The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2017

In 2017, the cheapest places to live in the world are probably going to get a lot of new transplants.

cheapest places to live 2017

After an election where the candidate who ran on a platform of hate lost the popular vote but won the presidency, many fearful Americans are ready to bolt. Add to that the Brits who got their own isolationist shock and are no longer going to be part of the EU. Then add the Canadians and Aussies who have watched their earnings power erode (but not prices) and are looking at cheaper options. It’s a recipe for lots of emigration to destinations with a cheaper cost of living.

If you’re going to make a big move abroad, you might as well make it financially advantageous too.

There are a lot more people looking at living abroad than there were when all the economic signs were pointing up and to the right. Regardless of what happens in the markets, the expatriate life in 2017 should be especially attractive for Americans. This strong dollar will continue for a while thanks to already announced fiscal plans. Check out this quote from Bloomberg News.

There is likely to be some scope for U.S. dollar appreciation of at least another 5 percent,” Alan Ruskin, global co-head of foreign-exchange research in New York at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to clients. “A strong U.S. dollar is potentially a vital disinflationary offset to likely reflationary fiscal policy enacted when the economy is already at full employment.

Translation: If Trump’s announced inflationary plans become reality, the greenback is not going to weaken anytime soon. The peso, pound, and loonie probably aren’t going to rocket back up in the other direction either, at least not in the next 12 months.

better life for half the priceIf you’re looking at international living but need some guidance on where to go, my book A Better Life for Half the Price is the best bet. It’s got comprehensive run-d0wns for each place and the bonus docs help you figure out the best place to live for your budget and priorities. Premium packages add more in-depth info, a private Facebook group, or even one-on-one coaching.

Meanwhile, following is a quick cheat sheet to get you started with the cheapest places to live in the world.

The Cheapest Places to Live in the Americas

cheap cost of living in Mexico


Close to a million Yanks and Canucks live here at least part of the year. Now they’re spending even less on expenses. Thanks to the president elect’s animosity toward the country’s people and its favored trade status, the peso’s earlier troubles from low oil prices have had gasoline poured onto them. For most of the decade I was visiting and living in this country, the peso ran in a range of 11 to 13 to the dollar. This year it busted the 20 pesos to the dollar mark and hasn’t been below 17 all year.

This means a country that was already an easy half-price destination—more like a one-third one in parts of Central Mexico—is now seriously on sale. Imported goods are going up in price of course, but Mexico grows a lot of its own food, brews its own beer, makes it own tequila (and so-so rum), and has relatively inexpensive real estate in most areas. Labor costs remain relatively flat.

For those coming from other countries it mostly means prices haven’t risen. For the neighbors in Los Estados Unidos though, most of what you spend your money on that’s not imported is around 40% cheaper than it was in 2014. That $3 taxi ride is now $2. That $20-a-week maid is now costing $12. The $2.20 plate of tacos is now $1.50. And on it goes.

The food is varied, there’s a robust depth of culture, and you’ll never run out of new places to visit. They’re also used to foreigners co-existing in their cities. (Unlike rural Americans, apparently…)

There are also some huge practical advantages. Getting residency is fairly straightforward, but a lot of people don’t even bother. You get 180 days for the asking on a tourist visa. Flights to get there are usually not more than a long one within the U.S. or one from Canada to the U.S. Heck you can even take a bus if you have the time and stamina. Or drive down with a vehicle full of your most precious belongings. A pet  even. Mexico is close, fun, cheap, and easy to get to, with affordable health care that’s quite good in the cities.


This is probably the best overall value in the Americas. The infrastructure keeps steadily improving, but prices have either flatlined or gone down the past few years depending on what’s happening with your source currency. If you’re from the USA, it would be hard to find another country that’s so cheap to live in without crossing an ocean. If you talk to expats there as you travel around, you’ll find plenty of couples feeling content on $1,500 a month and if you’re a single person spending more than $2,000 a month in Nicaragua you’re living the high life.

Meals where the locals eat are crazy cheap, beers are a buck, and the local rum is deservedly famous around the world. It’s relatively easy to get residency here, but if you want to just cross into a neighboring country and come back with a fresh tourist visa that works too. The inexpensive health care is not great outside Managua, but the good news is that all the places expats tend to live are within a two-hour drive of that city. To get residency as a “retireee” here you only have to be 45.


For most of last year, the Colombian peso traded between 2,900 and 3.200 to the dollar. If it stays in that range, the country will remain a terrific bargain as a place to live. Medellin has been an expat hotspot for the last few years and there are no signs that’s going to change anytime soon. It’s one of the few places in South America that really attracts a sizable number of location independent workers from other countries, so if you’re looking to network with other online entrepreneurs and freelancers it’s probably the best spot on the continent besides Buenos Aires—and has cheaper housing.

