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Living Abroad For Less Than $1000 Per Month

During a walk around Playa del Carmen yesterday, I happened to pass by a small, colorful building down a narrow side street, a street that I had never been down before. In the front window of this building, hanging from some sort of rotting suction cup hook, was a handwritten sign advertising “Estudios En Renta Por Mes” (Studios for Rent by the Month). And even though I already have a place to stay down here, my curious nature led me inside the doorway where I soon found myself asking the woman behind the desk if I could have a look at her studio apartments.

Olga, the woman behind the desk, happily led me up two flights of stairs before opening up one of the doors and inviting me in. I walked around the cozy studio, inspecting the king-size bed, the small sitting area, the recently renovated bathroom and the new air-conditioning unit, before being shown the common area on the first floor, which consisted of a large, well-maintained kitchen and a pleasantly laid out space with a half dozen tables and a few old sofas.

The price for one of these studios? $300 USD per month, with wi-fi and all utilities included.

PARADISE IS CHEAP!

In all honestly, this wasn’t exactly the most amazing apartment I’d ever seen and if I was in need of a place, I’d still have wanted to continue my search. However, after I thanked Olga for her time and walked back out to the street, I couldn’t help but think how cheap it really is for anyone to live in this tropical paradise known as the Riviera Maya.

With a $300/month studio apartment (that is four blocks from white sand beaches and two blocks from the center of town I might add), one would be hard-pressed to spend more than a $1000 per month in total to live here. In fact, one could very easily live a good life here for closer to $700 per month.

Naturally, such a realization leads me to wonder why more people don’t take advantage of such opportunities. After all, so many of us speak often about our desire to make a change in our lives by taking an extended break in some exciting and foreign land. But too often we conclude that “now is just not the right time” and so we put off our goals for yet another year, usually because of a simple mis-belief that to achieve such a goal would require an extraordinary amount of money.

THE QUESTION TO ASK YOURSELF IS…

How much do you spend per month on your current lifestyle, the one that you may be itching to break free from?

My immediate guess would be that most people are spending much more than $1000 per month once you take into account rent/mortgage, food, utilities, car payments and the rising cost of pet food.

Now consider this… I’ve almost never, during the past 11 years, spent more than $1000 USD in one single month of living overseas. And I’m not always a super-frugal nomad! If there’s something I want to do, I’ll pay for it without worrying too much about the cost and rarely have I had to skip out on something because it was too expensive.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, for anyone worried that an extended overseas break will instantly drain your bank account, I now wish to share some of the places around the world where I’ve managed to live on less (and in most cases, much less) than $1000 per month.

*This is not a list of places I’ve traveled around for less than $1000 but places where I’ve rented a house or apartment, settled comfortably into the culture and unpacked my backpack for a while without moving around.


WHERE YOU CAN LIVE FOR LESS THAN $1000 PER MONTH

  • Mexico – I’ve now spent 11 of the past 13 months living in Mexico, the first half living in the beautiful Pacific coast village of Sayulita and the second half in Playa del Carmen along the Caribbean Sea. The two apartments I’ve rented have both been modern, more than comfortable and within five minutes walking distance to stunning beaches. And they each cost less than $500 per month in rent. Good, fresh food costs very little in Mexico, public transportation is dirt cheap and most activities that I enjoy (swimming in the ocean, attempting to surf, exploring local towns and villages and walking wherever my legs will take me) don’t cost much, if anything, at all. I’d say that on average, I spend approximately $800 per month to live well (according to my basic nomadic lifestyle) in wonderful Mexico.
  • India – On two occasions during my many visits to India over the years, I decided to stop traveling and actually stay put in one location for an extended period of time. First, it was the Tibetan village of McLeod Ganj, where I rented a wonderfully warm and cheerful rooftop room, with a view of the snow-capped Himalayas from my bed, for $120 USD per month. In all honestly, I could have eaten 10 meals per day, taken taxis everywhere I went (although I much preferred walking in the fresh mountain air) and signed up for as many yoga and meditation classes as I wished and I still would’ve had difficulty spending $500 per month. And last year, when I spent one month living in Calcutta, I found a decent budget hotel room for $5/night and spent a total of around $400 during my stay without once paying attention to what I spent. Of course, Calcutta is not on everyone’s list of places to live for a month, but it’s just an example!
  • Australia – Yes, Australia. At the end of 2008 I spent five months living in Melbourne and it was an absolute bargain. Using the excellent Gumtree.com I found a room in a shared house, located only a 15 minute walk from the center of the city, for a mere $400 USD per month. And even with frequent pub visits, live music shows, festivals, day trips and a shocking number of meals at my favorite Indian and Vietnamese restaurants, I managed to keep my expenses under $1000 every month quite easily.
  • Thailand – When I spent a stretch of time teaching English in the northern city of Chiang Mai, I shared an apartment with a friend of mine. I believe we paid about $200 USD each for our seventh floor pad that had a clear view to the beautiful Doi Suthep mountain behind the city. We ate all of our meals out (most of them at a random place called “Mr. Smiley’s” that was indeed owned by the happiest person on Earth), took frequent day and overnight trips all around northern Thailand, enjoyed daily foot massages and again, never paid much attention to how much we were spending. In the end, I had an incredibly rewarding, fun-filled experience for approximately $500 per month. And if you’re yet to be convinced that living in paradise doesn’t have to be expensive, just last year I spent a month on the absolutely perfect Thai island of Koh Mak, where a simple but super-comfortable beachfront bungalow set me back only $300 for four weeks!

