Affordable Countries for Americans to Migrate ToBy Yuri S.
The number of Americans looking to relocate abroad has increased. Many people romanticize the idea of living abroad, but it is rarely realized, primarily due to financial constraints. It seems to be something people do when they’re older and more financially secure.
We’ve got some exciting news for you. The countries listed below are the most affordable for Americans to live in, so take a look, and start packing! The countries were chosen based on research conducted by GOBanking.com. The following four metrics were used in the analysis. Local purchasing power: How much you can buy according to the country’s average salary. The lower the salary, the less you can buy, and vice versa. Rent: The average rent in various countries, whether high or low. Groceries: The average grocery prices in various countries, whether high or low. Local goods and services: How expensive or inexpensive are utilities, services, and goods such as transportation, restaurants, and so on. All metrics in each country were compared to those in New York City.
Peru is a country rooted in Inca history. Its vibrant streets run from the breathtaking Andes Mountains in the east to the dazzling beaches in the west. Cusco and Machu Picchu are the most interesting places to visit in Peru. The former served as an Inca capital, while the latter is home to ancient ruins and antiques.
You’ll need to learn Spanish if you want to join the 32 million people who live in this South American gem. If you fall completely in love with the place and want to learn some indigenous languages, you can begin with Quechua and Aymara. Local purchasing power: 58.8% lower Rent: 82.77% cheaper Groceries: 63.83% cheaper Local goods and services: 60.53% cheaper
In 1994, Estonia gained complete independence from the Soviet Union. It is bounded by Russia, Latvia, and the Baltic Sea. Despite its lush greenery, Estonia has some of the cleanest air in the world. Since its 2004 alliance with NATO and the European Union, Estonia’s 1.9 million population has benefited from a significantly improved economy.
You may be relieved to learn that Estonians are fluent in English, Russian, Finnish, and German, in addition to their mother tongue Estonian. If English is the only language you know, take heart; most Estonians are regarded as some of the best English speakers in Europe. Local purchasing power: 31.52% lower Rent: 86.02% cheaper Groceries: 63.26% cheaper Local goods and services: 50.50% cheaper
If you prefer warmer weather and enjoy a little wild adventure every now and then, Kenya is the place to be. It has a natural landscape and is located on the equator along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Primary education is free and compulsory for children ages 8–14.
The 53 million-strong population is divided into a variety of ethnic groups. Some of them speak their own indigenous language, but Kenyans communicate primarily in English and Swahili. When greeting a Kenyan, simply say Jambo, which translates to “hello” in English. Local purchasing power: 69.10% lower Rent: 90.32% cheaper Groceries: 62.35% cheaper Local goods and services: 61% cheaper
The majority of Iran’s 84 million people speak Farsi (Persian), but if you walk the streets, you may hear some other dialects as well. Iran’s culture is admired by both tourists and locals, whether it’s the rich cuisine, exquisite carpets, grand mosques, opulent palaces, or ancient roadside caravanserais. Iran’s vibrant markets, hospitality, and unique customs are unrivaled in the world.
However, before packing your belongings and leaving, consider the country’s limited freedom of expression. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has complete control over everything, from the army to the media. Local purchasing power: 56.82% lower Rent: 82.95% cheaper Groceries: 66.47% cheaper Local goods and services: 61.74% cheaper
Slovenia gained independence in 1991 after years of being part of Yugoslavia. The country is now a member of the European Union and NATO. It has experienced and recovered from an economic low in the last ten years. It ranks seventh of 163 nations in the annual Peace Index, which bills itself as “the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness.”
Slovenia has beautiful lakes and mountains, and its 2 million people speak Slovenian. Hungarian and Italian are also widely spoken in ethnically diverse areas. It shares borders with Austria, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and the Adriatic Sea. Local purchasing power: 21.77% lower Rent: 85.94% cheaper Groceries: 56.52% cheaper Local goods and services: 46.67% cheaper
Located in the Middle Eastern Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s main industry is oil, but it also relies on fishing and tourism. Its population of 5 million enjoy the desert mountains on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Buildings in Oman, from office complexes to shopping malls, are all whitewashed, and any other color requires approval from the government.
Oman boasts a virtually nonexistent crime rate, which they attribute to Sharia law that mandates harsh punishment. With an ever-increasing literacy rate of 94.12 percent, Oman is becoming a land of well-educated citizens. The country’s official language is Arabic. Local purchasing power: 11.86% higher Rent: 72.08% cheaper Groceries: 50.66% cheaper Local goods and services: 47.41% cheaper
Croatia is a country in Europe bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The capital, Zagreb, has beautiful old Austro-Hungarian buildings. The drinking water is of the highest quality in Europe. The country has a population of 4 million people, the majority of whom speak Croatian.
Major economic development has occurred in Croatia since the 1990s war. The economy is open to international trade, and a significant investment in highways and railways is being made. Tourism is encouraged. Traditional small shops have long dominated the retail market, but newly built shopping malls have proliferated since 2000. Local purchasing power: 39.29% lower Rent: 89.91% cheaper Groceries: 60.09% cheaper Local goods and services: 52% cheaper
Think about China, and the first thing that comes to mind is crowded streets. Being the largest economy with 1.4 billion people, China is one of the world’s largest countries, but it has only one time zone. Since 2009, Facebook has been prohibited there, but at least 95 million Chinese use VPN services to circumvent the block.
Between mainland China and Macau is a bridge where cars switch from left-hand to right-hand driving, and vice versa. The nation’s capital, Beijing, has many fantastic markets to explore, and the rural countryside is definitely worth a visit. Local purchasing power: 32.16% lower Rent: 80.33% cheaper Groceries: 52.26% cheaper Local goods and services: 55.24% cheaper
Cyprus is a lovely Mediterranean island divided into two parts—north and south—with beautiful beaches and warm weather. While Greek and Turkish are the official languages of Cyprus, many people also speak English. The most important holiday in Cyprus is Easter.