I always recommend renting for a while before making a big commitment, but if you’re rolling in with a big account balance in greenbacks, this would be a very opportune time to invest in Medellin real estate. Houses in smaller towns and in the countryside are much cheaper, of course, but Cartagena is no bargain, unfortunately. The array of visas here is dizzying, so you might want to hire a local lawyer to sort it out, but once you do it’s easily achievable. Health care prices are fixed and transparent, and care is good in the cities.

international living in Ecuador


This is the grayest expat destination on this list, with Cuenca especially attracting a lot of economic refugees who moved here more as a matter of survival rather than getting ahead. That lack of cultural curiosity can be a problem, as can the fact that only Vilcabamba can claim great year-round weather. This is one of the easiest countries in the world though for foreigners to get residency and the income requirement is a low $800 per month. If you’re retired you get lots of perks and discounts, including flight discounts.

Health care is generally good overall and infrastructure spending has been on a roll for many years. The economy is precarious though, the leadership is very authoritarian, and if you like to drink alcohol you’d better stick to what’s made locally. Anything imported has taxes of 100% and up.

living cheap in PeruPeru

For whatever reason this extremely popular tourist destination is not so popular as an expat one. That’s despite the fact they’ll give you a generous six months in the country before you have to leave and renew. Gray Lima and other ugly cities aren’t exactly the places of dreams, but Arequipa is a different story and the towns in the Sacred Valley attract a lot of foreigners looking to chill out in the mountain air for a while, hiking in the Andes.

The food is good, the scenery varied, and there are plenty of tourism business opportunities if you haven’t made the leap to running a portable business. Costs are slightly higher than Ecuador’s in most respects, but it’s a close race.

Other Places to Live in Central and South America

There are plenty of other countries in the Americas where you can live on half what you’re spending now if you go city to city or rural to rural. The only reason Argentina is not in here this time is because their fragile economic clean-up has led to high inflation, which can eat up savings. For now it’s still a bargain. Panama has long been the top retiree pick south of Mexico and it’s still an attractive place to move to if you avoid the ever-increasing prices in the capital. For lushes, it’s got the lowest wine and liquor prices in the world—no sin taxes or duties.

Guatemala and Honduras are quite cheap, though both suffer from safety concerns. They also both have the problem that their most attractive spots for expats (Antigua and Roatan Island, respectively) are also the priciest areas of the countries.

The Cheapest Places to Live in Europe

cheapest places to live in Europe

This is a list that has been growing the past few years rather than shrinking, thanks to a stronger U.S. dollar against the euro and thus non-euro local currencies as well. The following are all cheaper as I write this than they were a year ago.


The one country not located on that map above, this is a true “Western Europe” destination that also has warm and sunny weather most of the year. Thanks to a lingering economic crisis and a less robust economy than some other nations in the region, Portugal is far cheaper than Spain and easily half the cost of living of France or the UK.

Despite that, you get all the classic European advantages such as good wine and food, interesting architecture, water you can drink from the tap, and good health care. My line before on visas was “EU country for Brits, much more difficult residency visas for Americans.” Post-Brexit though, we may all be in the same situation. You can get residency eventually, but it will require some money and patience. Get to know someone at your local embassy and prepare for a long relationship.

If you have an EU passport though, no sweat. Here’s one expat’s experience on buying a house in Portugal.


If you can get past the right-wing, anti-immigration politics, Hungary is a great place to live. Budapest is one of the world’s great cities and it’s still quite easy to find a nice apartment for less than 500 euros a month there. Once you get out of the capital though, prices drop dramatically. This is an attractive country with a lot of gorgeous scenery.


This is on most counts the cheapest country to live in for the whole continent of Europe, yet it’s a gorgeous place with green mountain ranges and peaceful towns. Poke around online and you’ll find prices like a 2-bedroom apartment in Veliko Tarnovo for €230 a month, or a furnished one in the historic district of Plovdiv for €170. Thanks to the fact a lot of people have moved elsewhere in Europe to work, you can buy a house here for less than you probably spent on your last used car. If you ever wanted to throw caution to the wind and take a flyer on some real estate, there’s little downside when you can buy this house for less than US$5,000. That’s not a typo!

living cheap real estate Bulgaria


This is not on many location independent workers’ short list, but it probably should be since it is one of the countries with the fastest internet speeds in the world. It also has some of the cheapest international flights when it’s time to escape winter or go see the relatives. Add to that bargain prices on apartments, food, drink, and utilities and Romania is a country where most westerners can chop their monthly expenses by 2/3. As with Bulgaria, a lot of foreigners working elsewhere means it’s easy to find an inexpensive place to live. But as with much of Europe, the challenge is enduring the long process to get residency.

