Articles,  Retirestyle Travel (Retire Abroad & Snowbirds)

How to evaluate and compare retirement destinations

How to evaluate and compare retirement destinations

Retiring abroad or becoming a snowbird is not an easy decision and it is not for everyone.

Everyone has different preferences and needs, so the decision is very subjective.

You need to consider finances, cost, taxation, Visa requirements, healthcare, lifestyle, location, language, weather, and many other factors.

The decision about where you retire or travel is not only subject to logical analysis. In the end, it’s about finding the place that’s a good fit for you because it makes you feel good.

Many Canadian cities offer direct flights to these southern destinations from November to April each year on airlines like Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunquest, Sunwing, Swoop & Westjet. Larger cities like Toronto may have direct flights year-round, but we don’t have that luxury in Winnipeg, so availability of convenient and affordable flights was a big consideration for us.

Here is a list of factors that we felt were important to us in making our decision about where to spend our Winters or move permanently.

  • Distance from Winnipeg (the geographic centre of Canada and our hometown)
  • Availability of direct flights from Winnipeg and other major Canadian cities
  • Flying time from Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver
  • Total travel time, including time to get from the airport to your accommodations
  • Population
  • Number of expats or Canadians living there
  • Number tourists per year
  • Average temperature
  • Average Annual precipitation
  • Number of days of sunshine per year
  • Risk of hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, flood, volcano or other natural disaster
  • Official Languages and prevalence of English
  • Currencies used and currency risk
  • Access to branches of Canadian banks or equivalent banks
  • Median house price
  • Average monthly rent for an apartment with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom
  • Cost of Utilities
  • Cost of Food
  • Cost of a telephone land line or cellular phone
  • Cost of internet or wifi
  • Distance to the beach
  • Quality of the beach (rocky or sandy, size of waves, crowded or not, pollution)
  • Amenities
  • Entertainment options (for you as well as for friends and family that visit you)
  • Arts & culture (availability of museums, art galleries, churches, symphony, ballet, opera, theatre, historic sites)
  • Professional sports teams nearby
  • Sports & outdoor activities (golf, play tennis, jog, bike, hike, scuba dive, and swim)
  • Shopping (number of stores and malls nearby, stores and brands available)
  • Restaurants (number of restaurants, variety of restaurants, quality of local cuisine)
  • Nightlife
  • Distance to a good quality hospital
  • Healthcare cost
  • Healthcare quality (look at World Health Organization ranks of each health system)
  • Healthcare medical insurance availability and cost
  • Pollution (look at World Health Organization scores on airborne particulate matter).
  • Disease risk and inoculations required
  • Life expectancy
  • Taxes (kinds of taxes, tax rates, tax treaty with Canada)
  • Infrastructure & roads
  • Public transportation options, cost, and convenience
  • Accessibility for the mobility impaired
  • Government type (ex. communist, socialist, democratic/liberal, conservative)
  • Political risk
  • Crime risk
  • Foreign Affairs Canada travel advisories (warnings)
  • Number of murders annually
  • 2019 Global Peace Index for “safety” ratings
  • Corruption and bribery (look at the Transparency International corruption ratings).
  • Residency options and ease of getting a visitor or resident Visa
  • International Living ranking
  • Live & Invest Overseas ranking
  • US News World Report ranking
  • Natixis Global Retirement Index ranking
  • Numebo quality of life rating
  • Expatisan cost of living compared to Winnipeg
  • Mercer 2019 quality of life rating
  • Distance to other countries we want to explore during retirement


Happy Travels,


P.S. Here are links to our social media accounts, in case you want to connect that way:

Retirestyle Travel Instagram
Kevin’s LinkedIn
Retirestyle Travel Facebook Page
Kevin’s Pinterest
Retirestyle Travel TikTok
Retirestyle Travel Twitter
Retirestyle Travel YouTube (Please check out our YouTube Channel for travel videos)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *