The Cheapest Places to Live in the World – 2017

The cheapest places to live in the world are getting a lot of new transplants who want to escape and cut their expenses.

cheapest places to live 2017

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

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

[Editor’s note: This living abroad for less post is still solid, but there’s a somewhat newer version here if you want the latest.]

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


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

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

The Cheapest Places to Live in the Americas

cheap cost of living in Mexico


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

international living in Ecuador


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

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

living cheap in PeruPeru

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

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

Other Places to Live in Central and South America

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

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

The Cheapest Places to Live in Europe

cheapest places to live in Europe

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


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

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

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


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


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

living cheap real estate Bulgaria


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

Other Countries in Europe to Consider

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

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

The Cheapest Places to Live in Asia

cheap living in Cambodia

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


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


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


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


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

Other Cheap Places to Live in Asia

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

Moroccan spices market prices

Cheap Places to Live in Africa

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

South Africa

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


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

Other places to consider in Africa

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


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

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

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

  1. Stephanie Craig

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

    • Michael Rasmussen

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

    • John Campbell

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

      • Camelia

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

        • Leigh

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

          • ventsi

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

        • John Campbell

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

          • Carmen

            Hi John it would be nice if you share some information if you don’t mind I’m looking a decent quite place to retire thanks

          • Storm

            Hi John,

            We are looking at perhaps moving to Bulgaria. Please may I contact you to get more details on what it is actually like there?

        • Parveen

          Hii’ i am parveen from india ..
          I want plan to settal in bulgaria will u plz help me what can i do for ….

        • trevor kay

          i would like to travel to bulgaria in the near future in thailand at the moment travelled few places in asia and will go to south america ,i am 60 single guy active keep fit yoga etc often wondered if there are many western expats living in bulgaria and were would be a good place to stay

        • richard lee

          Hi Camelia,
          This Richard from Singapore and would like to correspond with you via email before travelling to Bulgaria in Sept/2017.
          Kindly reply to my email: [email protected]
          Thank you

        • Wally Stander

          Hi Camelia, I am from South Africa and looking for a place to retire. I have read about your country but what about the language? Will I get along only with english? And what is the weather like?
          Kind regards

          • Storm

            Hi Wally,

            We are also South African looking to move there. Maybe all the South Africans who want to leave need to start farming there? Could be good for a whole group of us to go. Just to have some feel of home.

        • gopal sahu

          Is there any jobs for me?


          hi camelia my name is nathan please how much can it cost me to buy a house or flat in Bulgaria please reply to me [email protected] am planning to relocate there with my family. thanks.


          Hi Camelia, My name is Danny. I am a retired teacher/musician. I am interested in living in Bulgaria. Could you please tell me about your country? Thank You! My email is [email protected] I am on Facebook under Danny Arnette

        • John Kennedy

          Your country sounds great. I am a retired American. I have some monthly income. Am I OK?

        • Karim

          Hi camellia
          Can you advise when is the best time to visit Bulgaria, and if it is easy for people to understand English?
          I am from manchester and if you want any information about uk I would be glad to provide

        • cole morgan

          hi camellia. I am from america and recently retired. I have sone questions about your country, thank you [email protected]

        • Haressh

          Hello Camelia. .
          Nice to know about you ..that you are from Bulgaria. If I want to get PR residency.. what is the procedure and whether I can get job or business..


        • NJ Durani

          I want to know what are the business opportunities in Bulgaria. What is the reasonable investment required to make reasonable earnings for reasonable/ good living. Also what are the requirements for getting the permanent residency or citizenship.

        • Phan Cong

          Can you let me know which city is most worthwhile to reside at in Bulgaria. I mean the most secure and budget city with good services.

        • Zubair (Zak) Farooqui

          Hi Camelia,
          I live in Los Angeles & am planning to visit Europe this summer with hopes of moving to choose one of the more less expensive nation. I would love to hear from you about Bulgaria. Thank You. Have a great day.

      • JUDY MEYER


    • Jeanni Strait

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

    • Tammy Marie Fitch

      Hey can you give the starting point of what to do to get myself cleared to live there? I also have a home here and I want to purchase some dirt cheap there. My name is Tammy Fitch and my email address is [email protected]. Thanks in advance!