Other Countries in Europe to Consider

My next trip to Europe will be researching the Balkan region countries for the 5th edition of The World’s Cheapest Destinations book. The steady improvements in the economies and the infrastructure of countries such as Montenegro, Albania, and Serbia make them wild card cheap living destinations for pioneer types up for an adventure. Backpackers are reporting prices that are on par with Southeast Asia in some spots—but with cooler temps and better wine. As with Eastern Europe though, winters can be too cold and bleak for some.

Only slightly higher in cost than some of the others profiled here, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are both good deals and I’ll occasionally get raves from people who have settled down a while in Georgia (the country) or Ukraine. Here’s an interview with an expat living on the cheap in Turkey.

The Cheapest Places to Live in Asia

cheap living in Cambodia

Asia is complicated because of its wide variations in prices and the sometimes difficult visa situation. Thailand is a great place to live if you’re of retirement age and can meet the requirement of socking away money in a Thai bank. Otherwise it is, for now, a royal pain to get residency without a work permit. You end up doing lots of visa runs and after a while that can just plain stop working. Indonesia is only slightly better, with most expats there doing hops to Singapore several times per year to renew.


This country between Singapore and Thailand is much more welcoming, though again you have a much easier time if you’re retired with some money to invest. They have a formal program in place with a long history. This is a good destination to pick if you want to speak English and have reasonably good infrastructure, while still squeaking in for monthly expenses that are half those in a country like the UK, Australia, Canada, or the U.S.


This improving but still poor country is really the best bet in Southeast Asia for both prices and the ease of getting a long-term visa. You just shell out for a business visa (even if you business only makes $5 a month) and you’re set for a year. You can easily renew it a year later without any scrutiny as long as you’ve been a good boy or girl. Plenty of foreigners are living well in Cambodia for $1,000 to $1,500 a person. It would be very easy to have a nice life on two social security checks only. In the archives I’ve got detailed posts on prices in Phnom Penh and Cambodia in general, with info from people who live there.


As I’ve mentioned a few times here on the Cheapest Destinations Blog, India relaxed its long-term visa requirements and this is now the best “one and done” spot in the world for some nationalities. There’s a good chance your passport will expire before your tourist visa does and now when you have to leave every six months, you can turn around and come right back again. This country can be draining, maddening, and frustrating, but there’s a vast educated labor pool (especially for tech work you may need) and plenty of people wanting to take care of your domestic chores for what seems to us like a pittance. The cities are best avoided unless you’ve got a location-specific job, but there are plenty of mellow places to live, especially in the northern mountains and the southern beaches.


It’s hard to live in Nepal long-term and the electricity is about as reliable as modern day political polls. For a stop of a few months though or as part of a regular back-and-forth routine with somewhere else, this is surely one of the cheapest places on the planet for international living. If you’re pulling in more than $2,000 a month while living here, you’ll be part of the elite. Plus you’ll have million-dollar mountain views if you pick the right spot.

Other Cheap Places to Live in Asia

Vietnam attracts a lot of foreigners thanks to low prices, easier residency than Thailand or Indonesia, and a deep workforce of tech people to work for startups. I’m warming up to the Philippines after spending a couple weeks there recently, thanks to an improving economy, a deep bench of smiling English-speaking workers, and beer that’s often a buck in a bar these days. You’ve got plenty of islands to choose from, plus look at that water in the photo at the top of this post!

Moroccan spices market prices

Cheap Places to Live in Africa

As I’ve said every year and in A Better Life for Half the Price, you really have to “go native” in most of Africa to live well on a lot less money. There are too many reasons for that to go into in this post, but it’s hard to maintain anything close to the lifestyle you’re probably used to without living like one of the elites—and that’s more expensive. Here are two exceptions to consider in 2017.

South Africa

Normally no bargain, but right now it’s a deal for people earning euros or dollars and spending them in South Africa. The rand has seen one of the worst currency declines of any in the world, thanks to its dependence on mining and other commodity industries. At the beginning of 2013, one U.S. dollar got you 9 rand. Now it gets you 14 (and sometimes more). Lock in a long-term lease if you can.


This has long been the best value in Africa for travelers, with a well-developed infrastructure and plenty to see, but prices that are very attractive for both backpackers and mid-range vacationers. It’s also a great deal as a place to live and there are expat communities in multiple cities around Morocco.

Other places to consider in Africa

If you’re an adventurous type and don’t mind roughing it, there are plenty of bargains on this massive continent. Egypt was once a favored expat hangout and if things stay calm for an extended period, someday it will be again. While there are few countries that attract people who can work from anywhere, the ones that show up most as good values and interesting places to kick back for a while are Togo, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Happy hunting!


If the idea of moving abroad and having twice as much to spend gets you excited, do it right by checking out the packages at my Cheap Living Abroad site. If you like to hold a real book in your hands, yes there’s a paperback available worldwide at Amazon. An audiobook on Audible too.

