Moving abroad is a fantasy for so many. Escaping the 9-5 by relocating overseas to a country that’s cheap to live in is something most people dream of. But just how many people actually do it? Finding the ideal place to live isn’t easy work. In fact, it can pretty darn stressful. This is, after all, going to be the place you call home and it should feel like home. Moving abroad isn’t always as scary as you think, but it’s still a big change in your life and you want to make sure you do it right.
If you’ve still got itchy feet, we think we can help you in your search for the best – and the cheapest - place to live. In fact, you may even be surprised by the countries you CAN easily afford to live in. Who, for example, would ever imagine you could leave cheap in an exotic paradise like Belize? Or in a country’s capital like Lisbon, Portugal? Well, get ready to hear more from where those came from! There’s nothing we love more than discovering a bargain.
Let’s take a look at 20 of the best place to live in 2018 that are cheaper than you think.
20 Lisbon, Portugal - Capital life for a less than capital price
Hard to believe you can live in a capital city on the cheap isn’t it? But in Portugal’s capital it is indeed possible. This has got to be one of the top picks for bargain places to live around the world. Lisbon offers a competitive cost of living. In fact the cost of living in Lisbon and in Portugal as a whole is one of the lowest in western Europe. This is largely thanks to its great tax system and plethora of real estate bargains.
You can easily live modestly in Lisbon for $1,300 per month – and that’s including rent, food, and electricity bills.
19 Las Tablas, Panama - perfect for the twilight years
Panama’s sleepy town of Las Tablas is perfect for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Its stress-free atmosphere is one of the main reasons people come to live in Panama. Even more appealing is that it has the cheapest cost of living in the country.
A couple looking to retire in Las Tablas can live comfortably on $820 per month. You may spend more on transport if you want to visit the big cities regularly, but even transportation costs are inexpensive in Panama. It really is the ideal place to live out your twilight years.
18 Cali, Colombia - Stealing Medellin's spotlight
Last year, Medellin ranked close to the top for being one of the cheapest places to live. This year, Cali is stealing the spotlight. With rental rates 30% less than in Medellin, it’s definitely a place to find bargains. With its agreeable climate, towering palms, and range of parks, Cali is a beautiful city and certainly appealing to many. That is enhanced by the friendly locals who instantly make you feel right at home.
But just how cheap is it here? A couple can easily reside here for $987 a month – including rent. You can also buy a 3-bedroom apartment in a great location for just $45,100.
17 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - rapidly growing economy
It has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. But it’s specifically The Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, where you want to be. With its busy harbour, lively streets and excellent modern conveniences, it’s no surprise that tourists flock to this city.
But it also might be worth considering as a place to live, especially since you can live here for around $1,450 per month. And just so you know, that’s including both rent and food. Not bad, huh? This city might be worth considering if you’re interested in looking for a cheap place to live with a thriving economy.
16 Penang, Malaysia - top food destination in the world
Penang is a tropical island off the west coast of Malaysia. This island is an interesting blend of culture and because it used to be a British colony, nearly everybody here speaks English.
In 2014, it was named the top food destination in the world. If you want to live in total luxury in Penang, you can expect to pay up to $2,500 per month. On the other hand, if you’re happy living a modest lifestyle you can easily live on $1,500 per month. Rent can be anywhere between $550 and $800 for modest living. Luxury living comes with a bigger price tag.
15 Playa del Carmen, Mexico - 50% less than the USA
Many Americans vacation in Mexico and who can blame them? Those beaches, the food, the sights...what’s not to love? But did you know it’s actually pretty cheap to live in Mexico as a whole? Housing costs vary, but for a comfortable rental in a nice area you can expect to pay no more than $1,500 each month. Your electric bill will rarely break $40 monthly.
Mexico’s low cost of living makes it an interesting candidate for cheap countries to live in around the world. In fact, you can pay as much as 50% less than what you’d pay in the USA.
