The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2014

Would you like to feel wealthier?

You could work more hours. Or get a higher-paying job. Or become a hermit and never go out or buy anything.

Or you could just move.

[Note – there’s a newer version of this article with updates. See The Cheapest Places to Live 2018.]

cheap living Mexico

At an exchange rate of 12.5 to the dollar…

Each year I do a rundown of the cheapest places to live in the world, giving readers examples of real “normal person” costs in places where you can live well for less. By nature it can’t be complete—it’s an idea generator. Invariably it also generates lots of questions in the comments and by e-mail, so next year I’m going to answer all those questions in a book. [Editor’s note – it’s out now! Called A Better Life for Half the Price, you can see more details on the e-book and packages here.) If you want to join 2,000 other people on the Cheap Living Abroad newsletter, go sign up on this page.

When you do, you’ll get a free report on “14 Places You Can Stay for Four Months or More on a Tourist Visa.”

For now though, let’s look at where you will be able to get by on far less money than you can in your own country by living somewhere else. Here are some of the cheapest places to live in the near future based on actual prices, economic conditions, exchange rates, and ease of staying for a while.

It’s not hard finding a cheaper place to live than where you probably live right now. That list would probably be 100 countries long. You could just pull up Gross Domestic Product breakdowns and compare it to your country’s. A list like that will only take you so far, however. Just because Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, or Haiti is cheap doesn’t mean you’re going to want to live there. Other places are a bargain and very desirable—like Indonesia or the Philippines—but the visa situation makes it very tough to buy or even set up residency unless you’re going to marry a local, get a job with a multi-national, or start your own corporation.

Also, keep in mind that tourism deals do not always translate to cheaper residency. Just because you always see ads for beautiful Croatia holidays at bargain prices, don’t split for the city of Split thinking that rents and restaurant meals are going to be cheap. Tourist towns are priced for tourists.

The cheapest places to live in the world don’t change drastically from year to year, so the 2013 report is still full of great ideas. Economic conditions change though, as do visa requirements, so here’s an update for the coming year, arranged by continent.

Cheapest Place to Live in Europe

In terms of economic growth, Europe is the sickest region in the world right now. So while it’s not cheap, in the real estate world you can find lots of value. Even if you’re not buying, there’s big supply and low demand in countries where people are trying to get an income from second homes, where relatives have moved in together to save money, and where overbuilding has created a glut of empty apartments. If you’re already a European Union passport holder, moving to another country here is a no-brainer. You’re mobile, you’ve got budget flights home to see the relatives, and you’ve got very few visa hurdles.



Prices for rent or purchase are great in Hungary. Even in Budapest you can find a furnished apartment in a convenient area for 300 euros or less. Prices for eating out, drinking wine, and entertainment are half what you’re probably paying in your home city. Head to a smaller city and prices drop more.

If you have ancestral roots in the country, you can get a fast-track citizenship, with a dual passport. You have to speak Hungarian, but this is a back door into the EU and Hungary would be a great place to live in Central Europe. This is one of The World’s Cheapest Destinations for travel and you can hop on a train here to visit neighbors Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania. For more details, see my post on traveler prices in Budapest (and assume as a resident, you’ll find lower ones…)

Romania, Slovakia, and BulgariaRomania living

I’m lumping these three together because they all have a glut of housing for the same reason: a lot of their citizens are living abroad in order to make more money than they can at home. In the cities this means anyone who comes in with cash can find a nice apartment for 250 euros relatively easily. If you head into the countryside, there are entire blocks of empty homes that are either temporarily or permanently empty. If you’re a buyer, you can pick up a house or new condo for less than US$50,000. If you’re a renter, “How much have you got?”

Slovakia isn’t as well set-up for inter-city transportation as the other two, but you can get between the main population centers on a train or bus. In Bulgaria and Romania, you will eat and drink very well for cheap and you can move between cities for a few dollars. See past posts on prices in Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.


I visited Lisbon and then did a week-long bike trip through the rural Alentejo region of Portugal earlier this year and found the prices on some things comparable to what you would find in Eastern Europe. But you get those cheap prices in a warmer climate that borders the ocean. And if you learn the language here, you can use it in huge Brazil.

With the economic crisis in Europe hitting Portugal hard, it’s a buyer’s market for real estate. With unemployment high, there’s little opportunity for living expenses to rise for those renting and buying groceries either. The great wine here is a terrific bargain and there’s a tremendous amount of inherent beauty. The big drawback for Americans is this is a full member of the EU, with the same residency hurdles you will face anywhere else in Western Europe. Prepare for a long, drawn-out process with the bureaucrats.

cheaper living Portugal

Spain and Greece

Neither of these countries is nearly as cheap as Eastern Europe or even Portugal, but in many ways they’re in far worse shape. A completely collapsed economy and a burst real estate/banking bubble are hanging over both like a never-leaving storm cloud and unemployment is at levels the USA hasn’t seen since the Great Depression. Basically half the people in their 20s are out of work and many in their 30s and up are too. That means more people living with their parents, more families cramming into one house instead of three. Then there are all the coastal towns where speculation went awry and where many of those Brits who bought homes desperately want to get out.

All this means that there’s a “name your own price” real estate atmosphere in many areas, buyers taking whatever they can get in a market where sellers vastly outnumber buyers. You need to be in it for the long haul to profit from this, of course, but there’s probably not been an opportunity like this for at least four decades. If you’re a renter, land with some cash and patiently ask around. You’ll probably find a house in Greece or Spain for a tiny fraction of what you’re paying for a tiny apartment in, say, London, New York, San Francisco, or Sydney.

Ireland (wild card pick – for buyers)

[Update August 2014: this housing auction train might have left the station as Ireland is quickly recovering from its malaise. If you haven’t acted by now, it may be too late. Go east or south…]

It has been a long time since Ireland has been called a cheap country, but right now it is a cheap place to invest in real estate. This has been one of Europe’s most troubled economies after rising fast and falling even faster. International Living reported this year that you can now get a fixer-upper for under US$30,000, a move-in-ready condo for US$50,000 and “You can buy your dream home here for one fifth of what it cost in 2007.” Prices are especially good in areas where Irish bought second homes they now want out of and developers built like the party would never end. Your daily costs will be on par with what they are at home—this is the EU after all—but if Ireland has a strong pull on your heart, having a home here that you got at a bargain basement price would be a great long-term investment, something to pass on to the next generation. If you’re of Irish descent, you can get an Irish passport too—a huge advantage when you travel to places with reciprocal visa fees. Do it soon though: Ireland is exiting their bailout program after three years, so the window won’t be open forever.

As for rental prices, as in most of the world it’s cheaper outside the big cities. Stats say rents in the country as a whole are only 40% of what they are in New York City. But for the price of one-bedroom apartment in Dublin you can get a three-bedroom house in smaller towns.

Beach in Nicaragua

Cheapest Places to Live in Latin America

From Mexico down to Argentine Patagonia, the Americas offer a wide range of choices for living better for less. Pick your climate, pick your culture, and choose city, mountain vista, or beach. Then learn some Spanish: only in Belize and the Gringolandia places can you get by with English only. (If you must, those would be Ajijic, Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, San Miguel de Allende, Roatan, Granada, coastal Costa Rica, or Boquete.) A bonus consideration for this part of the world: you can almost always stay at least 90 days on the tourist visa you get on arrival.


