The dollar was not created equal and it certainly can feel that way in other parts of the country. With the way different civilizations live around the world you can stretch your American dollar to incredible lengths. Many people are choosing to live abroad for a variety of reasons. Some want to go get a taste of a different culture. Others are partaking in their Digital Nomad journey (working and living abroad). Others are choosing to leave the country for political reasons. Whatever choice spurs you to move to a different country you will want to go somewhere that you can get the most for your money. We decided to curate a list of the 12 cheapest places to live in the world while balancing livability with beauty and safety. Pack your bags and buy a cheap ticket, you won’t need hotel reservations where we’re going.
We have found that many people give India a bad rep for the perceived notion that America is outsourcing all of our jobs to the country. Let’s take a moment to follow that line of thought. If American corporations, who are absorbed with the bottom line, believe that workers in India are affordable then it follows to reason that the country is pretty affordable too. Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is a great landing spot if you want to get into the thick of things where your dollar is going to go far. Mumbai is as cheap as Tokyo is expensive and that is to say it’s very cheap. A loaf of bread in Tokyo will cost 5x as much as it would in Mumbai. Mumbai is a population dense city so you need to be prepared for crowds when booking your cheap flight and hotel reservation over to the city. There are some problems with Westerners adapting to Indian culture but if you are looking for sheer affordability this is the bottom line. A one bedroom apartment, with utilities, will run you under $200 per month.
If the world is a variety of colors then Thailand sits on the most vibrant, brightest side. Thailand has become THE go to place for expats looking to get out of America and land on their feet somewhere beautiful. A single bedroom apartment will run you about $300 American and utilities will average around $75 a month for heat, water, electric and so on. Thailand is a popular place for expats because many of the locals also speak English so long as you stay in the more concentrated areas. Thailand is home to an exotic culture, compared to the West, and the world you’ll see around you is just gorgeous. You’ll have access to beaches, beautiful water, temples, and historical monuments aplenty. Pack a camera and get prepared to walk around in wonder.
It can be notoriously expensive to shack up in Europe unless you know where to look. Hungary, as it turns out, is an affordable place to land if you want that European environment without the European prices. Hungary gets cold in the water and it has become something of a tourism hot spot so there are two marks against it if you want to live a more reclusive lifestyle. Still, the country has one of the truly gorgeous old cities in the world in Budapest and a one bedroom apartment will rarely push you over $450. Right now the dollar is translating well to the local currency, forints, and prices are cheaper than ever for Americans looking for a scenery change. Hit up your country’s embassy in order to begin the process of relocating!
In the internet driven climate that we live in all we have to tell people looking for a change is this: internet will run you only $20 a month here. Okay, well, we’ll keep on going. Nepal is located between Tibet and India and it is home to gorgeous forests, the Himalayas, ancient religious temples, and the footsteps of Buddha himself. A one bedroom apartment will run you just $90 and the sights you’ll see from your window are out of this world. There is very obviously a culture clash going on here for Westerners so there needs to be some research performed before making the move. Still, Nepal is a golden spot to live in a place unlike anywhere you’ve ever been and for a fraction of the cost as well.
South America is a hotspot for tourism thanks to its proximity to the United States but now it appears that living there is a legitimate option as well. Guatemala is the largest country in all of Central America but it is still smaller than most states in the Union. Guatemala is home to volcanoes, beaches, jungles as well as ancient Mayan ruins. If you want to live somewhere where the people are nice, the food is good, and the view is great — tick Guatemala on your check list. Guatemala can offer you a one room apartment, with utilities, for about $500 per month.
Latin America is an easy place to transfer for expats trying to avoid going clear across the planet. Ecuador has long been one of the nestled gems of people who have decided to live abroad, and for good reason. Ecuador offers a large variety of stuff to do and you’ll take years to get through it all. You can hit up the highland cities of Cuenca, Quito or Vilcabamba or you can spend some serious time exploring the beaches and jungles. Getting residency in the country is easy, as well. All you have to do is show a monthly income of $800 and your visa will stay in the green. For what its worth an apartment will run you no more than $400 or $500 in a decent sized city.
You can shack up in Portugal with a loved one and live comfortably on less than $2,000 total per month. Despite being a European hot spot the place is affordable enough for expats to make the move. However visas can be tough to get ahold of if you aren’t coming from elsewhere in the EU. However, if you are relocating from elsewhere in Europe then you should have an easy go of it. Westerners need to prep for a lot of legalese if they want to make Portugal their permanent home.
Bali is one of our favorite places in the world to visit and tourism is beginning to surge. The land of 1000 temples has become a popular and affordable place for people looking to retire from the west. You’ll see beautiful beaches, the Ayung River, large volcanoes, and a friendly population that makes you feel at home. The traffic is insane here and it makes Los Angeles and Chicago look downright tame. Still, you can get an apartment and a personal driver for around $450 a month. We’ll take that anyday, anywhere.
In a few years Vietnam probably won’t be a bargain bin country to move to or retire at. The country’s economy has steadily grown and the middle class has begun to cement itself in a major way. Expats love Ho Chi Minh City and for good reason. Ho Chi Minh is a great place to start a business in the tech world and there are plenty of English speaking locals. You can shack up in the city tomorrow in a furnished apartment for around $600 a month — with a maid. If you want a smaller city to settle in then you’ll find your money will double in the length that it goes.
Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures and we consider it a must visit if you plan on traveling. If you want to end up shacking up in a different country then you’ll probably like the options afforded you here. An apartment will run you no more than $300 and you’ll have your pick of the litter when it comes to where you settle down. You can live near Kuala Lumpur and enjoy the busy city life or you can live out near Taman Negara, one of the oldest rainforests on the entire planet. Live fast or slow, the choice is yours.
Let’s take a trip to Nicaragua, why don’t we. If you want to live big without opening up your wallet then you owe it to yourself to check out this country. With solid public transportation only costing you around $10 a month and a one bedroom apartment running you just under $200 WITH utilities included, you’ll never be left wanting. Beautiful beaches give way to waves that bring surfers from all over the years. You have islands dotting the ocean around the country. You have bustling urban centers, small colonial cities, and jungles dotting the landscape in between. Nicaragua is like a buffet, all you have to do is find what you want and take part in it.
Maybe you want to land in Asia and if you do you probably want to be able to get by on whatever money you are making. Fortunately for us Cambodia is a great place to land if you want to spread your money as far as possible while living like royalty. In Cambodia you would be hard pressed to find a house or single bedroom apartment for more than $600 a month. The country also boasts the cheapest beachside living in the world so you can get that ocean front view you always dreamed up. You can get a business visa to enter the country for $280 a year and the government doesn’t even care if you actually start a business. Just stay out of trouble and pay your renewals and you’ll be fine. Residents of Cambodia say that $1,500 to $2,000 a month is considered ‘elite level’ income and that you’ll have whatever you want for that kind of money. We have been warned about hospitals though. Residents say to save money for flights to Bangkok if you have any serious medical emergencies.