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17 Best Expat Books to Help You Plan a Successful Relocation

Posted in: Expats Everywhere, Product Reviews, Resources & Gear

expat-planning-booksAs we began planning our move abroad, we didn’t have much help. At least not from friends and family. Now, that’s not to say that they didn’t help – but they had never moved abroad before. We were breaking new ground – at least from our perspective. None of our close friends had ever lived abroad – with only a few even having traveled outside of North America and the Caribbean.

We depended on books and sites to give us the needed direction in our planning and in the actual move. To help our readers who are in the planning stage we are sharing the books that we bought and some new ones that we’ve found since then. A number of these are now on our reading list, with a few specifically for our daughter. We would love to hear your comments about these different titles.

happy-expat-family-160Update (December 1, 2014): Since publishing this post, we have written our own expat book, the The Happy Expat Family.

Note: the product links in this post are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click and purchase one of these titles, we may make a small commission. 

Are we missing any? Please share your favorites in the comment section.

17 Expat Books You Should Consider Before (or After) Your Move Abroad

1. The Family Sabbatical Handbook

family sabbatical handbookWhat’s it like living in another country? It can be a little hard to picture. While many readers are satisfied with a vicarious literary experience, a growing number want to live it for themselves.

Elisa Bernick offers readers the book she wished she’d had when she and her husband and children were planning their 18-month family sabbatical. This book was one of the first that we purchased as we began our plans. The books covers different family experiences in moving abroad. We actually brought this one with us when we moved!

The Family Sabbatical Handbook: The Budget Guide To Living Abroad With Your Family

2. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

should I stay or should I goMoving to a new country is certainly not as hard as it may seem, but it does take a concrete decision, followed by decisive action. T

his book helps you make that decision and points you firmly in the right direction to not only move but to live successfully in your new home. Once you’ve read this book you will be able to confidently answer all-important questions such as…

  1. Is moving abroad really right for me?
  2. Do I have a temperament suited to the expatriate life?
  3. Am I considering emigrating for the right reasons?
  4. Would I be best placed staying where I am?
  5. Where in the world, home or away, am I likely to be happiest?
  6. What factors should I consider when choosing my new country?

Now is the time to make up your mind and really start living. The Truth About Moving Abroad and Whether It’s Right for You: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

3. Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad

retirement without bordersBarry Golson knows all about retiring abroad — he and his wife, Thia, have lived in six different countries. Now they choose expatriate-friendly locales around the world for their low cost and their high quality of living and explain how to investigate and settle in each country with minimum hassle and maximum pleasure.

Taking you step-by-step through the process of researching, testing, and finally living abroad, the Golsons’ practical how-to guide covers all the major issues, including health care, finances, real estate, taxes, and immigration.

Each location is profiled by an expatriate writer who has made that country his or her home and who knows how to answer all the questions about living richly and economically in some of the world’s most beautiful places.

Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad–in Sunny, Foreign Places

4. How to Retire Overseas

how to retire overseasWhether motivated by a desire for adventure, or the need to make the most of a diminished nest egg, more and more Americans are considering an overseas retirement. Drawing on her more than three decades of experience helping people relocate happily and successfully, Kathleen Peddicord shows how living in an unconventional retirement destination can cost less than a traditional home in Florida or Arizona.

Peddicord addresses all of the essential issues, including: Death, Taxes, Health Care and Bank Accounts.

Whether readers are interested in relatively unknown havens like Nicaragua, well-traveled areas in Italy, or need some help deciding, How to Retire Overseas is the ultimate guide to making retirement dreams come true.

How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (for Less) Abroad

5. The 4-Hour Workweek

four hour workweekForget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:

  • How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

6. Club Expat: A Teenager’s Guide to Moving Overseas

club expatClub Expat: A Teenager’s Guide to Moving Overseas is a comprehensive guidebook for any young adult or family moving overseas. Written by two former expatriate teenagers, this book is the culmination of experiences of students all around the world and of broad consultations with dozens of experts in the field of international relocation.

Covering topics ranging from culture shock to the intricacies of overseas life, this guidebook will serve as the knowledgeable “companion” for young adults embarking on a new journey overseas. Aniket and Akash Shah are brothers who lived with their family in Europe and Asia for several years as expatriates. They were born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and lived in different parts of the United States before moving abroad. Aniket and Akash are members of the Class of 2009 and the Class of 2006, respectively, at Yale University.

Club Expat: A Teenager’s Guide to Moving Overseas

7. Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

third culture kidsNearly a decade ago, Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds introduced the concept of and has been the authority on the experiences of TCKs-children who grow up or spend a significant part of their childhood living abroad. Early on, TCKs were identified as the rototype citizen of the future. That future is now, as more and more children are growing up among worlds, creating a culturally rich and diverse world.