It’s not the cheapest, but for ease of access and retirement incentives, Panama is tops. If you can show a monthly income of $1,000 or more (plus $100 for each dependent), getting a retiree visa is quite straightforward. And you don’t have to be retired either—there’s no age requirement. If you buy property worth $100K or more, your income requirement drops to $750 per month. You can import $10,000 of goods duty-free plus a car. You also get lots of discounts within the country, including internal flights. In three months you can become a permanent resident. Spend $300K in the country and you can get citizenship. There are other long-term visas for starting a corporation that hires locals, investing in agribusiness, or investing in reforestation.

Why move here? Think of it as Costa Rica with lower prices and fewer hassles. Instead of looking like they’re trying to keep foreign residents out, Panama puts out the message that they actually want you to come. But you can get much of what draws people to Costa Rica: jungle wildlife, a long coastline (Pacific and Caribbean), beautiful tropical islands, coffee country highlands bursting with flowers, and the most cosmopolitan city south of Miami. Infrastructure is far better here than the rest of Central America and the economy keeps growing at a rapid rate: the word “recession” passed this place by without even stopping in to say hello. Besides that, they’ve got the cheapest booze in this hemisphere.

cheapest places Latin America


This is, in most respects, the cheapest destination in the Americas and one of the cheapest places to retire in the world. Take a look at these traveler prices in Nicaragua and know that as a resident, you’ll find even better deals than this. Many people who moved to Nicaragua say they’ve done it because the country seems like a land of limitless opportunity, a place where you can turn a blank slate into something beautiful. The economy is stable and growing and with a population just starting to gain much of what the first world takes for granted, this is a country on the rise. As with Panama, it shares many attributes with its neighbor Costa Rica, but with a far lower crime rate. (But, it must be said, less environmental protection and worse education.)

cheap living abroadEven in Granada, the area with the most expatriates, you could get by on $1,000 a month, or $1,500 for a couple, without trying very hard. Bump that up to $2,000 a month and the two of you would be living like elites. Take that same amount into the countryside and you’re one of the richest people in town. About the only thing you’ll pay more for here than you would at home is imported items like clothing or electronics. Anything grown in the region, which is everything from coffee to pineapples, is going to be a fraction of what you would spend normally. This is especially true for services since labor costs are low. Medical costs in the top private hospital in the capital are typically 1/5 of what they would be stateside.

The best news is, it’s straightforward to get residency here and the income requirements are quite low—as in $1K for a family, less for a single person. You can stay for five years at a time after getting legal and can import $20K of goods duty-free. If you spend a hundred grand or more on a house, you can even work without asking.

Rents for a basic apartment start at $150 and if you spend more than $500 you’re likely getting a furnished family-sized home with plenty of amenities. You can buy a luxury home in Granada or San Juan del Sur that’s tricked-out with everything you’d want, but get past those two magnet towns and you can a lot of house for your money.


If they were more welcoming to foreigners, Bolivia would be an expat paradise. Prices are low, labor is cheap, and in places like Sucre, both the climate and the aesthetics are quite pleasant. You supposedly only need to show $1,000 a month in income–not carefully checked—to become a resident. Bolivia has been Venezuela’s closest ally besides Cuba for a long while though and the anti-Americanism has lived on past the death of Chavez. Because of the political track record, this is not a place where you want to buy something of great value: it’s not unthinkable that the leadership will freeze or take your property, as it has already done with many private companies.

Getting permission to live here for a year or two is technically not hard, but actually getting to the finish line of that takes superhuman patience. Check out this blow-by-blow blog post with each document needed to get an idea. But hey, you get 90 days on arrival while you’re sorting it out. Or you can just come for three months and move on.

Cuenca prices

Cuenca taxi prices, in US dollars


Despite a big rise in the price of alcohol and an economy on the rise from oil and minerals money, Ecuador is still one of the cheapest places to live while having a good life. Not just in the Americas, but in the world. This is a place where it’s hard to spend more than $6 on a city taxi ride, even in Quito, and where spending $1,000 on rent will get you the kind of apartment or house that would be featured in a high-life living magazine at home. Ecuador is a country where you see full houses with land or historic building apartments near the Plaza Grande where the President works for sale for less than $50,000 (sometimes much less) and where I recently spent $2 on a three-course set meal two blocks from the center of Cuenca. Take a look at these prices for travelers in Ecuador. Oh, and doctors make house calls still, for a premium of about $10 over what the office visit would be. (Hint, it’s probably less than your co-pay in the USA.)

The most popular spot for retirees is the third-largest city of Cuenca, but even there the numbers of them are not overwhelming: the local tourism office estimates it’s 4,500 tops, in a city of around half a million. The mini-boom has driven up prices a little for rent or purchase, but they’re both still 1/4 of what you would pay at home. Get out of the three big cities and it gets even cheaper. Retirees who get legal residency have a lot of perks, including big discounts on already reasonable internal flights. You’ve got a whole range of climates in this one country, from sea level beaches to snow-covered mountains. That means they can grow just about anything too, so the range of cheap fruit and vegetables is staggering. All told, many couples living here spend $1,000 to $2,000 a month total and are living an above-average life.

My home town, Guanajuato


You can certainly find cheaper places to live than my frequent home of Mexico, but it is possible to live here on half of what you normally spend in most parts of the USA in the interior, plus there’s the added advantage that it’s easy to get in and out of. I can get to my home in Guanajuato from Florida faster than I can get to Montreal or San Francisco. For not much more money. You can easily get by without a car in even small cities, health care is excellent and affordable, and there are plenty of other foreigners to get advice from—by some estimates close to a million of them.

Mexico seriously tightened up its immigration requirements in late 2012 though and there’s been a big outcry over the new income requirements. Technically you need to show an income of $2,000 a month plus $500 for each dependent. In reality though, some consulates have been requiring more to be on the safe side. On the other hand, I’ve also heard reports of some embassies and consulates (especially in Canada) just looking at one month’s pension statement and granting approval. This initial application must now be done in your home country before you leave, then you have 30 days after arriving in Mexico to go through the rest of the process locally, which takes several visits and close to $300.

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If you’re not looking to put down roots, you can forget those income requirements and take advantage of the very liberal visitor visa: you get 180 days upon arrival just for the asking. Many snowbirds come down for six months and then return home. Others come for 180 days, go on vacation outside the country, then return and get another 180 days. There’s a year of living abroad, immersed in the language and culture, without a single visit to an immigration office.


As with Mexico, you don’t come here because Belize is the absolute cheapest, but many move here for other compelling reasons beyond the price. The country is not big on rules, so it makes sense that getting residency here is pretty easy, for now anyway. If you’re 45 or older and can show monthly income of $2,000, you can tap into the Qualified Retirement Program. That gets you a residency visa and allows you to import household goods and a vehicle duty-free. To work or open a business, you come in on a renewable tourist visa, stay for 12 months (paying $900 in fees to renew each month along the way), then you should be approved. No income check required.

