13 Types of People Who Should Never Move Abroad

Meet the personality types who should consider a staycation instead of a relocation.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Living abroad is a dream for many people.

Some seniors plan to retire early and live overseas. Younger people might dream of taking their remote jobs with them and building a new life in a foreign country.

For many travel lovers, living abroad sounds ideal — but it’s not for everyone. Here are 13 types of people who should rethink living abroad.

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Spendthrifts without savings

PR Image Factory/Adobe attractive female tourist exploring streets

When moving to another country, you might be faced with unexpected expenses. This could include paying for a hotel until you find an apartment, living off savings until you get work, or even eating out while you set up your new kitchen.

It’s best to have some savings to fall back on before committing to what can be an expensive change. If your wallet is empty, supplement your income with a side hustle or part-time job. Put that money into savings to cover expenses in your new home.

People who hate paperwork

deagreez/Adobe frustrated man giving up at work

If you’re planning to move to another country for an extended period and work there, you will likely have to complete a lot of paperwork.

Precisely how many tedious — and if there’s a language barrier, confusing — forms you have to fill out will depend on the country. But from visas to work permits to tax forms, know that it will be a bit of an undertaking no matter where you go.

Comfort/convenience lovers

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe multi ethnic people riding public transport

Living in a new country may seem exciting, but potential expats should not overlook the lack of comfort and convenience they may face.

You’ll have to learn how to find work, possibly navigate public transportation, discover a new favorite restaurant, and much more.

For some, this may all be part of the fun. For others, it can be intimidating.

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nenetus/Adobe stressed woman on couch at home

When you move to a new country, you may be the only American in your area. While many life experiences are universal, it can be tough to relate to people and find a new social circle right away.

This can be a particular problem for those who are naturally introverted. However, experienced expatriates also warn that the loneliness that comes with being an outsider can impact those who tend to be extroverted as well.

People averse to new norms/customs

Anton/Adobe multi ethnic friends arguing in classroom

What’s considered normal and polite in American culture may be abnormal or even rude in another country.

From tipping in restaurants to hand gestures to what’s appropriate to wear in public, aspiring expatriates should be prepared to learn new customs.

The frequently homesick

THANANIT/Adobe depressed asian woman traveling in train

The allure of living in a new country certainly seems romantic to many, but it’s normal for those who move away from family and close friends to feel homesick.

If you have a lot of close relationships and ties to the place you’re from and worry that you’ll miss it all, perhaps relocating across the world is not the move for you.

The idealists

fizkes/Adobe happy man video calling using smartphone

Many aspiring expats dream of moving abroad because they have idealized their destination in some way — perhaps by reading a bit too much about French work culture or watching too many Korean dramas.

Expatriates should be aware that many of the same responsibilities and stressors you have at home will follow you to your next destination — such as working, paying rent, owing taxes, and more.

Pet parents

Tatyana Gladskih/Adobe woman playing with dog on couch

Pet owners who are considering a move abroad might have to find a new home for their pet. While some people do move abroad and take their pet with them, it can be a complicated process.

Those who love a pet should seriously rethink the expatriate lifestyle.

Plant parents

ArtSys/Adobe african american woman planting pots indoors

In addition to fur babies, those with plant babies may also want to reconsider a big move.

If you love to have your space filled with living things, consider that relocating to another country may mean moving around for a bit. It will be tough to lug around your belongings, let alone living things.

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The materialist

XaMaps/Adobe african american woman buying luxury handbags

Unless you have a lot of cash to spare, you’ll probably have to leave a lot of belongings behind when you move abroad.

The minimalist lifestyle works very well for some and can even be freeing. But it certainly doesn’t work for everyone.

If you’re attached to your wardrobe, furniture, or book collection, think twice about moving overseas.

People unsure about career changes

Sivu G/peopleimages.com/Adobe stressed african american business woman

Some people — such as freelancers and those whose companies have offices overseas — are lucky: Their career may offer them the opportunity to be something of a digital nomad.

However, the expatriate lifestyle may not suit you if you don’t have a job secured or a clear path to continue your chosen career.

The stubborn monolingual

Valerii Honcharuk/Adobe female teacher teaching male student

A language barrier is not a reason to throw out your plan to live abroad. However, it's important to be realistic about the challenge of not speaking the native language.

Many Americans wrongly assume that enough people around the world speak English that the language barrier won't matter. However, in many places, this isn't true.

People who don’t like temporary relationships

Prostock-studio/Adobe husband comforting upset wife on couch

If you plan to relocate to a new country for a short period, you may have to let go of the relationships that blossom while you are there. Maintaining any relationship — romantic or otherwise — over a long distance is not easy.

The expatriate should be comfortable with the idea that some relationships — however satisfying at the moment — will be fleeting and temporary.

Bottom line

peopleimages.com/Adobe african american business woman using laptop

Living abroad is not for all personality types. However, other types of people might be the perfect candidates to live overseas.

So, if you plan to start a new life in a foreign country, try to build up your savings, visit your new potential home, and — if all goes well — give expat life a whirl.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.