The 3 Best Cities for American Expats

Expat Insider is a global survey that gives an in-depth analysis of expat life around the world. In the 2017 survey, more than 12,500 expats from 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries responded with new insights. There were 13 subcategories within the survey, and they all fall into four larger categories: Quality of Urban Living, Getting Settled, Urban Work Life, and Finance & Housing. With these results, three capital cities stood out as the best cities for expats to live.

Manama, Bahrain

Bahrain landed at #1 on Expat Insider’s country ranking, so it’s only fitting that the country’s capital, Manama, was also ranked highly. The city’s friendly attitude to foreigners is appealing to expats. You don’t need to be fluent in the Arabic language to get around either, as English is widely spoken.

Other perks include housing and finances. Accommodations are easy to find, and the average annual household income for expats is over 200,000 USD. However, a third of the respondents said that local transportation could use improvement.

Skyline of Manama, Bahrain

Skyline of Manama, Bahrain

Prague, Czech Republic

Expats in Prague are happy with the affordable housing and healthcare. Local career opportunities, transportation, and safety are high scoring categories. Prague is also a city full of culture and sustainability movements, giving it high points for local leisure activities.

Respondents living in Prague gave the city a low score in the Getting Settled category. This includes friendliness of the local population, generally speaking and toward foreigners, and learning the local language, Czech, which can be difficult to learn.

City of Prague

City of Prague

Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s sunny climate gets high scores, and the warm temperatures are reflected in the local community’s friendliness to foreigners. Expats can get settled and feel right at home in Spain’s capital. Affordable housing and healthcare are both available, and local leisure activities are easy to find.

However, many of the respondents from Madrid gave negative opinions on the local economy. And while a majority like their work-life balance, many are unsatisfied with their jobs and career opportunities.

Madrid at Sunset

Madrid at Sunset

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Retire to the Philippines for $100,000

beachfront pool and relaxation in the Philippines

Retirement is a chapter of life that many look forward to. It’s a time for relaxation, but also adventure. Retiring abroad is a popular move for seniors, as you finally have the time and savings to travel and discover a foreign country. With a literal world of options, it’s hard to choose. Consider the Philippines, an archipelagic Southeast Asian country situated in the Pacific Ocean. With over 7,000 islands, the geography ranges from beaches and tropical rainforests to volcanoes and mountains. The Philippines is among the top 25 countries to retire to on International Living’s “The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2018.” It scores 90 for cost of living, higher than its 2017 score of 85. Other high scores for the Philippines from International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index for 2018 are 96 for fitting in and 94 for entertainment & amenities.

Cost of Living in the Philippines

The Philippines has a generally low cost of living. International Living reports that you could comfortably live on $800 to $1200 a month, covering housing, utilities, food, healthcare and taxes.

If you live on $800 a month, your $100,000 can spread out to about ten and a half years. If you live on $1,200 a month, your $100,000 could last about seven years. The average worker’s Social Security benefit for 2018 is $1404 per month. Your monthly benefit alone could cover your basic living expenses, giving you some comfortable wiggle room for using your savings.

Obviously, your monthly housing payment will depend on where you live and in what kind of space. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $228.94; go outside the city and that average is $124.77 per month. A three-bedroom property in the city has a monthly average rent for $394.53 and outside the city is $240.59. Something important to note is that non-Filipinos cannot own land, but they can own property. Thus, buying a condominium would be your best bet if you wanted to own your place.

Living in the Philippines as a Retired Expat

Perks for expats include a government agency dedicated to retired expats, and the surrounding culture is welcoming to foreigners. Other incentives for 60+ expats include:

  • Duty-free import of $7,000 worth of household goods
  • Exemption from airport travel taxes
  • Your retiree visa does not expire, and you can leave and return to the country without having to reapply for residency

For a more complete list of what benefits are offered to senior citizens in the Philippines, click here.