    • Dan

      Pakistan is now a cool place to live

    • berc

      Hey jeanni I am berc from Ghana let’s get personal email me [email protected]

    • andrew park

      Are you still there I’m looking to relocate to a different country asap please email me [email protected]

  2. Wade K.

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

    • Tim Leffel

      Yes, hoping to get there too. Thanks!

      • John Campbell

        Hi Tim,
        Any updates available on Tbilisi Georgia? It wasn’t even on my radar, but according to several bloggers I’ve read lately, it seems
        click all the right boxes (cheap cost of living, low crime, beautiful
        countryside-beaches,mountains, friendly people, and easy long
        term 360 day visas available too). Thanks!

        • Tim Leffel

          Gets very few visitors, but it’s on my radar. Need to get to the Balkans first though.

          • John Campbell

            Hi Tim,
            I recently read your newsletter covering your trip through the Balkans talking about Montenegro & Bosnia as a traveler, but more about Albania regarding living there. Now Albania’s 360 day stay policy is great, but I really like Montenegro better, plus it seems that a lot of American expats are there too. What info would you please share about Montenegro, i.e.- recommendations or ease of temporary residence permits, etc.? Anything would be much appreciated! Thanks!

        • Kevin

          Digital nomad and entrepreneur here! I stayed in Tbilisi for several weeks on a stopover heading back to Asia. I was floored! It is an amazing mix of cheap costs, friendly locals, great food and wine, and of course super lax visa policy. Highly, highly recommend checking it out. I have plans to go back now later this year.

  3. gary

    Great article, Tim.

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


    • David Garcia

      Hi I have been living in Georgia for two years now. The country is cheap to live. I do not know why people keep saying Georgians are friendly, they are not. They are nice people, but friendly they are not. I am assuming those who say that are visitors staying in hotels where as in most countries they want your money. They cost of lving is rising and they are constantly passing new laws. Freedom on the decline. I am moving out at the end of this year.

  4. Josh

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

  5. Dave O'Gorman

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

      • John Campbell

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

        • Tim Leffel

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

          • John Campbell

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

          • Harriet Jones

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

    • Roger Willis

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

      • Waritza Torres

        But if you are to ask for a bussiness visa, what do they ask for that. What kind of evidence?

        • Roger

          They don’t really ask for anything. If you plan to stay, get a one month business visa–not a tourist visa–and then extend it for up to a year. You do not have to leave the country to renew your visa.

      • Sevenda Augustwari

        Hello Roger. I’ve been to Cambodia. I love it there. I’m looking at making my international move from the states in the next two weeks. I’m debating, Belize, Nicaragua, or going back to Cambodia. Where at there are you living that has rent that cheap?

        Thank you for your time. I’ll appreciate your reply.

        • Roger

          I live near the Royal Palace, so–in the center of town. It’s a good spot for expats with many foreign and local restaurants just around the corner.

    • Camelia

      Better in Bulgaria.

    • Emma corcoran

      Hi Daventry,

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

    • Elena

      I haven’t travelled South East Asia but having settled in Bulgaria (after living in UK for 18 years) I can totally recommend it, especially the house complex I bought a flat in and have been living in for the past year.
      Flats are around 60-70,000 USD and houses are more towards your budget if you want it spacious. My internet connection is averaging 200 mbps and all modern amenities are here. Their site is

      • John Campbell

        Hi Elena,
        I hope to move to Bulgaria sometime later this year. Any particular advice on how best to go about getting long term residency? Someone told me you can start any kind of business and with the help of an attorney and accountant, get a business visa good for a year, and then just renew it every year until you can apply for permanent residency. Any knowledge of that? Also, for medical, shopping, etc, I want to stay within an a couple of hours of a large city, but live in a smaller town. Is English only difficult at first until you have a chance to learn the language? Thanks in advance and I hope this email finds you well!

    • Alexander

      Hi Dave! I was born in Romania and traveled quite a bit, so I have a wider picture.

      I wouldn’t move to Cambodia for good because it’s far from the Western world (unless you want to leave it behind for good).

      In Romania or Bulgaria you’re going to have access to the good life and they’re both EU members, which is important for your overall well-being.

      If you choose Romania and want to travel often to Western Europe, then consider Timisoara (it’s close to the Hungarian border and you can visit the entire Western EU by car). Cheap flights are also available in the West (most EU members) and South to places like Greece, Turkey, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.