You may have a fear of change, a sense of complacency, or local roots that go to deep for you to make this kind of move. If you’re a good match though, let me save you lots of time and hassle in the planning and doing. After all, what’s your time worth?

Or if you’re still in the dreaming stage, get on the insider’s list and get a free report on where you can stay four months or more on a tourist visa.

  1. Stephanie Craig

    I’m in Bulgaria now. It’s amazing. The food is seriously to die for!

    • Michael Rasmussen

      Would you give details on the “seriously to die for” food there?

    • John Campbell

      I’ve done a lot of preliminary research on both Bulgaria and Romania and feel like one of these two would be the perfect retirement spot for anyone who may actually prefer four real seasons. My plan is try both out, probably by next summer. I want a decent sized city near a capital but not actually in either capital. I have Tim’s book, along with these newsletters and blogs, which have also been helpful. Having cold winters and real seasons for some expats is a negative, but I prefer it. The biggest con is like most any place in Europe, the long tedious process of acquiring residency. From the few people whom I’ve discussed it, I gather it can be a long, frustrating ordeal, made even more so with Romania and Bulgaria’s bureaucracy slowing things down even further. Unless you’re fluent in the language, you’ll also need both a local attorney and accountant before you’re done. On the plus side, both countries have beautiful mountains, beaches & countryside, are safe, and the people are friendly & welcoming. Also, just outside the largest cities you can find decent apartments for as little as $100 usd a month in Bulgaria, and maybe $150 in Romania. I’d love to hear from others considering these two or any other Eastern European country and compare notes, or anyone’s experiences that are actually in the process of getting their long term residency visas.

      • Camelia

        Hi John,
        I am Camelia and come from Bulgaria.My home town is Sofia.
        My country has really very beautiful nature, people are friendly and kind.
        If you have some quastions about Bulgaria,for me will be pleasure to answer you.
        Kind regards

        • Leigh

          Hello Camelia,
          I am a middle aged woman bringing my rescue dog from Indonesia to Bulgaria for a year. Can I easily rent a house with a yard? Also my only language is English, would this be a problem?
          Thank you,

          • ventsi

            Dear Leigh,
            I am a Bulgarian living in Sofia (the capital)
            The problem is that houses with yards can be found mainly in the villages and small towns, and people (mainly young) who speak English live mainly in the bigger cities (with Universities).
            So, it is difficult to find both at the same place. However, I know English people living in a village (called Sreburna, near Silistra, at the border with Romania) who have lived there for more than 10 years, and cope well.
            I would recommend you to buy a house in some small spa town. Tourist places are more safe due to the presence of police, availability of infrastructure, etc.
            Personally I want to leave Sofia (noise, stress, pollution, ugly grey panel blocks) as soon as possible, and move exactly to such a place.
            In small villages, without police, nobody can protect you from criminals (mainly gypsies who rob abandoned, and even inhabited, houses without any shame).
            Also, beware of stray dogs. Several people (including foreigners) were bitten to death in the last years.
            The Bulgarian social environment is unpleasant. The mafia is still strong (including politically), though the membership in the EU regulated this problem to some extent. Many people feel desperate because of the lack of social justice.
            Advice: Reduce your dreams and expectations, be realistic.
            If you (and anyone else) need more detailed information, leave your email address, and I will contact you in the next days. For me it will be pleasure to help.

        • John Campbell

          Hi Camelia,
          Sorry for the late reply,but I just read your comment. I would love to talk to you about Bulgaria. Please tell me your preference, as I am completely open; we can email, or skype, or whatever means you is best for you. I have been doing most of my research on Blagoevgrad recently, about 60 miles south of Sofia. However, after discussing Bulgaria with you, I am open to any other suggestions you may have. I hope to visit Sofia and Blagoevgrad in April or May to help me finalize my decision on where I want to live around the end of next year. I have just started doing some of the online Bulgarian basic language courses, but hope I can continue after moving there if everything goes according to plan. Your country is very beautiful, and the seasonal weather is just perfect for me. I want to continue to become more proficient in the language once I’ve settled in there. Blagoevgrad seems perfect, not too big or too small, yet close enough to Sofia for medical or major shopping needs. Also, I like that there is an American University for me to take some courses, and it’s a good sized city to walk most places, or take public transportation to get around. I’m very excited and look forward to meeting new new people there. I have a million questions for you, but I don’t want to burden you, so you tell me the best way to contact you to discuss your country. Many thanks in advance for any info that you are willing to share with me. Happy holidays to you!

    • Jeanni Strait

      How long are you able to stay on a visiting visa, what is your opinion on a single mom with 2 boys?

  2. Wade K.

    You’ll be close by, don’t miss Bitola and Ohrid in Macedonia.

  3. gary

    Great article, Tim.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. And thanks to you and your efforts, too.


