The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2016

cheapest places to live in the world

Every year on this long-running blog I do a post on the cheapest places to live in the world. There are seldom drastic changes in the cost of living from year to year, but political changes and exchange rate fluctuations can have a significant impact.

This rundown is still valid, but if you want the latest version go here – Cheapest Places to Live 2017

The U.S. dollar rules right now, so for the time being the world is on sale for Americans, not quite as cheap for Canadians and Europeans. Still, in any of these locations you should be able to live out the promise of my book: A Better Life for Half the Price. If you’re interested in getting monthly updates on this subject to put your dreams into action, sign up below and you’ll receive a report on where you can live on a tourist visa for four months or more.


The Absolute Cheapest Places to Live

As usual, the cheapest places on the planet to travel are also the countries with the lowest cost of living if you’re willing to put up with plenty of challenges.

Nepal is probably the hands-down winner in terms of what you get for your money. If you were set up with $1,200 a month coming in there—the equivalent of one Social Security check—you’d be part of the wealthy elite. You could live on half that and still be eating well. Getting residency is quite tough though, so most people just do short stints in the country unless they’ve got a work visa or they’ve set up some kind of charity. Oh, and the electricity and internet both go out on a daily basis.

Parts of India are a great bargain as well, though you wouldn’t know you’re in a bargain country if you get transferred to Mumbai or Bangalore for a job. There’s a lot of money and investment in those cities and plenty of millionaires milling about. Instead look to the smaller cities and Himalayan mountain towns where it’s not unusual to find a house to rent for a couple hundred dollars and restaurant meals for what you spend on a soda in your home country. There are thousands of expatriates and travelers taking a pause that are easily getting by for $600 a month total here, or spending twice that and living the high life.

The visa situation in India has gotten a lot better recently. If you’re only planning to stay for six months, great. You get that long automatically if you want when applying and the process has gotten a tad faster in recent years. There is no such thing as a retirement visa here for people with no Indian blood. In theory Americans can get a 10-year multiple entry visa, but before you could only stay 180 days at a time before needing to leave for at least two months before returning. Now you can just do a border run and return immediately. Australians can get a multi-year tourist visa, UK citizens up to five years (but only 180 days in a stretch), Canadians generally get up to 180 days and some have been able to get the same long multi-entry one as Americans. With all of them, the clock starts ticking when the visa is issued, not when you arrive.

cheapest places to live Indonesia

Sulawesi Flickr Creative Commons photo by Fabio Achilli

Indonesia is kind of a mixed bag as well, with prices in Bali up by a factor of five or six from when I first started writing about the place, mostly due to a massive influx of tourists and woo-woo expats following the Eat, Pray, Love spell. Once you get off that island though, prices drop substantially. If you settle down in a place that’s not jammed with tourists, say on Sumatra or Sulawesi, this is another country where you can easily live a nice life on $1,000 a month or less. There’s just one big problem: it’s tough to get a visa to live here long-term unless you’re working for a company that’s giving you a work visa, if you have an Indonesian spouse, or you’re over 55 and have a decent income.

You also can’t own property and in much of the country the internet is far from fast if you want to run a business online. There are other strange quirks such as a minimum housing spend and a pledge to hire at least one domestic worker (though you probably would anyway at these prices). Locals have found some workarounds that keep them from having to fly to Singapore every two months, though they still have to leave the country every six months and go to an immigration office every two.

Naturally if you’re willing to “go native” you could find plenty of places in the world where your neighbors are literally earning a few dollars a day. It doesn’t take a lot to be upper middle class in a farming town in China, the bush of rural Africa or some village in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. Since most people who grew up in a first-world environment aren’t willing to go that far, however, here are the places where you can live a half-price life and still have good infrastructure (including internet fast enough to run a business) and conveniences if you want. This list is geared more to Americans since that’s the bulk of my readership, so do a little currency calculation of your own by using the site Numbeo for a rough overview.

Cheapest Places to Live – Temporary Opportunities

A strong dollar and cheap oil are having a major impact on prices around the world. If you’re reading this post years later, assume we’ve returned closer to the mean. If you’re American and are waiting for the opportune time, 2016 is going to be your year. Just go!


The interest in Colombia as a place to live has been on an upward trajectory for years, but the fall in their currency against the dollar has turned a good value into a terrific bargain. Here’s what one of my readers wrote recently as a comment: “I live in La Paz, Bolivia and have just been to Bogota for 4 day break – first time back for about 11 or 12 years. I was surprised at just how cheap it was , certainly cheaper than La Paz for the majority of things. Probably things like local produce are about the same, but for anything imported it was considerably cheaper, often up to 50% cheaper.” The city of choice for most is Medellin (see this site for info and prices), with great weather year-round and a good food and nightlife scene. There are plenty of cheaper places to live around the country if you want something less hectic, but be advised that lovely Cartagena is no bargain. It’s a favorite of tourists and domestic investors buying vacation homes, so while it’s gotten more reasonable, it’s an outlier.

The expats I interviewed for A Better Life for Half the Price were generally living on half what they did in the U.S., though that was when the peso was much stronger than it was now. You could easily get by for less now. Since the beginning of 2013, the dollar has gone from fetching 1,760 pesos to more than 3,000 pesos. Here’s what that looks like:


living in Colombia


I reported last year that it was a great time to land in Argentina with greenbacks in hand. “Combine a strong dollar with a local financial mess and you get a great climate for someone entering with foreign currency.” At that point the official exchange rate was 8.6 to the dollar and the real one on the street was 13. Now the official rate is 9.69 and the “blue rate” has passed 15.

Combine that with bargain-priced good wine, almost-free health care, and reasonable housing costs and it starts looking like expat heaven. The ability to stay almost indefinitely on a tourist visa is a big plus too. Just cross to Uruguay or Chile every three months and take a short vacation or return immediately. The expatriates I interviewed here are living on far less than half of what they spent before, especially those who made a lateral move from New York City to Buenos Aires. Naturally if you get into smaller towns, prices drop dramatically.

living in mexico


I’ve spent three of the past five years living in Mexico and it is cheaper there now than when I first visited in 2002. The most common exchange rate over the years has been 13 to the dollar. Over the past couple years the peso has been dropping though and it’s now around 17 to the dollar. This makes our closest neighbor to the south a screaming bargain anytime you go to a restaurant, buy a beer, take a taxi, or hire a carpenter. My family of three averaged $2,300 a month in expenses all in while in Guanajuato, paying all medical costs out of pocket, having a maid two times a week, having a handyman come almost weekly to do improvements/repairs, and traveling a lot within the country. We weren’t very frugal at that level either because we didn’t need to be. We could eat out constantly, go to cultural events, and enjoy life to the fullest. It’s cheaper now than when I wrote this Guanajuato post. Our maid is one of the best-paid in town and she gets $4 an hour.

You can stay 180 days on a tourist visa in Mexico, then get another 180 just by leaving and coming back. If you can show a good enough income, the residency process is straightforward if you want to stick around or put your kids in school. You can usually find a round-trip flight priced just a tad above a domestic one and it’s easy to get by without a car.