The Limassol Carnival is the most vibrant event, taking place from mid-February to the first week of March. Many tourists hail the cultural festivities as a cure for cold weather and claim that they alleviate their problems. Commandaria, the world’s oldest wine, is from Cyprus and dates back 5,000 years. Local purchasing power: 4.08% lower Rent: 87.72% cheaper Groceries: 55.94% cheaper Local goods and services: 45.93% cheaper
This country in Eastern Europe has some breathtaking architecture and cultural centers. People should visit Budapest, the capital of Hungary, at least once during their European vacation, even if only to enjoy the nightlife and mineral spas. The official language is Hungarian, but you’ll find minorities that speak Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian.
A note of caution: Clinking your beer glasses is considered impolite in Hungary. According to legend, 13 Hungarian generals were executed during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, and Austrians clinked their beer glasses after each execution. After that, Hungarians vowed not to clink their glasses. Local purchasing power: 52.48% lower Rent: 87.33% cheaper Groceries: 66.38% cheaper Local goods and services: 57.23% cheaper
Slovakia is a landlocked country with no beaches, but it is gaining popularity as a low-cost ski destination. The country is densely packed with more than 6,000 caves, nine national parks, and 14 protected landscapes. It is home to an incredible 180 castles and 425 chateaus.
The capital, Bratislava, is located on the border with Austria and Hungary. Both countries are extremely accessible. Vienna, Austria’s capital, is only 60 kilometers away. Slovakia has a population of nearly 5.5 million people, and the official language is Slovak. Local purchasing power: 35.25% lower Rent: 83.51% cheaper Groceries: 61.16% cheaper Local goods and services: 55.1% cheaper
Uganda is an independent East African country with a stable economy, mild weather, stunning landscapes, and diverse flora and fauna. The Rwenzori Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Uganda has a population of nearly 46 million people, and the official language is English.
There are no travel warnings in Uganda, and the most recent terrorist attack occurred in 2010. Since then, security has been tightened. Almost all tourists report a positive experience after returning home from Uganda. That demonstrates that it is one of Africa’s safest countries. Local purchasing power: 80.58% lower Rent: 93.17% cheaper Groceries: 70.59% cheaper Local goods and services: 65.86% cheaper
Belarus was once part of the Soviet Union but got its independence in 1991. It may not have beaches, but it does have picturesque villages, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking hiking trails. Belarus is known as the “Lungs of Europe” because of its numerous forests, rivers, and lakes.
Its nearly 9.5 million inhabitants speak Belarusian or Russian. Belarus is often called Eastern Europe’s Silicon Valley. The game World of Tanks and the famous Viber app originated here. The country has survived several wars, and tourists believe its roads are superior to those in Russia and Ukraine. Local purchasing power: 63.57% lower Rent: 87.79% cheaper Groceries: 72.81% cheaper Local goods and services: 66.16% cheaper
Montenegro is a Balkan country and gets its name from the dark mountain forests that cover the country. The Tara River Canyon, Europe’s deepest canyon, is located here, and the country is divided into four climatic zones. After being ruled by several rulers over the centuries, the country’s architecture is a wonderful mix of styles, including Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman.
Montenegro is home to more than 600,000 people who speak a variety of languages from its neighboring countries. Smoking has been prohibited in closed restaurants since 2019, but it is permitted on the streets and on terraces. The country’s 117 beaches along the Adriatic coast will delight beachgoers. Local purchasing power: 53.39% lower Rent: 90.46% cheaper Groceries: 68.9% cheaper Local goods and services: 60.65% cheaper
Sri Lanka has some of the best beaches in the world, making it a surfer’s paradise. This beautiful island is located in the Indian Ocean southeast of India and is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sri Lanka is the highest-ranking South Asian nation on the Human Development Index, with the second-highest per capita income in the region.
Sri Lanka has vast rainforests and unique wildlife to explore due to its tropical climate. The country’s 21.4 million people have experienced war and hardship, but they are eager to welcome tourists and newcomers and show them around their beautiful country. Local purchasing power: 69.72% lower Rent: 91.26% cheaper Groceries: 63.21% cheaper Local goods and services: 66.53% cheaper
Armenia, another former Soviet Union member, gained independence in 1991. This Euro-Asian country is located to the south of the Caucasus Mountains, which serve as Europe’s and Asia’s land border. Summers in Armenia are hot, dry, and sunny, and evening breezes blowing down the mountains are refreshing and cooling.
Spring is brief, autumn is long, and winters are bitterly cold with plenty of snow. Armenia has a population of nearly 3 million people. Although Armenian is the official language, some minority communities speak Russian, Greek, Assyrian, and Yazidi Kurdish. Local purchasing power: 67.12% lower Rent: 90.09% cheaper Groceries: 73.17% cheaper Local goods and services: 66.13% cheaper
Taiwan’s relationship with China is strained because since 1950 the latter has refused to recognize the former’s independence. Taiwan is a developed country that ranks 15th in terms of GDP per capita. It has a high ranking in terms of political and civil liberties, education, healthcare, and human development.
This Asian country is well-known for its high-tech industry, but there is also plenty of natural beauty to be found there. Taiwan’s lush forests, canyons, and beaches have earned the country the nickname Ilha Formosa— “the beautiful island.” Mandarin is the primary language in business and education. Local purchasing power: 18.5% higher Rent: 85.2% cheaper Groceries: 27.11% cheaper Local goods and services: 38.62% cheaper
Syria is indeed a cheap place to live, but it comes with a catch. In addition to low prices, the deal includes the results of a brutal civil war. Many survivors of that war have sought asylum in other countries.