Live Like A Filipino

The best way to spread out your savings across your entire retirement is to embrace the local lifestyle. Don’t spend like you’re on vacation, where you might be more inclined to splurge here and treat yourself there. Live, and spend, with the mindset of a citizen in your new country. Find the local markets for your grocery shopping, then cook at home. Avoid the popular shopping centers where prices may be jacked up because of tourists. Limit your entertainment spending and outings to a few occasions. All of these saving tricks are rules you’ve known and followed at home, so apply them to your new home in the Philippines.

Moving to the Philippines

Ready to start your retirement in a beautiful tropical country? Schumacher Cargo Logistics now ships to the Philippines! You can trust us to move your items and vehicles safely and efficiently, while you relax and enjoy your retirement.

4 Impressive Facts About Jerry Seinfeld’s Car Collection

Everyone has their hobbies, even celebrities. And having a net worth of a couple hundred million dollars means expensive hobbies. Take Jerry Seinfeld, an American stand-up comedian and known for his sitcom “Seinfeld,” for example. What you may not know is that Jerry Seinfeld has a fantastic car collection, considered to be one of the most valuable in the United States.

1. Seinfeld’s talk show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” features his collection.

A creative take on the traditional talk show, Seinfeld takes each episode’s special guest for a spin in a car from his collection, always stopping in a local town’s greasy spoon and chatting over coffee and diner food. The show’s first nine seasons were on the digital network Crackle, but it moved to Netflix in 2018 for its tenth season. Seinfeld recently appeared on “The Ellen Show” with Ellen DeGeneres, who guest stars on an upcoming episode of Seinfeld’s show; see a clip from his visit to “The Ellen Show” below.

2. Porsche is an obvious favorite.

At one time, he owned a record 46 Porsche models in the over 150 car collection. The age of these cars range from classics and antiques, to more contemporary creations. Highlights of this smaller set are a rare 959, the first 911 ever produced from 1963, and a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, similar to the one James Dean died in.

3. His Porsche collection sold for over $22 million in 2016.

The annual Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction sees a plethora of different sports, racing, exotic and classic cars roll through. At the 2016 auction, Seinfeld sold seventeen cars from his Porsche collection, for a total of $22,244,500. The 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, mentioned above, sold for $5,355,000.

4. The cars are housed in a $1.4 million garage in Manhattan.

The 3-story, subterranean garage also has 4 separate garage spaces, a fleet management team, an elevator, and a 850-square foot living quarters that includes a club room with a pool table, a kitchenette and bathroom, and an office. Seinfeld can access a live feed of the interior and exterior of the complex through a link on his smartphone. Yeah, we’d want to closely monitor that too.

What to Pack as an Expat

Packing for a move is an exhaustive chore, and it can seem even more daunting if you’re moving to a different country. Not only are you making sure that all your items get to your destination safely and efficiently, you have to figure out a foreign country’s laws, culture and overall way of life. This list of important items to take with you as an expat is a great place to start and refer to during your move abroad.

Important documents to bring as an expat:

Be sure to have copies of these tucked away in a safe spot, and provide copies of these to a trusted contact back home in case of emergency.

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • Debit and credit cards; remember to notify your bank of your move so the activity on your account isn’t marked as suspicious.
  • Immunization records, health insurance, and other key medical records for all members of your family
  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other kind of legal documentation that affects you and your family
  • Physical list of important contacts in case technology fails; don’t forget to have the address and contact information of the nearest Embassy or Consulate of your home country.

Tech-related items to bring as an expat:

  • Universal plug converter
  • Voltage converter
  • Cell phone and coverage plan that both work in your destination country
  • Handy apps for your smartphone: language translator, a currency calculator, navigation and maps that can be saved offline, etc.

Health-related items to bring as an expat:

  • Prescriptions: renew and fill these prior to moving, and do your research to make sure that your prescriptions can be filled in your destination country.
  • Over-the-counter medicines: probiotics, antihistamine, cold and flu care, etc. Living in a new country, your body may take a while to get used to the unfamiliar elements.
  • If you are particular about your brands of toiletries, be sure to stock up on those if they aren’t carried in your destination country.