If you want first-world amenities and infrastructure, tap water you can drink, and pleasant weather, it’s hard to top Portugal. This is the cheapest country in Western Europe at any time, but the continuous fall in the euro, combined with a lingering debt crisis, means Portugal’s low costs have gotten even lower. It’s hard to imagine that you could move from the U.S. or Canada to Europe and actually spend half of what you’re spending now on living expenses, but here it’s possible. Lisbon is more expensive than the rest of course, so the “half price” part only works there if you’re moving from a big city, but it’s blissfully cheap once you get outside of the capital and even there it’s a bargain by European city standards.

cheap living Bulgaria It’s much easier to get residency as a EU citizen than from elsewhere, so there are more Brits living in Portugal than other nationalities. Still, with enough patience and some money to pay a lawyer, it’s possible for other nationalities to get long-term residency. See this post for more on the cost of living in Portugal.


While the nation above is the cheapest in the western part of the continent, half that again if you head east to the cheapest place to live in Europe period—Bulgaria. This is the kind of country where you can find a house for sale on eBay that’s cheaper than what you paid for your last car. It’s the land of large dollar beers, 4-euro bottles of decent wine, and 10-euro monthly mobile phone bills. The average salary here is less than 500 euros a month, so if you’ve got $1,200 a month coming in, you’re twice as wealthy as the average.

Keep in mind you get the full four-season effect here, which means it’s not a place to live year-round if you hate the cold. In the summer you’ve got the Black Sea beaches though and you can eat really well here with all the fresh produce and yogurt. As with Portugal, EU citizens have no visa issues but we North Americans do. A stay is limited to 90 days unless you apply for a residency visa before leaving your country and then finish up the paperwork after arrival locally.

Other Temporary Opportunities

The currency in Malaysia has dropped by a third against the U.S. dollar the past few years, making Southeast Asia’s easiest country an even better value. If you’re a retiree, getting residency here is straightforward if you’re willing to invest in property.

The expat favorite of Thailand keeps seeing an inflow of residents and tourists despite frequent political blow-ups and a baffling visa policy that causes tens of thousands of people to do border runs every two months. The currency ranges between 30 and 35 to the dollar and right now it’s around 35, making rent, street food, and transportation a better deal than before. The government recently introduced a six-month multiple-entry visa, which will make things a little easier. You can still only stay 60 days at a time, but you know you’ll be able to get back in with no issues each time.

Long-term Cheapest Countries

While the above should stay unusually cheap for the coming year, eventually they will likely return to a more normal price range as currencies return to historic norms. The following have been tied more to the dollar, however, so prices have remained relatively stable. Even if you’re reading this in 2018, these should still be some of the cheapest places to live in the world.


They actually use the greenback as their currency in Ecuador, so inflation is very low and most price changes are due to government intervention rather than market forces. (The prime example is imported booze, which has a 100% tax). Cuenca and Vilcabamba have been retiree havens for quite a while, especially for those who looked at their meager retirement savings and realized they were going to be in rough shape if they stayed in the U.S. or Canada. Most of them are paying between $300 and $600 a month for rent of a house or condo and nobody I’ve talked to living there is spending more than the equivalent of two social security checks for a couple. Health care costs about 1/10 of what it does in the United States, with good facilities in the cities.

There are a lot of perks for retirees, including 50% off all national and international airfare, 50% off all cultural and recreational events, and 50% off some utility charges. As long as you can show $800 or more in monthly income, you’ll qualify for a residency visa. Meanwhile, you can stay 90 days on a tourist visa and can usually extend it within the country.

Nicaragua living


With a slight edge over Ecuador in the prices area, Nicaragua has lured a lot of expats looking for a cheap place to live without a lot of hassles. It’s inexpensive to fly here and get around after arrival, plus prices are sometimes too cheap to believe for rent, meals, and a night out on the town. Most foreigners not trying to duplicated their previous lifestyle exactly are spending between $1,000 and $2,000 a month while in the country and that affords plenty of fun and domestic travel. A  local guide I had on my last visit said $1,000 per month for a family of four was firmly middle class there.

Nicaragua makes it easy to gain residency, with the income requirement only being $750 per month if you’re under 45, $600 a month if you’re older than that and way to say you’re retired. Or you can just take a trip to the border every three months indefinitely on tourist visas.


Cheap living abroadThis is one of those countries that’s a better deal for living than it is for travel. That’s because of terrific affordable health care, some of the best residency incentives in the world, and generally reasonable living expenses. On the health care side, it’s not unusual to pay $20 to see a doctor, $35 to see the dentist and get a cleaning, or a shade over $10,000 for surgery at a hospital affiliated with Johns Hopkins. The capital city is dramatically more expensive than the rest of the country and it’s less pleasant too, so look to other locations to get the real bargains. There are plenty to pick from, ranging from volcanic highlands to tropical islands.

Panama has the world’s best pensionada program for retirees, but really you don’t have to be retired or even old. You just need to show $1,000 a month in income to get a long list of incentives and discounts with your residency. They use the U.S. dollar here, the government is relatively stable, and there’s a solid banking system in place. A metro is now open in the capital and Copa Airlines is based here, so flight connections are good in multiple directions.


You don’t read much about Peru in the likes of International Living and it’s kind of a mystery to me why more people don’t put down roots here. Sure, the capital city is kind of ugly and has lousy weather, but other parts are a different story and the Sacred Valley would be a wonderful place to live. One person doing just that is Nora Dunn of The Professional Hobo. I interviewed her in her current home town of Pisac:

When it comes to visas, Peru is a dream (on paper at least). They’re one of the few countries to offer a “freelancer visa” for people earning at least $25K a year on their own and there are some incentives for retirees applying for residency. If you don’t care about that though and just want to come live for a while temporarily, that’s quite easy. You can stay 183 days on a tourist visa and I haven’t heard of anyone getting hassled when they leave and come back in. If you overstay the penalty is $1 a day.


The cheapest place to live in Southeast Asia also has one of the best visa setups for working digital nomads. Just pay a couple hundred bucks for a business visa and you’re good to go for a year. With that you can work, run a business, be an online entrepreneur, or just kick back and be a beach bum doing nothing. As long as you don’t try to live in a fancy condo on the river in the capital, you can easily find a nice two-bedroom place to rent for $600 or less or buy a condo on the cheap. (Foreigners can’t own land here without going through some legal contortions.)

If you lived in Cambodia with earnings of $2,000 per month, you’d be firmly in the top-5% by income and be part of the upper crust. With even half that you’d be one of the well-off people and could go out for dinner every night if you wanted. Hire a gardener and a maid too and still have plenty to spare.