Visitors to Syria may be able to enjoy the Mediterranean beaches and mountains once this Middle Eastern country regains its strength. It is a good idea to learn a few key words in Arabic, the official language, before visiting Syria. Local purchasing power: 85.92% lower Rent: 94.02% cheaper Groceries: 73.28% cheaper Local goods and services: 71.69% cheaper
Bolivia is a country in central South America with a diverse landscape that includes mountains, rainforests, deserts, and tropical climates. Bolivia’s extreme poverty rate fell from 38.2 percent to 16.8 percent between 2006 and 2016. It is a rapidly developing country with a high Human Development Index ranking.
Spending a day exploring colorful markets and another day exploring the Amazon rainforest are both possible. The multi-ethnic population of this country is approximately 11.6 million people. Although Spanish is the official language, some indigenous communities speak less common languages such as Guarani and Quechua. Local purchasing power: 53.26% lower Rent: 88.93% cheaper Groceries: 67.87% cheaper Local goods and services: 61.35% cheaper
Columbia has the world’s second-highest level of biodiversity, and its territory includes the Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, and deserts. It is the only South American country with coastlines and islands on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Colombia’s 50 million people have indigenous, Spanish, and African ancestors, creating an intriguing ethnic mix.
While this country is known for internal conflicts between authorities and drug lords, things have improved significantly in the last decade. Its diverse economy is the third-largest in South America with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth. Local purchasing power: 62.37% lower Rent: 89.31% cheaper Groceries: 71.24% cheaper Local goods and services: 65.55% cheaper
Bangladesh borders India, Myanmar, and the Bay of Bengal. It has a tropical climate with mild winters. Despite the fact that Bengali Muslims are in the majority, the country is secular, and Bengali is the primary language. Bangladesh had a population of 162.9 million people in 2017.
The country is vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, and global warming due to its unique location on the Bay of Bengal. However, thanks to technological advancements, the poverty rate has been cut in half since 2011, making it a fast-growing economy. Local purchasing power: 63% lower Rent: 94.39% cheaper Groceries: 67.29% cheaper Local goods and services: 63.9% cheaper
Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, is situated between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea. Baku, the country’s capital, may be the only place you can find a few people who speak English. Because education up to the ninth grade is compulsory, Azerbaijan has a literacy rate of 99.5 percent.
It is a developing country with a population of 10.14 million people, the majority of whom are Azeri/Russian-speaking Muslims. Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan, and freestyle wrestling is the national sport. A word of caution: Azerbaijan has press censorship and lacks religious freedom. Local purchasing power: 69.02% lower Rent: 89.34% cheaper Groceries: 77.07% cheaper Local goods and services: 72.24% cheaper
The Philippines is an archipelago with typically sunny, warm weather, making it an ideal destination for backpackers looking for pleasant hiking trails in pleasant weather. Unfortunately, the country’s thousands of islands can be severely impacted by typhoons and monsoons.
It is regarded as a newly industrialized country, transitioning from agriculture to a focus on services and manufacturing. English speakers will be relieved to learn that English is one of the Philippines’ two official languages. Filipino is the other official language spoken by this country’s 109.5 million residents. Local purchasing power: 64% lower Rent: 92.68% cheaper Groceries: 66.05% cheaper Local goods and services: 65.29% cheaper
Turkey is in a unique position. It straddles Asia and Europe. It has a glorious history of Christian influences and an impressive Ottoman heritage. It is advanced economically and industrially with the only fly in the ointment being the current state of affairs.
Turkey is home to 84 million people, and quite a few of them are American immigrants who have made it their home due to the enjoyable climate, the food, and the cultural atmosphere. Turkey is far more affordable than countries in the European Union although it is in close proximity. If you can live with the current tensions there, you will find Turkey an enchanting place. Local purchasing power: 44.36% lower Rent: 89.44% cheaper Groceries: 66.54% cheaper Local goods and services: 61.4% cheaper
Bucolic Bulgaria embodies the charm of East European cultures while presenting a charming landscape crisscrossed by the Danube and smaller rivers. It has Romania, Greece, and Turkey for neighbors, and you have the Black Sea for vacationing. Now that it is part of the European Union, Bulgaria is more open and inviting and more modern, yet it still retains its traditional graces and charm.
Culture and food go together, as you will find if you live in the city or countryside where you will see Slavic, Persian, Ottoman, and Greek influences in abundance. Bulgarian is the main language, but you will find no problem communicating in English. Local purchasing power: 48.6% lower Rent: 91.09% cheaper Groceries: 69.51% cheaper Local goods and services: 63.51% cheaper
Were it not for the current civil situation there, Kazakhstan would be rated highly as a nice place for Americans to live. It sits between Russia and China, whose influences are apparent in the culture, clothes, food, art, music, and theater. You will find Uzbeks, Chechens, Koreans, and Russians in peaceful coexistence there.
Kazakh and Russian are the official languages, so you may find it difficult to communicate at first. But people are helpful and will point you to lovely destinations such as mountains with ski slopes and clear lakes where you can fish or go boating. It is idyllic. Local purchasing power: 55.16% lower Rent: 88.73% cheaper Groceries: 75.17% cheaper Local goods and services: 69.26% cheaper
Algeria can be extremely hot, particularly when you go to the Sahara Desert. It can be bitingly cold at night in the desert. You can talk in English, and you can talk in French. Algeria is a heady mix of cultures and experiences with echoes of the French Foreign Legion and adventure to draw you in. Explore the cities, or go to the border areas of Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, Tunisia, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 and is a progressing economy with a reliance on gas and oil. Opportunities are great, and if you can live with the heat and dust, Algeria promises adventure. Local purchasing power: 63.34% lower Rent: 93.17% cheaper Groceries: 67.5% cheaper Local goods and services: 67.62% cheaper
It is quaint, picturesque, mystical, and charming. This is tiny Albania located in the Albanian Alps on the Balkan Peninsula. The pristine purity of nature is bound to enthrall you should you want to explore the Ionian Seas, the Adriatic, or the Alps and meadows. Maybe a stroll through the streets is your kind of thing.