14 Hoi An, Vietnam - live on $1000 per month
Vietnam is growing more popular amongst expats throughout the world mainly because of the cheap cost of living. But that’s not all Vietnam offers. It is a beautiful country with great culture and great food. But if you are on a strict budget, an apartment close to the river in Hoi An will set you back just $458 per month. If you combine that with the average cost of $450 per month for food, your total monthly cost for living in Hoi An should come in at no more than $1,000.
While English is not the official language, it is spoken and understood by most residents.
13 Huanchaco, Peru - $3 for a pound of cheese, sign us up!
Peru is one of the cheapest countries to live in South America. It’s one of the reasons people move here.
A couple can live inexpensively in most parts of Peru but Huanchaco is by far one of the cheapest regions in the country. You won’t pay more than $600 per month for a three-bedroom, furnished apartment that is close to the beach.
As for additional costs, a pound of cheese will set you back just $3 and a consultation with a specialist doctor should cost no more than $12. But there’s more to Peru than the cheap cost of living. There’s the friendly people, beautiful beaches and of course the amazing food.
12 Granada, Nicaragua - retire years earlier
If you are looking for somewhere in the Americas to live on a budget for a good quality of life, you’re not going to find better than Nicaragua.
This emerging tourist destination is not only beautiful, but totally affordable too. You can easily live for $700 per month in Nicaragua. In fact, if you don’t want to live in a 3-bedroom apartment, you could probably get by on just $500. Many people actually retire here because of the low cost of living. It’s possible to retire 10 years earlier if you have savings with the affordable living prices here in Nicaragua.
11 Cambodia - Splurge on a Housekeeper as well
People tend to imagine Cambodia as a total departure from the western world but that’s actually not true. Here you will still find imported foods, restaurants, cinemas, and other home comforts. The only big difference is that the cost of living in Cambodia is so low. Many expats who live here say they can get by on $1,000 per month comfortably.
In fact, a lot of expats have housekeepers. This is something only the rich usually have in the US, but in Cambodia it’s possible – and totally affordable – to have a house cleaner that costs a maximum of $40 per month.
10 Abruzzo, Italy - A cheaper alternative to Tuscany
Now for more European destinations. Everybody already knows what a beautiful country Italy is. Abruzzo is no different, it’s just cheaper than other regions. With its stunning Adriatic coastline and mountains perfect for skiing and rolling vineyards, it’s Italy’s hidden gem. Many people would compare Abruzzo to Tuscany because the two are very alike, apart from the fact that the former is way cheaper.
A couple could live in Abruzzo on $1,400 per month, for food and rent. For anyone harbouring a secret dream to move to Italy, now is your chance. Abruzzo sure sounds like an enticing destination, especially at those prices!
9 Tirana, Albania - Worthy of a chance
Buying real estate anywhere in Albania is more than affordable. You will easily be able to find a condo in Tirana for $35,000. And if it’s a three-bedroom house you’re looking for, expect to pay no more than $90,000. If you are looking to rent, you can find a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Tirana for $275 per month.
We know Albania might not be at the top of the list for countries to live abroad, but you should give it a chance. This country has some beautiful beaches, an interesting culture and good weather. And with those prices, you can’t lose.
8 Burgas, Bulgaria - Beautiful Europe without the excessive price tag
Bulgaria has long been a favourite amongst Europeans looking for a cheap place to live or retire. That’s because it’s one of the cheapest places in the world to buy a house. If you’re looking for a more beachy destination in Bulgaria, Burgas is a good choice and still totally affordable.
It won’t be hard to rent an apartment or house for less than $500 per month. The transportation system is also really easy and cheap. Not to mention the stunning beaches and greenery.
While it may be cheap here, it doesn’t look that way. You’ll find even cheaper properties if you live in the countryside.