I never would have predicted this, but Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is now a real hotbed for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. Lured by cheap rents, reasonably fast internet, and a smart young workforce with some coding skills, they’re braving the heat to build a business for less. The great food and cheap beer don’t hurt either, plus it’s easy to get to a beach from any of the cities. Plenty of foreigners are living here for $1,000 to $2,000 a month and having a blast. Most don’t even have a kitchen since it’s so cheap to eat out all the time and there are lots of short-term furnished apartment rentals that come with towels and a maid.

cheapest living Romania

Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania

I’m lumping all these together in this blog post just because right now the prices aren’t all that different between them outside of the parts with the most tourists. Hungary has the best infrastructure and wine, Romania has the fastest internet, the Czech Republic has the best beer, and Slovakia has a little bit of it all plus the euro as its currency. All have a tough language to navigate though that you won’t use anywhere else and all can get frigid in the winter. But in any of the four you can easily live in a comparably sized city as you’re in now or move small town to small town and spend half or less than what you’re plowing through now for expenses.

See what other expats have to say here

Other Cheap Countries to Consider

I just got back from Honduras and once you get out of the two nasty main cities, the crime rate drops to normal levels. The minimum wage is somewhere around $400 and if you meet someone making $800 a month they’re probably in a management position or are earning a good wage for being bilingual. Without a lot of expatriates driving prices up except on Roatan Island, you’d have to rent an oceanfront mansion to pay more than $1K per month on rent.

Bolivia is a bargain in many respects thanks to its status as one of the poorest countries in South America and some parts are quite beautiful.

Guatemala is kind of a strange one because living on Lake Atitlan would give you killer scenery for a song, but Antigua is getting more expensive every year, with housing prices on par with parts of the U.S. and Canada. There’s also a fair bit of crime, though much of what’s in the news takes place in the capital city, where few tourists ever go.

Lake Atitlan living

I’ve got to put the Philippines in here because otherwise I’ll get chided by them for leaving them out. It’s a bit of a one-sided expat population there though, comprised of older men looking for a younger companion. If that’s you or you have a business reason to set up shop there, you’ll find plenty of English speakers and reasonable prices.

Yes there are  other places where you could live for half price. Heck just going from London to any small town in Wales or the USA will probably accomplish that. But in these locations it’s a sure thing.


If the idea of doing this 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.

There are a thousand excuses you can come up with to not do this, and you may not have the right personality for it, frankly. If you’re a good match though, let me save you lots of time and hassle in the planning and doing.

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. Izy Berry

    You are right i live in Guatemala and antigua every day ins more expensive because is a place very turistic

  2. Kevin Stoda

    In the Philippines, look at Palawan–under inhabited and lots of potentional. It is more environmentally aware than most of other places you mention–distinguishing itself form rest of Philippines. and Asia/ Latin America.

    Palawan has thrice been voted best island in the world and has the world famous longest underground river.

    • Andrew

      I lived in Palawan for 2 years. It s a beautifu place in parts, but if you need internet and reasonably reliable elecricity you have to live in Puerto Princesa which isn’t the prettiest of places and a long way from the beaches you see in the pictures. You can have one or the other. We work on the internet so we couldn’t live in somewhere like El Nido ,6hrs north of PP, because they only have power for half the day.

      • Tim Leffel

        Thanks for this Andrew. Sounds like not much has changed from an infrastructure standpoint since I visited 20 years ago!

    • JAXX

      Thanks. With a uk passport how are via restrictions and is it poßsivle ro buy property

  3. Brian

    Curious about Spain. I know the unemployment rate is sky high so shouldn’t living costs be on the low side? Great weather and safe too.

    • Tim Leffel

      Outside of Madrid, Barcelona, and the coastal areas where all the Brits are, prices are lower than they were before the crisis. Especially in dollar terms. There are better rental deals than purchase deals though unless you’re buying in a half-empty condo building—from what I hear.

      • Brian

        Thanks Tim.

      • Lovely Sista

        thanx for the tip on the unemployment issue. that was 1 on my list. Peru sounds like ts for me. lima that is. do you know anything about Italy or Greece/

    • Brett Kronewitter

      I live in Tenerife Spain, which is one of the Canary islands off the cost of Africa. It´s a fantastic place and relative cheap. Spain in general is good value compared to the rest of Europe if you get outside of the two main cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The food and drink is top notch and good value. It´s a beautiful country and accomodate lots of tourists every year. The weather is generally good but can get very hot during the summer months.

      • Gaby

        how much do you need per month in USD to live a comfortable life in Tenerife? I want to send my two daughters there for a couple of months during their gap year.

      • Susanne

        Brett are you American and are you retired?

    • MarkG

      A UK passport will get you about as far as a US passport in Asia. In other words, it means nothing. And, because it’s Asia, we foreigners cannot own ground level housing or property. That is, unless we have an Asian business partner or spouse. You can buy an apartment, but no house. Better off making your way to Portugal, or possibly even South America.

  4. Letitia

    Hi Tim,

    If you were a 35 single woman that was not interested in the night life, looking for good weather, quiet place to write, wanted to live in a very cheap place like 1k or under, where walking is the main mode of transportation, would you be looking at Panama or Nicaragua, or somewhere else altogether?

    • Tim Leffel

      Lots of detailed breakdowns in the book Letitia and if you join the 100+ people in our insider group, you can get feedback from others doing research too. But for $1K or less Panama no, Nicaragua or Guatemala, yes. Or across the ocean in Cambodia.

      • Elizabeth

        I’m looking to move with my three kids and fiance I want to know if irland or Amsterdam are a place I need to have a visa for I really want to move permanently and I need some information… where do I start?

        • JanuaryMoon

          It does not appear you have even attempted to do any research. My guess is this just a “whim” post, yet obviously, the internet is the place to search for the needs and expectations of these countries. Neither place you mention is particularly cheap, so does not really have anything to do with this article. If you are coming from outside the UK or Europe, it won’t be easy to get a visa for the entire family unless you have a job in one of the countries

  5. ursanegro

    wondering why you left out south africa as a ridiculously inexpensive location. i mean, sure, some of their laws have gotten loopy lately, but a little birdie has told me that you are on a india/south africa/thailand loop, life is cheap indefinitely. what do you think?

    • Dr. Johnson

      I’ve been living in South Africa on and off for 15 years and while it’s cheap at the moment in dollar terms, history says that will be a short-lived phenomenon and it will swing back to being the most expensive place in Africa at any point down the road. The currency is very volatile and crime is high on top of that. I love it there, but don’t move for economic reasons unless you’re going to buy something or lock in a long-term lease now while currency rates are on your side.

    • Mike

      Life is cheap in South Africa.

      Indeed. It’s not worth much.

      Crime is a good enough reason to pass up on this one.

      • Sandra Du Plessis

        so true, I live in South Africa and had a few times home invasions, hold up on the beach with a gun and knife so the beaches isn’t safe anywhere in South Africa. Maybe it’s cheap if you use dollars but for us livings here and using rand it’s to expensive

    • Bob Quinn

      Safa’s don’t do it ….