Tirana is the capital, and Albanian is the language of this country that still keeps intact its historical landmarks and archeological sites. You will love the food, the folk music, and life in the rare atmosphere of the Alps. Life is good. Local purchasing power: 65.51% lower Rent: 93.7% cheaper Groceries: 73.93% cheaper Local goods and services: 67.58% cheaper
The thought of Dracula may send a shiver up your spine, but never fear, Romania will clam you with its scenic vistas, laid-back lifestyle, excellent food, and clean air. Enjoy life at the open air cafés, stroll down the streets, or just laze in the sun. Romania gives you nature and its rich repository of medieval buildings.
Romanian is the official language in this East European country, but you will get by with English since many people speak it. More to the point, things are affordable, and people are great. Hang out with old-timers or take in folk dances. There is plenty to do. Local purchasing power: 46.56% lower Rent: 90.41% cheaper Groceries: 70.95% cheaper Local goods and services: 64.37% cheaper
The turbulence of the past when Serbia was part of Yugoslavia and gained independence in 2006 still echoes through the streets, but it is relatively peaceful now. More to the point, Serbia’s neighbors include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Croatia. You are likely to find remnants of a glorious royal past in many places in Serbia, and you can travel to these neighboring countries in just an hour or so if the fancy takes you.
Serbia is now in the European Union, which means a better quality of life, plenty of amenities, and better accommodations and travel. And the cost of living is much lower than in the United States. It is a different world—a cultural tangent to what you are used to. Local purchasing power: 59.2% lower Rent: 92.75% cheaper Groceries: 75.04% cheaper Local goods and services: 66.21% cheaper
Though independent since 1991, Georgia still exhibits Russian influences and shares a common border. However, Georgia believes in freedom, and the environment is vastly different from the oppressive atmosphere of Russia. Georgians revel in freedom of speech and living a free life, giving free reign to expression whether it is about culture, food, or work.
The 4 million inhabitants of Georgia speak Georgian and Russian. There are not many English language speakers there, so communication may be a slight challenge. Still, the pastoral countryside, the earthy food, and the culture are bound to enchant you should you choose to make Georgia your home. Local purchasing power: 66.97% lower Rent: 91.43% cheaper Groceries: 77.74% cheaper Local goods and services: 72.63% cheaper
Zambia is in the southern peninsula of Africa, and it is home to 18.3 million people. English is the official language, so you will find it easy to communicate. More to the point, Zambia offers you a chance to explore its Victoria Falls, grasslands, forests, and wildlife.
Live off the land, do farming, or enjoy the hot sun. Zambia offers plenty of choices, and you will find that your dollar stretches far. The warmth and earthy humor of its people are sure to resonate with you. Local purchasing power: 10.07% higher Rent: 78.06% cheaper Groceries: 66.17% cheaper Local goods and services: 55.27% cheaper
Not so long-ago Nepal boasted the unique distinction of being the world’s only Hindu kingdom. It is also home to the mighty Mount Everest, should you wish to pick up the gauntlet. Otherwise, Nepal with its shared borders with India and China offers plenty of opportunities to explore the Himalayas and wildlife in the valleys.
Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables on sale at what would appear to be dirt cheap prices. Stay like a prince in a large house, or just set up camp and go hiking when you feel like it. Nepal could be the Shangri-La you are looking for up there in the clouds and the mist in the mountains. Local purchasing power: 74.91% lower Rent: 96.64% cheaper Groceries: 73.62% cheaper Local goods and services: 69.98% cheaper
Moldova, once part of the Soviet Union, is a free country today, sharing borders with Ukraine and Romania. You get a unique mix of East European traditional cultures and a patina of modernity in the cities while the rustic charm prevails in the pastoral countryside.
Moldova is by no means economically advanced, but the people have large hearts and are friendly. You can live very cheaply there and yet enjoy good food, folk theater, dances, and trips to the countryside. Do try to learn Moldovan or Russian—people will respond much better if you can speak their language. Local purchasing power: 70.62% lower Rent: 92.15% cheaper Groceries: 78.03% cheaper Local goods and services: 71.63% cheaper
Since it parted ways with the Soviet Union, Ukraine has advanced economically, industrially, and agriculturally. It shares a border with Russia, and tensions are high, but life in the hinterland is quiet and gives you a taste of typical East European culture in food, music, lifestyle, and theater.
Kiev is the capital and home to a major part of the country’s population of 43.7 million. There are forests in the interior, and you have the Black Sea for a balmy holiday. The cost of living is absurdly low compared to the United States, and you get fresh food and delectable coffee in the open-air cafés, as well as cheap transportation. Local purchasing power: 73.07% lower Rent: 90.64% cheaper Groceries: 80.13% cheaper Local goods and services: 73.78% cheaper
In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic. Since then, it has progressed into a modern state. Poland, Germany, and Austria are on its borders. This country is proving to be a fine destination should you want to settle there and enjoy a mix of Western European and Eastern European cultures.
Czech is the main language, and the capital is Prague, a city that is modern but with remnants of its rich historical heritage in the form of iconic buildings and landmarks. The countryside is equally charming and beckons you to enjoy a raw, rustic life in the valleys and mountains. Everything costs less, so you can spend less and yet have a good life. Local purchasing power: 23.78% lower Rent: 85.17% cheaper Groceries: 64.16% cheaper Local goods and services: 58.78% cheaper
Warm sunny climate rains every now and then, a rich dense forest in the interior, towering mountains, a balmy coastline, and food you can gorge on—you get all of these if you choose Malaysia as your destination. It is a lovely mix of Asian, Chinese, and Malay cultures. The British and European planters also left their footprints behind. You can see classic architecture and visit noisy and chaotic bazaars. It will go to your head but at a low, low cost.
