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The Most Affordable Places to Move Around the Globe Before They Get Too Expensive

Check out these gorgeous global destinations that offer amazing value for your money and will make you want to pack your bags and join the growing global expat community.

The river Guadiana and the village of Mertola. Alentejo Region. Portugalalexilena/Shutterstock


According to Live and Invest Overseas (LIOS), the continuing strength of the U.S. dollar is extremely advantageous to Americans moving to Portugal which is one of the reasons the country has topped its retirement destination index for six consecutive years. You can rent a two-bedroom apartment in the beautiful coastal Algarve region for as little as $720 per month, or buy an Algarve pied-à-terre for $150,000 or less. Extra bonus: Public health care in Portugal is available to legal foreign residents as long as you’re registered with your local medical center. Those who prefer to live stateside will want to check out the best places to move to in the United States before they get too crowded.

Amazing sunrise at Golden Hill , Golden Valley in Da Lat City, Famous View In Da Lat City Da Lat is highland city fog in the morning. Da Lat is one of the beautiful and the famous city in Viet Nam.TBone Lee/Shutterstock


LIOS recommends Vietnam as a forward-looking country with a fast-growing economy where new U.S. residents can live on a basic budget of just $500 a month. In spots like Da Lat and Da Nang, dinner at a local restaurant costs between $1 and $4; a Coke costs 50 cents, and a loaf of crusty French bread is 45 cents, making it easy to stretch your dollars without much in the way of sacrifice. And it’s easy to have a fabulous beach vacation in the coastal city of Quy Nhon, one of our expert picks for the top places to visit in 2019.

Xunantunich - Mayan Ruinsmilosk50/Shutterstock


In addition to a wealth of natural resources, including a coral reef, Mayan ruins, running rivers, and lush rain forest, Belize offers easy residency and tax-free living, says LIOS, calling the peaceful Caribbean nation an English-speaking safe haven—it’s the only Central American where English is an official language—for both you and your money.

Frozen reflections in Paris. Eiffel Tower at sunrise from Trocadero FountainsMarcello Landolfi/Shutterstock


This one may surprise you since a vacation to the City of Lights can often be incredibly costly; however, according to LIOS, settling down in Paris comes with multiple affordable perks that tourists don’t know about. To start, Paris scored perfect across all criteria in the LIOS infrastructure assessment, including incredibly fast Internet (roughly 35.1 Mbps, for only $30 per month); inexpensive and reliable electricity; and an affordable and fully developed public transport system, so there’s no need for a car.

Ljubljana castle, Slovenia as seen from "Skyscraper" direction.Tomas Kulaja/Shutterstock

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The New Green Deal may be on hold in the United States, but in Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana, it’s full green steam ahead, making it a perfect fit for anyone looking to embrace sustainability. Ljubljana was named the first World’s Greenest City by the Netherlands-based organization, Green Destinations, and recently won the 2019 European Smart Tourism Award (ESTA), for outstanding achievements in sustainability. Ljubljana is car-free city and has dedicated nearly 20 percent of the city to public green parks, allowing locals to easily roam the city via walking, bicycle, or the zero-emission electric tram. Here are some more tiny countries you need to discover.

Beautiful view of Panama City - Cinta Costera.jose_leonardo7/Shutterstock


LIOS says there are myriad reasons to put Panama on your “move to” list: The weather is nearly perfect year-round, there is always something to do or see, including theater, movie, concerts, and sporting matches, and the currency is the U.S. dollar, so you don’t have to worry about changing your money. Plus local Panama health insurance costs $100 per month or less. You can retire to the beach in Las Tablas, for example, on the country’s Azuero Peninsula, on a budget of $1,200 per month or even less.

Phra Mahathat. Two chedis - Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri, near the summit of Doi Inthanon. These two stupas are dedicated to the recently late king and his wife.Gideon Ikigai/Shutterstock


There are myriad reasons to move to this incredibly friendly Southeast Asian country including a large and well-established expat community, excellent medical and dental care, and a gorgeous geographical setting that offers everything from misty mountains to pristine beaches. The real kicker though is the price. LIOS says Thailand is arguably the cheapest place on earth to live well. While affordable luxury is available, you can live on a very modest budget, thanks to $1 pad Thai lunches and $11-a-night hotels (including breakfast and free WiFi).