  6. E.

    Listing the south and central European corridor from cheapest to less cheap but still cheap, with small but increasing differences between countries, I would put it this way:

    Albania – Serbia – Bulgaria – Romania – Hungary – Slovakia – Czech Republic

    Naturally, it also goes from the country with the least infrastructure to the most Westernized one.

    • Wade K.

      Another good choice is Macedonia, especially Bitola and Ohrid. But the place that we’re heading to is considered the most beautiful city in Serbia: Novi Sad. From everything I’ve found plus communicating with an American there the cost of living is on par with Nicaragua but the quality of life is better.

      • Mira Lorincova

        So Macedonia or Serbia is better ?

        • Wade K.

          Macedonia is a bit cheaper. but Serbia is more developed.

    • rob

      I agree with the above list, I work all around the world spending anything from 3 months to a year in one place. I am in Albania now and it is very cheap, average wage is 280 euros per month and food is fresh and very cheap. Most places outside the capitol Tirana are rural villages with the population living off the land and selling their local produce at the side of the road so all is fresh and cheap. The country is like it is 30 years behind but take care with the authorities etc because corruption is rife.

      • Daro Sumner

        How are the people towards Americans in Albania might consider taking my family on vac. There I have a wife and two teenage daughters what do you think ??

        • The Traveling Dirt Bunny

          Albanians just love Americans! I traveled all over SW Albania and all the way up to Shkoder for about 5 weeks and can’t wait to go back – in fact, I’m considering moving there, temporarily to start with.

          I only spent 1 night in Tirana, which I was happy to leave, but the southern parts were beautiful and the people were incredibly kind and hospitable.

          One thing that annoyed me was the many gypsies in Shkoder. A really awful bunch. They were extremely pushy to the point that I had to physically shove kids away as they reached for my stuff!

          Just remember that Albania is still largely undiscovered, which is great for true explorers. Don’t expect trains that run on schedule, or trains at all in fact. A marvelous place!!!

        • Mr

          They gonna love your daughters

    • Dmitrii Zhmutskii

      What about Montenegro?
      I would place it between Serbia and Bulgaria

  7. jand

    When making a border run in Mexico, how long does Immigration require that you stay out of the country in order to get another 180 days?

    I currently reside at Lake Atitlan and am considering a relocation either to Quetzaltenango (Xela) or Oaxaca. I have lived in 4 countries since retiring with Mexico being my favorite, however, I’m concerned about the cost of living in Oaxaca.

    Have you been to Xela? If so, what did you think?

    • Tim Leffel

      There’s no set time you need to stay out of the country. In theory you could cross the border to Guatemala and come right back. Usually people make a vacation of it though since it’s a bit of an ordeal to do that. Mexico brings in some 28 million people a year, most of them in a spending mood, so the country is not all that concerned about residents staying on a tourist visa if they can support themselves.

      I’ve been to Xela once and I’m not a fan I’m afraid:

    • Elisa

      I lived in Pana last winter and was in Xela many times. I love it, beautiful and friendly, a little more going on than just the party scene of Pana, less touristy and much cheaper than Antigua. Probably will live there this winter.

    • Felicia

      Hi Jand,

      Can you tell me about Xela?

  8. Robert Becker

    Does anyone have any good ideas about trying to get a visa whether it be for residency or business WITHOUT all the hassles and medical forms that need to be filled out? Or, what countries can a person live in on a tourist visa while making UNLIMITED border runs like Thailand or Nicaragua? What countries have the best, and cheapest “investment visas” if you buy a condo there?


    • Tim Leffel

      Robert, I believe somebody has written a book that answers most of the questions like this and provides resources for more answers…

      • Wendy Case

        Vietnam voted to have a one year tourist visa which is great. I think it will start in a few months. It seems pretty easy to renew the visa as well.

    • Wendy Case

      Hello Someone on an expat site said for the tourist visa in Mexico you have to leave for 72 hours before returning.

      • Tim Leffel

        Occasionally people run into border guards who tell them that, but I’d guess 90% of the time you can just cross and come right back. It wouldn’t hurt to be prepared for a short vacation if that happens, or to travel to a different border crossing to return. But people do these border runs every week with no issues.

  9. Alise

    How about Latvia? It`s probably one of the cheapest countries too

    • Ketu

      Cold and dark in winter which might start in the middle of October (snowing) and end in the beginning of May (still snowing). Some winters are rather mild, but after two especially freezing winters when the temperature dropped to -25C and stayed between -10 and -25 for two months I decided to leave and never come back. Brits always complain about the weather but England is Hawaii compared to Latvia. It is cheap but if you do mind cold it does not worth it

  10. Mauricio Campos

    Really interesting post. I’d have to agree with the places that I’ve visited on this list: Mexico, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Guatemala. After I graduate university I’ll definitely look into some of these.

  11. Sarah

    What are recommendations for a single, 31 year old Caribbean female with a little knowledge of the Spanish language, small child, and around 20k to relocate? I’d also like to know how to seek out jobs prior to moving to the recommended location. I have a graduate degree and I prefer simple living, but not TOO simple – I’ve lived in America for a long while! Preferably a place with lower costs on good healthcare and a good education system for a 4 year old. Easy to get around without a car and internet access. Would love to live somewhat close to water and I prefer locations that speak English and/or Spanish. Nightlife would be a bonus, but not a necessity!

    Thanks for any advice.

    • Andi

      I think the UK is best. We moved here from Hungary with 2 young children 11 years ago. We came with nothing. We never got benefits but worked hard from day one. Now we managed to start a small business. My children are happy and they speak fluent English, (which for us was priority) The education system are not putting lot of stress on kids, I did not find any discrimination no matter what color or religion you got. Negative points:Immigration rules are strict. Property (rent or buy) is expensive and good food is expensive. But if you are not afraid to work a bit harder then the majority, you will have no problems.
      Ah, the weather…….:)

      • A

        UK is very much racist, just very good at covering it up,, the police in the UK are a gang in uniform, the police intimidate, harasser, stalk also commit premeditated perjury so as you are white you will not see too much discrimination. Just keep your eyes open and see how the non white people are treated including the salary for doing the same exact job.

        • Lulu

          Where do you get tnis information from about uk its all rubbish. If you are prepared to work hard pay your taxes and stay legal its a good life in uk.police are not gangs they sre not armed and must follow rules. As for racisim yes there can be but so it is in all countries and most brits are very tolerant.
          What a load of rubbish i have experienced more racism outside of uk and i am white.

      • Gia

        As an American, I’ve wanted to move to the U.K. for years but seems like it’s not as simple or easy as it was for Andi 11 years ago. Also, we are a couple in our mid-50’s, not wealthy but with a stable income and really just want to be close to Europe and our european roots so we can travel.
        I’ve visited Scotland and England and loved them both! My Grandmother was British and I always wanted to experience the other side of the pond. Unfortunately, we could not stay for more than a few weeks… but I’ll just say as an American (white) we weren’t always regarded nicely. Not everyone, but a handful is enough to know when you are not liked due to where you come from. On that note, it still wouldn’t inhibit from trying if I knew there was a route to living there, at least 6 or 7 months out of the year and could earn a living.
        Any suggestions?