Malaysia is no stranger to tourists and people from the West. You will find bars and entertainment, and you will also find peace and quiet. Create your own space here, and live like a king. Malaysia is all about letting down your hair and enjoying the sunny life. Local purchasing power: 26.66% lower Rent: 88.81% cheaper Groceries: 57.56% cheaper Local goods and services: 59.76% cheaper
Leaving its past far behind, Poland today is now part of the European Union and NATO and has become an advanced economy. You have bustling cities, industries, and tall buildings on one side and scenic, peaceful countrysides on the other. Take your pick.
In Warsaw, the capital, you will find lovely period architecture jostling with modern buildings. You will find lovely restaurants where they serve traditional foods such as Zurek and Bigos. More to the point, the cost of living is low, whether it is accommodations, food, services, or travel. It could be your home for the future. Local purchasing power: 28.25% lower Rent: 86.07% cheaper Groceries: 70.31% cheaper Local goods and services: 61.85% cheaper
Libya has the Mediterranean coast on the one side and Chad, Niger, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Sudan as its neighbors. The economy is built on oil, and desert tourism also plays a vital part. There are old forts and vast stretches of sand dotted with tiny oasis hamlets. You will see Berbers and Tauregs there and maybe interact with them to discover a different way of life.
Tripoli, the capital, is drenched in history and played a key part in World War II, so there is much to discover apart from its restaurants that offer Arabic and African delicacies. You will find remnants of quaint Italian buildings there. Arabic is the main language, and a few people do speak Italian and English. Everything is so affordable—your dollar will stretch a mile. Local purchasing power: 32.65% higher Rent: 81.2% cheaper Groceries: 52.99% cheaper Local goods and services: 54.15% cheaper
Bosnia-Herzegovina separated from Yugoslavia, but it is not yet progressing the way it should. It has Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro as its neighbors, and there also is the Baltic Sea, which is ideal for vacationing or living on the coast.
It is sheer joy when you stroll through the markets and pick up quaint antique pieces or enjoy a coffee in the sun. Drive a few miles, and you are in a countryside dotted with lakes and forests. Language may be a problem, but the people speak with their hearts. Enjoy life at a low cost here—there are shades of past royalty, a simple life, and typical East European culture. Local purchasing power: 48.71% lower Rent: 93.78% cheaper Groceries: 70.24% cheaper Local goods and services: 64.95% cheaper
Macedonia emerged from the erstwhile Yugoslavia, and there are just 2 million people living in the tiny country. The main languages are Albanian and Macedonian. Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria are its neighbors, so you can expect to find their influences here.
Macedonia is in the Balkans but has not been affected by ethnic wars and strife. Life is peaceful and somewhat laid back. The climate is mostly cool, but it does get cold in the winter. Still, you have charming cityscapes and beautiful countrysides to keep you enthralled—all at a very low cost. Local purchasing power: 60.15% lower Rent: 93.98% cheaper Groceries: 74.59% cheaper Local goods and services: 69.07% cheaper
South Africa is a modern, bustling democracy with thriving economy and industry. It is a land of stark contrasts. There are millionaires living in towers, and there are the abject poor living in shantytowns. You will find modern cities, and then there is the vast Savannah teeming with wildlife.
South Africa has a warm, sunny climate. It is home to more than 60 million people, including Zulus and other indigenous communities, people from Asia, and Europeans. English is one of the chief languages, so communication is no problem. It costs less to live here, and food can be great. Local purchasing power: 1.04% lower Rent: 83.67% cheaper Groceries: 63.73% cheaper Local goods and services: 56.88% cheaper
Tunisia is in the northern part of the African continent on the Mediterranean coast. Algeria and Libya are its neighboring countries. Tunisia is a beautiful land with beaches and islands, as well as mountains and forests in the interior. Tourism and agriculture are thriving industries that contribute to its bustling economy.
You will love the Arabic culture and touches of French culture since it was once a French colony. Everything is cheap, and life here can be sheer bliss. Stroll the markets that teem with people, head to the countryside to soak in the sun, or laze about the beaches. Tunisia offers a lot. Local purchasing power: 59.81% lower Rent: 93.9% cheaper Groceries: 72.42% cheaper Local goods and services: 71.26% cheaper
Pakistan has Afghanistan to the north and Iran to the west. It has India on its eastern side. Travel from the north to the south of the country, and the raw, rugged mountainscape changes to hot, dusty plains, even a desert area bordering Rajasthan and Gujarat. There is sheer variety here in a country that is home to 220 million people.
The population is predominantly Muslim and economically backward in most areas except the rich, posh areas of cities such as Islamabad and Karachi. English and Urdu are the common languages, but you will also find Punjabi, Pashto, and Sindhi spoken in areas bordering India and Afghanistan. Local purchasing power: 60.05% lower Rent: 94.97% cheaper Groceries: 75.17% cheaper Local goods and services: 72.82% cheaper
It is said that Egypt is the entrepot to Africa and the Middle East, and it is steeped in history. You have the Nile, the mountains, and the deserts—a lovely mix in a country where the people represent a rich ethnic diversity. Libya and Sudan are its neighbors.
Egypt is well-known for its pyramids and the ruins of Luxor. The Nile takes you on a voyage of discovery of life along its banks and in the interior. The population is predominantly Muslim with a prevailing Arab culture but not so restrictive as some purely Islamic states. Of interest is the fact that things are far more affordable there. Local purchasing power: 70.61% lower Rent: 94.97% cheaper Groceries: 80.99% cheaper Local goods and services: 77.64% cheaper
Mexico is on the southern border of the United States, and to its south are Belize and Guatemala. The Gulf of Mexico is on the east, and the Pacific Ocean is to the west. There are marked contrasts here with pockets of affluence and vast areas that show unmistakable signs of poverty. Still, Mexicans enjoy life to the fullest, celebrating festivals and food whether they are of Spanish or Indian origin.