SANTO DOMINGO - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - December 25, 2016: Aerial view of Santo Domingo city Dominican Republicsaaton/Shutterstock

Dominican Republic

Proving not all of the Caribbean is expensive, one of Live and Invest Overseas top options for a low cost of living is Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. You can enjoy life on a tropical island, with some of the best beaches in the world, for about $900 a month.

Aerial view of Fortaleza city beach, Ceara State, Brazil.windwalk/Shutterstock


Home to one of the most famous and celebrated Carnival festivals in the world, Brazil is an extremely affordable destination, where the exchange rate is 3.76 Brazilian Reals for $1. If you’re in the market for cheap beachfront property, says LIOS, this is the place to shop, but focus on the south from Ceara to Natal, where you can enjoy super-cheap coastal buys in safety. The developed tourism infrastructure allows newly arrived visitors to try out extended stay accommodations at unbeatable rates (we can recommend Renaissance São Paulo Hotel, which is known for its spa).

Panoramic view of Providencia and Las Condes districts with Costanera Center skyscraper, Titanium Tower and Los Andes Mountain Range, Santiago de ChileJose L. Stephens/Shutterstock


Known for its remarkably diverse and naturally stunning scenery, Chile is also economically strong, politically stable, and loaded with opportunity, enthuses LIOS. “For anyone who wants to achieve individual sovereignty through international diversification,” says the organization, Chile should be high on your list. Plus for every $1, Americans receive 676 Chilean Pesos, making this country affordable as well.

Pictorial emerald lake - Lago di Barrea and medieval village in Abruzzo, Italyleoks/Shutterstock

Abruzzo, Italy

If you want to put down permanent roots by buying a home in a new destination, head to Italy’s beautiful Abruzzo region, where the average cost per square meter is $869, according to The World’s Best Places to Retire. That is an unbeatable price for what some say is the best place to move in the Mediterranean. Beyond the price, you get to enjoy all of the benefits that come with having your own home in Italy (think: wine, pasta, gelato, and friendly neighbors).

cathedral of the Immaculate Conception aerial view Cuenca EcuadorMark Pitt Images/Shutterstock

Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is an area with bargain real estate, says LIOS. You can rent a furnished apartment for $400 per month, an unfurnished apartment from $300 per month, or buy a small condo outright for less than $40,000. It also has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Hyderabad, India - January, 4th, 2018. View of Charminar ("Four Minarets"), constructed in 1591, is a monument and mosque located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.Denis.Vostrikov/Shutterstock

Hyderabad, India

Touted as “India’s next Silicon Valley”—Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Accenture, and Deloitte already have offices here—Hyderabad was named the best city to move to if you’re starting a new career by The Economic Times. Plus, it’s an easy two-hour flight from Delhi, one and a half hours from Mumbai, and home to three railway stations and a new rapid transit system, making it easy to explore the rest of the country.

Malecón of Mazatlan front of the mexican beachadri.c/Shutterstock

Mazatlán, Mexico

If making new friends overseas is one of your priorities, then Mazatlán is the place to go, says LIOS, which called this expat community the friendliest in the world and one of the reasons it made its list of The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2019.

Valletta Skyline with ship at beautiful sunset from Sliema with churches of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Valletta, Capital city of Maltakavalenkava/Shutterstock


Another one of LIOS top picks to live abroad is the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta. Although it’s just 122 square miles, it has a lot to offer in natural beauty, with a rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, tiny coves dotted with ancient forts, and quaint fishing harbors. It’s a top pick for affordable entertainment, plus they have nine UNESCO World Heritage sites along with churches, cathedrals, museums, and galleries. Malta also has one of the best health care systems in the world; all of the staff are highly trained, and most are fluent in English, and house calls are available for around $15. Those are just some of the reasons it made our list of 12 European islands you never thought to visit—but totally should.

Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.