        • Tim Leffel

          Sorry, but this thread is about moving to cheaper places, not more expensive ones. The UK and Ireland don’t qualify.

        • MarkG


          Just fyi, if your grandmother was British that means automatic grandfathered citizenship for your. Do your homework because you will need to get documents that show your grandmothers birth, her husband’s birth, and the birth certificates and marriage certificates all the way up till you were born. Yes, these are the hoops we go through. Call your local British Consul or British Embassy to verify what documents they need. And if you have citizenship your husband can move with you.

    • Max

      Ciao Sarah , non so se hai già trovato una soluzione , comunque visto che conosci la lingua spagnola e sei abituata e ti piace il mare , io ti consiglierei le isole Canarie , che in ambito europeo e spagnolo non è costoso come vivere rispetto ad altre zone della Spagna . Poi sono luoghi incantevoli e la temperatura sempre intorno ai 20 gradi tutto l’anno , specialmente per i bambini può essere una buona soluzione . La vita notturna non si ferma mai ..ever day :) . Per il lavoro , in ambito turistico , specie con la conoscenza di più lingue straniere , si riesce a trovare facilmente. Anche io sto facendo questa scelta di vita …Auguri a te e il tuo bambino !

      • KWL

        Re: Max’s Post – A Translation for Sarah:
        Hi Sarah, I do not know if you have already found a solution, however, since you know the Spanish language and you are used to and like the sea, I would recommend the Canary Islands, which in European and Spanish is not expensive as to live compared to other areas from Spain . Then they are lovely places and the temperature always around 20 degrees throughout the year, especially for children can be a good solution. Nightlife never stops ..ever day :). For work, in tourism, especially with the knowledge of several foreign languages, you can easily find it. I’m also making this choice of life … Wishing you and your baby!

    • Alexandra Hasegan

      czech republic is one of the best countries to accomodate foreign families, i recommend for you

  12. Alan

    South Africa is tops yet no mention at all. Why not? Big Mac Index 2016 – USA: $4.93; Britain: $4.22; Cape Town-Johannesburg: $1.77 – Go figure…

    • Jacques Ahouansou

      Hi, Alan
      I would like to visit South Africa and stay 2 months. Where can I rent cheap studio on monthly basis and what would be the cost? As a retiree in the US, can I live on my social security benefit of $1,000 USD monthly? Please, inbox me at jahouansou2@yahoo.

  13. Airsyd

    Capri or Hydra.

    • tony

      Sorry for late reply yes you can and you will be very comfortable and happy,1000$ now like 30000 rand you will be very happy .good luck

  14. Sara

    Hi..I visited Spain before and would love to live there. We’re a family of four (2 kids under 6) so what would be a decent city in term of costs and services. am guessing Madrid and the south cost will be expensive but how about the rest of the country?

    • Carmen Howard

      Hi Sara,
      My name is Carmen and I’m from Spain. I hope I can help you answer your questions. Your family and you can live anywhere in Spain except Madrid , Barcelona and the Vasque Region) It’s quite expensive. Spain has a free healthcare and great infrastructure, also great transportation system in terms of costs and services are great and less costly than US.
      Hope my response to your questions help you,
      Good luck

      • BRUCE

        Carmen, we are planning a 3 week visit to spain starting in barcelona then driving south until we check out the algarve region of portugal. my question is how far south do you need to travel until you hit that sweet spot with ideal climate, good amenities, and generally the best bang for your US dollar ? thanks Bruce

  15. Tenzin Yangden

    Your India visa info is abt 4 yrs outdated. US residents get a 10 yr tourist visa now. You still need to leave every 180 days but there is no longer a two month wait requirement to return since 2012. I live here on less than $400 USD a month which includes rent ($119 a month), food, medicines, and supporting a rescue pet.
    You can also stay in Nepal 3 consecutive months (90 days) or up to 150 days in any given calendar year on the tourist visa issued on arrival at the airport (fees differ for length of stay)

    • Tim Leffel

      This changed in April of 2015 apparently, so I’m doing an updated blog post on it this week. Thanks for the heads up.

      The Nepal one is notoriously difficult, especially with their government in perpetual crisis mode, but in theory you’re right.

    • Barb

      Hi, where in India do you live?

  16. James Reed

    Thanks for all the info. Nice blog.

    • John Caudill

      Is this James Reed from Portland?

  17. Nana

    Hi am from Ghana, West-Africa and planing to travel to the some of most cheapest safety countries in the world. As the best researcher i will like you to constantly update me on such countries. Thank you

  18. BRUCE

    For the record (not to offend anyone ) i hear Lisbon portugal is a DUMP! i understand that the govt. is trying financial incentives to remedy this situation . Has anyone been to lisbon or surrounding areas recently and have seen first hand evidence of a renovation of the town?? Also what other regions of portugal other than algarve offer the same amenities at less touristy prices thank you very much Bruce

    • Tim Leffel

      Well the “I hear” part of that is the problem unless you’ve heard it 20 or 30 times. I’ve been there and didn’t get that impression at all. I’m sure there are rough and dumpy parts of town, but that’s true for almost any city.

    • Chris P

      Hey Bruce. Not sure what you meant by “heard”, still… I travel there often on business and must say it is probably one my favorite places in Europe, if not in the world. The dump mention would surely not apply at all to Lisbon (or anywhere else I’ve been in Portugal) and honestly it would put many of our own cites to shame, I’m sad to add. I am always amazed how cheap everything still is, given the quality of the service, the food, the wine, the safety and beauty of it all. I cannot recomend it enough. A sure bet.

      • Matilde Barrett

        Chris, I am Matilde, I live in Miami, Fl. USA, I am in my early 50’s, can retire next year, looking to move away. Life in Miami has become VERY EXPENSIVE!!. I am very attracted to Portugal, why, I do not know, I have never been there, I have been reading about Porto///, or the Algave??, sorry if I misspelled it!! How safe it would be for me and my mother who is 76 to live there??. Can you recommend cheap, SAFE, clean neighborhoods??, close to Lisbon, I want to be closed to the action, but living in a nice village, or neighborhood. I love the mountains!!!!, have you been to the AZORES Islands, how about there?? Waiting for your respond!! Thanks a lot. By the way, my monthly income would be around $1,600.00??

    • JanuaryMoon

      My friends band just played in the Lisbon area and yes there are some quite nasty parts, but the gorgeous old houses for sale for nearly nothing, totally floored her. This is a woman who has been traveling the world for many many years. She was blown away by Lisbon. Yes a lot of dirty streets, very run down areas and some that were not even livable. But also a gorgeous place with amazing old houses and endless possibilities.

      Fact is, that the same can be said of almost every country on this list. Many of the places on this list are notoriously high in crime, some all over and some in more specific areas, are plagued with corrupt police forces, vagary, drugs and such. Quite a few have governmental issues. But this is likely why 1) they are so cheap and 2) Being so cheap attract a certain element.