  4. Josh

    In regards to Cambodia and prices there, there have been quite a few comparisons showing that Thailand and Vietnam may actually have lower prices and since many items are imported, these are probably correct. In the end, it depends on your consumer habits, of course. The Business visa has now been called “Ordinary Visa”for quite some time now. It costs $35 upon arrival. My 1 year visa only cost me a bit over $300.

    • Tim Leffel

      Yes, but the “ordinary visa” is 30 days, so I find a lot of expats still call the longer extended one a “business visa.” Regardless, 30 days can extend to 12 by paying out more money.

  5. Dave O'Gorman

    I’m looking at Cambodia, Colombia, Bosnia, or Bulgaria. Have about $150k and need to make that last permanently. I don’t eat out much and I don’t drink. Health is pretty good. A business visa would be an easy story to tell, albeit probably accidentally fictitious. Any thoughts? Buy in Bulgaria or rent in Cambodia?

    • Tim Leffel

      No way to know until you travel to both. It’s not a decision you can make solely on paper. Radically different weather, culture food, visa requirements, on and on.

      • John Campbell

        Hi Tim,
        I’m curious, is there a reason that you’ve never mentioned Poland either in your book or in these blogs? Although they’ve never lived there, I have friends who while traveling through that region, thought prices in many parts of Poland were comparable to Romania and Hungary, areas which you have recommended. So, is it indeed prices, or are there other factors that prohibit you from recommending Poland? Thanks!

        • Tim Leffel

          It’s more expensive than Hungary or Romania, especially for rents, but the main reason is nobody seems to move there on purpose unless they’ve got a heritage reason or a job posting. Just not as attractive a country to be in and no upside in terms of weather. When I’ve surveyed readers and book buyers on places they’re considering Poland hasn’t come up even once.

          • John Campbell

            Hi Tim,
            Fair enough, I just wondered since it’s so close to other countries in Eastern Europe that you’ve spoken highly of and frankly, whether intentionally or not, have helped influence my planned relocation to that area. Just curious if there was anything I was missing about Poland worthy of consideration. As of now, I’m still torn between Sibiu Romania and Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. I actually like the seasonal weather, so the biggest con remains the difficulty getting long term residency. Thank you again for your reply.

          • Harriet Jones

            I moved there on purpose and I lived in the centre of Krakow for €180 a month, nice apartment. I was right by the Tatras mountains and it was beautiful.

    • Roger Willis

      I live in Phnom Penh. My rent is $240, but you could probably find something cheaper. Many here ride a motorbike, but since I’m in the middle of town, I either walk or ride a bicycle. That’ll save you a lot. The dentists are decent, but the doctors–not so good. If you get seriously ill, it’s best to go to Thailand or Vietnam. When you first come, you get a business visa (not a tourist visa), which is good for one month. Before the end of the month, you can extend it for 3,6, or 12 months. It’s an easy place to live. Good luck!

    • Camelia

      Better in Bulgaria.

    • Emma corcoran

      Hi Daventry,

      I would suggest visiting the countrit’s you’re thinking of living in, because they are really different in terms of culture, food, and climate. I really wanted to like Cambodia, and spent 6 months there and just didn’t like it. But, many people love it. So, it’s really a personal thing! Good luck!

  6. John

    Won the popular vote in the two coasts, which contain the majority of the population–urban concentrations. He won the population of the red states–the heart of the nation; the part which is least manipulatable by the mass media. Read the famous Harvard speech by Solzhenitsyn for his estimation of the American public, except explicitly for part of the Middle West.

    • Craig

      Least manipulable by mass media? The heart of the nation? I lived in the red country most of my life and can tell you that between the mass media of Fox News, Rush is Right and Sunday worship services the Red states are ill served by their version of mass media. Whatever manipulation has happened here resulting in the working class again divided against itself and a significant part voting to cut taxes on the rich yet again and has put SSI in extreme peril. 35 years of media manipulation, that is definitely not liberal, has led working class folks to vote again to be beggars at the Republican feeding trough.
      I assume “heart” is code for white folks. As a white folk I find this reemergence of racism very middle of the country American. I am married to a white Peruvian/American and saw the change in attitude when she opened her mouth. It was a mix of ignorance and hatred. I listen to people of color as they speak of their fear. My wife now carries a copy of her passport and she is not the only one. Sad truly sad.

      Forget Solzhenitsyn watch “Born in East LA”

    • Jason

      The Moldovans producing most of the fake news articles during the election said they tried to gane liberals but they wouldn’t fall for it. The heartland conservatives bought it all hook, line, and sinker. The people without passports are the most gullible.

  7. Maurice

    Great primer on some cheaper and healthier pla es to live. As a minority, Trump looks to me like the orange antichrist so I am traveling around next year to find a place with less hate snd stress.

  8. doo-dad

    Stop with all the Trump gump.

