There are tons of travel blogs out there if you’re looking for places to vacation. So we thought we’d do you a favor and take a deeper dive into the economies and job markets of countries across the globe, in case you’re thinking about staying for more than just a few days.
Editor’s note: Throughout this article we mention GDP (gross domestic product) and GDP per capita. GDP is the total value of goods produced within a country, and GPD per capita is the GDP divided by the population, meaning the GDP per person, essentially. A higher GDP per capita equates to a better standard of living in most cases.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can get on with our list. Based on the U.S. News and World Report’s “Overall Best Countries” rankings, here are the 30 best countries to live, work, and visit in the world…
The history and aesthetics alone are enough to attract many tourists to Greece. However, with more than half of its economy in the public sector, Greece’s competitiveness in the global marketplace is lacking. Corruption and slow job growth remains a problem for those seeking work in the country. But that doesn’t take away from the country’s beauty.
The country of Jérusalem has played a major role in global affairs even though it’s quite small in terms of land mass. Its historic significance is so much that traveling there should be on anyone’s bucket list, whether they’re religious or not. The economy is also good in Israel, and if global relations improve so shall it, making it a potential place to live for highly-skilled foreigners.
Although the country is high on the tourism list, political and economical turmoil have left the country’s job market difficult to crack. Many immigrants from poorer neighboring countries come to Brazil in search of jobs, but quickly realize they are hard to find. So if you’re thinking of working abroad in Brazil, research what industries have openings in the area and be sure it’s a good fit before uprooting to go there.
India offers tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal and Amber Palace, but the nation’s history is its most-attractive feature. Its economy isn’t bad, but it is only slowly building its presence in the global marketplace while keeping elements of the preceding, autarkic economy. If you want to move to India, understand that its corporate cooperation with other countries is limited, and your skills need to be top notch if you want to make a living there.
Thailand’s government has been trying for years to make the nation’s economy more competitive in the global marketplace. Though the nontariff barriers keep gains from trade very low. The country is no doubt one of the most popular as far as tourism goes, but living and working there isn’t preferable to other, more prosperous countries in the region like Singapore.
Portugal is a beautiful water-adjacent country bordering Spain and sits not far from northern Africa. Its location makes it an obvious travel destination for travelers the world over. However, the deteriorating cooperation between the nation’s public and private sectors has made it a less competitive economy. Traveling there for vacation can be fun, but finding work there…not so much.
Russia is the largest country in the world. The nation offers a mixed-economy with some state ownership in certain segments. Recent privatization, reaching back to the 1990s, has improved the economy but it remains rather stagnant. When Vladimir Putin won the presidency in 2000 the nation was in a financial crisis, which it is still gradually recovering from. The road has not been easy, and finding work there may prove difficult. However, tourists can still enjoy the nation’s historic cities.
23. United Arab Emirates
The flourishing economy of the UAE has resulted in the exponential economic growth of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Tourists, engineers, and those working in tech can look to this country as a leader in both innovation and tourism.
22. South Korea
South Korea is a fast growing economic and technological marvel, welcoming foreigners with work visas to live and work. The country is also a fantastic travel destination rich in history and located in the Pacific, adjacent to other travel destinations like Japan and China. The only downside here is the ongoing conflict with the north. Tensions have eased recently but there’s still a long way to go for this budding nation in the Pacific.
Not to be confused with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, Ireland is indeed its own country. Well-known for its emerald grasslands, cultural traditions, and pub scene, this country is a great place to take a trip. Living and working in the country however can prove to be difficult, unless you fall under certain industries, like technology and finance for example, in which case you can make a great living there.
Spain is an amalgamation of cultural identities. Several independent kingdoms united to form the nation, all shaping its culture along the way. Many cities attract tourism but after political turmoil in 2017, the economy fell in global rank. Finding work there, or in any failing economy, will prove to be difficult.
This landlocked country is the second-wealthiest in the world with a per capita GDP of $105,148. That’s incredibly high even for some of the larger economies on this list (Singapore, Norway and Switzerland aren’t even close). Covered in forests and churches, this country’s landscape and history also make it a wonderful place to visit.
Easily one of the most tourist-friendly countries in Europe, Italy welcomes more than 40 million visitors a year. As one of the largest economies in the world, it’s also a great place to find a job, if you know where to look. Most people in Italy don’t speak English, which makes English teaching jobs highly available for those looking to make a living there. However, if you want to live there, you’d be better off learning Italian.
The small country is foreigner friendly, as Dutch, French, and German are all official languages there, and English speaking jobs are also available depending on industry. So making a living in Belgium is possible whether you’re native to the country or not. Aside from that, the country is known for beer, chocolates, and castles, which makes it a great travel destination as well.