      If you are looking for cheap and beautiful, then likely you must expect to take the good with the bad. If it was beautiful, pristine, idyllic, safe and prospering with no issues, it then would not be a cheap place to live.

      The best trick is finding a place like this that is on an upswing so that you can buy cheap, entrench yourself in what it has to offer and be set for life as the area builds around you or make money off the sale of your place allowing you to do it all over again.


    • lynn

      Hi Bruce! I recently lived in Portugal for nearly 2 years — in a village outside of Coimbra ( Serpins area) in central Portugal. High up in an oak forest – idyllic! Cheap , friendly , Coimbra a mediaeval city with everything you could want. I lived in a rented stone cottage , food , drink , meals out etc for roughly half my Australian Age pension ( about A$800/month.
      No crowds , peaceful , organic food , lovely neighbours — check out Coimbra!

  19. Bill Tilden

    I am an 81 year old dreamer that wants to live in a country that I can get by on a $1000 a month. But must be on salt water as I am a seafood addict and prefer to forage my own. Does anyone have some idea that might fit my quest?

    • Jon Broome

      My brother lives in Thailand and its cheap depending on where you live. I believe over 55 you can get a retirement visa and live there as long as you like.

  20. David Wolfe

    I am a 62 American male, looking for place that’s safe, in or near mountains, with real seasons and I can easily get by on $1,200 a month. Nightlife not important, but within walking distance of food, necessities and public transportation. Nice furnished apartments and reliable high speed internet are important. Are Bulgaria or Macedonia good choices?

      • David Wolfe

        Thanks so much Tim! Another question that I don’t believe is covered in your book. Has the large influx of refuges across Europe had any effect on your recommendations, especially in Bulgaria, Romania or Hungary, or Eastern Europe in general?

        • Tim Leffel

          If you’re from a developing country, things are only going to get tougher. If you’re from somewhere like the USA or UK, however, it shouldn’t make much of a difference except possibly ease of travel across borders.

          • David Wolfe

            Hi Tim, Thanks for your response, but I must have been unclear in my real question and concern. I wasn’t concerned about ease of travel, but how the impact of so many refuges coming through and some staying in these areas would affect local resources and available housing, etc. I just read Hungary alone had over 177k refugees apply for asylum through December of 2015. With many entering Europe through Hungary, Greece, and then Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, etc; was wondering what you think may be the impact to local economies? Just the volume of people potentially being re-settled has to have some immediate, as well as long range effects on such a small area. This entire area in Eastern Europe would fit inside of Texas, so hundreds of thousands of people coming in will have an effect. I’m just curious if you’d maybe lean toward South or Central America, or Southeast Asia with the uncertainty presently in Eastern Europe? Thanks!

        • Lin

          The refugees/migrants are only a problem in Western European countries. They don’t want to stay in the cheap countries you mention because they don’t get benefits there, so you’re actually safer in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe.

          In fact, I live in Northern Europe and am looking to “flee” East myself because I’m tired of the constant harassment and increasing lack of safety.

          • Jennifer Koridze

            But, in. Eastern Europe, there’s always a concern about impending Russian invasion. I am an American, very happily and comfortably living in Batumshi, Georgia and am very concerned about when (note, not if) that will occur. Until then, cost of living and raising my child in a safe, warm environment with natural products and a great education is wonderful. It reminds me of Los Angeles, living by the sea with easily accessed mountains around us, but, without smog and surrounded by more old world architecture.

          • Tim Leffel

            I’m lost. If you’re worried about Russian invasion, why move closer to Russia? Georgia would be much easier to annex than Hungary or Romania.

          • David Chambers

            Hi, I thought I’d reply about the immigration concerns you have. A strong possibility exists that the masses of immigrants will stop/seek asylum in the aforementioned countries, with the thought to get access to Western Europe, as once you have abode rights in those countries, it opens up the rest of Europe. How long this will exist is unknown as there is a bit of an uprising in Western European countries to limit immigration. I am a Canadian living in the UK and can tell you Brexit was ALL about limiting mass immigration. Understandable as the systems are crashing under the weight of so many newcomers.

  21. Sandra

    Just started recently to explore life over seas. We are very intrigued and looking for a area close to the sea n with in walking distance of markets n eating out n very friendly people. Also medical care if needed. With the local Artists displaying the ware! Where the weather is comfortable year around and not in extreme cold or heat. Very satisfying to the eyes, and breath taking waters n scenery is our intention to find n to live very comfortable on 900.00 monthly ! So I can afford some luxuries as to massages, housekeeping, great food n drinks 🌺❤️🙏🏼 Thank you for the previous comments !

    • jonette goodrow

      Where did you find such place?

    • Steve Singleton

      Hello Sandra. Most any place that has a good tourist trade will have artists with wares. In addition, towns over 100,000 or more will have this kind of groups, as well as markets. For waters, try Lake Oaxaca in Mexico. If you really want seaside areas, there are many more than one can count. Medical care is available on a list on the internet see:
      Any area can be breathtaking if you deem it so. People in other countries are friendly if you try to speak their language and greet them in a friendly manner. If you also want the most for the least, be aware that people from that country will easily recognize that you are not native and may charge you accordingly. It takes making some friends ahead of time and asking them these questions. You can do that on many sites for expats living in various places. Doing things like this ahead of time will really help you to find the right place for your needs. Best Wishes

    • Jennifer Mitts

      Try Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize — except if you burn easily. You can get a sunburn in the shade there because the sun reflects the coral on the ground. That is the only reason I’m not moving there. Otherwise, it has everything you are describing.

    • Patrick

      I think its a place called Utopia, although I can’t get it to come up on google Maps for some reason…hmmm! :)

  22. Constantine

    I am surprised Greece did not make the list. Property prices have come down as has the cost of living. Grocery shopping is about half price to many cities in the United States and Canada. The whole country is like California, but with the warm waters of the Caribbean. You cannot beat the scenery and unlike some countries on the list, this nation is actually very safe. 6 months of the year it is the most international nation in the world with over 25 million visitors.

    • wendy

      Hi Constantine, do you live in Greece as my sister and I are considering moving there as we love the place… We are in our late 50s early 60s and we are disabled.. We never have a problem getting around on our mobility scooters. Would it be easy to find a property to rent and how do we make sure that after a year or two the owners won’t just take the place back.. We want to find a house and stay in it not keep moving around..


    am a 2;1 graduate 4rm Nigeria who desires a work visa permit in a low cost and cheap living english also a certified customer service and telesales from Houston, Texas, U.S.A with my professional working experience in top companies in Lagos.Which country is preferrable especially in getting jobs in the educational sector or customer service/telesales.pls i need comprehensive work permit visa details.