It’s relatively easy to find a simple house to rent for $600 or less, especially in the Cayo district or other towns away from the beaches. Prices to buy are not such a bargain though and it’s hard to find anything decent now for under $100K. Costs for eating out and buying groceries are high for Central America as well, in many cases double what you would pay in neighboring Guatemala. Still, many couples manage to live a good, laid-back life for between $1,500 to $2,500 a month, depending on their location and how much they’re spending on rent.


Placencia, Belize

Guatemala and Honduras

Both of these countries are dirt cheap places to live. Unfortunately, they’re also two of the most crime-ridden countries in the Americas. It’s all about drugs moving through, so the violence is very localized. If you’re the type that can figure out the lay of the land and avoid the trouble spots, go to it. Especially as a renter, there’s not a big risk, plus you can’t really buy a place on Lake Atitlan as a foreigner anyway. So just rent a house for $250 a month there or an apartment in Antigua and move on later. In Honduras, most of the trouble is in the cities, which are unpleasant places to live anyway. Get into the smaller towns or the islands and it’s a different story.

Start living it up now! Get A Better Life for Half the Price.


living in Thailand

Cheapest Places to Live in Asia

In the most current annual cost of living survey done by The Economist, half of the 20 cheapest cities to live in were located in Asia. If you get out of the big cities, you’ll be even better off.


This is first on the list not because it’s the easiest or the best deal, but because so many people dream of living here after visiting. A lot stay on to teach English, run a bar, or move in with that Thai girl who says she loves him, finding a way to keep making visa runs or get legal after a while. Getting a retirement visa is much easier than getting one for a youngster and if you get a one-year visa being the latter, you still have to leave the country and come back every 90 days. But then there’s this quote I saw on a residency site for staying long-term: “Permanent Residence Permit in Thailand is an opportunity that the Thai government offers to only 100 people of each nationality every year. ”

Thailand is a better place to rent than buy for most foreigners since rents are cheap ($400 can get you a furnished apartment in an elevator building and a pool or a whole house in some areas) and you’re only allowed to buy a condo, not a home.

Anyone who has been here knows the benefits of Thailand, from great food to fun nightlife to gorgeous beaches to ummm, abundant pleasures to suit any lifestyle. It’s also an easy overland trip from here to Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Bangkok remains one of the world’s cheapest airports to fly in and out of from elsewhere.

Cambodiacosts living abroad

In many respects, Cambodia is the cheapest destination in Southeast Asia and there are a lot of good reasons to live here, especially if you have a job where you can work remotely. For a pauper’s salary in the US, Canada, or Europe, you can like like royalty here. A taxi across Siem Reap will cost you $2, you can eat a great meal for under $4, and you could get an hour-long massage every day of the week for $5 a pop. In a country where the average income is under $100 a month, you can pay more than average for domestic help and still be amazed at how little it costs. Plus US dollars are used far more often than the local currency.

Like most of the rest of the region, this is a steamy and hot place, so don’t come here looking for eternal spring. This is the tropics from top to bottom. There are beaches though, so you can live near one or just travel south on breaks to cool off.

Buying property in Cambodia can be tough since technically you can only purchase a condo unless you form a corporation, but there are ways around every rule in this country if you’re determined, and you can buy your way in to citizenship if you so desire. But many find it easier and less burdensome to just rent. It’s possible to rent a multi-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood for less than $200 a month, including utilities.


As with Panama in the Americas, Malaysia is not the cheapest place to live in Asia, but it is the most welcoming to retirees with some cash to invest. You can buy almost any kind of property freehold and once you do so (above a certain threshold), you’re all set for a residency visa. This is a formal program called My Second Home Malaysia, which you can read about in English here.

It’s easy to try Malaysia on for size, with most rentals suitable for a couple being under $1,000 a month outside of the capital, even in the top neighborhoods, unless you’re getting a penthouse or a palace. As a rough guideline, in most parts of Asia a couple could live on $2,000 to $3,000 a month and have it made.

This is a hot tropical country, but with lots of coastline and islands to get you seaside.

living in Asia


In many respects Vietnam is cheaper than Thailand and there are plenty of great reasons to live her if you’re dreaming of a home in the tropics. Since most of the population gets around by motorbike, you can join them and your moving around costs will be cheap. As usual you’ll go though some hassles to get residency, but there’s a strong network of expats you can tap into in the cities to get it sorted out. Even in the biggest cities you can find a nice furnished apartment or hotel suite for under $400 a month and if you go to a smaller place, you can get a whole house and a maid for that. Here are some sample traveler prices in Vietnam.


Cheap Asia travelingIf you want to go live somewhere for cheap for a while for your finances to recover, you can come to India on a 180-day tourist visa and get by for very cheap. Despite more luxe travelers visiting and the middle class growing larger each year, this is still a country where far more people are poor than rich and the daily cost of living for the basics is  among the lowest worldwide. When you get that $1 meal though, it’s actually varied and tasty, not just manioc mush.

Outside the two biggest cities, you could live very well for under $1,000 a month (and scrape by on far less if you needed to). You can find an apartment for $200 or less or just check into a hotel and stay there.


This is probably the cheapest country in the world to travel in right now, so naturally it’s also one of the cheapest places to live. It’s not easy to get residency here, but you can come in on a three-month tourist visa and then extend it. (Or find the right person to pay off and stay for longer.) If you like gorgeous mountain scenery every day when you look out your window, this is your place. Outdoor activities are abundant, meals are cheap, and you won’t pay much to rent a place to live. You’ll probably want to get out of crowded and polluted Kathmandu though. Head to Pokhara or travel around a bit to get a feel for the right place to settle.

Cheapest Places to Live in Africa

I get zero questions or e-mails about living in Africa, so I’m giving it a short shrift here. Obviously if you live like a local, there are plenty of places where you could get by for two or three dollars a day. Living on $50 a day would put you above the bulk of the population in most countries. But it takes a special kind of person to live in Africa out of a lifestyle choice rather than a job/charity one.

My friend Andy of HoboTraveler has lived a lot of stints in Tome, Togo and here’s his take on that place and Africa in general.

If I were going to move anywhere in Africa, it would probably be Morocco. It’s exotic, but it has good infrastructure and interesting architecture. It’s in my World’s Cheapest Destinations book because it’s one of the best values out there. You can get by in French.

Egypt was a natural cheap living option before, but let’s pass on that for now, shall we?

Spots on the East Africa backpacking trail are worth looking into, especially South Africa (not cheap, but cheaper than where you are now probably), Mozambique, and Mali for instance.

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  1. Kerry Dexter

    speaking of Ireland: as the pull of Irish ancestry is so strong, I’ll mention that to qualify for Irish citizenship by descent your parent or grandparent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. more distant generations and relatives do not work any longer.

    • Sinéad

      To be a “natural” Irish citizen, yes, that is the case. However our EU neighbours are free to work and live in Ireland as they please. Outside of the EU, visas for Ireland are not too difficult to get; probably easier than any other EU country. After 5 years (I think), you can opt for “naturalization” and get citizenship, regardless of ancestry.

  2. Mat Newton

    Great article.

    As someone who chose to live in Egypt for 2.5 months leading up to the second revolution, I’m going to say something that you have probably said yourself many times — “Don’t believe everything you read in the media”

    The reasons not to live in Egypt make up a very long list but “political disturbance” is not one of them, unless you’re a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood – in which case I suggest you hop on a plane.