Comforts of home to bring as an expat:

While you should do everything you can do embrace the culture of your new country, having a couple items to remind you of home can help with homesickness and the ease of moving.

  • Personal mementos
  • Favorite snacks and other foods that might not be available
  • Books in your native language; if you want to lighten the load and save space in your new home, look into an e-reader, like a Kindle, or find downloadable copies of books that you can access on a smartphone.
  • Tape measures, measuring cups and related items in case the system used is different than what you know
  • Clothes or shoes that fit you if you need a specific, hard-to-find size

While this isn’t a definitive list of items you should bring, it’s a good place to start. Feel free to do your own research or contact the Embassy or Consulate of your home country in your destination country if you have questions.

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Top 5 Places to Visit in Los Angeles

Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an amazing city with all kinds of things to do and see. You can take in all the tourist traps, or delve in with the locals to find the hidden gems of the City of Angels.

While your own must-see spots may vary from this list, these top 5 are some of L.A.’s favorite spots.

    1. Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

If you really want a stellar view of the city and surrounding areas, head to the Griffith Observatory.

The building itself features incredible architecture, perfect for a photo-op. Then head inside to see the exhibits and planetarium.

The observatory has free entry, but the planetarium shows cost a few dollars. Once you’re done inside, take a walk around Griffith Park, the country’s largest urban park, and discover awesome hiking trails.

    1. Rodeo Drive

Some of L.A.’s best shopping is located on this strip of high-end stores and boutiques. Even if you don’t plan on purchasing anything, the people-watching can include fashion icons and celebrities going undercover.

The shop owners are used to Rodeo Drive being a tourist trap, but some shops may require an appointment to enter. You can still window-shop from the outside, and you may even see a luxury car pass by.

    1. Santa Monica Pier and Beach

You may have seen the Santa Monica Pier in the B-roll of films set in Los Angeles. If you’re a Baywatch fan, you’ll definitely recognize the beach.

This part of town is great for foot traffic, but others will recommend the 26-mile bike path. Spend some time riding the Ferris wheel, checking out the restaurants and nightlife, and relaxing on the beach.

    1. Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is an icon within the music industry. If you have the chance to see a show here, you’re in for a treat.

There is no bad seat at the Bowl, and the sound quality is amazing for an outdoor venue. You can also bring along a picnic to take in the performance and surrounding scenic overlook.

If you can’t make a show, take a look at the on-site Museum and Hall of Fame, highlighting iconic performances and artists who have passed through. Do research on hours, parking and admission fees prior to your visit, as they constantly change with each season.

    1. Getty Center

There’s something for everyone at this world-famous art museum. The building features impressive architecture and hosts art from a wide range of cultures and history.

Wander at your own pace, or take a guided tour to see the highlights of the museum. Other features of the museum include coffee carts, gift shops, a restaurant, cafes, and a garden with over 500 plant varieties. Entry is free, but parking fees can be hefty.

Who are we? We’re an international moving company in Los Angeles that loves helping people move to and from our great city. Make sure to check out more of our expat guides or see some pictures from our moves and LA car show events!

Events for Expats in Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Line

Living somewhere new can be disorienting, especially when it’s in a different country than your home. Los Angeles is a melting pot of different cultures, so you can easily find your niche. These events are great for any expat to become familiar with the City of Angels, while also celebrating your home culture.

Events for Expats

The Japanese New Year celebrations take place the first weekend of January in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. Here you’ll find parades, food and family-friendly activities for everyone to enjoy.

For any European expats, the 2017 Oktoberfest will be located in Alpine Village. The festival will last from Sept. 8 to October 28, so don’t waste any time getting to this fun event. For more information, visit the event’s website.

There are events for expats every day somewhere in Los Angeles. You’ll find events centered around native languages, food, fashion and simply meeting others from your home country. Another great resource for expats to meet up is through Internations.

Can’t Miss Events in L.A.