    PLEASE DO NOT MISGUIDE OTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YOU CAN CONSULT HISTORY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    RICE > > > > > 0.20 TO 0.85 US$ PER KG
    EGG > > > > > 17 PIECES / 1 US$ !!!!
    MILK> > > > > 2 liters of skimmed milk / 1 US$
    POTATO > > > > 5.5 Kgs / 1 US$
    ONION > > > > 4.5 KGS / 1 US$
    GINGER > > > > 13.5 KGS / 1 US#
    BREAD > > > > 1.5 Kgs / 1 US$
    TOMATO > > > > 3 KGS / 1 US$
    LAMB/GOAT MEAT > > 1 KG FOR 3.7 US$


    • Jack

      I would love to go!

  25. Leroy F Slater

    I live in Cebu City, Philippines. Its more fun in the Philippines, the tourist pr says, that is true. My retirement income is about $6,000 with the exchange rate at 47 peso to the dollar, more then a quarter million a month. I get pretty alcoholed each day, smoke enough meth each day to get HIGH, girls are on each street, boys to, and shemales also. I eat beef each day, fresh ocean fish too. Don’t need to get a haircut, public transportation is easy to get and the fares are good. Warm oceans, but each day is near 90 F. You only get a problem if you do stupid shit, like bring a young teenager to a tourist hotel. I set on the sidewalk drinking quarts of beer each day, get high at night, maybe all night. Great life at 72!

    • Folus

      Retire in Singapore better

    • wayne fillmore

      how long have you lived there. I have about 2300.00 a month coming in.Can I live well there on that.

    • Lenka

      La creme de la creme

    • Susanne

      YOu sound like a buffoon….really, smoke meth?

    • John

      Not a very well made up story; the $6000 and the meth usage gave it away!

  26. Amy

    Great info thanks! I’m a 33 yr old female, single mom with two kids from Canada. I’m planning on leaving for rtw travel/living :) I have approx $2500/mo to live off for the three of us, the kids are age 5 and 6. From what I can gather the cheapest way to live/travel is slowly with little flights. I’m considering living in Asia first and make my way to Africa eventually. Asia seems cheap and easy and my daughter has family in West Africa where we can live very cheaply in good company. I’m wondering, should I start in South America instead? Any thoughts on first country to start with if I choose Asia? Any thoughts at all are much appreciated! I don’t have any plans to return, but imagine coming back to Canada maybe once every two years.

  27. Jack N

    What about Ukraine? Even in Kyiv, the average cost of living is only something like £300 per month, and Ukraine is a beautiful place!

  28. jeff p.


  29. Willy

    So, what are trying to say about the Philippines? Are you maligning Filipinos? Please explain yourself.

    • Austin

      I have decided to move from the US and experience more affordability and a much better quality of life. I have been debating on Latin America vs the Philippines. I do not speak fluent Spanish and am also looking for the best opportunity to be able to possibly have and income in the future and live affordable. Any and all assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. I am aware of the pitfalls of crime and tourist visas and work visas. All things considered it comes down to being able to have a quality of life as well.

      • john Gilmore

        Austin, Hi, I’ve been to the Philippines 9 Times now, I found a place there called Siargao Island, it’s is a Popular world class Surf destination, That has yet to be exploited by Too Much Tourism, The best time to go there is late September early October, During the surf competition, Lots of fun and Night Life. Most of the Philippines is hot, but in Baguio, you can have 60 Degrees to 80 Degrees during the day and has a Good expat community there. Myself I will be trying out Medellin Colombia my next 6 months out.

  30. maggie

    which country is safe and economical to live a retirement life with US dollar 1000 per month?


    • Gerald Husker

      Try a small village in Kosovo or a very small town in Utah, USA!

    • Tim Leffel

      If you currently live in the USA, ANY country is safer these days. But on that amount I would recommend flying to Southeast Asia or staying closer in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, or rural Peru. If you’re serious about it, pick up one of the packages or the book here:

      • David Wolfe

        Hi Tim,

        I am an American , and planning to retire later this year to Sibiu, Romania. I’ve done a lot of research on the country and area. My question is does your book, or any of your packages contain detailed info on how to go about establishing long term residency there in Romania for non-EU member countries? I’ve heard with any kind of income you can acquire a one year business visa, that can be renewed each year for five years and then apply for permanent residency? But you may need a lawyer and accountant to take care of the paperwork. Is this the kind of information that your book or course or interactive package may provide? Please, I have no problems paying for this kind of information, so any suggestions? Thanks!

        • John

          Research goes only so far! You need to go there and experience it and then act on your research!

    • David Wolfe

      If I can chime in here with my two cents, I am in a similar situation, but with a tad more coming in each month. I have talked to a lot of expats and people actually living there, so I feel confident in recommending either Romania or Bulgaria. The average monthly wages in either country is equivalent to $300-$500 a month, so your $1,000 would afford you a nice lifestyle. In any of the larger cities in either country, English is spoken widely enough to get along. Plus, the people are friendly and welcoming, and you can walk alone at night in most cities in either country, and be safer than anywhere in the U.S. Check out all of this on Cost of living, crime, quality of life, etc. Personally, I’m looking at either Sibiu Romania or Blagoevgrad Bulgaria to retire in, either later this year or early next year. I confirmed with a friend, you can actually get a decent one bedroom apartment in Blagoevgrad for $100 a month! You might have to look around a little to find those deals, but they are out there. The only advantages to Central & South America is they are closer, but for a truly better life, that is safer with beautiful countryside, and living cheaply on limited income, you seriously can’t do better than Romania or Bulgaria. For someone who likes a big city, Budapest Hungary is really nice, but more expensive. Good luck & kindest regards, David

      • buskyhusky

        Hi, David
        Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria, imho, is the best choice, without a doubt. I don’t know how you managed to hit this jackpot from such a distance, never being there. I have spent 5 years travelling extensively in the whole Balkan region, visiting numerously pretty much all of the countries of that area – all in effort to find the best place for retirement, following a quite extensive list of personal requirements to the potential place to be met. So, my advice would be to forget about Sibiu and Romania as such ( because it just doesn’t worth it with its ratio on the ” good/decent quality of life fo reasonable price/kind of money” scale ) and to focus on Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria entirely, because it is highly unlikely that you will manage to find any better place as a permanent residence base – in the whole Balkan region, as I have already noted above. I have already bought place of my own in that town, so I don’t need to bother about renting accommodation there. And I anxiously waiting for that happy time when I will eventually relocate there for good. Besides, Blagoevgrad has many hidden gems and little unexpected pleasures , which only reveal themselves slowly with the time spent there. I had visited Blagoevgrad 3 times, checking it all against my feelings, before I came to firm conclusion that that was The Place and I decided to buy an apartment there. So far, I am “one foot on the ground” there and I can provide enough a lot of practical information on what is what and how things are there. So, do not hesitate to contact me on and I will try to be most helpful within my capacities in regard of providing information about that town, area and region.

        • Jennifer Mitts

          Can you get fast Internet in Blagoevgrad? Netflix? Hulu? Does Amazon deliver there? Thank you!