    According to the people I know that live there, since the second revolution things have improved markedly in terms of the general function of infrastructure. The main reason I left was for internet issues due to blackouts.. I make all my money through the internet so I need a nice connection but apparently the second revolution has eliminated the blackouts.

    There’s no country I have been to (of 31) that gives me more of a twinge of regret for leaving than Egypt. It’s chaotic and crazy but in many ways is really a special place.

    • Tim Leffel

      Thanks for the feedback Mat. I’ve had a few arguments with people about this on whether trouble in Cairo means trouble in Aswan or Sharm el Sheik. I hope it levels out eventually.

    • Anthony J. Namata

      Matt, you make all of your money online? Gosh, I love the sound of that. You and I need to talk. I live in Tanzania. Expensive? Well, pick the most expensive country in Europe and it will be way cheaper than Tanzania. And this is Africa. Who would’ve thought!

    • Ethan Caine

      Same here, internet is my #1 concern! Is there FAST internet in ANY affordable countries that you know of? I live in Canada so I am pretty spoiled with FIBRE directly to my place…

      • Tim Leffel

        It’s hard to make blanket statements about a whole country, but Europe on the whole is quite good. Romania is #5 in the world on this list and Bulgaria is higher than the USA. Hungary is higher than the UK and Canada.

        In general, Latin America is way behind. It says 12 mbps for Mexico on that report but that’s highly skewed by what people are getting in the three largest cities. Keep in mind though in hardly any place is it consistent and reports like this show averages. Big cities like Bangkok and Saigon are going to be great if you’re in a place with the right connection, but not so much in small towns.

        • Kathaleen Brewer

          I’m ready to retire and get the hell out of the US. I was wondering if you still have links for all the ladies who blogged back in 2014 about going together on a place. I’m an ocean/island gal so Granada or the Philippines would be my first choice. I’m leaning towards the Philippines because I could use it as a home base for exploring Thailand, Australia and maybe China. I’ve already sailed the Med. and spent a month’s worth of nights on several Turk and Greek islands (away from tourists) as well as explored some major ports. I did not care for the fact that the men in these countries still will not do business or serve an unescorted woman: i.e trying to buy gas or ice for the boat – even ordering a cafe’. So I always had to wait until my male sailor friends woke up in the morning and went onshore with me.

          • ANGEL


          • Tracy Brooks

            I’m reading this bc I’m 62 in IL and will retire with $639.00 a month. I’m healthy young-at- heart and attractive. This is what Social Security gives women that have not worked much in their careers. Next, the United States after this election is going to be in turmoil for years to come. Where do I go that’s peaceful, safe, cheap and maybe find the love of my life. The article said little about Internet access. I have 2 daughters and 2 grandsons. I’ve tried living with daughters; it’s difficult and unpleasant.

      • palomnik

        Internet here in Vietnam is fast and cheap. I pay about $8 a month for my high-speed connection, and I don’t live in Saigon or Hanoi. Top that off with a router and you’re good to go anywhere in your apartment. Every coffee shop has wifi (and there are lots of coffee shops here). I’ve heard it said that the Internet here is the best in SE Asia; I don’t know about that for sure, but I lived in Thailand for three years and the service there was good, but more expensive than here.

        • wendy

          Hello What area of Vietnam do you live? We are thinking of going there for a few years and leaving every ninety days because of the tourist visa laws. Just wondering if you have any tips for a good area that is safe and where at least some English is spoken. Thank you

  3. Mary Bartnikowski

    Great article I read it all and loved it. I have been to most of the places you mentioned and you gave a great round-up of each one for people considering a move there. I’m in Chiang Mai Thailand now and will leave soon but have enjoyed being here 4 months – a little too hectic for me though. Great food, wonderful and low cost medical care and good infrastructure. Thanks for the read!

    • Tim Leffel

      Mary, I’d love to chat with you later about your experience there, including what you spent on a monthly basis.

  4. Marcus

    The problem with most places in Africa that should be inexpensive is that there’s a local price and foreigner price. Or to be more blunt, a black price and a white price. Since most of the latter people are free-spending NGO workers and oil people, things cost far more than they should for an outsider without strenuous bargaining all day every day. It will wear you out.

    • Christine Akinduro

      Yes, I experienced this price discrepancy, based on race, when living in Nigeria. It’s a shame!!

  5. Colin Burns

    Great write up. Thanks for all the great information. We’ve spent a fair bit of time living in Malaysia and travelling around SE Asia, but now it’s time to head to the Americas. Can’t wait to actually get on the ground and experience it all for myself.

    If you ever need any information about living in Malaysia don’t hesitate to ask. BTW in Malaysia now foreigners can only buy property worth more than 500,000MYR which is approximately $155,000USD. You can also start a business in Malaysia and get a visa through that method if need be, or google “Labuan” as this is an offshore tax location that allows you to get residency very easily.


    • Sukanya

      Hi Colin,

      This is Sukanya from India. I read some articles on your blog and wanted to connect to you regarding Malaysia. I wanna move to Malaysia along with my boyfriend. Can u please guide through the job part of it. What work did u guys do during your stay there???

      I would really appreciate all related info on the same. Awaiting your reply :)


  6. Ricky

    Thanks for your efforts of putting all the info together. I am planning to visit Cambodia in 2014.

    • jimmy

      Do yourself a favor and save your money…
      Don’t bother…you will only be treated as a dollar bill…

  7. Linda

    Thank you so much for putting this together. I’ve bookmarked what seems like 40 websites trying to get this kind of info and this one page has been far more helpful than most of them. I signed up for the newsletter and will definitely get that book when it comes out!

  8. Cal

    Spain one of my favorite place. It has big historical background. There have so many places to visit. But I think Spain is not cheaply place to travel.

  9. James

    I keep hearing Uruguay is a great place to live, but that it’s gotten very expensive the past few years. That you won’t save much money living there except maybe on health care and wine. (Do those two balance out?) I see it on lists from International Living and LiveandInvestoverseas, but then other people say they’re using old info in recommending it. THoughts?

    • Melania

      For living in Uruguay, what can I say-very civilized, very clean, but V.V. expansive!
      I live in Chile, now, and here it is hyper expansive, but Uruguay about 2-3 times more expensive.
      For South Africa, yes it is cheaper then many other places, but deffinetly Not recomended for the high violent crime.
      Romania it is cheap, relatively comfortable, but the climate…hot in the summer, and very, very, cold in the winter…brrr…!

  10. Angele Raskaukas

    Thank you for this and the ‘keep me up to date via email’ option. Good to read updates as the year progresses.

  11. molly

    I’ve been in Bulgaria since 2002. In 2007 we bought a decrepit merchant’s house in a beautiful small town on the Danube, Tutrakan, for 10,000 euro. Huge but masses of work.

    Upside to rural living in Bg is that you can get by decently on about $500 a month, and it’s beautiful, quiet, peaceful and very relaxed. Downside is that winters are rough and there’s virtually no employment, so you need to have a good nest egg or work online.

    • Craig McIntosh

      I agree I lived in Bulgaria for 5 years and it is magic, and yes the winters are hard, but the summers are fabulous. I hope to return there soon once i get my online business working.

