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Where are the most family-friendly expat destinations?

7th June 2021 Print

If you are planning on living abroad with your family, you may already have a destination in mind. Perhaps it has been dictated by your job or you are planning on moving to be with family. You may even have a destination that has always been at the heart of your expat dreams. However, for many expats, the draw to live abroad is more wide-reaching and general; rather than seeking a new life in a specific country, many families simply wish to move to a country that can offer them a better life, no matter where in the world it happens to be. 

Many families moving abroad with children will have questions that need answering before they commit to flying their family overseas. How will family life be enhanced by the move? What lifestyle could another country offer your children? What is it really like to grow up and live in a particular destination? To help you answer some of these burning questions and potentially narrow down your search, ExpatRoute has put together a list of some of the most family-friendly expat destinations around the world, many of which have already attracted (and won over) thousands of UK nationals seeking a better life for their loved ones.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australia is the first on our list of the most family-friendly expat destinations. Popular with solo expats and families alike, thousands of Brits are drawn Down Under every year as they search for a country that can give them the perfect life. Australia is renowned for offering an ideal work-life balance. Ranking highly on a plethora of expat and quality of life surveys, including the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, Australia delivers the ultimate combination of enviable weather, a high standard of education, safety and advanced infrastructure, as well as a slower pace of life that’s punctuated by a desire to enjoy the little things. 

For families, in particular, the free public schooling and healthcare system make it an attractive alternative to the UK. In addition, the abundance of leisure facilities and attractions built around family life means there is no shortage of things to do at the weekend. This high-quality leisure time is boosted further by the varied beauty of the natural environment, which draws tourists from far and wide.


Canada has long been a popular tourist destination with Europeans, offering clean air, wide-open spaces and landscapes worthy of only the very best cameras. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lifestyle on offer to those who make a move to this beautiful country. 

In a number of studies, Canada comes out on top for the quality of life, a category that covers a number of important factors including mental health and well-being, political stability and general fulfillment. In the above HSBC study, Canada was found to be the most accepting of people from different races, genres, faiths and sexual orientations, making it an ideal place to bring up a modern, international family. 


Ranking highly across a range of surveys, Germany is a strong candidate for families putting quality of life and working life aspirations above many other factors. One particular draw is the safety factor, which is often highlighted as a key benefit in what is considered a very rule-abiding, structured country. This structure also makes for very stable career opportunities, which provide expats and locals with strong prospects for advancement, as well as a subsequent improvement in their work-life balance as they progress up the career ladder. 

One concern for some expats, however, is the language barrier which can make it difficult for purely English-speaking families to integrate with the local community. But the quality of life on offer in Germany means there are now many English schools and international-friendly communities across the country that are better equipped to welcome Brits with open arms. 


In HSBC’s 2019 Expat Explorer Survey, Singapore was ranked number one for raising a family abroad and it’s not hard to understand why when you consider what the country offers expats seeking the perfect destination for bringing up their families abroad. To start with, Singapore has a very high standard of schooling that offers local children and expats the very best start in life. In fact, the country is renowned for providing a number of top international schools that deliver education in a range of languages and top facilities, such as sports centres. In fact, some expats now move to Singapore purely to put their children through the local education system, which rivals its better-known Western counterparts, such as the UK.

In addition, many expats have cited the country as an ideal location if you’re seeking a better quality of life, as well as a feeling of safety and freedom. This feeling of freedom is aided by job security and wage growth across the country, both of which get top marks from expat parents. 


When it comes to raising a family abroad, there are few places as popular as Spain. While the country doesn’t offer the same earning opportunities as many of the other countries on our list, it does provide growing expat families with many other benefits, such as a strong schooling system with a high acceptance of foreign pupils. 

In addition, the country provides great quality of life through a warm climate, a calm and relaxed working environment for parents, and a strong emphasis on physical as well as mental health and well-being. For a family seeking a complete change of pace, and sunshine, where you can visit the beach every weekend, you couldn’t ask for much more. 


Switzerland is often cited as one of the best places to live in the world for solo expats and families alike. Perhaps the most notable of its positives is its low level of crime which gives children the freedom to enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities the country has to offer. This outdoor environment is carefully managed, boasting low levels of pollution and a world-leading recycling program. 

Furthermore, Switzerland is often complemented by expats on its countrywide emphasis towards living a slow, simple life. This is aided by a large number of English speakers across the country, making it easier for expat families to adapt to their new homes. In case that wasn’t enough, Switzerland - which is often considered relatively expensive - balances this issue by offering hefty salaries that are sure to act as a draw for any expat considering their next move. 

Where should you move to? 

There are many destinations that have proved to be family-friendly and an ideal choice for UK expats moving their family overseas. However, choosing the right one requires a lot of time and consideration. Before settling on a new home away from home, consider your own family’s priorities. Whether you want excellent schooling, safety and stability, a wonderful climate or a strong feeling of freedom, there are many options available for a family ready to set their sights beyond British shores.