Tired of working overtime just to eek out rent? Looking for a more laid back environment? Eager to move someplace where you’ll get more bang for your buck? Well, you might be interested to read about the cheapest countries to live in.
These days, more and more people are working remotely. The internet has made the world a smaller place, but it has also ironically broadened our horizons. Now we don’t have to live in major urban centers to earn a good living; we can live anywhere with decent internet access.
So if you’re thinking of leaving the world of the rat race behind, here are some countries you should consider moving to.
By the way, we’ve borrowed this data from the global Cost of Living Index. It considers rent, food prices, restaurant prices, and purchasing power, and ranks countries based on their overall affordability under that rubric. The higher the number, the more expensive the country.
Note: We’re choosing countries you might actually want to live in. Afghanistan, for example, is pretty cheap these days. But it’s hardly a feasible option for those who like being alive.
Cost of Living Index: 40.04
Poland is a beautiful country with a complex history. Stuck between Germany and Russia and Ukraine, it has often faced threats from outside. These days, that makes it a repository of European history, from the Medieval world to the Cold War.
The cheapest thing about living in Poland? The rent (index rating: 15.67).
Cost of Living Index: 40.04
What can we possibly say about China? It’s the most ancient human civilization, the accomplishments of which still litter the landscape. But the country is also charting its own course into modernity -- which is both a good and bad thing.
Like Poland, the biggest savings you’ll find here are in the rent department (16.38). No wonder so many young people spend a few years in China teaching English!
Cost of Living Index: 39.21
This one is a little surprising. Travelers will be aware that Russia isn’t cheap to visit. But these numbers are national averages. It may not be affordable to live in Moscow or St. Petersburg. But Russia is a huge country. If you’re willing to live outside the major cities, you may just find some major savings.
The cheapest thing about Russia is the rent (11.36).
Cost of Living Index: 38.65
Peru is one part Pacific coastline, one part Andes Mountains. And, of course, those mountain ranges are rich with the ruins of the Incan empire. Peru is home to Machu Picchu, the Nazca lines, and Chan Chan. This legacy ensures Peru will remain a popular destination. But it’s also a surprisingly affordable home away from home for adventurous expats.
Rent is, on average, slightly pricier than Russia (12.78). But still...
Cost of Living Index: 38.34
Vietnam is a land of natural beauties. Lush bays, rice paddies, temples, and cosmopolitan cities -- all these things have made it a favorite for backpackers. But if you really like it, you may as well stay. Even though Vietnam has been ‘discovered’, it remains strikingly affordable.
The real savings are the rent prices (13.57), but eating out at restaurants is also easy on the wallet (19.59). Lucky thing, since Vietnamese food is so good.
Cost of Living Index: 38.23
Here’s another one that’s a little bit surprising. Montenegro is a small country on the Balkans’ Adriatic coast. It is famous for its coast, peppered with Medieval towns, castles, and villas. How could a country so beautiful possibly be cheap?
Believe it or not, it is. Rent is particularly affordable in Montenegro (10.38).
Cost of Living Index: 37.63
The Philippines offers the best of several worlds. It has huge, modern cities. But also Pacific paradise, pristine beaches, and daunting geography. The best thing about an island nation is that there are so many islands to choose from!
If you choose to live here, you’ll be able to find some very affordable rentals (9.00). Talk about one of the cheapest countries.
Cost of Living Index: 37.27
Indonesia is another island nation -- comprised of more than 17,000 islands, in fact. The most famous of these are Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Bali, in particular, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with its temples and cheeky monkey population.
Obviously, such a diverse country will offer many price points for expats. But both rent (10.62) and eating out (18.25) are very affordable on average.
Cost of Living Index: 35.72
Serbia has yet to fully blossom as a tourist destination. It’s a landlocked country in the Balkans, with great cities, vast national parks, and mountain resorts. It’s also home to some of the friendliest people in Eastern Europe.
You’ll find it pleasantly affordable as well. Rents are particularly reasonable (9.08).
