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Do you live in one of the best places in the world?

Would you fall for a “Best place…” ranking to chose a city, region or country to live in? I did and it didn’t work out…

Family of three sitting on sofa at home
Where’s the best place for you and your family?

How do you define “The Best Place in the World”? It’s a very subjective thing. A place that I think is beautiful could be your worst nightmare. You may dislike humidity and I could love the desert; maybe the sight of mountains makes you feel claustrophobic, while I might love the thought of walking in them. You may crave four-seasonal weather, whereas I might want endless springtime temperatures. Thankfully we don’t all like or want the same.

A few years ago, I admit it, I fell for a ranking of best places and I thought I would enjoy living on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. I had read all about it, imagined my life beside the beach, my children in the international school, me at my desk tap tapping away on my computer as a I gazed out at the tropical palms swaying in the breeze. The reality was, it just didn’t suit me or my family. It was too hot, too sticky, too beachy, too flat, and just not my scene at all. For some people, it clearly is, as there are lots of, mainly, North American expats living there, very happily. It was a great lesson in listening to my inner self and realising that I wanted four seasons in Europe, closer to family. Leave the Yucatan for holidays.

Annual rankings of “Best places” are good for ideas, but they should be handled with care – they are not sure-fire indicators that you will definitely enjoy a place for your expat life.

The latest rankings to come out are ‘Best in Travel 2018’ published by Lonely Planet. Their four rankings are, because of the nature of their business, more travel orientated than living overseas However, they are useful for ideas – especially if you are the type of roaming expat who likes to visit interesting places before deciding whether to live there.

Here’s what LP’s editors have to say about the new 2018 rankings: “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 region which Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 declares the number one must-see in the coming year is Belfast and the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland with Alaska and Slovenia’s Julian Alps also making the top three. Tallinn, Estonia has been crowned Lonely Planet’s best value destination for 2018, closely followed by Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Arizona in the USA.” I have to say, Chile is a place I could live.

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 countries: Chile, S Korea, Portugal, Djibouti, New Zealand, Malta, Georgia, Mauritius, China, South Africa

The fjiords of southern Chile
Beautiful southern Chile, Lonely Planet’s Top Country

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 regions: Belfast & Causeway Coast, UK; Alaska, USA; Julian Alps, Slovenia; Languedoc-Roussillon, France; Kii Peninsula, Japan; Aeolion Islands, Italy; Southern USA; Lahul & Spiti, India; Bahia, Brazil; Dominican Republic

Belfast & Causeway Coast
The stunning Causeway Coast – Lonely Planet’s Top Region

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities: Seville, Spain; Detroit, USA; Canberra, Australia; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsung, Taiwan; Antwerp, Belgium; Matrea, Italy; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Guanajuato, Mexico; Oslo, Norway

Seville Spain, Lonely Planet’s Top City

Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best Value: Tallinn, Estonia; Lanzarote, Spain; Arizona, USA; La Paz, Bolivia; Poland; Essaouira, Morocco; the UK; Baja California, USA; Jacksonville, USA; Hunan, China

The Canary Island, Lanzarote – Lonely Planet’s second-best-value location

How many of these Lonely Planet recommend places have you visited, and would you recommend them to other expats for travel or life?

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