25/05/2018 10:46 BST | Updated 25/05/2018 10:46 BST

5 Unexpected Locations Expats Are Now Favouring

Time to change it up?

In ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ Ernest Hemingway famously declared that expatriates spend all their time hanging around cafes, talking and not working. The good news is that these days, that lifestyle can count as an actual job.

And thanks to the wonders of technology connecting us the world over, modern-movers have never had it so good. We’re only ever a tap away from your friends, family and co-workers via Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or Slack.

Then there’s being able to make quick, easy and reliable money transfers. Transferring funds to friends and family members in hundreds of countries around the world not only gives you piece of mind, it helps your family stay connected to you when you’ve moved abroad (and is a must when you need an unexpected bailout).

With an estimated 5.5 million Brits living abroad - that’s nearly one in 10 people - the world really is looking like our oyster (and no Brexit doom-and-gloom talk is going to convince us otherwise).

Many of the Brits ditching expensive living in the UK’s top cities in favour of destinations abroad are freelance, self-employed, creative industry remote workers in the 18-35 age range who have the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere, so long as there’s decent Wi-Fi. So why not do them with a stunning view, some fresh local fare and a bit of history and culture to digest alongside that morning cup of coffee?

These days, expats aren’t just favouring the usual suspects like Spain, France, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand any more. There’s a whole lot more world out there to discover, enjoy and move to.

And remember while getting inspiration below to download the Western Union app for free which allows you to make fast, reliable money transfers to over 200 countries and territories from wherever you end up.

  • Lisbon... Is The New Barcelona
    dennisvdw via Getty Images
    With its rich historical culture, fabulous food and gorgeously Instagrammable sights, it's no surprise that Portuguese capital Lisbon has become the new favourite escape for digitally savvy, creative millennials who have discovered that they can wake up to sunny skies, friendly locals, low-cost (and high-functioning) public transport and affordable housing. See: the architecturally wondrous Alfama district - the spot all the young and adventurous are moving into. Combine that with a warm entrepreneurial and expat community and there's a real home-away-from-home feeling in Lisbon. 
  • Costa Rica... Is The New Florida
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    Costa Rica has plenty to offer everyone: beaches, exquisite wildlife, low cost of living and - perhaps most important - a super-high quality of life. The country's national slogan is Pura Vida, a.k.a. "pure life," and it shows: Costa Rica consistently tops happiness index polls and an InterNations survey from last year found, it's a top-five dream destination for expats. The country appeals to people of all ages and in all life stages, from part-time workers to entrepreneurs to retirees, as well as those with families. It's not everywhere you can spend your weekends going from beach to rainforest to volcano to cloud forest, spotting white-faced capuchin monkeys, three-toed sloths and brightly hued tree frogs.
  • Berlin... Is The New Paris
    Ole Spata / EyeEm via Getty Images
    Fintech entrepreneur? Startup innovator? Laptop-toting creative? With Berlin becoming Europe's hottest tech and innovation hub, it's no surprise that modern movers are flocking there in droves (US expats living in the city has gone up by 9.6 percent in the last couple of years). Think of it as a less expensive alternative to London with a rich tapestry of art, culture, history, theatre, an epic foodie scene, music and nightlife to appeal to any big-city lover's palate. Plus, Berlin's got an efficient transport system to match. A must for hungry and energetic entrepreneurs: also see Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt for expat favourites in Germany that are innovation and creative hubs.
  • Nairobi... Is The New San Francisco
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    The combination of great climate, good people and a sense of untapped potential and exciting opportunity is what makes Nairobi, Kenya, a new expat destination that's becoming particularly popular with techy types and digital entrepreneurs. Nairobi's budding tech scene is compelling enough to draw serious funding from investors and the country is pouring money into new infrastructure projects (see the Nairobi-Mombasa standard gauge railway), not to mention impressive global talent is transferring over from the UK and the US in search of a new adventure or project. (In case you do need some extra funding for your latest great idea from your family back home, it's worth noting that Western Union transfers money here). Expats tend to favour the affluent Westlands neighbourhood, prized for its central location and easy distance to shops, restaurants and glorious walks. Another added bonus of relocation to Kenya? Those weekend safaris sure are a step up from the London Zoo. Potential downsides?The country's ultra-traditional and conservative ethos (and laws).
  • Chiang Mai... Is The New Gold Coast
    Henryk Welle via Getty Images
    With its majestic landscape - think ancient Buddhist temples, mountain peaks and grazing water buffalo - Chiang Mai, northern Thailand's largest city, is home to a large expat community enjoying the low living costs, friendly atmosphere and large variety of local restaurants. While it's being hailed as one of the top places to retire (especially popular with Brits and Americans) for its climate during dry season, quality of life and top-rate healthcare, Chiang Mai also has plenty to offer the younger set. Chiang Mai enjoys unrivaled-in-Southeast Asia internet speeds, making it a popular choice for freelancers, digital nomads and entrepreneurs drawn to its good working infrastructure (hello, co-working spaces!), affordability, history and amazing food. And have we mentioned how peaceful the atmosphere is?