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The Cheapest Places to Live in the World in 2024

Each year, I bring you an updated list of the cheapest places to live in the world. Unlike other lists written by desk-bound individuals, I provide real-world costs based on my experience as a frequent...

Each year, I bring you an updated list of the cheapest places to live in the world. Unlike other lists written by desk-bound individuals, I provide real-world costs based on my experience as a frequent traveler and an expert in this field. So, get ready to discover the most affordable places to live in 2024.

cheapest places to live in the world

Living costs can vary depending on your style of living. For instance, some people in Western Europe can live comfortably on $2,000 per month, while others spend $10,000 per month in places like Thailand or Mexico. To determine the countries with the cheapest cost of living overall, we consider the average expenses of the average person living there.

In line with the philosophy of my book, "A Better Life for Half the Price," these countries offer an opportunity for you to live well for less. If you are moving from countries like Canada, the USA, Ireland, or New Zealand to any of these destinations, you can easily cut your expenses in half and upgrade your standard of living. It's like using currency arbitrage to your advantage.

Before we dive into the methodology and my personal opinions, let's take a look at the countries that consistently show up as the cheapest places to live for expats and digital nomads with a need for good internet and infrastructure:

  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Malaysia
  • Cambodia
  • Philippines
  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Turkey
  • Georgia
  • Bulgaria
  • Albania
  • Colombia
  • Argentina
  • Ecuador
  • Brazil
  • Guatemala

There are a few other countries that are similarly priced, such as Laos, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, and Mexico (depending on the exchange rate). Moving overseas for a life upgrade and lower cost of living is a common choice. Millions of people have taken this step, bidding farewell to high living expenses and embracing a new lifestyle either by emigrating to one destination or becoming digital nomads, hopping between the cheapest places to live.

Some people assume that the most affordable countries to live in are not as pleasant as their current locations. However, that's often a mistaken belief. Moving to a cheaper country can offer better weather, nicer apartments or houses, and cheaper health insurance. It can also provide an opportunity to reduce stress and adopt healthier habits, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and getting more exercise.

Living Abroad Changes in 2024

After a challenging period for travelers and nomads, tourism is making a strong comeback. Most regions have returned to their 2019 levels of visitors, with Europe surpassing those levels. As a result, the days of finding deeply discounted rent due to empty cities are in the past.

However, it's important to note that certain cities, like Lisbon and Tbilisi, have become more expensive for rentals compared to a year ago. On the other hand, Brazil is now appearing on "cheapest places to live" lists, thanks to an exchange rate that has made it one of the most affordable countries in South America. The Brazilian real has significantly depreciated, making it more attractive for foreigners.

In my adopted home of Mexico, the stronger peso and a period of inflation have made the country slightly more expensive in dollar terms. Nevertheless, the overall change in living costs has been moderate, and Mexico still offers great value for money.

The trend of countries offering "digital nomad visas" continues, but the reality often falls short of remote workers' expectations. It's crucial to gather information from people who have actually obtained these visas to understand the requirements and limitations. In some cases, traditional residency or a tourist visa may be a better option.

Cutting Your Cost of Living in Half

In the most affordable places to live that I'm highlighting, you can live comfortably on as little as $1,000 per month for one person or $1,500 to $2,000 per month for a couple (excluding travel costs). With this budget, you can enjoy a good quality of life without making significant sacrifices. By adding an extra thousand or two, you can upgrade to a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle, with a spacious apartment or house, domestic help, and the freedom to dine out regularly.

It's worth mentioning that if you're willing to embrace the local lifestyle and earn a few hundred dollars more than the average local, you can enjoy an upper-middle-class lifestyle at a fraction of the cost. However, if you prefer a more Western lifestyle, you can still live far better than you could in your home country for a similar budget.

Now, let's explore some of the cheapest places to live in the world in more detail:

Colombia is Still a Great Bargain

Colombia has always been a favorite among expats and digital nomads due to its affordability. Although the prices have increased slightly in some areas, Colombia still offers excellent value for money. Cities like Medellin and Santa Marta have witnessed rental price hikes, but the overall cost of living remains reasonable.

