The grass is greener on the other sideof the fence – this is becoming a guiding life principle forincreasing numbers of people these days. Sometimes it’s only aboutrelocating to a different part of a country, but the most restlesstypes will go to the end of the world to find their own Shangri-La,where they can live for peanuts and call themselves expats oh soproudly. Ideally, it should be a place that’s cheap, beautiful andprosperous, but then again, you can’t always have your cake and eatit, right? If you’ve been toying with an idea to leave everythingbehind and start a simpler life, here’s yet another list of cheapcountries to live in to broaden your options.
No breakdowns ofcosts are attempted; just another set of hints for those whoseriously think of an expat life and are ready to scour other sourcesfor reliable data. Here’s where your dollars will certainly go a longway.
Idyllicislands, fabulous wildlife, legendary sunsets and unsurpassedarchitectural glory – there must be a price for all this. You thinkBali and images of exorbitant prices blur your vision of life inparadise? Mistake! Much as the glossy resorts may rip you off, lifein Indonesia is extremely cheap.Whether you fancy living on a tropical island or in the heart ofbustling Jakarta, makingends meet should never be problematic. And if it wasn’t for oppressivehumidity, Indonesia would probably beone of the most sought after destinations to retire. Another catch isthat the unemployment rateis very high and the available jobs are usually low paying, so you’rea lot better off running an Internet business of your own.
Paraguay stillremains quite off the tourist radar, and that’s perhaps the firstthing that makes it a suitable place to settle down for a while. Itis also the least densely populated country in South America – thoughit may not show in the major cities- so if you have your sights seton becoming a cattle rancher (ranchtourism is becoming increasinglypopular), this may be one of the best places to set roots. But thereasons don’t end here.
According to the Cost of Living Surveyconducted by Mercer, Paraguay is thecheapest country in the world, where adowntown apartment will cost you around $200 per month. Essentialcommodities are inexpensive and the employment environment for thequalified employee is quite favorable. And there is so much beauty toexplore that you may well consider staying here for good.
As one of the most hypnotizing countries of South America and at the same time the most impoverished one, Bolivia offers unforgettable experience for a supremely low price. A furnished apartment outside city center will set you back only $200, everyday necessities are cheap and the range of inexpensive produce amazing.
Bolivia is actually called South America’s retirement paradise, and while the natives often struggle with the hardships of life, expats really get a lot more for their money. With natural gems such as Uyuni and Laguna Colorada, vibrant culture, exceptionally endearing people, and a range of climates to suit almost everyone, Bolivia may soon no longer be a target only for adventure travelers, but also for those who dream of an affordable lifestyle revolution.
You will be surprised at how far your money can go in Laos, especially if you decide to experience the culture as a true insider. Expats usually make a fantastic living by local standards, with much greater purchasing power than in their own countries. If you’re ready to further economize on accommodation (you can get an unfurnished single-bedroom apartment for $100) or get your food from local restaurants, you’ll be able to afford pleasures such as spa visits, exciting weekend outings and taxis with a few hundred dollars on hand monthly.
Most foreigners choose Vientiane as the retirement location. The capital is an inexpensive and safe city to live in, with the country’s best facilities available. The only major drawback is the relatively low quality of medical units and the shortage of well-qualified doctors. Otherwise, Laos is a perfect place for those who enjoy things ‘easy’ and value people’s warm hearts above all comforts.
If you’vebeen dreaming of an exotic home away from tourist attention, Naurumay well be the place. This smallest island nation on earth is knownas a tax haven,with costs of living rated as low to moderate. As far as shopping isconcerned, goods are mostly imported, which makes them basic and moreexpensive than mainland, but the lack of taxes usually makes up forthe expenses, especially that the economic downturn has sent the pricesdown a bit.
Nauru is definitely not a picture perfect tropical island fitfor an exhilarating holiday experience, but the quality ofentertainment and number of water sports options are enough for quitea pleasurable lifestyle away from theworld. Perhaps it should not be theultimate choice for retirement, but otherwise it is a recommendabledestination if you just want to get out of the confines of a block offlats in your urban jungle and see what it feels like to be anexpatriate in a place that many people haven’t ever heard of.
Quite anewcomer to the popular list of the cheapest countries to live,Albania is definitely not for everyone. If you’re looking for acomfortable lifestyle devoid of worries, you’d better think twicebefore you relocate. But if you’re in for making a difference andready to make it rough, the country will reward you with complexhistory, wondrous vistas,ethnic foods, low cost of living and some of the warmest hearts inthe world.
Albania may not have the conveniences ofmost western countries and it’s probably far lesssafe, but its reputation of the most impoverished and lawlesscountries in Europe is to a large extent exaggerated. It’s true thatcorruption is rampant and every bigger transaction needs to becarried out with utmost alertness, but there are endless accounts ofBritish citizens living a happy life in Tirana or Shkoder, so it’s definitely doable.Once again, just to be on the safe side – choose Albania onlyif you don’t mind a backpacker style.
Some saythat life in Guatemala is cheap if you’re already quite well off inyour country. Well, it’s true that an ordinary working person withouta backup from their homeland bank account will not live like a lordhere, but most expats find it exceptionally easy to get by on a fewhundred dollars without giving up on entertainment and paid leisureactivities. In fact few retirement spots are as attractive andeconomical as Guatemala (especially Antigua). Go figure onecan get a comfortable three bedroom single family home on the beachfor $100,000! Food is great, people lovely, climate favorable andcultural heritage astounding. Looks like Guatemala is on its way tothe top of the “Most Wanted” list.
Itusually starts out with a single trekking trip. Then people fall headover heels in love with Nepal and decide to come back for longer. And it’s notin the least because of living standards. Nepalis one of the world’s poorest nations, with over 30% of itspopulation living below the povertyline. Floods and landslides plaguethe most impoverished areas and the economy is almost completelyreliant on international aid.
Yetthere’s something about Nepal that’s irresistible and endearing. Mostexpatriates make it to Kathmandu, where you can live a very highlifestyle for around $500 per person (especially if there are two ofyou), but there are things that you just have to get used to such asintestinal problems and lack of sewagetreatment. Why do people decide toleave their comfortable lives behind and come to Nepal? Perhapsthey’re drawn by the country’s life-changingspirituality, the gentleness of itspeople or the awe-inspiring landscapes. One thing’s for sure: it onlytakes time until you understand the truth behind the slogan Don’ttry to change Nepal, letNepal change you thatyou read as you land at Katmandu Airport.
There areno words to describe how enchanting Vietnam is. From thekaleidoscopic versatility of its landscape to the culinarydelights, the country can be explored to no end, without muchdamage to the wallet. Quite logically, if a country is a popularbudget travel destination, chances are it will make for a splendidpermanent abode. And that’s certainly true for Vietnam. Of course,the cost of living in urban centers is comparable to major citieselsewhere in the world, but outside metropolises, opportunities foraffordable living and business are continually improving. And evenif you decide to splurge on a home, you’ll save up on food, which canbe gotten for a song from street stalls.
Anything you can add to the list?