      If you’re not planning to travel a lot, then choose between Brasov (if you enjoy the mountains – Dracula’s castle is nearby) or Constanta (if you love the sea). Both are fairly close to Bucharest, the capital, which was known as The Little Paris (you’ll see why) just a few decades ago.

      Good luck!

  6. John

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

    • Craig

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

      Forget Solzhenitsyn watch “Born in East LA”

    • Jason

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

  7. Maurice

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

  8. doo-dad

    Stop with all the Trump gump.

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

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

    • Tim Leffel

      Dear Mr. Doo-dad,

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

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

      • Heather Donnelly

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

      • Michael R

        Where’s the like button?

      • Felix Carbon

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

        • Tim Leffel

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

        • Alex

          Felix, do you rent out your cabin in Ontario?

      • Gayla Mixon

        It still blows my mind that people actually support 45! One day they will realize they have been conned,lied to, and this administration is corrupt!

    • Marita B.

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

      • dawn

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

        • Tim Leffel

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

          • Carolanne

            A voice of reason amidst the insanity. Thanks Tim.

          • Dr. Carl Erikson

            Upvoted 2000 times. Thanks Tim.

          • Wayne


            I can say from my Canadian experience, that not all is some may think. Most medical treatments folks encounter is a prescription pad. That’s not covered, unless you have private insurance, which almost always has a co-payment. Depending on your income, you will be making a contribution to your provincial health care program, such as OHIP in Ontario.
            As for care, I went for years untreated for a back condition an improperly given opiates. When my condition worsened, I was refused additional diagnostics to examine the situation. When I finally was given and MRI, it indicated a significant problem requiring immediate surgery. Translated, I was put on a 3 month waiting list, in terrible pain, at times numbing from the waist down. It wasn’t until I started pissing myself, that I was brought in for standby ER surgery. I was operated on around 6pm on a Sunday, and released from hospital at 2:00pm the following day. The pain was excruciating for several days. The surgery cost the province $20,000 total. I would have much rather had the option to pay that upfront, and more for immediate surgery/diagnostics, and better post op care, than go through what I did. I have forever impairment/minor incontinence.
            When examining universal health care, truly examine it. Dental, psychiatric, vision care, prescriptions are not covered. Waiting lists for treatment/specialist appointments are exceedingly long, sometime upwards of 18 months, depending.

          • Tim Leffel

            Wayne, I have yet to meet a single Canadian who would trade their system for the U.S. one. What you describe is a two-tiered system that is common in most countries, including expat havens like Mexico, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. The government provides standard health services at their facilities, sometimes with a wait involved. If you want to speed things up or go to a specialist, you pay out of pocket for a private doctor/hospital. That’s not inhumane—it’s the way to keep the system from bankrupting the government and a way for people who can afford it to have more choice. Unless you’re Norway, there is a limit to how much there is to spend in the coffers. You get standardization efficiency and economy of scale though that don’t exist in a free market, for-profit system.

            You COULD have paid for all of that yourself, just as my Canadian uncle did when he wanted knee surgery faster. If not where you live, then elsewhere. Most Canadians live within an hour or two of the biggest private health care system in the world. Mobility works both ways.

      • Ron H

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

        • Tim Leffel

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

          • Kris

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


          • John Campbell

            Hi Tim,

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

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

          • Tim Leffel

            It’s the most expensive country in Central America by far.

          • Truth Teller

            Most Americans don’t even need health insurance. They are just living by whatever has been pounded into their heads for so long. I have a wife and three kids. We have had Medicaid for the past 3 years. We have used it maybe one time. People should take better care of themselves and do real work for a living. People sit around too much and become dependent upon doctors to lie to them and make them even more dependent.

        • John

          My two cents about insurance..I’m 52 single in good health and I have private insurance I pay $400+ a month…when I checked out switching to ugh Obamacare it would have cost me sit down for this $650 a month so Obamacare isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be my private insurance is cheaper. .just to clarify things about so called working hard and paying tour own way…maybe one day the US will pull it’s head out and go universal lol pinches self…sorry was dreaming for a bit there

          • Tim Leffel

            A lot depends on which state you are in. It’s not really a national plan in practice.