China is the largest country in terms of population. The culture, tourist attractions and historic cities make the nation a desirable (not to mention inexpensive) place to vacation. And as far as living there, finding work in China is, like other major markets, easier if you know someone. However, there are also many websites that are designed to help foreigners find jobs in China.
Although Singapore is number 15 on this list, the country is still one of the wealthiest in the world. Unemployment in Singapore is incredibly low and the economic growth continues to increase with each passing year. For people vacationing or looking to build a lucrative career, Singapore is a choice worth looking into.
If you’re looking to relocate, Finland might be your place. More people are retiring from the country’s workforce than are entering it, leaving the job market wide open. The European Employment Services Network is actually encouraging mobility among Europe’s workers. Healthcare professionals are specifically sought after in Finland. If you’re in that field you could very easily find work there.
As one of three nations that make up Scandinavia, Denmark is one of the most cultured countries in northern Europe. Timbered houses and cobblestone streets form the country’s identity, as well as more noteworthy attractions like national monuments and amusement parks. The low population and high GDP per capita also make Denmark a lucrative place to live and work.
12. New Zealand
With a very low population (under 5 million residents) and relatively high GDP per capita (about $40,000), New Zealand is as wealthy as it is picturesque. The nation is full of British and Polynesian influence. Visiting and living in New Zealand becomes increasingly desirable considering the amount of tourist attractions and wealth on the Pacific island.
The Netherlands are the gateway to those traveling to and from Europe. Flights to Amsterdam, the nation’s capital, are often very cheap. For this reason there are many tourists throughout the city itself. But the country outside the city is just as pleasant as it is inside of it. The country is rich with history, with canals, tulips fields, the house of Anne Frank and museum of Vincent Van Gogh as well. The country’s GDP is low as is its population, but per capita GDP is significantly higher than other European countries.
France’s cultural influence is far and wide and for good reason. The historic and fashionable nation is one of the world’s oldest, and one of the first to champion individual rights. Those visiting the country will enjoy incredible architecture, history, fashion and food. Its population and GDP per capita are similar to the UK, meaning making a career there will prove more stable than other European countries.
Almost all of the country’s residents live in the south, near the capital city of Oslo. Flights to and from this northern European nation can be very cheap, sometimes even as low as a couple hundred dollars round trip. With its beautiful Northern Lights, mountain ranges and low population, Norway is a great travel destination as well as a wonderful place to live.
8. United States of America
The United States of America’s free enterprise economy still makes it one of the only places in the world that a person can come to with nothing in their pockets and turn it into a wealthy lifestyle. Its population is high at over 300 million residents and counting, but the country’s GDP per capita is also high, making it one of the wealthiest nations on Earth.
The country (and continent) was completely populated with indigenous peoples for tens of thousands of years before the British set foot there. In other words, its indigenous culture runs incredibly deep. Its very low population and high GDP per capita makes it a great place to live and work as well. Its gorgeous landscapes and exotic wildlife also make it a great place to vacation if you’re traveling in the Pacific.
Sweden is one of the largest land masses in the EU, though its population remains relatively small at just over 10 million residents. The northern country is also very open to the idea of immigration and its economy is slowly on the mend after heavy government taxation; regulation in the 1990s has allowed the economy to improve. Nevertheless, it remains within the top 10 countries in the world.
5. United Kingdom
The UK has been a major cultural influence around the globe for centuries. Its population is less than a third of the United States, but with the Brexit vote of 2016 the political turmoil in the country rivals that of the US. Regardless of this fact, the island still has a high GDP per capita and is one of the best countries to live in the world.
Germany is the most populous country in the EU, and similar to Canada has been very open to immigration. Its cities are rich with classic architecture and the German countryside is both varied and breathtaking. Vacationing or living there can both be very fulfilling. Consider learning the language before moving there, as many countries outside of Germany speak it as well. It will make living and working there considerably easier.
The largest country in North America is Canada. Not only is the country beautiful but it is also very open to immigration. It’s population is rather small, and anyone seeking to enjoy both clean cities and endless nature should plan a trip. The economy is strong and goes hand in hand with that of the United States, another strong economy. Finding work and living there is very possible for those looking to make a move.
Japan is perhaps the most literate and technologically advanced nation on Earth. It is comprised of four main islands and even though most of Japan is covered in mountains, its population of 126 million is very urbanized. Its culture is also very highly influenced by neighboring and Western countries. For those in certain industries, finding work will be easy. And for people traveling in the Pacific, it’s a must see for sure.
We’ve reached the best country of all! The central European nation is defined by its mountain ranges, valleys, and incredibly steadfast neutrality toward foreign affairs. Switzerland’s GDP is not as high as some other countries, but that’s because it has a much lower population at 8.5 million. It’s GDP per capita, however, dwarfs much larger countries on this list. If you’re fortunate enough to have an opportunity to move to Switzerland, don’t pass up the chance.