Los Angeles has made a name for itself within the United States and the rest of the world. It’s the city of movie stars and beautiful beaches. Here are some year-round Los Angeles events that you simply cannot miss:

  • The Academy Awards: Los Angeles is known for Hollywood’s biggest night. Every February, the year’s biggest feature films are celebrated at the Dolby Theatre. Even if you aren’t walking the red carpet, you can still grab your camera and snag a spot alongside the paparazzi to see some of Tinseltown’s biggest stars shine.
  • The L.A. Marathon: Residents of Los Angeles are big on staying fit. The normally packed streets are cleared out in March to make way for hundreds of runners. Grab your bib and run past L.A.’s most notable sights and landmarks.
  • Doo Dah Parade: A livey take on the annual Rose Bowl Parade, but without the stingy rules and judges. This fun event takes place in May, and you’re sure to find folks of all backgrounds having a blast in the streets.
  • Los Angeles Film Festival: Every June, filmmakers from all around gather together to show and celebrate their films to audiences. You can find local short films or international blockbusters at the film festival. Audience members range from excited moviegoers to big names in the industry.
  • Summer X Games: L.A.’s huge extreme sporting event takes place in July and August. Events range from skateboarding and climbing to BMX and Moto X racing. Even if extreme sports aren’t your thing, you’re sure to be impressed and entertained by the talented athletes.
  • Labor Day Festival: End summer with a bang at Compton’s annual street fair. The L.A. suburb hosts this massive event that is full of carnival rides, fair food, crafts and family-friendly activities.

Planning a Move to Los Angeles?

If you are planning on moving to Los Angeles from overseas, you can learn more about our international shipping company and we’ll be happy to make the expat transition less stressful!

A Brief History of the Port of Houston Texas

Houston Ship Channel

The inland Port of Houston lies on the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast and is linked to the Gulf at the Port of Galveston by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Houston Ship Channel.

For a short while, it was the capital of The Republic of Texas and it is the tenth largest port in the world and ranks first in United States international commerce.

It is the main port for the State of Texas and a major center for worldwide petrochemical and oil industries, as well as for biomedical and aerospace research and development.

It would make sense that many expats live and work in the area from the above mentioned industries and we have helped many relocate here and move from Houston.

In 2008 Houston ranked 2nd on the Fortune 500 Company Headquarters list and in the same year ranked both 1st on Forbes’s list for ‘Best Cities to Buy a Home‘ and for ‘Best Cities for College Graduates‘.

Today the Port of Houston can be called the energy capital of the world as several major energy organizations have their headquarters there including Exxon-Mobil, BP, Shell Oil, Chevron Pipeline Company, Apache Corporation, Marathon Oil Corporation and Citgo.

Conoco Phillips have their international headquarters there and it comes as no surprise that the Port is a center for the construction of petrochemical and oilfield equipment. In April 2008 it had the lowest unemployment rate in the world at 3.8%.

The Port in the Early Days

In the early days, barges carried goods to and from the city along a winding long distance route to the Gulf of Mexico.

In Galveston, the barges met up with seagoing vessels that carried goods to and from the rest of the U.S. and from overseas. As cargo volumes increased and grew with the city, the lack of a deep water port in Houston caused increasingly more problems.

During the 1890s business and civic leaders continuously lobbied with no avail for a deep water ship channel to serve the many international shipping companies who transported cotton and other cargo from Texas.

But it took the dedication of a young congressman, Tom Ball, the discovery of oil and the fury of Mother Nature to all come together before the maritime destiny of Houston was fulfilled.

In September 1900 one of the worst hurricane disasters in the history of America hit Galveston, leaving more than 8,000 people dead.

Petitions for a protected port miles upstream from the exposed position in Galveston then took on greater urgency. In 1901 oil was discovered at Spindletop and the growth of commerce in Texas accelerated.

With rice starting to rival cotton exports the lack of a deep water ship channel meant that Houston was denied the means of handling larger vessels to support the growing commerce.