        • Gayla Mixon

          So why don’t you move back to the and get a job and pay for your on insurances! Or move to a country that has good health coverage?

    • Roger Willis

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

    • Robert Trenso

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

      • Ron

        Yeah Go Trump, build that wall and help the vets. Tim you are obviously a disgruntled liberal who is a sore loser because your candidate didn’t win. You are misguided by liberal news on nearly every hand and should stick to writing these articles and stay out of politics since you are obviously overly biased.
        On another note Costa Rica is expensive as you said, and although it’s a tropical paradise, everything costs more. Besides the power and water going out continually, Costa Rica is also the biggest importer and user of deadly pesticides.

        • Tim Leffel

          I get all my news from The Week, which is as balanced as you can possibly get.

    • garrett durkin

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

    • Terence

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

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

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

      • Carolanne

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

  9. Emily

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

  10. Ian

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

  11. Michael

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

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

      • John Campbell

        Hi Tim,
        I appreciate your book, your site and the additional advice here in the comment section. As far as politics in the countries you’ve highlighted above, is there a way to find out more about the current vibe or political climate of these places, as Europe seems in a bit of flux right now? You mentioned above Hungary being right wing and anti-immigration for example, so I’m concerned as someone who has been seriously looking at Eastern Europe for many reasons, including low cost of living. So, since many of these countries there seem conservative in their politics and policies and I wonder how much of a problem that could be for an expat who isn’t so conservative. I really like Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia on paper, but wonder how I can find out more how the people and countries are socially, politically compared with Western Europe?
        Thank you!

        • Tim Leffel

          Best sources are The Economist and the BBC. They go into more depth on that than most others. Most countries aren’t as bad as Hungary and Turkey, the two that have gotten steadily more authoritarian.

    • David

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

  12. Lisa W.

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

  13. Lisa W.

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

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

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

      • Gayla Mixon

        Hi Tim. Would love to be in your FB group!

        • Tim Leffel

          Search “Cheapest Destinations” for the one connected to this blog. For the Cheap Living Abroad one, it’s private for people who have purchased the Committed or All In packages of A Better Life for Half the Price.

  14. Rich

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

  15. Ron H

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

      • Gayla Mixon

        Hi Tim.. I’ve ordered your book.. anxiously awaiting… What do you think about Cape Town S.Africa?

        • Tim Leffel

          Right now Cape Town is a better deal than usual if you’re buying something or locking in a long-term lease. That’s because of a strong dollar though. If the exchange rate changes—which it inevitably will—it’ll get more expensive in a hurry. Because it’s pretty much the most desirable city in Africa to live in, there’s no shortage of demand.

    • garrett durkin

      Ron H is a true trump chump

    • David

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

      • Carolanne

        Yes, exactly. Well said.

  16. Bobbie Miller

    HI Tim,

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

  17. Sam

    Interesting article on the majority vote:

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

  18. Marilyn Rutherford

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

    • Amit Mehra

      Do you use what’s app. If yes please give me your number. Thanks and regards

      My what’s app number is + 852 94391245 and my name is amit

    • Deborah

      Hi Marilyn,
      I am increasingly finding my meagre resources dwindling faster than the trend to living into ones 90s. Although keen to do what you are doing I am waiting with baited breath for that catalyst to give me that final push. I wonder if you would mind sharing with me some of your practical experiences regarding visas, medical health, accommodation and language difficulties – all of which I’m sure you have probably experienced . How did you decide to move to your destination?
      I’d really appreciate hearing from you.

  19. Annette

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

  20. Terence

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

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

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

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

  21. Stephen

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

    • Waritza Torres

      What about the visa process?

  22. Susan

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

    • Tim Leffel

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

      • cecil

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

      • John

        That’s pretty petty of yourself just over a few statements about politics…I’ll stop there before I offend you really bad being I hate trump with a passion lol

  23. Mandy

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

  24. Steve Smith

    Good article but your political commentary is unnecessary.

    • Tim Leffel

      Steve, I’ll be sure to process a refund since you came to this blog not realizing that politics and emigration were intertwined. Oh never mind, I forgot. It’s free.