      • Nina

        May I ask we brought you to Bulgaria? I have decided to relocate from the US to overseas, but not sure where to go. I do know cost of living is important. Also how diverse is Bulgaria and is english widley spoken?

        • Ciprian

          Come to Romania , is better that in bulgaria, cheeper, english every 15-35 know , also is in EU .for a 3000$ you buy a house or a flat on the mountine also search what prince charls , he buy house here.

  12. Nisha

    Great list! I read it & also all the comments and loved it. I have been to a few of these places you’ve mentioned. You gave a great round-up of each one for people considering a move there.
    Have heard of Eastern Europe a lot about being inexpensive. Africa, I am not so sure.

    In most of South-east Asian countries, you’ll find things cheaper but the living conditions not that good.

    I hope you add some more places as the time pass by. :)

  13. Will

    Great article, although would be nice to know the way to connect this destinations, I like when you mentioned together: “Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria” (not sure why Hungary is apart), all in South East Asia can be connected on land by bus/train for around 10usd major city to major city (even if they cross international boarders). Beside this previous 2 areas of the countries you mention I don’t know how are the connections in Latin America or in western Europe, or even better how are the connections not between this areas inside but between one area and other (here I know Russia is well cheap connected with Vietnam).

    I have been living this last year in Asia, 5 countries so far

    • Tim Leffel

      If you look at an atlas or globe and they’re connected there, then probably they are by bus, train, or boat as well. The only exceptions are isolationist countries (like North Korea) and military state/conflict zones. For the Americas, you can go from Alaska or Canada all the way to the bottom of South America overland except for a boat trip around the Darien Gap.

      • Anthony

        Tim aren’t you concerned about Hungary’s right wing government? Militias have also been seen trying to recruit younger men and women into their causes (Jew bashing, likely anti-African as well, among other things).

        • Tim Leffel

          I am mentioning this in the book, but it’s hard to find any inexpensive country that doesn’t have loads of government problems. Actually the only people I’ve run across that don’t complain much about their government are (ironically) the ones that pay the highest taxes: Scandinavian ones.

    • wendy

      Will-Hello=We are looking at spending a few years in Asia. I am trying to make some contacts and talk to people. I would love to hear about your experiences. Could we exchange emails? Thank you

  14. Devon

    I can never figure out why so many Brits go to Australia to live and vice versa. Sure, you can get work, but you spend everything you make on living expenses. Meanwhile I’ve got friends in Lisbon and Budapest paying 1/3 what I do each month. And that’s just Europe. Go to Nepal and you could live on less than what a flat costs here.

  15. Lu States

    i will be out of money, except for $900 i get a month from SSDI, because i have parkinsons. i will be 65 then, and expect i will have to die, because i cannot generate any income. is there a place that a 65 year old woman can live alone and feel safe, find some old charm, and live out her last years, instead of suicide, which i am seriously contemplating, over MONEY !!!???? how sad is it that money is EVERYTHING. i lost everything here in the ” depression ” ( what recession ?? ), and can’t find anyway to generate income. any advice would be welcome. thanks, lu

    • Jason

      Go to the Philippines. You can have a full-time, caring nurse take care of you and live the rest of your days like a queen with $900 a month. Look at the island of Cebu or Iloilo for the best bang for your buck. Everyone speaks English and medical expenses are dirt cheap for someone who needs full time care. Look at spending $750 to live well, including a nurse. Don’t you dare off yourself, I would be sad. You will find the Philippines to be a viable solution that will surprisingly give you some satisfying final years in this old world.

    • Rob

      Hi Lu:

      Please let me expand on what Jason has told you in his 3/24/2014 reply to you. I have recently lived in the Philippines for a year and a half. Almost everyone there understands and speaks English and they have a good health care system as well. Since you are on a budget, the most difficult thing for you would be the airfare. It’s a bit expensive and a VERY long trip! If you can get over those 2 hurdles, then it will all be worth it! Also, the CHEAPEST place in the Philippines is NOT Cebu, it’s actually Dumaguete. It’s an island between Iloilo and Cebu and has one of the country’s best Universities, Stillman University and an awesome bakery. There are all kinds of restaurants and food right off the ocean! I think they also have a visa for people who go there for medical reasons. You can live there for about $500 a month and still have money to go out to a movie and go shopping! Maybe you will meet a rich local! LOL

    • Connie moriatis

      Hi ,
      Iam also a lady who is 65 next year and will live on ssa of about $1800
      There are several of us ladies who are interested in living in a group in a cheaper place. Would love to email you if you are really interested in living I a different place the last few years.
      I am not sick. Am looking also for a place to live much cheaper.

      • Maxeen

        Hi Connie,
        I am a ‘Golden Oldie’ from the UK looking for a cheaper place to live with a more relaxed lifestyle (and better weather). I would be very interested to hear more about your group.
        I have travelled on my own for many years and have lived in USA and Singapore and had extended stays in Thailand, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. I have enjoyed all of them which makes the choice even harder but the reality boils down to the best lifestyle for the least money

        • Meg

          Hi Maxeen, I’m also a Brit living in USA and interested in living abroad with like-minded ladies on a tight budget. I’d love to hear more. Maybe we can pick someone’s email as a general info and how things are looking, or not. I’m interested!

        • Yvonne

          Hi Ladies.
          I am right with you about a group of us older women living somewhere wonderful but also safely due to being a group. Have you all started communication with each other yet? Picked a desireable beach community?

        • Brenda Addie

          I’m interested in connecting with women who might like to purchase rural property with a view to self sustainability. We need mutual support and woman power.

          • Leigh

            Hi Brenda. .let’s minded!

          • Ionita Heinze

            Hey Brenda, I am Ionita and likeminded. How can I reach you by email?

      • Meg

        I’m also on SSDI and recently divorced. Living cheaply abroad seems like the right option for me. I have travelled extensively but, at 67, it’s time to find some roots abroad. I have been to India many times but I’m open to new ideas and meeting new people. A like-minded group sounds good to me!

        • Mavis

          Hi Meg
          How or where do u start to find somewhere to stay that is cheaper than the uk. I have just found this site by accident.

      • Nancy Sawhill

        Is there a web site or a e-mail where everyone who would like more information on living together in a group. Please send information.

        Thank You

    • Mel Visser

      I am in some what the same situation as you. Wright me back and let me know how you are making out. Maybe if two people teamed up it could work out better.

  16. Lu States

    updates via email would be nice….thank you

  17. Anonymous

    This reply is intended for the last comment by Lu States.

    Section 202 housing – named after the section of the federal legislation authorizing it – is rental housing specifically for people over the age of 62 who have incomes under 50 percent of the area median income.

    To locate a directory of Section 202 housing in your state, go to Choose your state in the upper right corner. From that point on you might have to search around a little for “renting,” because the information seems to be in different places on the state pages.

    If you want to talk with someone in a HUD office, click on the web address below for a directory of offices:

    If you, or someone you care for, is over 62 and on a limited income, Section 202 housing can be a lifesaver. It’s very important to plan ahead, though, because these apartments are popular.

    Another option is or call 866-333-8391 and Elder Care at 800-677-1116. They will help find a place to live based on your situation.

