Travel and Expatriation in America

Would you move to the United States to join your family or work? Planning your road trip to the Grand Canyon? Or maybe you’re going to Canada on Working Holiday?
Be aware that in North America, the cost of medical care is excessively high, even more so in the event of hospitalization or repatriation.
So, whether it’s for a few days or for an extended stay or even an expatriation, and to protect yourself in case of accident, hospitalization or repatriation, it is important to think carefully about taking out expatriate or travel insurance before you go abroad.


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When to go to America?

America is made up of very large countries with several time zones and different climates depending on the region.
For example, in the United States, during the months of June, July and August, the climate is ideal for most of the country. There are some regions where the climate is favourable all year round, such as Louisiana with winter temperatures around 15°.
The warmest temperatures in Canada occur during the months of June, July and August throughout the country.
It is advisable to visit Mexico during the months of October to April, corresponding to the country’s dry season.
The best time to visit South America is in the spring, specifically in April. Temperatures are mild throughout the continent despite the presence of rain in some geographical areas such as northern Brazil.

The top 10 places to visit in America

North America is one of the most expatriate-centred regions in the world. It has hundreds of cultural and natural places that are not to be missed. Here is a selection of 10 places to visit in North America:

1. Times Square in the United States;
2. Chichen Itza in Mexico;
3. Niagara Falls in Canada;
4. San Miguel de Allende in Mexico;
5. The Strip in Las Vegas, USA;
6. Moraine Lake or Emerald Lake in Canada;
7. The Pacific Coast Highway or Route 1 in the United States;
8. Isla Contoy in Mexico;
9. The Plateau Mont-Royal and the Parc Mont-Royal ;
10. Louisiana and New Orleans.

There are many popular destinations for expatriates in South America. Most expatriates move there because of the paradise-like living environment that some cities offer. Although there are hundreds of things to see and do, we have put together a selection of 10 places to visit while in South America. The places we have chosen are in the countries where the largest expat communities are concentrated.

1. Christ the Redeemer on top of Mount Corcovado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil);
2. Iguazú Falls (On the border between Argentina and Brazil);
3. Montevideo (Capital of Uruguay);
4. Monteverde Reserve (Costa Rica);
5. Valparaiso (Coastal city in Chile);
6. Isla de Lobos (Uruguay);
7. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Brazil);
8. Ushuaïa (Argentina);
9. Torres del Paine National Park (Chile);
10. Arenal Volcano National Park (Costa Rica).

What vaccinations should I get before going to America?

Before leaving for America, it is imperative that your universal vaccination booklet is up to date (polio, tetanus, BCG, diphtheria, MMR and whooping cough).
If you wish to settle or stay mainly in South America, it is compulsory that you are vaccinated against yellow fever for the following countries (including stopovers):

  • Antigua and Barbuda ;
  • Bahamas ;
  • Belize ;
  • Guatemala ;
  • French Guiana ;
  • Haiti ;
  • Honduras ;
  • Jamaica ;
  • Mexico ;
  • Nicaragua ;
  • Peru;
  • El Salvador.

What are the best routes to discover America?

North America is home to so much to see that even dozens of road trips wouldn’t cover everything you need to see. Here are some itineraries for visiting North America:
It is advisable to take a good month minimum to visit a good part of the western United States. The distances you will travel if you prefer road to air will be very great. Allow more time than your app estimates, e.g. for a 1.5 hour drive, allow up to 2.5 hours. Driving in the US is different from Europe and Americans drive more slowly. If you are planning to visit several large cities on the East Coast, it is recommended that you allow extra time for your travels.

To discover South America, we suggest a long-distance road-trip itinerary that starts in Patagonia and ends in Brazil. The itinerary is feasible at any time of the year, but the months indicated are the most optimal if you are looking for the best weather by country. In addition, you can customise the itinerary to your liking depending on what you are looking for and what you don’t want to miss. You can also check out our section on 10 places not to miss in South America.
Finally, Colombia did not fit into our recommended itinerary as the best time to visit is in December/January. However, this country is worth visiting as much as the others.

Average cost of living in major cities in America?

The standard of living in North America is quite similar to the standard of living in Europe, yet the lifestyle is very different. With the exception of Mexico, where the cost of living is lower than in the US, Canada and the EU. For example, the cost of a mid-range restaurant is a maximum of €14. In the US, the average price is €29.
As another example, the cost of a transport pass varies enormously from one city to another:

  • Toronto: €150;
  • Paris: €75;
  • New York: €121;
  • Montreal: €65;
  • In Mexico City, the cost of a bus ticket is 10 cents.

The cost of a monthly transport pass in the major cities of South America:

  • Rio de Janeiro: between 30€ and 70€ depending on the time of year;
  • Buenos Aires: between 5€ and 20€ depending on the time of year;
  • Santiago: between 30€ and 50€ depending on the time of year;
  • San José: between 14€ and 32€ depending on the time of year;
  • Montevideo: between 27€ and 55€ depending on the time of year.

