If you’re planning to live abroad, whether permanently or for part of the year only, you must ensure that it will be possible (legally) and that you will be able to afford it before making any plans. Note that if you don't qualify to live in a country by birthright or as a national of a country that's a member of a treaty such as the European Union (EU), it may be impossible to obtain a residence permit.
Before making any plans to live abroad, you must ensure that you will be permitted to freely enter and leave a country, live there as long as you wish and become a resident, and do anything else you have in mind, such as work as self-employed, start a business or buy a home. For example, a national of a European Union (EU) country can live and work in any other EU country, although there's no automatic right to a residence permit and retirees must meet minimum income levels. Similarly, unless you're a citizen of Canada or the USA, you won't be permitted to live in North America for longer than three months a year without an appropriate permit or visa.
If there's a possibility that you or any family member may wish to live abroad permanently, you should enquire whether it will be possible before making any plans. In some countries...
The availability quality and cost of local services such as mail and telephone (including mobile phones and the Internet/e-mail/broadband) may be an important consideration when planning to live abroad, particularly if you wish to keep in close touch with family and friends or business associates. The range of services and the reliability and speed of mail deliveries varies considerably depending on the country. In some countries airmail letters can take weeks to be delivered, even to neighbouring countries, and thousands of items of mail go astray each year. Nowadays it's possible to set up what's called a 'portable office' whereby you postal, telephone, fax and e-mail addresses are 'transparent' and can be taken with you wherever you live.
Further information is available in our Living and Working series of books.