A revolutionary concept proposed by Tom Ball suggested that the costs of dredging the channel should be shared by the federal government and Houston.

A unanimous vote by the Congressional Rivers and Harbors Committee accepted the idea that became known as The Houston Plan. Tomball, a nearby Texas city was named after the brilliant young congressman, Tom Ball.

A campaign was launched in 1911 to encourage voters to approve bonds worth $1.25 million for the local share of dredging the waterway which was approved by a margin of sixteen to one.

Soon after the Harris County Houston Ship Channel Navigation District (known as the Port Houston Authority today) was formed to issue the bonds.

Despite the enthusiasm of voters banks and brokers were not interested in accepting the bonds until Jesse H. Jones appeared on the scene and approached the banks in Houston to accept the bonds.

Within 24 hours each bank bought its share, an investment that has paid dividends for the city, the state and the nation many times over. With this feat, Jesse Jones went on to become a major force in the future of both Houston and the port.

In 1912 work commenced on the deep water channel in conjunction with the progress of other precedent-setting maritime projects such as the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the 51 mile-long Panama Canal. On the 7th September 1914, the TEXAS dredge whistled the completion of the channel.

Big celebrations were held followed by a ceremony held on the 10th November at the Turning Basin to officially open the channel.

The ceremony was marked by a twenty-one gun salute and President Woodrow Wilson had a cannon fired via remote control from his office in Washington D.C. to officially mark the Port of Houston open for operations.

Sources:

  1. http://www.worldportsource.com/ports/review/USA_TX_Port_of_Houston_60.php
  2. http://porthouston.com/portweb/about-us/background-and-history/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Houston

A Day at The Ballpark in Downtown Houston

Minute Maid Park

Not only is Houston one of the largest cities in Texas, it is also one of the one of the fastest growing cities. Drive downtown, and you might be intimidated by the skyscrapers.

Getting Where You Need to Go

In a city like NYC, you usually take a cab, right? Well that’s naturally an option for Houston along with the Tram, but since we are talking about Texas here, many locals drive.

Many parts of suburban Houston TX and the greater metropolitan areas are rural and spread out so it makes sense but we’re focusing on the downtown area which full of things to do, and let’s get to talking about some of them.

Minute Maid Park

If you are in Houston during the MLB season, we absolutely recommend you go to Minute Maid Park. And yes, to get to the home of the Astros, you have to go through downtown Houston.

In left field, the box seats are called the Crawford Box. They are some of the more expensive general tickets, but none of the general tickets are too pricey.

If you were to choose to sit there, you are right behind the left field wall. What better place than to try and catch your first home run ball?

Enjoying downtown Houston is one thing you will want to do outside of just going to the ballpark there. If you don’t want to handle your own navigation, then you can certainly hand off those duties. You can even take a tour of Houston if you want to make it really easy.

Food

If you decide to just do a full day at the ballpark, then make sure and stop by Jackson Street Barbecue which is right next to the stadium.

It is one of the many places with great barbecue food in Houston and generally is pretty busy before the games due to how close it is.

Quick Stops on the Way to the Ballpark

Now, let’s look at some of the more tourist things to do in Houston when visiting. There are so many things to do in that city that it will make your head spin.

Here are two quick stops you can make while downtown.

  1. The Downtown Aquarium-Houston

You don’t need to be an ocean lover to enjoy the aquarium. It features a variety of different sea animals like sharks and rays as well as different tanks with different ecosystems.

  1. Buffalo Bayou Park

The park is a great escape from the High-rises and city turmoil. So if you struggle with downtown crowds then it may be the perfect stop to calm yourself before heading towards Minute Maid Park.

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Convertibles and Your Hair

The scene is set: you’re driving in your convertible with the top down. It’s a beautiful summer evening with the sun setting behind your back. Your favorite song is playing on the radio, and you’re singing along at the top of your lungs. Everything is warm, breezy and perfect. Nothing can ruin this moment.