The average cost of a mid-range restaurant per person is:

  • Brazil: 5€ ;
  • Argentina: 6€ but can be as low as 3€;
  • Chile: 6€;
  • Costa Rica: 10€;
  • Uruguay: 10€ but can go down to 7€ and up to 19€.

The cost of living in South America is much lower than in North America, so this is an important factor to consider if you are planning a road trip in America.

Can you drink tap water in America?

In North America, specifically the USA and Canada, you can drink tap water without worrying. In some rural areas it is advisable to take precautions to avoid any risk. In Mexico, it will be less obvious to drink tap water without asking the question “is it safe to drink? It is best to drink bottled water with a cap.
In Central and South America, it is recommended that you drink bottled water purchased in supermarkets. Even if the water is safe to drink in some parts of some countries, it is better not to take any risks and only drink bottled water with a cap. This is especially true if you are just passing through on a road trip or holiday in South America. The water in some areas can expose you to worrying food poisoning.

Top 5 worst diseases in America

1. HIV (mainly found in South America and hyper endemic in Sao Paulo, Argentina);
2. Meningococcal meningitis (mainly found in South America in Brazil);
3. Rabies (mainly present in South America in very rural areas);
4. Dengue (found in South America in Brazil and Peru);
5. Malaria (mainly found in parts of the USA and South America).

Many diseases are transmitted by mosquito bites in South America. It is strongly recommended that you are vigilant and apply strict preventive measures such as

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing;
  • Use insecticides and repellent sprays;
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets.

Top 5 most dangerous cities in America with the highest crime rate

1. Caracas (Venezuela) ;
2. Tijuana (Mexico);
3. Los Cabos (Mexico);
4. St. Louis (USA);
5. Maceio (Brazil).

It is important to differentiate between cities that are totally inadvisable for tourists due to the risk of being a victim of aggression in the whole city and cities where crime is concentrated in certain areas.
For example, the current economic, political and social situation in Caracas, combined with the poverty of its inhabitants, makes this city the most dangerous in the world. The homicide rate is one of the highest, if not the highest, in the world. Some of the police are corrupt and the rates of assault and theft are extremely high. Wars between cartels and with the police can break out in any part of the city. The rate of kidnapping is highest in upmarket areas.
In contrast, some cities have extremely high crime and danger rates. However, crime and danger are concentrated almost exclusively in certain areas, while other parts of these cities are very touristy and quite safe. It is important that you research some cities thoroughly before you go.

Low cost airlines in America

The main low cost airlines in North America

  • JetBlue Airways ;
  • Southwest Airlines;
  • WestJet.

Major South American low cost airlines

It is important to identify the main South American airlines so that you can benefit from the best prices if you travel across the continent.

  • LATAM Airline (operating mainly in Chile, Peru and Brazil);
  • Avianca (Colombian airline);
  • Azul Airlines (Brazilian company);
  • Sky Airline (Chilean company);
  • Gol Airlines (Brazilian airline);
  • Jetsmart (Chilean airline);
  • Aerolineas Argentinas (Argentinian company).

What are the main means of transport for travelling in America?

The preferred means of transport in South America is by bus. Indeed, by bus, you can travel to any country, but also across the whole continent. The cost is very low but the journeys are extremely long. In addition, there are many bus companies, some of which are unreliable, so it is important to find out which company to use before you leave. On a different budget, you can also travel by plane with local and low cost airlines.

Time difference expected in America

UTC or Universal Time Coordinated, is the time in Reykjavik, Iceland UTC 0 all year round.
For example, in France it will be UTC + 2, in London UTC +1.

What are the best student cities in America?

The best student cities in North America are :

  • Boston ;
  • Vancouver ;
  • Berkeley ;
  • Toronto ;
  • Mexico City;
  • New York.

These North American cities are home to some of the best universities in the world and attract students from all over the world every year.

The best student cities in South America are:

  • Santiago ;
  • Sao Paulo ;
  • Buenos Aires;
  • Lima.

Santiago and Sao Paulo are home to the best universities in South America. Most of the capitals welcome many students each year.

What are the best cities for expats?

The main cities where expatriates move to work in North America are :

United States                               Canada                                     Mexico

Miami                                        Toronto                                      Mexico City

Boston                                       Vancouver                                 Puerto Vallarta

New York City                           Montreal                                    San Miguel de Allende

Los Angeles                               Ottawa                                       Mérida

San Francisco                           Edmonton                                  Tulum

The main cities where expatriates settle in South America are :

Brazil                    Argentine             Chili                      Costa Rica           Uruguay

Sao Paulo             Buenos Aires         Santiago                Guanacaste           Montevideo

Rio de Janeiro       Cordoba                Valparaiso             Liberia                   

Brasilia                  Mendoza               Viña del Mar          Puntarenas           

For more information, please visit our country profiles.

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