    You can also call the Department of Social Services in the state or county you live in. Speak to a social worker to see if you qualify for any of their low income programs so that you can financially benefit from them. You must call and apply in order to see if you qualify.

    Hope this helps you.

  18. marcos

    I like Buenos Aires so much, because is a multifaceted and cosmopolitan city with evident influenced by European culture and architecture, Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of South America”. Many areas boost beautiful architecture from different periods in the history of this amazing city, and each neighborhood has its own unique feel and attractions. The city has a very broad cultural spectrum due to the diversity of those who have lived throughout history and a lot are free.

    The population of Buenos Aires is highly literate and educated. Witnesses of its important cultural life the city has numerous museums related to history, fine arts, modern arts, decorative arts, popular arts, sacred art, arts and crafts, as well as the preserved homes of noted art collectors, writers, composers and artists.
    Due to the increase in the number of tourists to Buenos Aires and its favorable climate, there are more and more possibilities and activities to suit every tourist on every budget. These include sporting events, tango tours, cultural tours, and pub crawls in the most popular neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

    Its nightlife is varied and runs until the high hours at dawn. Discos, restaurants, cafeterias and many other attractions for all tastes are spread throughout the city offering innumerable offer the tourist. Also, the city has a select group of about 50 bars known as Notable bars these bars are characterized by having been involved in a large part of the history of the city.

    Buenos Aires is extremely accessible, and inexpensive. To live in I suggest rent an apartment !

  19. Shaun

    South Africa!
    Cape town is not cheap but Real value for money and a lifestyle BEYOND.
    Johannesburg,the powerhouse of Africa,fast and perfect for the young adrenalin junky looking to make serious money without having to spend it all on living expenses.Johannesburg has one of the cheapest real estate markets in the world .
    Good restaurants will cost usd 40 per couple including good South African wine.
    Not the safest place to live but taking the same precautions as you would in France or Moscow will do the trick.
    Johannesburg has the third best climate in the world and everone knows that Africa is where the growth is happening.Johannesburg is the finance capital of Africa and the bridge between south America and India .
    After living in a mundane city – Melbourne- terrible weather,police state,exorbitant property prices and low pay, I realize how good life is here in South Africa.

    • Chris

      Johannesburg is one of my favorite cities_ but not cheap ehhh unless you come from London UK which makes the rest of the world seem INEXPENSIVE.

    • Sarah

      Tell me more please. Looking at a move.

  20. Kevin

    Chiang-Mai is a great spot to visit but I’d be worried about my long term health if I lived there permanently. The air pollution is seriously bad. Check out

  21. damian

    Man. You don’t know what cheap is. I get by and live well on less less $500 a month in SE Asia. The prices you’re talking I could get by well in most areas of the USA.

  22. Tim

    Good for you Damian, but that life’s not for everyone. You can find a dozen “Live in Chiang Mai for $500 a month” articles, so I know it can be done. But as several digital nomad expats I’ve interviewed there have said, “That’s if you want to live in a crappy place, sweat like crazy, breathe fumes every day on your rented motorbike, and only eat street food.” Plus you’ve got visa runs to deal with unless you’re in Cambodia.

    • dawg

      I would tend to agree more with damian than with the expats you’ve talked to. I’ve been living in Chiangmai for 10 years. I have a small, but comfortably appointed apartment, which costs me the equivelent of $200US per month. I cook at home, buy tasty food from the market or eat at nice restaurants and would say my monthly food bill does not exceed $300. I’ve been to many regions in SE Asia, and I would say that air quality in Chiangmai is quite good, save for that 4-5 week period each spring when the whole of Northern Thailand becomes smoggy with the burning of fields and forest land. Fumes from vehicles and industry are negligible here, compared to any other major Asian city I’ve ever been to. And the weather much cooler and fresher than places to the south. I’ve tried living in many other places in Asia, but always end up back in Chiangmai. So far, nothing I’ve found compares in terms of cost and quality of living …. My 2 cents!!! :)

  23. Aks

    Would like to know more about Nairobi, Kenya abt the weather, cost of living, lifestyle, education, job scenario etc.. anyone from kenya ?? Would love to hear from u.. Moving there in couple of months… Hey Tim, nice job. If u have any insights abt Nairobi then pls post it.. I am following thru the email option.. thanks in advance !!


    Sorry but cannot agree with you about Thailand, it’s no longer cheap even by European standards, I have paid less in Malaga for a hotel than many places in Thailand and Malaga or Spain for that matter aren’t even that cheap!

    Ten years ago Thailand was cheap, the Baht was lower then too but it’s all change now

    • Tim Leffel

      The data doesn’t support your personal experience. Pull up hotels for both on or Agoda and compare. You can get a great hotel deal in Thailand at any level and there are people living in Chiang Mai for $500-$600 a month. Try that anywhere in Spain. No, it’s not as cheap as it once was since the population is getting richer each year (a good thing), but it’s still a fantastic value.

    • Rob

      How VERY true! I just came back from Thailand and was living and working there for a year and a half! It’s a dump! OVER 75% of the country does not speak or understand English! It got very expensive especially if you move to the Sukhumvit area! It’s definitely NOT a place I would ever go back to again! Also the food is disgusting and overly way too spicy for my taste! Oh, and they eat bugs and dog there too! Good Luck!

      • Anthony

        Tisk Tisk, welcome back to ‘Merica (Or UK) where Fascist control Government, makes a regular habit of cutting social services and cutting taxes for those who should pay more while they dodge those taxes in various parts of Europe.

        • Rick

          Anthony: you win the leftist troll alert award. Interesting you mention to be leery of Hungary but not Africa with its INSANE crime rate and anti white bigotry.. HMMM.. And yes, I still love AMERICA though open to other areas? Why not? In the meantime, maybe you can get those fake rich communists like Michael Moore and most of Hollywood to pay their fair share! Hey Rob, how about YOU actually try to speak Thai or at least some words? Many, many people love Thailand. Plus it is far safer than MANY US cities..

      • Nick

        Why would you go somewhere and expect them to speak english just because you do? And be disgusted by a culture because it isn’t like yours?

  25. Susan

    Very informative for retirees. I am a 59 year old Canadian, with a small pension ($900/m.) I can earn $5000 more a year working part time, teaching English or tourism. I’d even take a course to learn something in a needed field before going. It has long been my dream to live in southern France, but with work permits going to locals and EU members, it seems impossible. I also like Spain and Italy, the same problem. Any other places you might recommend? I’m trying to get away from a harsh winter and don’t like extreme heat with humidity. I would also like to qualify for free or cheap healthcare.

    • Celso

      Portugal is your place! Cheaper than Spain and France, more relaxed, better climate all around, and very nice landscapes.A lot of retired foreigners live here, specially english/germans and mainly in algarve (the best beaches and climate). With 900$/month for 1 person you can live quite comfortably if you don’t go to the most expensive cities and neighborhoods.

      • Anthony

        Great a bunch of 50, 60 and 70 tarts, no thanks. At least Portugal has some beautiful younger women.

        • Rick

          You can always move to Detroit, Anthony.. How does a 1 way ticket at 3 AM sound?