If you love the ocean, there is plenty of it. Then there are mountains in the interior, beautifully picturesque villages nestled on the slopes and in the valleys, and vibrant communities. Everything is cheap, including food, accommodations, and services. This is where you can retire to live the peaceful life. Local purchasing power: 39.92% lower Rent: 91.63% cheaper Groceries: 71.94% cheaper Local goods and services: 70.91% cheaper
Belize in the Caribbean exemplifies the laid-back and relaxed life of this region. It has exotica in the coastal marine life and ruins of the ancient Mayan Empire to explore if that is your liking. Get away from the crowds, the fumes, and the stress. Relax. This is what Belize invites you to do.
The climate is great. You can engage in a variety of activities, including underwater swimming or hiking. You can gorge on tropical fruits and seafood. It is all so different and oh so affordable here in Belize. Local purchasing power: 34.33% higher Rent: 88.65% cheaper Groceries: 50.65% cheaper Local goods and services: 44.2% cheaper
One of the richest nations on earth known to derive its income from oil is Saudi Arabia. It is a traditional Arabic country where Sharia prevails. Despite that, Saudis are accepting of foreigners who respect its traditions. Saudi Arabia is a wonderful mix of deserts, oases, and modern cities. Take your pick as to where you want to spend your life.
Riyadh, the capital, is home to one of the country’s tallest buildings, the Burj Rafal Riyadh Hotel. Putting that aside, there are other things to do such as taking a ride in a dhow or exploring the museums or the desert. You can live a peaceful life in a place outside the city or smack bang in the middle of it. There are plenty of choices, and it is so much more affordable here. Local purchasing power: 38.05% higher Rent: 85.64% cheaper Groceries: 59.46% cheaper Local goods and services: 51.63% cheaper
From the north to the south and from the east to the west, India is one of the most diverse lands, and that is not just due to its topography. There are deserts to the west, mountains to the north and rainforests in the east, but the people are just as diverse with Hindus dominating the population in one of the world’s largest democracies.
India is about choices. You can live in cities, in semi-urban areas, or in the countryside and do it affordably regardless of your choice. A dollar goes far. You will also find the people warm and helpful. You could spend years traveling from coast to coast and border to border and still find something new. Local purchasing power: 23.27% lower Rent: 93.23% cheaper Groceries: 74.8% cheaper Local goods and services: 74.92% cheaper
Vietnam has an ancient history and yet modern influences due to past wars when Americans and the French were present and left behind an indelible stamp on the people, culture, and way of life. Vietnam is thriving today and has much to offer by way of heritage and quality of life.
You have the seas and the beaches. There are deep, dark forests and mountains and rolling rice fields across the countryside. Enjoy exotic fruits, vegetables, and seafood if you love food. Explore places of historical interest. Just relax, and live a quiet life. Everything is good and yet so affordable. Rent: 88% cheaper Groceries: 40% cheaper
Costa Rica means “Rich Coast” in English, and the country is truly blessed by God. It has rainforests, volcanoes, mountains, and seas, as well as an abundance of natural produce. Life here can be a long vacation doing very little or exploring everything the country has to offer. There are Spanish influences and American influences, as well as the native culture to discover and fall in love with.
Costa Rica is simply another world, although it is not far from the United States. Everything is affordable. People are friendly, and life is peaceful. Should you plan to settle down, this could possibly be one of the finest choices. Rent: 35% cheaper Groceries: 49% cheaper
Think tourism, and the name Thailand pops up. It has beautiful tropical beaches, an amazing mix of food drawing inspiration from China and Southeast Asia, Buddhist lifestyles in places, and modern cities with pockets of countless chaotic bazaars.
Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a city of legends, a bustling commercial center filled with people and entertainment of all sorts. If you love a quiet life on the beach, there are plenty beaches for you. If you like cultural activities, there are plenty to keep you occupied, and the best thing is that the costs for all of them are so low. Rent: 34% cheaper Groceries: 49% cheaper
Cambodia offers a unique mix of its ancient Hindu heritage and Buddhist lifestyles. Then you also have rolling rice fields, jungles, mountains, and beaches. Even top cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are relatively quiet and peaceful. It is an ideal getaway.
You can choose to live in the city or in the countryside. Accommodations are cheap, and you could even buy your own house at a distance from the city. Food is plentiful, and there is an abundance of things to do if you have a mind for it. Otherwise, just retire and live the peaceful life. Rent: 31% cheaper Groceries: 44% cheaper
If you love scenic beauty, then Indonesia is a veritable paradise with its lovely sea coast, blue ocean, green-decked mountains, and pearly white beaches. Bali is sheer heaven and a tourist’s choicest destination. You could fall in love and decide to stay here forever.
Enjoy the sun, the pleasant breeze, and the exquisite mix of food with Indian, Chinese, and Muslim influences. Everything is very affordable, which gives you a solid reason to linger here—possibly for life. Rent: 25% cheaper Groceries: 37% cheaper
Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Rosario are as modern as any city in Europe or the United States, but there is a difference. The cost of living is low. There are other cities such as Salta where you pay even less for groceries, travel, and accommodations. Just $500 will get you a month of comfortable living.
There is also life beyond the cities. You can go to the countryside and marvel at the huge ranches that are home to herds of cattle. You can munch on luscious beef or take a hike in Patagonia. There is a lot to do in Argentina, and it all costs so little. Rent: 22% cheaper Groceries: 25% cheaper
Grenada in the Caribbean welcomes you with its warm, sunny climate and breezes. It has a small-town feel where everyone seems to know everyone and striking up a conversation is easy. A local guide can be quite helpful if you are new here, but you can also just explore the beaches and cliffs on your own.
If you want to settle down, Grenada is great, and costs are low. There are traces of British heritage here, and the food is sumptuous. Engage in frenetic activity such as exploring underwater life or the mountains, or just laze about. No one will ever bother you. Rent: 21% cheaper Groceries: 26% cheaper
Think of an idyllic retreat where nature reigns supreme and the air is pure. Think Laos. There are enchanting rivers and lakes with lotuses blooming on the water. Ride a boat lazily through a field of lotuses and feel what calms your mind.