    If you can point to one thing Jimmy Carter did that made your life better or worse — apart from your own decisions and efforts — then tell me how, with your crystal ball, Trump will have a similar impact on you, me, or anyone. And don’t tell me he alone was responsible for double-digit inflation and interest rates, when the Fed chairman’s accidental hiccups makes markets move more than the president and congress combined.

    Make your life politically agnostic. Moving and living overseas is a major stop in that direction. Then Trump has no effect on your life, if he even had one to begin with.

    • Tim Leffel

      Dear Mr. Doo-dad,

      It’s impossible to be agnostic in this climate of intentional hate. Plus the stats in on the last election show expats voted in overwhelmingly larger numbers than people actually living on U.S. soil. Surveys and most anecdotal encounters will also show you they’re also overwhelmingly liberal. It’s hard to be a closed-minded, anti-immigrant racist when you travel a lot and live abroad.

      So, if it costs me conservative readers that will never move anyway to connect with the ones who actually will, I’m fine with that. Go read Brietbart instead if it bothers you.

      • Heather Donnelly

        Dear Tim, Thanks for acknowledging some of the harsh modern realities influencing a possible new wave of expatriation. Along those lines, which destinations on your list would you say are most LGBT friendly? Do any have an anti-Jewish bias of which we should be aware?

      • Michael R

        Where’s the like button?

      • Felix Carbon

        That’s great! I agree 100% I am a vet, college educated retired GM 46yo. I am selling 3 of my 4 homes and moving for the next 4 years I have a cabin (2br) in North Bay Ont, Canada. I am looking at E Europe I lived in Mexico Norte Baja California and Columbia. I don’t ever want to be around narco’ s again. Trump is bad…not good. I agree with you I am keeping my interest in 1 bar but selling my 2 dice bars. I don’t want to live in a trump country. Your great Tim

        • Tim Leffel

          Thanks Felix. It’s good to have your options open in uncertain times. And some liquidity.

        • Alex

          Felix, do you rent out your cabin in Ontario?

    • Marita B.

      Hay Grandpa Doo-Dad: Jimmy Carter was president too long ago to effect my life, but Barak Obama sure had a huge impact on me personally. I’m one of the 20 million Americans who now have access to health insurance that didn’t before. I had a pre-existing condition and the GOP response to that was “too bad for you.” I’m looking to move abroad next year not because I particularly want to this soon, but if he rolls back this program I need to go to one of the saner countries in the world that actually cares about the health of its citizens. Fortunately, that’s almost all of them besides ours.

      • dawn

        Get a job and stop expecting me to pay for your healthcare. If you liked Obama so much, learn how to spell his name.

        • Tim Leffel

          You’re not paying for her health care. You’re (over)paying the corporations that deliver it. It’s all going in their pockets, not hers. She’s just trying to avoid going bankrupt in order to enjoy a basic right that’s taken for granted in every other developed country on the planet. We’re the only ones paying four profit-taking middlemen in every transaction.

          • Carolanne

            A voice of reason amidst the insanity. Thanks Tim.

      • Ron H

        Says you! I’m with a few other readers here, get a job and pay insurance yourself like other hard working Americans do. What will be funny is when you go to another country expecting to be automatically insured, and find yourself moving back to the same country you bad mouthed for insurance. I live in Costa Rica, and to have health insurance here you have to be a legal resident or buy your own expensive plane. Therefore I’ll save you the trouble of moving and just tell you to stay where you’re at and save you heartache.

        • Tim Leffel

          You have obviously been out of the USA a while. Most “hard working Americans” who don’t get insurance through an employer can’t afford it on the open market as it’s priced now unless they’re on Medicare. For a family of three it is more than $1,000 per month in most states for “bronze level” coverage with a high deductible. The average family health insurance premium has passed the annual monthly rent. Even in expensive Costa Rica $1,000 per month would cover your out of pocket expenses quite nicely with the very best doctors and hospitals. Costa Rica is not featured in my book or in this blog post though, for good reasons.

          • Kris

            Hi Tim – Could you briefly expand on the “good reasons” why Costa Rica is not included? I’ve heard recently of people moving there, and would like to better understand the reasons why it’s not up there on top choices.


          • John Campbell

            Hi Tim,

            I am curious too about why you don’t recommend Costa Rica or include it in your book. I have your book, both hard copy and audible, and it really steered me toward Eastern Europe, which I hadn’t even thought of before, but after investigating, the more I found out, the more I liked it. I now plan to move to either Romania or Bulgaria later this year. Surprisingly, four real seasons and cold winters were actually a big draw for me, especially after enduring tropical heat year round in Central and South Florida for the last 30 years.

            Anyway, I tried to get my cousin, about my same age,to read your book, but he has been convinced by the letters and correspondence from a company giving him the hard sell for Costa Rica, to invest, buy property, and of course to move there to this self described Shangri-La. It scares me that you don’t even mention it in passing, but hit all around it, like Panama & Nicaragua for example. Could you briefly explain why Costa Rica is not recommended? I suspect it’s more than just being more expensive, eh? Thanks!

