Prepare for a healthy dose of wanderlust because Lonely Planet has revealed its recommendations for the top travel destinations of 2018.
Chile takes the coveted top spot of the best country for travellers in 2018, while Seville receives the accolade of number one city in the world to visit next year.
Hot on the Spanish city’s heels is the American comeback city of Detroit and Australia’s often-overlooked capital Canberra.
The leading travel authority chose Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland as the best region to travel to in 2018, with Alaska and Slovenia’s Julian Alps also making the top three.
Meanwhile Tallinn in Estonia has been crowned the best value destination of 2018, closely followed by Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Arizona in the USA.
Lonely Planet | Tallinn, Estonia
Deciding which destinations to include in the ‘Best in Travel’ annual selection is a considered process involving Lonely Planet’s community of writers, editors and bloggers, providing hundreds of suggestions of places that are not to be missed.
These places are then shortlisted by a panel of in-house travel experts who consider criteria such as topicality, excitement and wow-factor to decide what to include in the best-selling, travel yearbook.
The destinations selected for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel must offer travellers an outstanding experience in the year ahead; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead, that it offers travellers new things to see and do, or that the team of experts consider it overlooked and underrated, and recommend travellers visit before the crowds do.
Lonely Planet | Seville, Spain
The guide also features five travel trends that consumers should look out for next year, with “destination races”, “vegetarian and vegan travel” and “private islands” among those selected as ones to watch.
1. Chile 2. South Korea 3. Portugal 4. Djibouti 5. New Zealand 6. Malta 7. Georgia 8. Mauritius 9. China 10. South Africa
Best in Travel 2018 Top 10 Cities
1. Seville, Spain 2. Detroit, USA 3. Canberra, Australia 4. Hamburg, Germany 5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan 6. Antwerp, Belgium 7. Matera, Italy 8. San Juan, Puerto Rico 9. Guanajuato, Mexico 10. Oslo, Norway
Best in Travel 2018 Top 10 Regions
1. Belfast and the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland 2. Alaska, USA 3. Julian Alps, Slovenia 4. Languedoc-Roussillon, France 5. Kii Peninsula, Japan 6. Aeolian Islands, Italy 7. Southern USA 8. Lahaul and Spiti, India 9. Bahia, Brazil 10. Los Haitises National Park, Dominican Republic
Best in Travel 2018 Top 10 Best Value
1. Tallinn, Estonia 2. Lanzarote, Canary Islands 3. Arizona, USA 4. La Paz, Bolivia 5. Poland 6. Essaouira, Morocco 7. United Kingdom 8. Baja California, Mexico 9. Jacksonville, Florida, USA 10. Hunan, China
Respect the Thai monarchy, learn to view time as a circle and don’t lose your temper
Continuing the expat advice series, FT Residential focuses on Bangkok this time. We invite readers to participate in a short survey and share their tales from around the world and the lessons they learned.
Academic Alex Hay recently returned to the UK after eight years in Bangkok. He worked at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University and lived in the central neighbourhood known as Sukhumvit.
“While Westerns tend to value individuality, Thais emphasise social interactions and groups.” Alex Hay
The number-one hurdle for expats in Bangkok is Thai culture. Embrace it or leave.
The first thing to understand is that respecting the Thai monarchy is paramount. People have been imprisoned for publicly stating historical facts about the royals, so never mention them in public — even if you’re sure no one speaks English.
Second, you need to understand that Thais view time as a circle: if you wait long enough, things will come back to the way they were. As a result, little importance is placed on planning or punctuality — being 30 minutes late is considered on time.
Third, while Westerners tend to value individuality, Thais emphasise social interactions and groups. For many it is perfectly fine to miss an event because they have bumped into someone on the street, as that social interaction (or keeping face) far outweighs the benefits of the event itself.
Only by learning the basics of the language and trying to understand the culture can you truly make an impact, professionally or socially. I missed out on communications affecting my promotion opportunities because I used email, not Line (a type of WhatsApp), for “official” messages.
Living in Bangkok can be maddening at times; but with the downs come incredible ups.
Take a moment to imagine retirement and picture your perfect setting. Maybe you’re dreaming of moving to Florida? Arizona, perhaps?
How about Costa Rica?
Retiring abroad is becoming a more popular option for seniors. The Social Security Administration estimates nearly half a million Americans have retired abroad, and according to a report from the Associated Press, the number of retirees moving out of the U.S. has increased 17% from 2010 to 2015.
There are plenty of reasons why moving abroad may sound appealing. Maybe you’re looking for a change of scenery. Perhaps you’ve been eager to travel the world and you’re finally getting the chance to do it. But one of the biggest reasons retirees move is money.