Modern cities such as Luang Prabang and Vientiane are dotted with quaint temples. Going down the Mekong River can be a voyage of discovery. It is all so different as you immerse yourself in a unique world and way of life. The icing on the cake is that everything is so cheap here. Rent: 34% cheaper Groceries: 47% cheaper
South Korea has made great strides in recent times, and its cities are as modern as any of their European or American counterparts. It can be expensive to live here, but what you get is a quality of life and a culture that is tangentially different from what you are used to back home.
There are good reasons to choose South Korea. One is food—South Korean food is inspirational and delectable. There is a friendly population you will fall in love with. There is the exotic countryside that is an added attraction. The more you explore, the more you will discover here. Rent: 22% cheaper Groceries: 44% cheaper
Ecuador offers modern conveniences that Americans are used to but at a far lower price. That could be a deciding factor in making Ecuador your home. You will feel at home since the country exhibits American influences everywhere you go.
The weather is great here. It can be cool up in the mountains and warmer by the seaside. There is charming countryside where you can settle down on a ranch, build a house on the mountainside, or live in a city. Food and accommodations are quite affordable, which will let you live the good life. Rent: 27% cheaper Groceries: 35% cheaper
Portugal has a royal heritage and can proudly claim to have ruled the waves and pockets of countries as far away as India and Brazil. Today’s Portugal is modern with quite a few heritage sites for you to visit. If living here is important, then Lisbon could be your first choice. You will get good food, entertainment, night life, wines, and cultural activities.
A typical Mediterranean culture prevails, quite different from that in Germany or France. You will love the sunny atmosphere, the open cafés, the friendly people, and a relaxed way of life, especially if you choose to live by the sea or in the countryside. It is all nice and affordable. Rent: 26% cheaper Groceries: 28% cheaper
History, art, culture, tradition, food, and wine all come together in this enchanting country. Welcome to Italy. You could pay a lot in some areas, while there are hidden rustic gems you will treasure for life because they are priceless and yet so affordable for food, drinks, and housing.
Tuscany is one of those gems. Then you have Abruzzo, one of the most affordable places and the best in terms of food and quality of life. You are also close to Florence, the Adriatic coastline, and mountains to explore. You will find that Italy is more than just pizza and pasta. Rent: 21% cheaper Groceries: 18% cheaper
Think of a country where the quality of life is comparable to the United States but is ten times cheaper. That is Nicaragua. This Central American republic offers a pleasant, warm climate, plenty of good food, affordable lodging, and plenty to do or not do, as you wish.
You can choose colonial Granada with remnants of a glorious Spanish past, San Juan del Sur known for its Maderas Beach, and La Flor Beach Natural Reserve or Managua. The countryside is dotted with hills, lakes, and forests to explore. You also have sunny beaches. It is a veritable paradise where you can live life in a relaxed, luxurious way. Rent: 26% cheaper Groceries: 14% cheaper
There is an element of risk living in Venezuela, but there are plenty of attractions such as enchanting scenery and some truly modern cities such as Caracas. Then there is the Los Roques archipelago to explore and the Parque Nacional Canaima, home to Angel Falls and the Tepuis, or flat-topped mountains.
It is best to pick a gated community to live in because of the high crime rate. Still, if you are careful, life can be enjoyable and at a vastly lower price. Think of the Andes, the Nevada National Park, and the colonial town of Merida. They are just irresistible. Rent: 18% cheaper Groceries: 28% cheaper
Spanish influences prevail in El Salvador, but you will also find people there who speak English. It is best to pass on the big cities and visit the smaller towns and rustic country villages for a real treat. Bein and Santa Anna are the smaller places worth your time.
As for things to do, there are plenty. You could go to the beaches, relax on the sand, or go wind surfing. You could go deeper into the countryside to discover pristine beauty in the mountains and forests. And the good thing is that it costs so little in terms of travel, accommodations, and food. Rent: 30% cheaper Groceries: 43% cheaper
Chile is home to the Andes. It is a country where you can visit Patagonia and go for long hikes or Santiago, a city that stands shoulder to shoulder with any large American city. Chile also has a thriving economy.
The standard of living is high, although a notch below what you are used to in the United States, but everything is quite affordable. It is peaceful and a perfect place to find new meaning in life. Just settle down and discover a new life. Rent: 29% cheaper Groceries: 36% cheaper
Nigeria is beset with problems but still remains an attractive destination to visit or to settle down. Costs are low, perhaps the lowest in Africa, and you have modern cities and good facilities in the country.
If you love night life and a modern city life, then head to Lagos. Should nature be your first love, then simply take a Jeep to the open savannahs and explore the reserve parks. Live here and enjoy the best tax benefits. Rent and groceries are far cheaper than what they are in the United States. Rent: 44% cheaper Groceries: 31% cheaper
Latvia is synonymous with Riga, the city famous for its wooden architecture, medieval old town, the river Daugava, music halls, and unique food. There is plenty of entertainment in this city. Latvia in the Baltics is more Eastern European than Western and maintains its heritage and traditions.
There is more to Latvia beyond Riga. Drive out to the countryside and live there a couple of days to experience nature in its wild glory. Take part in folk dances, drink the local brew, and dine on some smoked fish and cabbage soup. Life is great, and everything costs much less, so you might be tempted to make Latvia your home. Rent: 30% cheaper Groceries: 35% cheaper
Spain is more than football. It has castles, lovely beaches, wine, and great food you can sample in major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Or you can partake of rustic food in the countryside. Spain has history and culture in equal measure and could be a perfect holiday destination or a place where you simply settle down.