  25. Laura

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

    • Tim Leffel

      Virtually anyone who has lived in both places will tell you that (I’ve interviewed quite a few) but you can substantiate it through Numbeo, Price of Travel, Lonely Planet, etc. Substantial difference in almost everything you would spend money on except highway tolls. I didn’t smoke anything when I was there though, just drank unbelievably cheap wine (which is now even less because the dollar is stronger.)

      • Linda S Skaggs

        Hi Tim,
        I lived in Spain and loved it but know I can’t go back and live on my SS.
        Is it possible to live in Portugal on less than $800.00 a month?
        All I need is a small apartment in a place where marketing for food is within walking distance.
        Really appreciate your help because I need help!

        • Tim Leffel

          From what the people I interviewed in my book tell me, you could if you didn’t ever need a car. Rent will take up a good portion of that though.

  26. Brad

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

  27. Carmen H

    Hi, how secure is Thailand, Malaysia or Philippines for a woman and make a little money on the side.
    I am German and live in Florida for 20 years. Like to move to Asia to live happely after and make little money, as I am not in the retired age yet.
    Can somebody help me with an answer?

    Thank you.

    • Paul

      Safer than Florida, that’s for sure! Many Westerners, and indeed Germans, live in the countries you mentioned, so you should be fine. Naturally, there are risks in every country, but if you survived 20 years in Florida, then you probably know how to find out what areas/situations to avoid. One tool I would suggest looking at is the “intentional homicide rate”, which is a good proxy for the overall crime rate, since unlike many types of crime, murder does tend to get reported and counted in every country, so it makes for a reliable comparison. See the Wikipedia article “List of countries by intentional homicide rate” – you can rank the countries by clicking the up/down arrow in the “Rate” column. Towards the bottom, you can also expand info for the US states. Well, if I were you, I’d avoid Philippines and consider Indonesia instead, as well as Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. Viel Glueck!

  28. Melissa

    Thanks for the info you’ve provided. Not only am I looking for places where money will stretch in retirement, but places that are safe, and peaceful, for a single woman. Some of the places you mention are on the US Gov travel advisory list. Insights on that?

    • Tim Leffel

      Other countries have the U.S. on THEIR advisory because of the high gun violence. Where do you live now? Mexico City has lower crime than D.C., Lisbon is safer than Los Angeles, and on it goes. Where it truly is unsafe, I cover that in detail in the book, but there are far fewer of those places, plus is Paris safe these days? Quebec City? It depends on your perspective and also on random bad luck.

      • John

        The US has some of the highest crime rates in the world as well as incarcerating more people in its prison system then any other country in the world…I’ve been all over the world due to having been in the military for 25 years and can safely say I’ve been in places where I felt completely safer than I have in some cities in the states it’s all about common sense and listening to your instincts …if the hair begins to rise on your arm or where ever safe bet it’s time to fund a safer place to be….so excellent info Tim!

      • Larry

        You could probably join the mafia in russia and be safer than walking the streets of detroit :)

  29. Evan

    Really? Learn how to write an article without making it political, don’t we get enough of that crammed down our throats every day? I just want to find cheap places to travel to, not your political commentary.

    • Tim Leffel

      Travel and politics aren’t connected? I guess travel to the USA is dropping fast because of blind coincidence.

  30. Elton Maart

    Hi,I’m a married 40+ South African male looking for a country with a low cost of leaving to settle in ,where my family can study and play sport. My daughter is start her her first year Social Studies and son is in grade 9 -he is a keen utility baseball and soccer player. My wife (who is also finishing her final year of Social studies) and I would also need to find jobs to support our stay.Which country would accommodate us.

    Elton Maart
    [email protected]

  31. vic

    Hi Tim,

    Out of all those place, which do you think would be the safest for a young solo female looking for a peaceful life in the country side?

    I’m far from retiring age, but am definitely ready to retire from the rat race.

  32. Rose

    Very interesting blog, just came across it this evening. And i don’t mind the political commentary at all, since i am sure it plays into people’s decision to move or stay. Had never considered any of the former Eastern European countries. Now i will check out Romania. Preferred by me over Bulgaria since Romanian is a Latin language like Spanish, so should be easier to pick up then Bulgarian. I am also exploring Spain, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

  33. John

    You all are funny whining over politics…it’s all connected one way or another…so Tim keep up the great work and advice…I’m considering thailand possibly but will know better after I visit again next month to determine if this is a good fit for me or not….I’m retired military and after this 3 ring circus election and the bozo we have now in the WH …I’m going to expat route and getting out while we still can after his travel ban …if he continues his antics the rest of the world may just close their borders to Americans if he pisses em like he’s doing

  34. Bob

    Canadian with a 45,000 per annum military pension. Looking for a warm climate that allows for medical marijuana. Would prefer to have a rural property, or at least a more tranquil and quiet locale. Any recommendations?