Forget Florida — a new country may be a far better retirement destination.
Is retiring abroad right for you? It’s a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but here are three signs retiring in a new country may be a good choice.
1. Your retirement savings are a lot less than you’d hoped for
The median amount working-age American families aged 56 to 61 have saved for retirement is just $17,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. So if you’re like a lot of soon-to-be retirees, your retirement fund may be a little (or a lot) smaller than you’d hoped for.
You may think your only option is to continue working until you do have enough to retire — or worse, risk running out of money during retirement. However, you might be surprised how far your savings can go in a country with a lower cost of living.
In Quito, Ecuador’s bustling capital city, the average 900-square-foot furnished apartment costs around $450 per month. You can even move to a tropical paradise in Cancún, Mexico, and find a 900-square-foot furnished apartment in an upscale part of town for less than $750 per month.
Before you start packing your bags, you’ll still need to do your research and find out how far your retirement savings will go in certain countries. But choose the right country, and even meager retirement funds can last a lot longer than they would in the U.S.
2. You’re anticipating high health care bills
Health care in the U.S. is incredibly expensive, even with Medicare helping to cover some of the costs. In fact, the average 65-year-old couple retiring today can expect to spend over $275,000 on health care costs during retirement.
In some other countries, though, health care is far more affordable. Mexico, for example, is a popular expat destination partly because of its health care system, and many hospitals in the country have American-standard facilities to appeal to expats and retirees. Also, once you become a resident, you can take part in the country’s social security system and pay around $33 per month for health insurance.
Similarly, France was ranked No. 1 out of 191 countries for its healthcare by the World Health Organization, and expats are allowed to apply for public healthcare coverage once they establish residency by living in the country for at least 183 days per year. The average doctor’s visit in France costs just $26, and 70% of that is reimbursed by the government.
3. You’re willing to make sacrifices
Moving to a different country is a much bigger commitment than moving across town or to a new state. You’ll have to seriously consider whether you’re OK leaving friends and family behind, adapting to a new culture and way of life, and possibly learning a new language.
But if you’re willing to make sacrifices, taking on a new adventure may be good for more than just your wallet. Traveling to a new country forces you outside your comfort zone, which can also be good for your brain. Things like learning a new language and navigating a new environment can strengthen your cognitive and social skills, according to a report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Mental stimulation and socialization are especially important as you age.
Also, 86% of people in the study said their overall mood and outlook had improved as a result of travel during retirement, and 78% said their stress level had improved as well. So if you’re willing to make the jump and move to a new country, you may thank yourself for it down the road.
There are many wonderful countries where you can live in comfort on a small (by American standards) budget, so don’t limit yourself to the U.S.
If you’re thinking about living abroad, the best people to ask for tips might be the people who have already done it: expats.
InterNations, an expatriate network and global guide, put together a list of the best cities for living and working abroad, according to expats they surveyed.
To compile the data, InterNations surveyed 7,985 expats living in 40 countries. A city had to be mentioned at least 45 times to be included. City rankings were determined based on the quality and cost of urban living, quality of work life and finances, and ease of settling into the city.
We also noted the cost of necessities (and beer) there, based on figures from Numbeo. All amounts are in US dollars and are current as of November. Here are the best overall cities for expats in 2017.
Although that conclusion may not seem ground-breaking, the exact information that travel companies derive from this study can determine the type of advertising that you see as you plan travel.
For example, Expedia’s research concluded that Generation Z (in this case, anyone born in 1994 or after) is the most adventurous age group. Not only are they the most likely to choose an international destination for a vacation, they’re also more likely to choose alternative accommodations, like a homeshare or campsite.
But that adventurous spirit doesn’t translate to finances: Generation Z is the most likely of any generation to stick to a budget (most likely because they’re younger and have less to spend).
Millennials (age 24 to 35) are the most likely to choose an all-inclusive vacation where they don’t have to plan anything. They also are the most likely to choose to spend their time on vacation outside. This generation is particularly targeted by companies because they’ve self-reported that they’re the most affected by advertisements.
Older travelers, however, are more resistant to ads. Baby Boomers travel mostly to visit friends or family and often have a destination in mind before they even begin planning a trip. However, they’re also the least resistant to budget restrictions.
So while travel companies will not try to lure Baby Boomers to new destinations with social media, they may try to push an upgrade in accommodation or travel class.
Members of Generation X (ages 36 to 55) travel the least of any group, so marketers must be strategic when attempting to grab their vacation days. Generation X cares deeply about getting a good deal, but they’ll spend the most on their hotel. They also read reviews and will research before making a final booking.
