The Most Affordable Places for Expats to Live in 2018

Many of us while away time at work daydreaming about escaping the rat race to live a simpler life. We envisage breakfast on a balcony. Daily sunshine. The coast on your doorstep.

Whilst some of our perfect locations aren’t achievable yet, there are some destinations around the globe that could allow expats to work very little or retire early.

Cali, Colombia

Nestled just shy of Colombia’s coastline, Cali is a city that is fast becoming one of South America’s most popular with expats. Located 3,300 feet above sea level, the location has a celebrated climate; crisp mornings give way to tropical lazy afternoons and refreshing evenings.

The people of Cali, known as Calenos, are welcoming and friendly. Traditionally, life in Cali is built around basic values, such as family, health, and happiness. For this reason, many who have come from boisterous cities or taxing jobs revel in the chance to unwind and enjoy life’s simple pleasures in the city.

Despite South America being considered unsafe, Cali does not struggle with this stereotype. Expats can happily walk the palm-lined boulevards and relax in the spacious green parks without a care in the world.

Furthermore, rental rates are 30% less compared to other popular South American cities and couples rarely spend over £750 per month on unavoidable life costs, rent inclusive.

Saint-Chinian, France

In France’s Provence region, between Toulouse and Montpellier, lies a quintessential French country village. The cost of living has always been considered expensive in the South of France, however, Saint-Chinian breaks this trend. Property prices in the village are half of those of the Cote d-Azur and popular locations in Provence. Living expenses and rent, for the average couple, tend to average £1,200 per month. Many also cut out the expense of having a car due to the excellent public transport systems in place.

Many expats who already live in Saint-Chinian were somewhat apprehensive about their move due to the stereotype of French people. However, many were proved otherwise and enjoy a glass of wine (for which the area is famous for) with their native neighbours most evenings.

Da Nang, Vietnam

It may be Vietnam’s third largest city, but unlike Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang is much calmer. Surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the ancient capital of Hue and the Hindu temple ruins of My Son, Da Nang has a relaxed attitude to life that many expats find enchanting.

Being a city, Da Nang does have career opportunities for expats who still want to work. However, the work-life balance is said to be much better than European counterparts. The economy is fertile in Da Nang and many businesses already have diverse teams, with people hailing from all corners of the globe.

Many expats end up settling in Da Nang due to the very comfortable lifestyle they are able to lead compared to their home country. Most couples spent around £900 on necessities per month, including rent.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Once a sleeping fishing village, Playa del Carmen is now home to over 10,000 expats – 7% of the population. In the 1990s, the small beach town grew at an incredible rate and was the fastest developing location in Mexico.

Many expats enjoy life in Playa Del Carmen due to the diverse population. Individuals from countries all around the globe live in town and students, to young families and retirees all live happily side by side in the community. Notably, it is also an extremely welcoming location for LGBT people.

Due to the number of expat families located in Playa Del Carmen, a number of parents came together to found the local international school. Furthermore, the area is very safe and there are ample job opportunities. Many expats work as teachers or in real estate.

When it comes to monthly spend, the average couple spends around £1,500 per month inclusive of rent, bills and transport.

Abruzzo, Italy

Situated on the beautiful Adriatic coastline of Italy, Abruzzo is a region east of Rome that is known for its beautiful scenery. With a number of national parks, countless beaches, and the Apennine Mountains, Abruzzo is great for those who crave an outdoor lifestyle.

Known as Italy’s best kept secret, the rolling vineyards, skiing opportunities, beach side retreats and medieval residential villages are free of tourists and expats revel in the quality of life they have in the region.

Many expats compare Abruzzo to life in Tuscany, without the huge price tag. Most couples live in the Abruzzo region spending no more than £1,000 per month on rent and living costs.


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