Cost of Living Index: 35.72
If you want to live abroad but don’t want to go to the moon, might we suggest Mexico.
We know what you’re thinking: Mexico is dangerous, practically controlled by the cartels. Parts of it are. But Mexico is a vast country. As with America, there is no one authentic Mexico. Different regions cater to different tastes, and you may find some preferable to others.
In general, you’ll be surprised how cheap it is to rent a place here (11.46).
Cost of Living Index: 35.31
Romania has a lot to offer. A splendid wine region, mountains, lush valleys, hilltop castles, vampires… Okay, we’re joking about that last one. You’ll be struck by the contrast between the more modern cities and the untouched countryside.
And it could all be yours for some of the lowest rent prices in Europe (10.05).
Cost of Living Index: 34.56
Bolivia is often called the Tibet of the new world. Landlocked in South America, it may the most remote country in the hemisphere. Perfect if you’re looking to get away from it all. The country is very geographically diverse, with landscapes ranging from the Andes to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni.
Rent is the cheapest thing here (10.93), but prices in all areas are fairly moderate.
Cost of Living Index: 33.7
Landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is a beautiful country, but likely not the first that comes to mind when you think of European destinations. One of the big attractions for tourists is Moldova’s great history of wine production; you’ll find the vino here surprisingly cheap given its high quality.
The rent is also surprisingly cheap (8.40).
Cost of Living Index: 32.95
Argentina is one of the most beautiful countries in the Americas. Its diversity is best encapsulated by the fact that it contains both the highest and lowest points in South America. Unfortunately, Argentina has a history of poor fiscal management, which is perhaps why it’s among the cheapest countries for rent (8.33).
Cost of Living Index: 32.84
Armenia has a great and ancient history. It was the first Christian country in the world, having embraced the faith more than 1,700 years ago. Apart from its very old monasteries, Armenia is famous for its many hills and valleys, which create unique ‘microclimates’.
As with most of the other 'cheapest countries' on the list, you’ll find the biggest savings in rent pries (10.91).
Cost of Living Index: 31.59
North Macedonia was formerly known simply as ‘Macedonia.’ Contrary to popular belief, Alexander the Great did not hail from Greece, but from this landlocked country just to the north.
Macedonia is a great country for expats. It’s modern and offers excellent access to the rest of Europe. But it’s not yet busy with tourists. You will find true piece among the hills, rivers, lakes, and ruins of this ancient land.
And you’ll find unbelievably cheap rent prices (6.49).
Cost of Living Index: 31.1
Paraguay is just south of Bolivia. It is similarly landlocked and remote. It may be the most adventurous country on this list. Although rich in natural resources, political instability has kept Paraguay relatively poor and underdeveloped. But if you’re looking for a place to rough it, you just might fall in love.
Average rent prices are very cheap (9.66), but most things are comparatively inexpensive here. Hence why it's one of the cheapest countries on earth.
Cost of Living Index: 30.66
Don’t make the mistake of thinking Colombia is the same as it was in the 1980s. True, it’s not like moving to Canada. But Pablo Escobar is dead, and Colombia has become more of a tourist hotspot than you might suppose. The ‘garden city’ of Medellin is particularly beautiful and welcoming. Still, Colombia would likely only make a suitable home for the adventurous expat.
Cost of Living Index: 29.05
Nepal is a landlocked country in the Himalayas. It’s the home of Mount Everest. Many people here are Buddhists ; in fact, this is where the Buddha was born. Though remote and not super developed, Nepal has stunning mountainscapes and incredibly warm people.
Also, one of the cheapest countries for rent you’ll find anywhere on earth (4.77).
Cost of Living Index: 28.48
Georgia is one of the more underrated countries in the world. It’s located in the Caucasus, on the Black Sea coast. It has delicious cuisine and excellent wine -- in fact, archaeology suggests it has the oldest wineries in the world. The country has taken steps in recent years to modernize its infrastructure, and it has been rewarded with increased tourism.
It’s among the very cheapest countries on earth to live. Rent is cheap (9.8) as are groceries (23.05) and dining out (26.66).
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