For me, art is about learning. Learning to be quiet and learning to be loud. Learning to explore and to accept, to sit and observe, feel and touch. Art teaches us to look intently and avoid the preconceived. Art is freedom…with realities. Art is life.
My career began with art, yet it still is new for me. At 18, I began studying fine arts at C.U. in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Practicality led me to a successful 30-year career in graphic design but, recently, the fine art side of my soul started to scream at me. I listened. In 2015, I signed up for some classes and devoted time to a love of painting that I had put on the back shelf years ago. I’m learning. Therein lies the beauty.
I have been studying oil painting for two years with the respected artist, Rey Ford. I also have taken classes and workshops with Jordon Wolfson, Jake Gaedtke, Jane Hunt and Terrie Lombardi.
I was born and raised in Crested Butte, Colorado, USA as were my father and grandmother. I watched the coalmines closing down and the ski area starting up. Boulder has been my home since 1975. I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated from the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver. I live in the foothills north of Boulder with my husband, Dave Harrison. My son, Collin Harrison, lives in Majorca, Spain.
Feel free to contact me regarding any image you see on my site.
Whilst English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, expats should not assume that it has been adopted everywhere. Living and working in a location where you know none of the local lingo can have you feeling like a fish out of water and heighten anxiety. Feeling lost and unable to communicate is extremely debilitating so take on board our tips below to ensure your new life begins without a hitch.
Learn the Local Language
As an expat, you will need to develop into a quick learner as you become accustomed to new cultures and social norms. Whilst these can be read and understood without the need for verbal communication there will come a time when you want to order a coffee, explain your symptoms to a doctor, or enroll your child into a school. This will all be hindered by lack of vocabulary.
It goes without saying that learning the local language will improve your life in a new country immensely. Whilst some expats stick to international circles and live in areas which are English-heavy, this can leave some feeling extremely secluded and as if they aren’t living overseas at all.
Learning the local language, albeit at your own pace, will also place you in better favour with locals. Not even trying to pronounce keywords and phrases will often be considered rude and citizens of the country will go out of their way to help you, even if you are stuttering from a phrase book.
Learning the local language will make life much easier and also put you above the rest of your fellow expats when it comes to job hunting.
However, being a non-native speaker can have its challenges, such as nuances and slang. This can be intimidating and, in some circumstances, lead to language anxiety.
What is Language Anxiety?
Also known as xenoglossophobia, language anxiety is the feeling of unease, apprehension, and nervousness when learning or using a foreign language. It is completely normal. However, it affects some expats more than others. Below are some great ways to not only learn the new language but develop your confidence as an expat:
Mistakes are completely normal and nobody will judge you so allow yourself to make them
If you feel uncomfortable don’t panic, just accept that it is okay to feel this way initially
Understand you will not be perfect or fluent overnight
Remember that locals will respect you for trying and will find lingo attempts charming
Remember that there are countless people in your shoes
Practice really does make perfect
Joining language lessons will allow you to meet more people and gain confidence
Take advantage of apps and computer programmes
Watch movies, television and listen to radio stations in the language of your new country
Utilise local friends who will be able to teach you colloquialisms
The sun is one of the few things we can’t import, no matter how much we are prepared to pay…
9: Ecuador – Around eight out of 10 expats rank Ecuador’s climate as a benefit, but the country lost out on a high ranking because only half of expats in Ecuador are satisfied with their level of job security.
8:Uganda – The African nation ranked among the world’s friendliest according to Internations, and 77% of expats considered the climate a potential benefit before moving.
A general view shows Hoima town, Uganda April 27, 2015.Reuters
7: Greece – Although 81% of expats considered Greece’s warm climate to be attractive only a quarter of respondents are generally satisfied with their financial situation, compared with 64% globally.
5: Spain – Almost 85% of expats were attracted by Spain’s sun and a huge 88% rate the available leisure activities positively, compared to 72% globally.
4: Morocco – Eighty four percent of expats considered the North African country’s climate a benefit before moving, and the same ratio say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough for daily life.
3: Cyprus – The climate in Cyprus attracted 86% of expats before moving. Cyprus also offers one of the shortest full-time workweeks in the world at only 41.5 hours per week.
2: Costa Rica – A whopping 89% of expats said they considered the climate in Costa Rica as a potential benefit, which might have something to do with the 92% of expats reporting that happy with their life in general.
Surfers look for waves at Tamarindo beach in Guanacaste.Reuters
1: Malta – As much as 92% of expats were attracted to Malta for better weather. Life is good on the Mediterranean island, with nine out of 10 expats in Malta stating that it is easy to settle down there.
The national holiday of Thanksgiving celebrated by Americans brings together families and friends who will spend the day tucking into a delicious traditional feast of turkey, stuffing – and of course pumpkin pie, whilst watching the football or spectacular Thanksgiving Parade. With nearly eight million American expats worldwide, Thanksgiving is becoming something of a global holiday celebration so it’s still possible to get a slice of home comfort in cities all over the world on November 23rd.
Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travelers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay, shares some of the top destinations to celebrate Thanksgiving around the world and recommendations on where to stay based on traveler reviews, for those planning a getaway during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Berlin, Germany Berlin has been praised for its quality of schools, political environment, safety and transport, making it a great place to live, and with its history, museums and sightseeing opportunities (for which it was endorsed by Booking.com travelers for) it’s also a great place to visit. Come Thanksgiving, Midtown Grill offers a traditional turkey feast complete with delicious cranberry gravy.
For the best place to stay in a central Berlin, the lavish Schoenhouse Studios are perfect, located just a 15-minute walk from Alexanderplatz Square and 11 minutes’ walk from the beach, with plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby, too.
Amsterdam, Netherlands Amsterdam is known for its cycling culture, laid back atmosphere and plethora of tourist attractions – Booking.com users endorsed it for museums, city walks and sightseeing. If visiting over Thanksgiving head to Seasons to indulge in a traditional lunch or dinner. This restaurant incorporates fresh seasonal ingredients into its turkey dinner and although miles away from the USA, there is an authentic taste of home here.
The characteristic Breitner Townhouse is a beautiful stay, overlooking Oosterpark. The two suites have an atmosphere of the 1800’s with its antique furnishings, Italian chandeliers and luxurious bathrooms. Start the day with a delicious breakfast too – complete with champagne to celebrate Thanksgiving in style.
Sydney, Australia Full of breath-taking natural beauty, beautiful weather and a relaxed atmosphere, this bustling city is a great place to be with Booking.com travelers endorsing Sydney for sightseeing, the iconic harbor and shopping. It may be the other side of the world but the city has a great choice of places to celebrate Thanksgiving – Hard Rock Café is a classic or The Soda Factory for live music alongside turkey.
For a bit of luxury try The Darling at The Star which boasts amazing views of the city skyline, a casino, day spa and 20 bars and restaurants which include the award winning Momofuko Seiobo and celebrity chef Luke Nguyen’s Fat Noodle.
Copenhagen, Denmark Considered one of the happiest places in the world, expats are attracted to its beauty and welcoming nature. Copenhagen is endorsed by Booking.com travelers for culture (as well as sightseeing and architecture) and it’s no wonder as their concept hygge, meaning coziness, is a feeling that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making everyday things more meaningful, beautiful or special. For delicious dessert on Thanksgiving, stop by Denmark’s first American pie shop called The American Pie Company and enjoy a slice (or two!) of apple pie.
Located in the center of Copenhagen are the modern and luxury Europahuset Luxury Apartments. This lovely stay is on the 17th floor and offers great views of either Tivoli Gardens or the beautiful canals around Copenhagen Harbor. Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park, Copenhagen Central Train Station and Strøget Shopping Street are all within 10 minutes’ walk of the apartments.
Beijing, China If being in China means never be able to track down a traditional Thanksgiving dinner then think again – the large number of expats here means there are a surprising amount of pop ups and turkey dinners being served at restaurants around the city. Try Lily’s American Diner for a genuine imported US turkey. Booking.com travelers endorsed Beijing for its history, culture and sightseeing.
An artistic masterpiece of modern and old, Rosewood Beijing is a glorious gem positioned in the central hub of Beijing. Guests can chill out in the beautiful garden, take a swim in the outdoor pool or explore the city by hiring a car.
London, UK London is a great place to live for expats – this amazing city has every necessity and Booking.com travelers endorsed the capital for shopping, sightseeing and museums. While it’s not an official holiday in Britain, Londoners love a celebration and so have embraced the Thanksgiving tradition with eateries offering up the perfect pumpkin pie and traditional turkey dish. Try Christopher’s or Balthazar in Covent Garden or the Breakfast Club venues all over the city.
In the heart of London’s theatre district, Haymarket Hotel is surrounded by restaurants, bars and great shopping. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, gym, and a spa with a range of treatments. To indulge in some British culture, afternoon tea is available, perhaps after a walk around the nearby St James Park and Buckingham Palace.
The risks faced by starting a new life in a foreign country are strikingly similar to the risks faced when starting a new business.