7 Bali, Indonesia - who wouldn't want to live in paradise?
Bali is known for being one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. With its serene views, breathtaking coastline and friendly locals, it sounds like paradise and the ideal place to live. The best place in Bali to live according to experts is the small town of Sanur. This suburb of the larger city is laid back and affordable.
Wondering what the price of paradise is? Well, let’s just say a couple can live very well for $1,600 per month. We know that doesn’t sound so cheap in comparison to other places, but for what you are getting here it’s a bargain.
6 Tunis, Tunisia - Sign Us Up At Only $168 per month
Another place where you won’t believe what you can get for your money is Tunisia’s capital, Tunis.
Tunisia really is a stunning country, which is why it’s so unbelievable that you can rent a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre of Tunis for just $168. If you are more interested in buying an apartment in Tunis, you’ll pay around $820 per square meter for an apartment in the city centre.
Tunisia doesn’t just offer cheap rent though. This country is brimming with culture, beauty and great food. It’s a fascinating country to explore. With the low prices, you wouldn’t necessarily even have to work here (at least, not that much).
5 Tegucigalpa, Honduras - dynamic, young, urban scene
With its forested hills, mild climate and great museums, Tegucigalpa is a wonderful setting. It’s also not totally out of your price range either. You can rent a city centre apartment for $308 per month, but if you live outside of the city centre you can easily rent for $258.
Many people overlook this city and head more to the exotic areas of Honduras, but it still has much to offer tourists and expats. In addition to its low cost of living, it also boasts great museums, restaurants, and a dynamic young urban scene. It’s definitely a city worth considering.
4 Ljubljana, Slovenia - Not too far from stunning Mediterranean coastline
Slovenia, located in central Europe, is a great choice for those in search of a low cost of living. The country boasts 29 miles of stunning Mediterranean coastline.
Its charming capital, Ljubljana, can serve as an ideal place to live. It’s a modern city with a small town charm showcasing stunning beaches (not too far away), ski resorts and olive groves.
So what exactly does it cost to live in Slovenia's thriving capital city? It’s safe to say that a couple can easily get by on $1,059 per month in Ljubljana. We know that’s not as cheap as somewhere like Tunis, but it is nonetheless great value for money.
3 Tagaytay, Philippines
Tagaytay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines and actually, it’s not so expensive to live there at all. With its breathtaking scenery, friendly locals and beautiful Taal Lake, it’s no surprise tourists flock here. Compared to other cities and towns in the Philippines, Tagaytay is one of the more expensive but it’s still more than affordable.
A budget of $1,000 per month should be more than enough to cover rent and bills in this city. You can also rent a luxurious villa with incredible views for $600 per month if you want to live more lavishly.
2 Ambergris Caye, Belize - A small price to pay for paradise
Ambergris Caye is the most famous tourist retreat in Belize – especially for fishermen, scuba divers and sports enthusiasts. It’s easy to live an outdoors lifestyle here thanks to the amazing weather and lush landscapes.
With the island’s natural beauty and lively community, it sounds like paradise. Surprisingly, you’ll be paying a lot less for paradise than you ever expected.
You can live exceptionally well for $1,900 USD in Ambergris Caye – and that’s including your rent, food and bills. Not bad for a home in paradise is it? It’s not the cheapest place around, but when you weigh up the pros and cons, this place is priceless.
1 Cuenca, Ecuador - Wallet friendly, colonial living
Cuenca is a colonial city in Ecuador. This fascinating country boasts beautiful churches, high quality health care, spring-like climate and a low cost of living. Many retirees come to live in Cuenca because of what it offers.
It’s impossible to beat some of the prices here. A couple can live more than comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,000. What’s so great is that you have all your city amenities close by, so you don’t need to rely on public transport to take you everywhere. In small towns like Vilcabamba, you can live on just $650 per month.
In Ecuador, it isn’t hard to find a bargain.
References: liveandinvestoverseas.com, internationalliving.com, alittleadrift.com, numbeo.com