Expats guide to living in Houston

As a resource for expatriates in Houston, Paysend has created a guide to help them become accustomed to their new home and send money internationally.

Houston, Texas, is America’s fourth-largest city and a popular destination for travelers and expatriates seeking open frontiers and hoping to embrace their inner cowboy!

Houston is also home to widely diverse and multi-cultural communities. In 2012, Houston surpassed Los Angeles and New York as the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the US. In fact, there are over 145 different languages spoken there. 


Texas changed drastically over the 20th century and is now known for its agricultural wealth, oil and natural gas production, and thriving finance industry. It also contains large urban centers – like Houston – with an exciting cosmopolitan lifestyle, contrasting its seemingly unending stretches of prairies and ranges devoted to cattle and cotton.  

The oil and gas industry employs a large amount of the population in Houston. These corporations are often based downtown, and international workers from Europe, and Australia frequently relocate here for work.  


The US healthcare system can be confusing to newcomers and can be very expensive for those without insurance. Paying regular premiums to a healthcare insurance company – either through your employer or privately – will cover many typical healthcare costs. We also advise expats to sign up with a primary care doctor upon settling in the states, where they will be able to visit for common concerns and ailments and make appointments regularly.   


Public schools in Houston are split into 60 districts, while private schools grant admittance based on grade specific criteria and typically include monetary requirements. There are approximately 200 private schools in Houston.  

For more information on education & schooling in Houston, we recommend visiting Greater Houston Partnership.  

Public transport

Another thing to consider when moving to Houston is that public transport is virtually non-existent! Unlike other major urban cities around the world, there are no subway or rail connections. Buses run semi-regularly across the city but may often be an unreliable mode of transportation. 

School buses are available to children free when attending public schools, with private schools often charging a weekly or monthly fee. 

Food & drink 

Houston has some of the best dining locations in America, with more than 10,000 restaurants and over 70 countries and American cuisines represented.

Houston is known for its diverse restaurant options, from food trucks to ramen places and world-famous barbeque joints all over town! Check out some of Houston’s most popular restaurants here


The Houston Galleria opened in 1970 and is the largest mall in Texas, with over 375 stores filling the four floors. It’s the 9th largest mall in the US. If you’re searching for the perfect gift or something to wear, chances are the Houston Galleria will have just the thing! 

Be sure to check out the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science and Children’s Museum downtown too!  


Football is king in Texas. During the fall, you will often see stands packed for high-school games throughout the state.  

College football is also very popular in Houston, with powerhouses like the University of Texas (based in nearby Austin) and Texas A&M University competing on the weekends. 

Houston is also home to several professional sports teams, including the Texans (football), Astros (baseball) and Rockets (basketball).

Send money back home internationally!

As you become accustomed to your new home, you may also find the need to send funds to friends and family back home. 

For expats living and working in Houston seeking a fast and easy way to transfer money internationally to family and friends back home, Paysend is the perfect solution! With flat fees, competitive exchange rates and quick transfers, see why more than 4 million customers trust Paysend. You may also read about how to easily transfer money to USA online!


Download the Paysend app* from the App Store or Google Play, or visit our homepage to learn more.

*Standard data rates from your wireless service provider may apply.


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