    • Roger Willis

      The problem is that when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches the flu.

    • Robert Trenso

      Jimmy Carter actually won the popular vote at least. And he wasn’t an egotistical bully. Admired around the world still.

    • garrett durkin

      Well, for one thing, JC didn’t promote divisiveness, hate and intolerance and he was responsible for deregulating the trucking industry which my parents worked in and as a result financially benefitted from in the long term

    • Terence

      Hi Doo-dad, I have lived outside the US for the last 10 years and never regretted it for one day. However, I think it’s naive to believe, even if you live outside the USA, that Trump will have no effect on you.

      Less effect, certainly; but no effect, I doubt it. The world’s just too interconnected anymore for a big giant like the US to not have an effect worldwide.

      As our old friend, Gautama the Buddha said, however: “Life is 10,000 sorrows and 10,000 joys.” As for me, 70 years on this planet have convinced me my happiness or non-happiness cannot be dictated by any political leader. I create my state of mind. If it’s off, I need to do something myself to affect change, not expect if from any politician.

      • Carolanne

        Spot on Terence. I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for your thoughts here.

  9. Emily

    Thank you for the info! My cousin had an interesting experience in Italy. It’s not a cheap country at all, but though he had no money, he managed to leave there for a year or so due to his mother’s wit! He used house swap for several month, stayed free at rather cool apartments, changed them several times and worked at farms, vineyards or just traveled. House swap saved him a fortune and wasn’t worse than a hotel. He found hosts at Swap House Italy. Hospitable people are everywhere! I’d like to try his method in Australia next summer or maybe Cambodia will be more interesting?

  10. Ian

    Great info Tim and a great update to your books every year. We won’t be making any decisions until we see what happens with the new administration and congress but we are formulating a Plan B. So we probably will be putting some of your advice into practice in 2017 because Marta B. we are in the same boat. Although for us it’s not pre-existing condition it another clause in the ACA that limits what old people (upper 50’s low 60’s) can be charged compared to what young people are charged. If that gets repealed which the republicans have vowed to do, private health insurance will go from very expensive to ridiculously expensive and we figure we can probably save about > $1000 a month by becoming an expat at least until we become eligible for Medicare.

  11. Michael

    If you are truly intelligent and wish to be treated as such, you would not open a travel blog with a biased political opinion. Your opinions on politics are not relevant on a travel blog. For someone who many people look up to for advice, myself included, you made a very stupid mistake adding a political slant to this blog. I’m extremely disappointed in you.

    • Tim Leffel

      Politics is the reason many people leave the country to live abroad so it’s very relevant. (So is health care policy, which is political too.) Every place I’ve lived abroad I’ve experienced lively and heated political discussions among the expats. The two worlds are inextricably linked. For the record, it’s not a “stupid mistake” either. It’s a smart business move going by my traffic and book sales when I am opinionated and don’t play it safe.

      It’s free content, so if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other places you can go that are more vanilla. Going by the stats, there aren’t many of you who are doing that.

    • David

      I am sorry your life is now at a point that you can find the time to post unwanted and ill informed negative comments. If you don’t like the blog try one that fits your attitude

  12. Lisa W.

    Mexico is no longer a good destination for a single person on Social Security. I lived in Mexico for a while. A few years ago they doubled their monthly income requirement to US $2000 for one person, which is more than most American SS recipients get (and more than a lot of Mexicans make). And if you can’t afford to self-insure, you will have to consider the cost of medical and/or emergency evacuation insurance as well. If you don’t speak Spanish and have to go to a doctor or dentist, you will probably have to provide your own interpreter. If you plan to rent a place advertised in English and/or dollars – or use a real estate that caters mostly to foreigners – expect to pay a “gringo surcharge” for it. Don’t listen to sources like “International Living.” They give you all of the pros and none of the cons of living in a place, or they minimize the cons, which you will soon discover after you move. That being said, I liked Mexico, and I would move back there if I could afford it.

  13. Lisa W.

    One thing about Ecuador is that you can only get one 90 day tourist visa per year for that country, so you can’t make border runs every few months.

    If you want to live there for more than 3 months per year, you’ll have to get a resident visa, which is not cheap.

    Writing a travel blog is easy. Researching current resident visa requirements – and other government and insurance requirements – is not.

    • Tim Leffel

      I think the last count I saw had close to 10,000 Americans living in Ecuador, plus for the book I interviewed a few and more are in my Facebook group who have made the leap. They all said the resident visa process was fairly painless. What issues did you have?