Historically Cheap Living in Argentina

Argentina has a history of economic volatility, but it has created opportunities for budget-conscious individuals. Currently, the country offers fantastic value for money, with Buenos Aires being one of the cheapest capital cities in the world. You can enjoy world-class dining, vibrant nightlife, and a rich cultural scene here without breaking the bank.

Ecuador for Expats

Ecuador has long been hailed as an affordable destination for expats and retirees. With its low income requirements for residency and reasonable cost of living, it continues to attract individuals seeking a comfortable life on a limited budget. Cities like Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca offer good healthcare facilities, cultural activities, and beautiful natural landscapes.

Living in Albania as a Permanent Tourist

Albania is Europe's hidden gem when it comes to affordable living. With its stunning coastline and lenient visa policies for Americans, it's a great option for those seeking a beach lifestyle without breaking the bank. The cost of living in Albania is significantly lower than in neighboring Greece, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious individuals.

Bulgaria Bargain Living in Europe

Bulgaria offers a unique combination of beautiful landscapes, affordable living, and a low cost of real estate. The country has some of the most affordable apartments in Europe, making it an attractive destination for expats. With its rich history and diverse cuisine, Bulgaria is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable European lifestyle.

Living in Romania as an Expatriate

Romania may not be on everyone's radar, but it's one of the best values in Europe for remote workers. With its fast internet speeds and low living costs, it offers an ideal environment for digital nomads. You can enjoy a high standard of living in cities like Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca without breaking the bank.

Time to Consider Egypt Again

Egypt has experienced a resurgence in recent years, making it a great option for thrifty travelers and expats. The country offers a unique blend of rich history, beautiful landscapes, and affordable living. With the favorable exchange rate and low cost of living, you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in cities like Cairo and Luxor.

Low Cost of Living in Vietnam

Vietnam remains an excellent value for money, with its low accommodation costs, amenities, and English-friendly environment. The country has become a popular destination for digital nomads, thanks to its affordability and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you choose Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, or Hanoi, you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Thailand, a Perennial Digital Nomad Favorite

Thailand has regained its position as a top spot for digital nomads, with Chiang Mai being the most popular destination. The country offers a unique blend of affordability, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Whether you prefer the bustling streets of Bangkok or the tranquil beaches of Phuket, Thailand provides an excellent quality of life at a fraction of the cost in Western countries.

Malaysia Living With Bargain Rents and Great Food

Malaysia is often overlooked among the Southeast Asian destinations, but it offers some of the best apartment rental values in the world. With its three distinct cuisines and a mix of modern conveniences and natural beauty, Malaysia is an attractive destination for expats. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang provide affordable and comfortable living options.

English-speaking Islands in the Philippines

The Philippines is an ideal destination for those who prefer an English-speaking country at an affordable cost. With its beautiful islands and welcoming locals, it offers a range of lifestyle options. Whether you choose Manila, Cebu, or Palawan, you can enjoy a low cost of living while embracing the stunning natural beauty of the country.

India, the Low-cost Living Champ

India consistently ranks as one of the cheapest places to live in the world. With its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and affordable living costs, India offers a unique experience for expats. Whether you choose bustling cities like Mumbai and Delhi or explore the serene countryside, you can enjoy a high quality of life at a fraction of the cost compared to Western countries.

These are just a few examples of the cheapest places to live in the world. Each destination offers its own unique advantages and challenges, so it's important to research and consider your personal preferences before making a decision.

Living abroad can be a life-changing experience, allowing you to enjoy a higher standard of living while saving money. If you're considering a move, I recommend checking out my Cheap Living Abroad site for comprehensive information and packages that can help you navigate the process smoothly.

Remember, the world is full of affordable destinations that offer great value for money. By choosing the right country that aligns with your lifestyle and budget, you can embark on a new adventure while enjoying a financially sustainable life.