        • mark anthony

          Your very insulting with your remarks why should women go abroad in their 50s 60s and 70s to enjoy their later years!!! grow up and dont be so rude.

          Just because one is older doesn’t mean you have to stop living does it.Life goes on till you stop breathing and untill that days happens to us all we should all have hopes and aspirations.
          I say good luck to these ladies not the tarts you suggest. you absurd childish person with no insight or understanding of others needs and wants to live a better life..

        • Ingrid

          Ridiculous comment ^

      • wendy

        Hi From what I have read though that you can only stay live ninety days or so and you have to leave the country. How do American citizens retire there legally? I would really like to know since we are looking at leaving the US for at least a few years. Thank you for any help/

        • Teresa

          Did you ever get information about your question? I too am concerned about this should I move overseas. No one really talks about living somewhere year round as a retired US citizen.

      • rahul

        I am from India,I completed my graduation,my age is 20. I decided to move Portugal, which job is better to do.

    • Connie moriatis

      I am looking at Bulgaria
      Need more info where can I get it?

      • Dora

        I am from Bulgaria :)
        Advantages: It is a splendid country, beautiful nature – mountain areas and seaside, natural food (in the villages), really low cost of living, friendly people, English speaking 80% over 40 years.
        Shortcomings: corruption on many levels, large gipsy communitites that live quite different than a civilized person would expect, thefts and other crimes, shortage of work that makes young people very angry.
        You can find really nice places to live here, having all the advantages stated above and never come across any of the shortcomings. You just need good research :) Good luck!

        • Afridi

          Can you send me email address

        • Wanda

          I am interested in learning more about living in Spain, Portugal,And Hungary .
          Where can I email expats to learn the requirements?

  26. Holly

    Good article! We’ve been living in Cuenca, Ecuador for over 5 years and I think you’re bang on with the cost of living prices. Ecuador is a wonderful place and, you’re right, we’ve got just about every range of climate here!

    Unfortunately, in the last few years (here in Cuenca) we’ve seen an influx of people many of us call “financial refugees”. These are people who are usually retired and can’t live in their home country on their pension(s) – the majority seem to be from the USA. I say it’s unfortunate because many of these people arrive resentful and angry because they feel that they had no choice but to move. And they quickly become overwhelmed with the challenges that come from living in a different country (language barriers, culture shock etc). Very sad to see.

    • t rex

      I am loathe to see people like this in my travels when leaving the US is what I wanted to avoid seeing 2 years in China were absolutely glorious.on my last trip I came home and discovered I saved over 5000usdbob in 6 months on my army pension.although my Chinese wife works I can support her and myself but she likes to work So

      I do not interfere in her desire to work and only remind her she does not have to.
      I took her entire family of 28 people with beer and wine included for a feast and it was 125usd. Of course this is an area where there are absolutely no signs in english and a cup of coffee is hard to find.immersing oneself in another culture and the challenges it presents is what keeps the blood flowing and my spirit positive

  27. Iphy

    I am a young single Christian mother and am planning to relocate from Africa to any of the English Caribbean Islands. Kindly advice me on which Island would be easier and quicker to get residency, get a good job, good school for my child. A good Church too. Urgent

    • Tim Leffel

      I’m not an expert on Caribbean residency or Christianity I’m afraid. Try contacted churches on the islands or look for online message boards.

    • Loyd

      The English Caribbean Island is probably the most Christian region in the world. Islands like St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica are cheap and safe. Naturally you have to exercise some caution everywhere. Guyana is also cheap as well as Surinam. There are places in Jamaica which are also very cheap and connections with a church (churches are strong everywhere in jamaica) behind you you should find the local support and guidance you need.

  28. Sianny

    Definitely Costa Rica is the best place to live ! And it can cheap too, if you decide to live far from the touristic areas you can find a nice 2b apartment for $400, however, the kitchen will not include appliances usually when you rent, and it’s not typical to have dishware in mostly all Costa Rican houses. There is good public transportation & internet service, water is completely safe to drink any place in CR from the tap – not in Nicaragua. Costa Rica is refereed as to the “Switzerland of Central America”, with a pacifistic history and great education is one of the best places to live. While you live here you can experience the amazing rainforest, volcanoes, beautiful beaches and national parks. I want to come back to live in Costa Rica, maybe in a few years!

    • Johnny

      Excuse me but, Costa Rica is the most expensive country to spend money in Central America, compared to Nicaragua this country is cheaper to travel and has the index of the safest country in Central America

  29. roy nirschel

    Having lived in Vietnam and traveled widely in Cambodia and Thailand in SE Asia as well as a bit in Mexico and much of Central America, I found this one of the more useful and “honest” blogs.
    I am highly skeptical of the International Living-type sites (perhaps because I get a twice daily update on the “Best new place” and promotional offers on their multi-thousand dollar conferences and consultancies) but I am equally skeptical of the free wheeling backpacker who subsists on a couple dollars a day, living in a shack, eating local mangoes and bananas and avoiding most food, drink, fun,health care or toiletries and avoiding ever getting sick.
    There are at least 3 scales for cost of living in any country. The expat lifestyle (or local nouveau riche) which, thanks to globalization, is expensive everywhere including developing countries is one. The second is the low-end backpacker ghetto lifestyle or going working class local without a/c, eating noodles and soup at stands, walking, taking buses, etc
    The third path is, to me the most reasonable. Decent living conditions, creature comforts but not lavish, eating in, avoiding high-end Western style places, drinking a few beers regularly, and having fun without counting every penny
    I think this blog aspires to the 3rd path – the middle way – which is balanced. If you live as a couple or part of a compatible group your cost of living goes down appreciably. In Vietnam fresh food is cheap in the market (but you need to wash, clean and cook it), the bahn mi or pho lunch and a coconut sets you back 2 dollars max and local brands of snacks and beer a relative bargain.

    • Rob

      AMEN! I hear ya brother! I have also been to many countries in S.E. Asia! If I do go back, I will check out Malasia. I hear many good things about that country and it is close to Singapore. I wouldn’t want to live there unless I had a VERY good paying job as it just got voted the most expensive country in the world to live in. It beat out New York City and Tokyo for the first time. I visited there for about a week and I ran out of money in 3 days! Thankfully I had my credit cards, but they were maxed out! I couldn’t believe how expensive everything was, but, on the other hand, almost everyone speaks English, are friendly, and hardly sny crime and is the most cleanest country in the world!

    • Skins

      Good comment. I agree, you can certainly spend A LOT of money in these “cheap places”. It totally depends on your lifestyle.

      When I first moved to Bangkok I was blowing money like crazy!

      But once you get dialed in and learn your way around you can save some serious cash without “living in shacks and eating bananas”. Hahaha!

      Now I live a very good lifestyle in Thailand for half the cost of living in America. Having much more fun too!

      Cheap rent, don’t own a car, delicious cheap food.

      You can SURVIVE cheap in a lot of places, but you’re not LIVING.

      Off to Cambodia Friday. Looking forward to 50 cent beers!

    • Anthony

      Most of the people posting comments are backpackers, the Geritol crowd or somebody that doesn’t fit in ‘Merica or other Anglo countries.