  14. Rich

    Good article Tim, I have spent some time is Ecuador but never thought about moving there but I think will be on my short list…

  15. Ron H

    I find your remarks in the beginning asenine and uncalled for in this magazine. Politics should be kept to yourself and not shared with people who don’t share your hatred and crybaby attitude. Just because your candidate lost doesn’t mean you can or should let readers know. I have followed and liked articles here but will go to your competitor now , following many others who are as turned off as I am.

    • Tim Leffel

      Feel free to visit any and all “competitors” since they are free! As I’ve said before, emigration and politics are joined at the hip. It’s probably why my traffic is waaaayyy up on posts like this since the angry orange one lost the popular vote but snagged the office.

    • garrett durkin

      Ron H is a true trump chump

    • David

      The cool thing about the US that your are not being forced to read this blog. If you don’t like the blog “turn it off” . It is HIS blog, get your own or better yet, get a life and read this great source of information for what it provides. Wanna bitch about Tim I am sure his competitor will be glad to have you and us glad to not.

      • Carolanne

        Yes, exactly. Well said.

  16. Bobbie Miller

    HI Tim,

    I found your information quite enlightening! Thanks, and keep up the good work. I am looking for a plan B!

  17. Sam

    Interesting article on the majority vote:

    The US Presidency: How Important Is Hillary’s 2,864,974 Popular-Vote Win?
    California alone accounted for all of Hillary’s popular-vote win, plus 1,405,004 votes

  18. Marilyn Rutherford

    I am a Canadian older solo lady who has been an expat in several different countries for the past 15 years. I am reading this in Thailand. My base country now is Vietnam but I have also stayed extended periods and known long-term expats in Loas and Cambodia. I have been living on a government pension for a few years now with very little savings. I know for sure that I could not have even close to the same quality of life in Canada that I have here in SE Asia, even if I wanted to go back full time. I have talked to a lot of expats in these SE Asia countries (and in the S.Pacific countries of Fiji, Tonga and W. Samoa where I was for 11 years) and, although they state several varied personal reasons, the one main reason for moving from their country of origin is a far better quality of life for the money it costs than in the westernized, so-called progressive countries of EU, UK, Canada, Australia and US., and the second reason for many is the temperate weather, and the third reason I have started to hear lately is to distance themselves from disagreeable government issued in their country of origin.
    I feel that you have gotten off track on your blog by discussing political issues that are unique to your country and that the rest of the world is no longer wanting to hearing about.

  19. Annette

    Not sure about the rest of Indonesia, in Bali over 55’s can now apply for a retirement visa. Around AUD$1200/year and no visa runs!

  20. Terence

    Have to cast my vote for a Thai retirement visa. It’s a bit easier than you state, actually.

    When you write, “Thailand is a great place to live if you’re of retirement age and can meet the requirement of socking away money in a Thai bank.” The truth is, Americans simply need to front up at the US consulate or embassy, fill out a form stating their monthly income, pay $50 for the service, and walk away with the form.

    Present that form to Thai immigration, and it satisfies your financial requirements, often the biggest challenge for a retirement visa. The good news is: neither the US nor the Thai authorities actually require anything more than your sworn statement. Neither checks any further to confirm your statement.

    Nudge, nudge; wink’s as good as a nod.

  21. Stephen

    Another awesome list, as I comment from my temporary home in Romania. I second your nod to Ukraine, it is unbelievably cheap right now (like cheaper than Thailand easily), and plenty of livable cities in the west of the country.

  22. Susan

    What a shame. I was so happy to find a link that seemed to satisfy my web search.
    Perfect first photo to start my reading and then… disaster! Your first paragraph ruined it for me.
    I am Canadian looking for a retirement spot.
    You should remember not all people adhere to your political opinion. Thus, if you were a wise person, you should truly delete that first paragraph that has no place in the subject matter and replace with a pleasant welcoming text.
    P.S.: I didn’t read the places you recommend. There are other websites. Regards.

    • Tim Leffel

      So you only read information if everything on the page adheres to your existing beliefs? Bye.

      • cecil

        Good job Tim. Unfortunately those wanting to expatriate are going to realize that politics run the world and therefore determine how expensive or inexpensive it is going to be to live on it.

  23. Mandy

    Careful with some of these countries! Islamic Sharia Law is on the rise in several Asian countries, for example Malaysia now forbids homosexuality. It is considered a crime and you will be jailed for it! Check out the compatibilty of your lifestyle with Sharia before going to Islamic countries.

  24. Steve Smith

    Good article but your political commentary is unnecessary.

  25. Laura

    “Portugal is far cheaper than Spain” – How I wish that were true. What were you smoking that day Tim?

  26. Brad

    You need to update your entry on Nepal! I lived there from 2011-2015 and during that time power cuts were definitely an issue. It turns out that there was no reason for them – other than corruption – and the situation has greatly improved. Or at least electrical power is pretty consistent. I would guess the corruption is, too, just elsewhere.

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