians looking for a new home. The cost comparison of rent in Spain vs. Canada is stark. Canadians generally pay twice or triple the amount for a one bedroom apartment in cities like Madrid or Barcelona. However, with the increase in tourism and international buyers, major cities have become pricier in recent years.
Aside from affordable housing, Spain offers tons of cultural amenities — including an endless supply of cultural festivals. Spain has a few options in terms of visas. The North American and Cultural Assistant Program allows Canadians to live in Spain so long as they are teaching English. Beyond that, Canadians would need to apply for a work visa. Spain also offers a digital nomad visa for those who are looking to freelance as their main form of income. Best part? After 10 years of residency, Canadians can claim citizenship in Spain.
Winter is coming — perhaps for Canadians, but not for the residents of Croatia! Since the filming of Game of Thrones, people have been drawn to Croatia’s sunny shores more and more each year. From the warm climate, delicious food and stunning architecture — what’s not to love? With all that said, have you ever thought of moving here?
Croatia offers some of the most affordable housing costs in all of the Mediterranean. On average, a one bedroom apartment can range between $900-1,300 in major cities like Zagreb or Dubrovnik. Not to mention, the cost of groceries and entertainment being significantly less than its neighbours (Italy or Greece). There are tons of visa options, with the most common (and easily accessible) being the digital nomad visa.
Without checking, we know Thailand has been on your bucket list to visit — but what about to live? This Southeast Asian country is a major hotspot for tourists all-year round. Thailand offers some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world — with the most delicious eats, too. Despite Thailand’s popularity, it is often overlooked as a viable place to live due to its population density and developing infrastructure.
That being said, Thailand is one of the most affordable countries to live in Asia. Rent, healthcare and public services are very affordable — making it much more accessible for someone just starting to freelance or working in a lower salary bracket. Thailand makes it relatively easy to acquire a visa as it is a one-time application that lasts about five years. The application fee is about $20,000 — which seems steep, but it grants you residency privileges to that of a local.
Everyone has been talking about South Korea lately, and so they should. This fast-paced rising superpower has been making waves in the world of tech, finance and innovation. Talent from across the globe have been flocking to South Korea in hopes of finding their place in this sprawling economy — and you could, too.
While at first glance South Korea may look expensive, it isn’t so cut and dry. Indeed, there are aspects of South Korea’s cost of living that rival Canada’s — such as entertainment — however, relative to the rest of Asia, South Korea’s rent is significantly lower and access to food and healthcare is much cheaper than that of major cities in Canada. Acquiring a visa can take some time, but South Korea has improved its requirements for Canadians in recent years to make it more accessible.
If you’re willing to travel 20+ hours to the other side of the world for new housing, New Zealand might be for you. This Southwest Pacific island country is known for having clean air, stunning nature and welcoming communities. Though this is the least affordable country to live on our list, it may be worth a stretch to try something new.
New Zealand’s level of isolation does drive up the cost of goods quite a bit — making it just on par with Canada. However, the cost of housing is much lower with the average rental being $1,300 in major cities like Auckland and Wellington. There are a few visas you can apply for, with the easiest being the Working Holiday visa (allowing up to 23 months residency here).