        • David Wolfe

          Hey BuskyHusky,

          Sorry, I just saw your reply and I appreciate your suggestions & recommendations. It’s really difficult to get much info from actual expats living in either Romania or Bulgaria overall, and even more so when specifically looking for details on Sibiu or Blagoevgrad. One thing that helped sell me on Sibiu was emails exchanged with two different travel bloggers, who were born in Romania, and highly recommended Sibiu to me for what I was looking for in a retirement location. Mountains, real seasons, large enough city to have most conveniences you needed, yet small enough to still feel somewhat intimate, low crime, friendly people, walkable, etc. I think Blagoevgrad has most of that too, but is smaller, though is only 60 miles from the capital Sofia, when you need things you can’t find there. Both cities seemed to fit the bill so to speak, but I was leaning toward Sibiu since I was talking to people who had not only been there, but lived there. I have a lot of things to wrap up here before spring of next year, when I was hoping to start making the move. I would love to talk more about Blagoevgrad with you sometime and will try your email too. If anybody else has friends or spent time themselves in that region, I’d love to hear your thoughts about Romania and Bulgaria in particular, but Hungary is not off the table either. All three have friendly people, low crime, beautiful surroundings & mountains, fast internet, good food, and low cost of living. Thanks! David

      • ben sherman

        Unfortunately Bulgaria now has a ridiculous law that demands car headlights to be on all the time. So when walking around & in nice cafés in the sunshine, you’ll be constantly dazzled. Light pollution on a dizzy crazy level!

      • Jennifer Koridze

        I agree with your suggestions and comments for the most part, here, with the exception of Hungary, especially Budapest. Although it has an interesting history, lovely architecture, it can be quite unsafe, especially for those marked as foreigners. I’m an American from Los Angeles, California, USA, happily residing in and raising my daughter in Batumi, Country of Georgia, beside the Black Sea.

        • Tim Leffel

          Crime there is a small fraction of what it is in most U.S. cities, so until that changes the expats will keep flooding there. Budapest is becoming quite a digital nomad hotspot.

    • Constantin

      with 1000 USD you can live very good in Romania. You can choose a decent size city, population 70.000 up to 250.000. You can rent a decent 1 bedroom apt and be happy eating out 3 times a week :)

  31. Rejser til Thailand


    Thanks for some great info. I will look into some of the locations sutch as Peru and Mexico.

    At the moment im living in Thailand. Its been cheaper years ago, but its still ok. The long term visa is the main problem here now. Many forengers has left because of that.

    A few days ago i went to Cambodia – i only went to Phnom Penh. But i will explore a bit more next time i go there. Its a cheap place to stay and i belive its the most easy country to get a long term visa. Its perfect. Im considering to live there permanent later on

    Thanks again for the info and have a nice day

    Best regards,

    Rejser til Thailand – Dallemand

  32. Ian

    Portugal has the Azores. I wonder if it’s pricey or not, although travel to and from the islands 1/2 across the atlantic may be prohibitive.

  33. Tamera

    All these sound better than Trump trying to build a wall around me. If I wanted that.. I could move to china.

  34. jass hall

    looking for a safe and healthy place to live that won’t break the bank.

    • Gayla Mixon

      Oh how true!! I hate 45 !! I’m 59 and my Social Security check is on $ 900 a month. I Stumbled on this site when I googled cheapest places to live. There is so much information here it can be overwhelming..

  35. Robert F. McTague

    Tiny disagreement on the language comment vis-a-vis Romania: Romanian is a Latin-based language that is much easier to learn for an English-speaker than those others. For someone who speaks Spanish, Italian or Latin, it’s not very challenging at all. Moreover, Romanians, on average, speak English better than those in that group as well. Would guess the CLI for Romania is close to Bulgaria’s as well…

    • Tim Leffel

      Maybe I’m just dense then, because despite a good grasp of Spanish, I didn’t have any more comprehension there than in neighboring countries.

  36. Terry - Currently in USA

    I have lived in several areas (Philippines *Manila, Germany *Central, Mexico *Cancun, Buenos Aries) and have researched several homes/real estate for permanent residence, and I find that there are several other factors than cost of living to consider. The safety of you or your family should be the utmost importance. The type of living- by which I mean some housing standards or residential constructions – are different than you may be use to. I say this because some homes I look up do not contain the same indoor amenities (bathing area, kitchen preparation area, clean well/cistern water, AC or Heat, Internet, and parking or transportation to name a few) that many with “Western” ideas are accustom to. Another concern will be how natives will perceive or accept you. I had some good experiences in my life, but others I have talked with had difficult neighbors or co-workers who resented them. If you plan to work, what are the taxes for the country, whats the median income, what’s the unemployment rate, will you require a vehicle (what are those laws or regulations), and so much more… There are several more things to consider before moving, so please do your homework.

    • Terry - Currently in USA

      I also should have mentioned weather. Hurricanes, Tsunami, Earthquakes, Volcanoes etc. Also.. critters – some locations have monkeys, mosquitoes, giant lizards, or other bugs you may need to consider. In the Philippines there were areas where they allowed dogs to roam the streets and they were everywhere.
      BTW- the smog/pollution in Manila was hard to deal with. I had several issues causing me to spend most of my time indoors (until I left the city where there was less pollution). Please consider a countries government as well.

  37. Kevin Hutchison

    I’d never consider living in some of the places mentioned, for ethical reasons. Anywhere that has the death penalty I’d leave well alone.

  38. Merry Horenberger

    I plan to retire soon and need some alternative to California which I hadn’t planned on leaving.
    I love California but know I won’t be able to stay because of high cost of living.
    I love nice weather all year long and I love to be near water.
    I had hoped to do some work also. I am a licensed counselor and was wondering if y license would be recognized any where outside of the US. Which country might let me practice my skills as a therapist/counselor?
    I have also considered doing internet therapy business on line. So would need good internet service.

    • Jennifer Mitts

      If you don’t really want to leave the U.S., and you want year-round nice weather and a lower cost of living, I would recommend St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. It’s a cozy, quaint, quiet place. One February it was so warm, I went swimming at the pool. Plenty of work on the island or on the mainland; SSI is connected to Brunswick, Ga., by bridge. The only reason I left there was to come back home to Tennessee to take care of a terminally ill parent.

  39. Gloria

    Curious about your thought on italy… I live in Canada but have Italian citizenship through family lineage. Particular areas that are good?

    • Tim Leffel

      Nothing cheap about Italy still, sorry.

    • The Traveling Dirt Bunny

      Check out Sicily. Cheap, great food, great weather. The mafia is now white collar and government practices are, let’s say, questionable, but that’s the case all over Italy anyway (and in most places, except instead of “mafia” we call the institutions “banks”).

      There were some whole villages for sale in Sicily, btw, and for cheap, since the young people have been emigrating North and the older folks are passing.

      With Italian citizenship you’re eligible to live anywhere in the EU, though – as long as the EU exists that is.

  40. James

    Where is that beautiful beach picture you’re using for the header, Tim–the one with the yellow “Cheapest Place to Live 2016 across it?

    • Tim Leffel

      It’s on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, in the Puerto Escondido area.

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