    • Tim Leffel

      It’s legal in Uruguay, is for personal consumption in Mexico, and most others turn a blind eye as long as you’re not a dealer. Rural land is cheap almost anywhere in Latin America. Lots more info in the book.

  35. Andres Trautmann

    What a usefulls advices! Now I think I’m going to expand my criteria on moving, a lot of chances in the world today!
    Canada is offering good choises bye the way, but bulgaria sound real intresting and franckly: Did you going to get the same art cuantity with old that history on it? I don’ t think so! Europe is absolutly more rick if is related with arts anyway!

  36. Brandon Ferdig

    Thanks for the info. I’ll chime in regarding the politics and say that just because it’s intertwined with expatriation (for some) doesn’t mean your one-sidedness is warranted. You can simply acknowledge the controversial winner of the election without such propaganda as “platform of hate”.

    Are such reactionary opinions good for sales? Sure, just ask Rush Limbaugh. But I bet ordinarily you would frown on basing decisions on money and popularity.

    Anyway, it was truly helpful info even if I did have to hold my nose throughout.

    • Tim Leffel

      You’re free to go elsewhere for your free information if you don’t want my opinion. If this offends you, you’re not in the right place.

      • Martin walden

        Hooray for you Tim. Your site is yours. Don’t like it, leave.

  37. Travis Kelly

    Politics and emigration/immigration are inextricably linked. The Trump nationalists deplore 11 million illegal immigrants, most from Mexico, but thanks to NAFTA, it was Monsanto, Cargill and company that flooded Mexico with cheap grain, forcing family farmers to flee their and flood the U.S. just to survive.

    Amazing that Trump does not bring up this connection. He caved in like a wet noodle on importing drugs from Canada and abroad — the number-one factor in skyrocketing American medical costs. I doubt he’ll do anything at all on free-trade that jeopardizes multi-national corporate profits. Billions more for the ravenous military-industrial complex as he wants to cut Meals on Wheels and subsidized school lunches.

    I had some hope Trump would do at least some good (dethroning the Neocon chickenhawks). Well, I was bitterly disappointed by Obama and on many issues, and it looks like I’l swallowing more vinegar from Trump. As they say in Mexico, “Same horse, different rider.”

    I visited Guanajuato/San Miguel 30 years ago, and I may be headed back for good.

    • Paul

      Yeah, he’s already flip-flopped on “America First” too – just as I expected. Bombing Syria? Really? All these stupid wars are NOT in America’s national interest – they are bankrupting us! They are for a certain foreign country – the one that also gets two thirds of all foreign aid and owns every politician, all our media, the Federal Reserve, etc. Here’s a big clue on Syria – check the people involved in this company “Genie Energy” – just WOW.

  38. Travis Kelly

    I’m disappointed to learn that Mexico has doubled the minimum income requirement for permanent residency, or more — I’ve heard $2000 and $2500. The average (or median?) Social Security monthly payment is $1300. Looks like this is a virtual wall to keep hordes of retiring boomers from flooding the country.

    Tim, if you’re still around here –- how fast and how reliable did you find internet service in Guanajuato? I’ve heard they are installing fiber optic in San Miguel.

    • Tim Leffel

      I think they’re less strict with retirees—that’s what I’ve heard anecdotally. Internet service is getting better all the time. I have 8 mbps now and can update to 20 or 50 by paying more and getting fiber to the home. I just haven’t had the motivation as I’m not living there full time at the moment. When I am again I’ll upgrade.

  39. Matia

    Where is the easiest place to live, or even enter, for a family that doesn’t have paperwork for everyone in the family? Is there anywhere that seems more lenient than others?

  40. Shannon B Smith

    Lol, Clinton did NOT win the popular vote, she barely won the popular vote in NY, her home. Get your facts straight.

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