In 2004 when I set out for China and the world unknown, I never intended on starting my own business. I wanted an adventure, to travel and to see places most only dream of. My adventure became more of an education than a 25-year-old wanna-be expat could have ever imagined. I built an international network and learned to problem solve in ways I never thought possible. I grew an understanding that the American way wasn’t always the best way and got comfortable being uncomfortable. I learned to take risks.
My eight-year adventure in China led to the creation of BRIC Language Systems, which just celebrated five years in business! Being that it’s our fifth anniversary, here are five reasons why if you decide to “Go Global” you might find yourself becoming an “expatreneur.”
1) You’re starting from scratch.
Moving abroad requires an appetite for risk that few possess. Creating a life from nothing in a foreign country also requires a certain degree of curiosity, a sense of adventure, and the determination to see it through to the end regardless of the outcome. You’ll need to build an entirely new social and business network, to get familiar with the unfamiliar and persevere through the most difficult of situations.
You must overcome the feelings of isolation that can consume you as an outsider. You need to keep an open mind to different ideas and adjust to new ways of doing things. All of this while keeping your emotions in check when confronted with both total failure and overwhelming success. Most of all you need to learn to read situations in a seemingly alternate universe, adapt to that universe, and make decisions that result in positive outcomes for you.
If this sounds familiar it is because many of these things are written about daily on this site. It is because living as an expat forces you to cultivate the skills that are shared by the most successful entrepreneurs. You are learning to be entrepreneurial in life and those skills translate directly to business.
2) You get comfortable being uncomfortable.
I stole that line from the Navy Seals but it is one of the most necessary skills you can have in business. In starting a business, you’re taking on a huge risk. Your reputation, your money and, more often than not, other people’s money is all on the line. That requires being comfortable in an incredibly uncomfortable situation. Being able to function at a high level under that type of pressure is an essential skill for entrepreneurs. It is also one of the first skills you acquire while living and working abroad.
Whether it’s eating strange things, meeting new people, adjusting to a new culture and not knowing the language, living in a foreign country will make you uncomfortable on a daily basis. If you are not able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable you will wash out. According to a study by Rosetta Stone 75 percent of all expat relocations fail. Life as an expat forces you to learn how to be comfortable, or at least act that way, in even the most uncomfortable of situations. This is an important skill as an entrepreneur.
3) Cross-cultural experience gives you new ideas.
Studies illustrate that living abroad in a cross-cultural environment sparks new ideas and develops a person’s ability to identify profitable entrepreneurial opportunities. Cross-cultural experiences expose you to new ways of doing things as well as products and services that you may have never known existed.
Some of these are good, others bad. The most apparent examples are food and drink. In China, they mix red wine with Coca Cola: this would fall into the realm of bad. Green tea mixed with hot whiskey falls squarely into the good category.
While living in China I had ideas that ran the gamut. Again, some good and some bad. At one point I wanted to bring chewing tobacco into a market that had none but did have a love affair with tobacco. We talked about organic juice shops for China before they existed there. We looked at cultural sensitivity training programs for Chinese traveling abroad. All it took was one good idea and now we’re in the business of language training and providing work opportunities abroad for young professionals!
4) In emerging markets, you know the future.
If you’re from the US and move to a developing country, you might find yourself in a situation where you have “seen the future.” Products and services that exist already in the US may be either in their infancy or may not exist at all. This puts you in a unique position of knowing the solution to a need that has not yet been met. They may not even know that they have the need yet.
This leaves you with some options. The first is to import the product into the country you’re living in. The second is to develop it there, taking into account local culture and adding features that cater to that community.
5) Expand your cross-cultural networking skills.
Networking, like taxes, is a necessary evil. It is also a skill that must be cultivated and refined. Just having thousands of contacts on LinkedIn doesn’t make you a great networker. It’s good to cast a wide net. I think that it goes without saying that the larger your network, the more opportunities you have. Great networkers stand out by finding a few of the right connections, ones that have the potential to be mutually beneficial long term, and nurturing those relationships.
When relocating abroad you’re forced to develop an entirely new social and business network. This essentially doubles your network. This network consists of locals from the host country and other expats from around the world. My network includes people from Australia, Ireland, UK, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Canada, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and about 15 other countries spread across four continents. The people in my network have brought me some great opportunities, and I’d like to think that I’ve done the same for them.
Go global to find your inner entrepreneur.
The global expat community produces entrepreneurs because expats are, by their very nature, entrepreneurs. Expats are risk takers. We are forced to develop and perfect exactly the skills that starting a business requires. Working across cultures and international borders introduces new solutions to age-old problems while igniting the creative parts of our brains. Our ever expanding network puts us in touch with more people in more countries which creates more opportunities. Go global and see if you have what it takes to be an “expatreneur!”