Rich with real-life anecdotes, Third Culture Kids, Revised Edition examines the nature of the TCK experience and its effect on maturing, developing a sense of identity and adjusting to one’s passport country upon return. For many third culture kids, this book will be their first opportunity to discover that they share a common heritage with countless others around the world.

This expanded edition profiles the personal challenges that TCKs experience, from feelings of rootlessness and unresolved grief to struggles with maturity and identity.

Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Revised Edition

8. Expat Women: Confessions

expat women confessionsIf you have ever wondered what it is like to live abroad, work abroad or accompany your working partner abroad, this book is for you. If you are already living the expat life but have mixed emotions about settling in, rebuilding your identity, relationship changes, successfully managing your money and career, raising children far from home or repatriating, this book is also for you.

In Expat Women: Confessions – 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad, experienced expats Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth share a wealth of wisdom and positive tips to motivate you at every stage of your expat journey.

They cover popular topics like leaving family back home, transitioning quickly, intercultural relationships, parenting bilingual children and work-life balance. They also address the difficult issues, this unique book is the perfect addition to every expat bookshelf.

Expat Women: Confessions – 50 Answers to Your Real-Life Questions about Living Abroad

9. The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad

the expert expatTrusted by thousands of families and individuals, The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad is essential reading for anyone moving overseas. Personal stories drawn directly from the authors’ dozens of years abroad as well as the experience of countless expats worldwide help prepare readers for the exhilarating and daunting task of establishing a life far from home.

Now more than ever, The Expert Expat’s practical advice and encouragement help to ease challenges and create rewarding experiences while living abroad.

New to this edition is an important chapter on safety, including expert advice on preventing identity theft and responding to terrorist threats. And for those increasing numbers going solo, The Expert Expat gives guidance on networking, establishing a home, and traveling alone.

The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad

10. Raising Global Nomads

raising global nomadsA lot has changed since well-known Canadian author Robin Pascoe wrote Culture Shock! A Parent’s Guide. The world has become globalized, digitalized, and sadly, terrorized. That’s the big picture that Pascoe examines in Raising Global Nomads.

In her own life, the author’s day job raising her two children has ended as her daughter begins a career as an environmental activist and her son heads to university.

In her fifth book for expatriate families, the author recounts with honesty and trademark humour what worked for her family and shares the hard lessons learned. Parenting styles in general, and of third culture kids in particular, have changed dramatically, prompting this timely and comprehensive reexamination of the challenges of parenting abroad.

Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World

11. The Kids’ Guide to Living Abroad

kids guide to living abroadThe author asked third culture kids around the world to write about their experiences for other children going through similar situations (moving, adapting to a new country, making friends etc.).

It is a book by kids for kids with the purpose of helping them to learn from others, reflect and prepare to adapt to new international living experiences.

The Kids’ Guide to Living Abroad

12. Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child

Emotional Resilience and the Expat ChildThe only thing you can be sure you can move around the world is your child’s ability to increase his or her interpersonal skills. In today’s global world, each of us is searching for effective tools that can help our children to thrive.

Emotional Resilience for the Expat Child provides a step-by-step guide that is designed to increase a child’s emotional vocabulary and emotional intelligence. Doing this will enable your child to achieve his or her fullest potential. The bond between an adult and child is key to the psychological health of the child. For the expatriate child, this bond is more vital than ever. This workbook has been created for you to use together and will provide the perfect place to connect for you and your family.

With easily understood and practical steps any parent can apply, you can start to create and enjoy your family’s ’emotion stories’. When a child feels happy and confident, he will be more likely to construct and communicate his emotions.

Well-written in an engaging, conversational tone, this book is sensible, straightforward and based on the experiences of expat families. It will give your child what he or she needs to understand and express today in order to grow into a caring, emotional intelligent adult tomorrow.

Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child

13. GenXpat: The Young Professional’s Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad

genxpatAre you a young, mobile professional looking to start a life abroad? Then GenXpat, The Young Professional’s Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad is the guide for you!

Wrapped up in fast-paced careers that increasingly involve travel and frequent international relocation, many young people find themselves bouncing from one exotic assignment to another at the cost of meaningful relationships and a true sense of connection and rootedness.

This book is designed to help GenXpats embrace the opportunities and challenges of an overseas assignment while still holding on to the personal fulfillment they need to succeed in their international careers. GenXpat answers questions such as how to optimize contracts, deal with culture shock, build social networks, find romance and prepare to return home smoothly.

GenXpat: The Young Professional’s Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad

14. The Big Guide To Living And Working Overseas

The Big Guide To Living And Working OverseasThe BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas is THE WORLD’S BEST international career guide, written mainly for college students and young professionals, it also applies to career changers and world travelers. The Fourth Edition Revised (Sept 2007) contains 34 new articles on the CD-ROM plus 2 news chapters 50+ Workers Abroad and Spousal Employment Abroad.