Until your hair becomes a tangled mess and is no longer freely flowing. Suddenly you feel less like Pocahontas painting with all the colors of the wind

and more like…

You don’t want to put the top up, but you also don’t want to live with a rat’s nest on your head. What’s a girl (or boy) to do?

  1. Hair Styles
  2. Your locks deserve to flow in the wind, but you don’t deserve to look like Medusa. A classic choice is the ponytail. It never goes out of style, and its simplicity makes it easy to dress up or down.

    Another option, the top knot. You’ve already got your ponytail down, so why not step it up a notch? A favorite of lazy girls everywhere, and you can sneakily hide the fact that you haven’t washed your hair since Tuesday… or was it Sunday? Anyway, twist your pony around the hair tie and secure it with another tie or bobby pins.

    In case ponytails and top knots aren’t your thing, braids are always an easy style. This is also a super simple look that you can take to the next level by doing a French, Dutch or milkmaid braid. Go on, be like Elsa and let it go.

    Leaving extra hair ties and bobby pins in your car helps for when you’re in a pinch.

  3. Headscarf
  4. Movie stars quickly figured out how to keep hair in place while nailing that classic convertible scene, as mentioned above. Silky scarves became an actress’ best friend, and with the help of a bobby pin or two, you have the perfect top-down look. Aim for the look of Audrey Hepburn, as opposed to Damian from Mean Girls.

    She doesn’t even go here!

  5. Other Accessories
  6. If the headscarf isn’t your thing and your hair just won’t cooperate with a style, there are other options out there. A baseball cap keeps hair close to the head all while repping your favorite team, or a large sunhat protects against the sun and ups the vacation vibe in your convertible. Get creative! Any way to get your hair up and out of the wind is a great solution. Just please, don’t purchase a fake hair piece like the clip on man bun. There are children around.

Adventure is out there

Don’t limit yourself to one set of roads. You and your convertible should be free to explore the rest of the world. Convertible enthusiasts have trusted us for over 40 years to safely and efficiently ship their vehicle overseas.

The 10 Best Countries to Retire in 2017

Retirement is a great time to live adventurously. What better way to do so than live abroad? While there are countless places to enjoy this new phase of life, International Living compiled a list of ten countries that boast a great cost of living, beautiful scenery and a new experience that’s waiting for you.

10. Malta

Located in between Sicily and Tunisia sits Malta, a chain of islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Its location is prime for warm sunny days year-round. Colors burst around you in the golden sunsets, blue water and white cliff faces. The natural beauty isn’t the only pull for life after retirement; the cost of living is a sweet deal, too. International Living reports that the average couple can live on less than $2,700 a month. Healthcare is pretty low cost, and patients can often pay for appointments and prescriptions out-of-pocket.

9. Portugal

Portugal continues to gain popularity among retirees, due to its low cost of living, real estate and gorgeous scenery. While it’s located on the Atlantic, it has a climate similar to countries on the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Likewise, the culture follows a laid-back Mediterranean life, with fresh seafood, great wine and a strong love for family and friends. Living in the smaller cities can cost about $1,700 a month, while life in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, increases up to $2,200 a month, reports International Living.

8. Nicaragua

Venture down to Central America, and you’ll find Nicaragua. Over the past decade, the country has seen vast improvement with bettering road conditions, creating renewable energy, and celebrating small town culture. While the local culture flourishes, expats can still find comfort in familiar items and brands like Walmart and other modern supermarkets. International Living reports that a couple can live in Nicaragua for $1,500 a month, with plenty of funds leftover to sample the country’s award-winning coffee and chocolate.