      According to my calculations much of Brazil can be done for $1,000 a month especially outside of the three or four largest cities which also happen to be the most crime ridden though that doesn’t really bother me.

      I am a single Black man, never married and no kids. My #1 goal is to find somebody of marriage material, the rest is pretty much secondary, I am a man I don’t need a ton of luxury.

      That said, I am going to Brazil for at least ten reasons and only one of them is that its cheaper (by 40%) than Los Angeles my hometown.

      I have been to Mexico and lots of Western Europe. I am shocked Berlin is not mentioned, it’s still very affordable for a Western European capital city.

      • Ingrid

        Good for you. I’m recently divorced and no kids. Starting to get my bearings and think about just moving somewhere else too. I’ve travelled the world, so at least I have some frame of reference as to what I night like. My only issue is leaving my aging parents. Moving that far away would make it hard for me to get back to them should they have any emergency

    • wendy

      Hello Roy- For a US citizen to live in VIetnam as a retired couple and trying to live on a budget and yet a safe place living a comfortable lifestyle. Not rich just comfortable and willing to save money where were your fav places also taking into account if there are areas where a bit of English is spoken would be good to know. Would appreciate any advice. Thank you Also thank you about saying to wash the produce that you buy at the market. I wondered about that. And are you saying not to eat raw veg and to cook them instead? thank you

  30. Aliana

    Great article, thanks for posting! I returned to Budapest for the first time in 16 years, having been born and raised there for the first 7 years of my life….even though the economy is still struggling tourism is definitely on the rise and continues to flourish. I’d love to return and work there, do you have any advice on relocations with companies? I work for Marriott International right now and am hoping to be able to transfer to work in Hungary sometime in the future.

  31. Ossie

    I live on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand and after 8 years regard the place as home I do not smoke and seldom drink and have a better life style than I would back in the UK on less than a $1,000 a month I do own my own home so I have no rent to pay. Except for the rainy season November the sun shines every day with the temp in the 20s 30s . As I am over 50 I am on a retirement visa which means I do not have to vacate the country to qualify for this type of visa you must be over 50 have 800,000 Thai baht in a Thai bank account 3 months prior to application or have proof of income of 65,000 baht per month if you can meet either criteria you should have no problems in reviewing your visa year in year out

    • Tim Leffel

      Sounds great Ossie! I’m going to try to contact you by e-mail so we can talk some more about this, for my upcoming book.

    • Kirk

      Hi Ossie, read your article about living on the island of Koh Samui and was hoping if you could shine some light on the house and rental prices there.
      Also is the snorkeling pretty good there?

      I am also over 50 , have been to Thailand once before and really liked it.

      Hope to hear from you

      Thanks, Kirk

      • wendy

        Kirk=I would love the same info. Could you forward me any that you did receive? We are looking at that area and trying to figure out where to settle down for a bit and save some money.
        Thank you

  32. Chris

    Inspiring site ! Great stuff !

    Tend not to agree about SPAIN and neither AFRICA being cheap destinations. I,ve travelled all around Africa (backpacking) and to me it was similiar to European prices especially eating out.
    I live in Spain which has a rate of 26 % unemployment and struggling to create decent jobs for the future – property is still expensive for the average middle class Spanaird/Catalan/Basque .. who earns around 30000 euros gross/year. Property on the lower scale below 500k should be ALOT more affordable and not at the prices they “currently” are.

    • Tim Leffel

      I get what you’re saying Chris. Neither Spain nor Ireland is going to be in my upcoming book. I just mentioned them in this post because for those with cash, there are property bargains galore–better than they’ve been for 15-20 years in some attractive areas. Whenever people really need to sell a place, it’s a buyer’s market. But Portugal will be in the book because everyday prices and rent are much lower there.

  33. paul

    Hi.I Wanna go to Asia for a year.what is the cheapest cost of living and the prices of houses or apartments?which country?

  34. aerin

    hi! thank you so much for this article. my husband and I are wanting to move out of the US with our three children. we would like to live in a quiet place near a beach.and of course with little ones safety and health insurance is a HUGE must. would need to be pretty cheap to. what would you recommend?

  35. blain221

    this house or villa on the beach cost only 15850 euro and installment payment is accepted
    here is the llink :

  36. Phillip Sterritt

    After being based in 6 continents. Chiang Mai will always be my choice to live one day. But just to add to your Africa section, yes it is expensive travelling across and through Africa.
    However if you are prepared to stay in one place for a year, then Ethiopia,Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique are all great places to live. The first 3 you will find extremely easy to arrange a cheap apartment. Being Commonwealth countries Uganda and Zambia have a good system, with everyone speaking english. Mozambique offering cheap places on white sand beach’s. Addis Ababa my favourite city in Africa, extremely safe, cheap. A very interesting range of foreigners living there. Give it a go.

  37. Graham Y

    Please E mail all you can.

    • Phillip

      Friends inform me Graham, that The Gambia is the nicest place in Africa to retire and the cheapest

  38. Rob D

    Matt, what about Italy? I am first generation here in the US and have a longing to at least buy a house there. It looks like despite their economy, you cant buy a “Rustico” for under 500,000 euro .

  39. PatJones

    Why did you not mention Laos as one of the places to live in Asia?

    • Tim Leffel

      Because it’s even tougher than Thailand to get a visa to stay long-term. Because of this, there are very few foreigners who stay more than three months and most of them are working for an aid organization. The only long-term option past one month + two extensions (90 days total) is a business visa.

  40. Erik

    I wouldn’t recommend Hungary.
    I’m a hungarian, born in Budapest and (unfortunately still) living there.
    Maybe it’s cheaper for people coming from US,UK, Australia or Western Europe, but prices went up crazy in the last 10 years, quality of food is bad, supermarkets have low quality food & products and not wide selection on the shelves (as most eastern european cities..), bad infrastructure, disaster public healthcare system (private is unpayable for most of the hungarians), economy has been struggling since 2009 and it’s one of the worst in the EU, shitty government full of cheaters and oligarchas..
    Quality of life is low, most of the parts of Budapest is dirty, air quality is bad (smog), many areas still look like in the 80’s, and if you leave Budapest, countryside looks they stayed in the 80’s, better restaurants (there aren’t many) prices are the same or even higher than in western european cities despite net average income is only 450-500 Euro/month (but on countryside it’s below 400), due to bad economic situation (highest VAT, 27%!!! in the EU) people are nervous and tense, you can feel it on daily basis.
    More than 500k people left HU in the last 2 years and we are talking about a 10 million people country!!
    Properties are cheaper compared to western european cities, but it’s not a good place to live…if you’re coming from Western Europe or US, Canada, don’t expect high life here..
    I can’t wait to leave HU. Planning to move to Austria, Germany with my family (Canada would be nice, but getting visa for hu citizens is very difficult)

    • Tim Leffel

      Prices have gone up almost everywhere in the last 10 years, especially in Europe. As for the food selection, I thought it was absolutely fantastic in the markets both times I went. Gorgeous fruit and vegetables for 1/3 of what I pay in the USA at the farmer’s market. Yes, a lot of people leave because they can make more money in Germany or another European country. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to live for people coming the other way, especially if they’re living off savings or a good virtual income from somewhere else. Most people moving abroad from a developed country don’t need a local job in a developing one.

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