At a whopping 1,800 pages (including CD-ROM), The BIG Guide contains expert advice on gaining experience through study and internships, succeeding and adapting to overseas living, career planning, job searching, international resumes, international interviews, specific professions abroad and 3,045 carefully researched organizations offering professional jobs and international career resources. The BIG Guide is your ticket to success and adventure!

The Big Guide To Living And Working Overseas: 3,045 Career Building Resources (Fourth Edition with CD-ROM)

15. Bloggers Boot Camp

bloggers boot campMany expats run personal blogs with the goal of keeping in touch with family and friends back home. Others find satisfaction in helping others who are planning a similar move. There is a

There is a therapeutic benefit to blogging – it helps put experiences in perspective. What many expats and travelers find, is that while blogging isn’t hard to do – simply write and post – it is another thing to create posts and a site that attracts readers and creates revenue.

Bloggers Boot Camp is a complete guide to creating and running a popular and profitable travel/expat blog. Learn how to make money with your travel blog.

Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog

16. Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish

madrigals magic key to spanishThis book was referred to us by one of the first Ecuadorian friends we made, the first week we arrived in Ecuador. He actually had a copy in his house and he lent it to us (out of pity, I think).

We didn’t even know how or when to say buenas tardes when we arrived. In the first few chapters, the book covers hundreds of Spanish words that you already know.

Check out the other books and courses we used to learn Spanish.

Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish: A Creative and Proven Approach

17. Lonely Planet Healthy Travel: Central & South America

healthy travel south americaThis book was helpful in dispelling many of the myths that we had read about online. In fact, this was another of the books that we actually moved with us. It is small and thick – and helpful in understanding some of the health risks and how to avoid them.

It also covers prevention of common problems like sunburn, high altitude, first aid and wildlife hazards (like leeches and tarantulas). Definitely worth buying and bringing to your new home.

Lonely Planet Healthy Travel: Central & South America

Are we missing any? Please share your favorites in the comment section.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

11 comments… add one
  • Leah Evans Feb 28, 2017, 5:08 am

    I hope you will take a look at my book, “Kids on the Move, a Relocation Workbook.” It is a workbook for elementary aged kids and designed to help them prepare for a transition, experience an organized move, and embrace their new culture. I also edited a book of essays called “A Cup of Culture and a Pinch of Crisis,” which explores cooking, eating, and sharing meals while overcoming challenges from living abroad. I hope you will check them out!

  • Jeri Sue & Bill May 25, 2016, 3:59 pm

    .We just returned from Panama and were disappointed in the prices because we need to relocate on SS ..
    We found the hype about the country was unrealistic for seniors. We meet wonderful people and had no problems with that but otherwise came home rethinking where we could retire overseas staying in the Western Hemisphere. We are not beach people and jungle does not interest us. We love mountains and drier climates. Any suggestions….we are open minded with small pocketbook. Cheers!

  • Lisa Feb 19, 2015, 5:35 am

    Hi there
    Our honest book about Moving to Spain with Children was published November 2014.
    If you are thinking about Spain as a destination, it will give you lots to think about.
    Happy to send you a review copy, if interested 😉
    http://familylifeinspain.com/new-book-moving-spain-children/
    ¡Hasta pronto amigos!
    Lisa

  • Marjorie Hovey Apr 20, 2014, 2:07 am

    I’m reading ‘The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget’ by Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher. The authors currently live in Ecuador, but they also profile other countries. The book covers subjects like medical care, visas, buying property, renting, shipping household goods, ect. Also, different options for earning a living in other countries. It covers things I never even thought about. Lots of descriptions of differnt parts of each country profiled. Available through Amazon.com.

  • Trish Feb 27, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Just a note, I have read so many books and ordered video’s as well and they are all so great, there is another one I am reading now and just purchased this week “A Golden Girl’s Guide to Retirement in Cuenca” by Christine Collins
    it is great for the Single Golden Girl for sure…. I am sure I will be another Golden Girl to add to the Cuenca List come this October….looking forward to the move and can not wait to live in Cuenca.

  • Gary A Sisk Feb 27, 2014, 12:22 pm

    I also have a book available on kindle about my personal planning and relocation to Cuenca, Ecuador:

    Why Ecuador for me:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AL3XPTY/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_wy8Xqb0BB5FB0

  • Raymond Flett Sep 3, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I have also written a book, Saving Retirement and Some Adventures, that details my reasons for moving from Canada and selecting Ecuador as well as having an adobe house built and getting settled in my new country. How do I get my book onto your site?

    Ray

  • Micki Sep 1, 2012, 12:43 pm

    What a great resource, Bryan! Thanks so much for posting this. I’d never heard of the GenXpat book – may be worth a read.

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What Other Expats Are Buying (Before Moving to Ecuador)


Easy Spanish Phrase Book NEW EDITION: Over 700 Phrases for Everyday Use (Dover Language Guides Spanish)
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