7. Spain

Sitting directly west of Portugal is Spain, a country of life, flavor and passion. It’s been a long-time favorite vacation destination for Europeans, and it’s not hard to see why; the mild climate, beautiful beaches, and low cost of living all add up to Spain being a top place for expat retirees. And since it’s located on the Mediterranean, you can relax in the easygoing lifestyle and dig into the amazing food and drink available. International Living reports that a couple can comfortably live on $1,900 a month in smaller cities, and smaller apartment can be either rented for about $500 a month or bought for $70,000. Living in Valencia, the country’s third-largest city, can cost a couple about $2,200 a month. Spain’s geographic location gives you the best of both worlds with mountains and sea nearby, plus it serves as a great launching pad for discovering other parts of Europe.

6. Malaysia

Coming in as the only Asian country on this list, Malaysia hosts a wide variety of lifestyles. From modern and busy cities, to the natural beauty of its beaches, rainforests and islands, Malaysia offers something for everyone. There are 878 islands that make up the southeastern Asian country, and its location is a prime hotspot for different cultures to come together. You’ll find Asian influence from the Chinese, Malay and Indian, with some European flair from the Portuguese, Dutch and English. Buying real estate is an easy practice for expats, as you’re given a three-month visa upon arrival, reports International Living.

5. Colombia

Sporting gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Andes Mountains, Colombia sits at the northern point of South America. The country has seen improvement over the last several years, showing off its culture to foreigners from far and wide. Visitors can find comfort in the country’s friendly people, locally grown coffee, charming small towns and beautiful beaches. Its location is a short plane ride from Florida, and being so close to the equator means long days of sunshine and warmth. International Living reports that expats can find a variety of places to rent for $500 to $1,250 a month.

4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been a popular choice for expats for years, and it’s no wonder why. The Central American country has no army, putting that funding toward education, and the country celebrates its biodiversity and renewable energy. Since so many expats have come through, the country has its residency process down to a T. Take some time to explore Costa Rica’s rainforests, beaches, marshes, mountains and farmland. The country’s unofficial motto, Pura Vida, radiates in the easygoing and happy lives the people lead. International Living reports that $2,000 to $3,000 a month can cover all expenses a couple might spend on food, rent and going out. Legal retired residents can easily purchase healthcare or just pay out of pocket at the doctor or pharmacy, making healthcare a low cost benefit to retired life in Costa Rica.

3. Ecuador

Ecuador has consistently ranked high on the Global Retirement Index year after year. The South American country is located on the equator– notice the name– and has great warm weather year round. From its large cities to its breathtaking mountains, Ecuador has something for everyone. The real estate is available and affordable, and the same goes for its healthcare. Benefits for retirees include discounts on air travel, public transport, utilities and entertainment like movies and sports. An International Living correspondent lives in Salinas, a beach town in Ecuador. He and his wife have a monthly budget of less than $1,500, and they’ve noticed improvement in their health over the years.

2. Panama

With neighboring countries on this list, Panama comes in as No. 2 for places to retire. The famous Panama Canal makes traveling to and from Panama a breeze, and it’s welcoming to foreigners from all over. The canal serves as a large trading hub, so you’ll easily find big brands and modern comforts from home here. Benefits for retirees include Panama’s Pensionado program, one of the best in the world, as well as discounts on healthcare, travel, dining and more. Bordering the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Panama connects Central and South America, and there are warm days year round.

1. Mexico

Sitting at the top of this list– and rounding out the many Latin American countries here– is Mexico. Not only is it close to home, it has a great balance between Old World flavor and modern day amenities. Expats continue to find Mexico as a haven despite the recent negative news coverage. International Living found expats living comfortably at $1,200 a month, some even less. The exchange rate for the peso is in the US dollar’s benefit. Every major city has a first-rate hospital, and healthcare is extremely affordable. Mexico’s geographic features include beaches, mountains, highlands and deserts, with climate ranging from comfortably cool to sunny and warm. It’s easy to qualify for Mexico’s residency program, and retiree’s discounts include airline and bus travel, museums, medical care and more.

Pack Your Bags with Schumacher Cargo Logistics

Now that you have an idea of the retirement havens out there, let Schumacher Cargo Logistics lend you a hand in your move abroad. You can trust us to handle your vehicles carefully and start your retired life easily.