Costs are not as low as some Eastern European countries, but you get a taste of the unique Spanish life, including bullfights, La Tomatina, tapas, paella, and sherry. The rain in Spain is not going to bother you. Ibiza beckons. Rent: 24% cheaper Groceries: 14% cheaper
Untrammeled nature in the form of lakes, deserts, swamps, wetlands, and mountains beckon you in Guatemala. Explore the Mayan ruins, and live with the Mayans in their quaint villages. Guatemala has a lot to offer with its striking colorful buildings, clothes, and food.
There is a sort of paradox in Guatemala. It is the strongest economy in Central America, but more than half the people are poor and live on as little as $2 per day. Still, poverty does not get in the way of cordial warmth. Everything is far more affordable here than in some other places, and you will simply love the local people and the culture. Local purchasing power: 3 times lower Rent: 2 times cheaper Groceries: 53% cheaper Local goods and services: 30% cheaper
Roatán, a beautiful island off the coast of Honduras, could be your future home. However, that is not the only attraction of Honduras. The entire country has an agreeable climate and natural parks, rivers, lakes, and mountains. It is easy to get a visa for Honduras if you plan to settle down in this haven.
Just how affordable Honduras is can be gauged from the fact that a condo can be purchased for as little as $200,000, and that is right on the beach. For expatriates, Roatán and Honduras are affordable, but the citizens are not quite so well off in a country rated the second poorest in Central America. Local purchasing power: 3 times lower Rent: 75% cheaper Groceries: 91% cheaper Local goods and services: 41% cheaper
If you want a quality of life that is almost like what you are used to in the United States with good infrastructure and fine facilities, then make a beeline for Panama. An important factor is that healthcare is good but not quite as expensive as in America.
You can use dollars in Panama. They are widely accepted, and 50 cents will buy you a brewski—no kidding. Panama has the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, making it a lovely destination for those who love the sea. The country also has its share of mountains and forests. Living here is affordable. Local purchasing power: 3 times lower Rent: 14% cheaper Groceries: 41% cheaper Cost of Living Index: 30%
Have you heard of Petra? If not, head to Jordan, the country that is home to an ancient civilization and far older than the three major religions. Currently, Jordan’s state religion is Islam. Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are its neighbors.
If food is your passion, then you will find a huge range of spices in the bazaars and exotic foods to tickle even the most jaded palate. If history is your forte, delve deeper here. If you like modern life, then Jordan’s cities offer everything, including the best healthcare. It is more expensive than other Middle Eastern nations but far lower in cost than the United States. Jordan sort of grows on you once you start living there. Local purchasing power: 70% lower Rent: 76% cheaper Groceries: 39% cheaper Cost of Living Index: 51.21%
The beautiful Mediterranean coast, thousands of islands to explore, a rich heritage, and great foods are what will take hold of you once you decide to live in Greece. Everything costs less in Greece than in America.
The economic condition of Greece is not that good, even though it has been bailed out several times. Services may not be what you expect, but lodging is cheap, and the food is great. There are remarkable sights, lovely experiences, warm sunshine, and friendly people. What more could you want? Local purchasing power: 3.6% lower Rent: 68% cheaper Groceries: 68% cheaper Local goods and services: 64% lower
Are you looking for a country where the crime rate is low, the climate is delightful, people are welcoming, the food is great, and healthcare and the cost of living are low? Welcome to Uruguay. It sits between Argentina and Brazil and has lovely scenery in the countryside.
Montevideo is the capital and a thriving city in this country with a population of 3.5 million. Property costs are low, the food is great, and there is plenty to do. The country’s economy is growing fast, so you can even do business here. Local purchasing power: 28.64 lower Rent: 67% cheaper Groceries: 44% cheaper Cost of Living Index: 28% lower
Paraguay is surrounded by Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. It has no coastal regions, but the countryside is picturesque with forests and mountains. The Iguazu Falls, which are about 270 feet high, are stunningly magnificent and located near the Brazilian and Argentinian borders.
The Iguazu Falls are not the only charm. The economy is on the up and up, making it an ideal destination to live and work or run a business. The cost of living is low, and you can get more for less in this enchanting country. Local purchasing power: 73% lower Rent: 63% cheaper Groceries: 75% cheaper Local goods and services: 69% lower
Zimbabwe is close to the island of Madagascar. It is surrounded by Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa. Its claim to fame is that it has two UNESCO Heritage Sites and is one of the best locations for a safari. Its history and culture will fascinate you.
The Zambesi River leads to the magnificent Victoria Falls, the world’s largest and most impressive by any standard. There is more to Zimbabwe, even though it is beset with problems. The cost of living is low, and people are friendly. Shift down a gear, and live the good life in Zimbabwe. Local purchasing power: 82% lower Rent: 77% cheaper Groceries: 41% cheaper Local goods and services: 32% lower
The spectacular beaches of Cuba, an island nation in the Caribbean, are simply irresistible. Cuba has a healthy medical tourism industry and a good educational system. It is a short flight from Florida and a jumping off point for a visit to the Caymans, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. Think of sunshine, music, food, and revelry on the beach. Think Cuba.
Fidel Castro improved the nation’s economy, and better relations with the United States are helping it progress even more. Still, the cost of living is far less than what prevails in the United States. You also have beautiful weather and the enchanting sea. Make it your home, and you will love every minute of it. Local purchasing power: 98% lower Rent: 61% cheaper Groceries: 32% cheaper Local goods and services: 35% lower
A former French colony, Senegal is on the West Coast of Africa and home to 4 million people. It is also surprisingly politically stable, which in turn has led to growth. Dakar, the capital, is located on the Cape Verde Peninsula. It is about as safe as it gets to live here, and it is affordable.
Clearly, the French influence has had an impact on this region’s culture, food, and music. French is spoken, mixed with Wolof, the local language. Everything is cheap except electricity, but you can always opt for solar power. There is no central grid for electricity, and the price of electricity is high, but that is a minor drawback compared to the wonderful experience of a life in sunshine and nature. Local purchasing power: 81% lower Rent: 43% cheaper Groceries: 25% cheaper Cost of living index: 25% lower