Of course, the above isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list of countries where one could live for $1000 or less per month. These are just a selection of my personal experiences in order to help debunk the myth that living overseas, even in a first-world country such as Australia, requires some sort of winning lottery ticket. Had I wanted this post to be any longer than it already is, I could have added Argentina, Indonesia, Nepal and a few others to the list.

I also know that there are other expenses involved with such a trip as well, most notably the flight from your home country to wherever it is you want to go, but even with that cost, chances are you’ll still end up spending less per month than you’re spending right now. And again, that fact alone should help eliminate ‘money’ from your list of excuses as to why you’re unable to do some traveling or live overseas for a while at this point in your life.

There certainly may be other obstacles standing in your way, but now that we’ve tackled one of the biggest ones, we’ll start to tackle the others in the near future as well!


Have you ever lived somewhere around the world on less than $1000 per month? Or perhaps you’ve always thought that such cheap international living was impossible?

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328 Responses to Living Abroad For Less Than $1000 Per Month

  1. Graham says:

    Im 47 year old retired cop who left early with a small pension. $950 month got a few grand saved up and working as a registered Nurse part time planning to travel when I’m 50 !! Done Australia N/Z Thailand thinking of moving to Thailand or another cheap country to live in !!! No kids and divorced twice think its now or never !! What’s the best single bit of advice can you give !!!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Graham – So I guess you’re not too far away from departure these days! Before you know it you’ll be on the road. As for advice, the best piece of advice I can give is to simply make sure that you follow through with your plan. You have no idea what kind of incredible opportunities will open up for you once you move to Thailand or wherever you end up and as a result, your life will lead you to place you never before imagined! And all you need to do is take that first step!

  2. Cora says:

    Hi Earl,

    I’m glad I discovered your site. I enjoyed reading everything you wrote and the comments of your readers/subscribers. I myself love traveling. I being a Filipino have been to Asian countries only and of course to other places of my country.

    Most of the topics above are talking about the cost of living abroad especially on Central America and other South East Asian countries. Let me inform you that the cost of living in my country Philippines is also low just like Thailand, where food and basics needs are cheap.

    I am proud to say that we have beautiful pristine beaches in Palawan (that is if one wants a laid back community), Boracay if one wants to party and clubbing, Cebu, Bohol, etc etc . . .

    If anyone who wants to retire and live in the Philippines under US$1000, that is feasible.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Cora – Thank you for the comment and for your input about the Philippines! It’s a shame that more people don’t make it to your country because everything I’ve heard about the Philippines has been overwhelmingly positive. I haven’t been there myself and I can’t wait to go…hopefully it will be in the near future :)

  3. Cathy says:

    Hi Earl
    I am interested in India I think 1000.00 per month could do it there
    Do you feel that Mexico is a better place to live than India

    Thanks
    Cathy

    • Earl says:

      Hey Cathy – Those are two very different countries and it would be a personal decision based on the type of environment you want to live in. But either way, you could live for $1000 per month in both of those countries, so they are two good options!

  4. Shan says:

    I admire you! That’s all for now:)

  5. Bill says:

    Good luck to you in your retirement. I agree with Earl (as usual) that you have a large selection of choices. In some countries, your increased income will make you feel rich (maid, gardener, etc). I would add some other things to think about before you make your choice.
    How willing are you to learn a language? Even though lots of people live abroad without learning the local language, it will isolate you from the local population if you don’t. I suppose some folks only go for the weather and the low cost, but frankly I think that’s a missed opportunity. But even if you learn the language, you’re probably never going to sound like a native and may miss hearing your native tongue.
    Also consider the weather. Ireland, for instance, is very very friendly. The weather…. not so much. Are you averse to cold, wet, hot, etc?
    Another consideration is travel, as in do you want to? Europe has a wonderful transportation system, so living there (Spain can be inexpensive; living in a hamlet outside of the Stuttgart area of Germany would put you right in the center of Europe) would open up a whole world for you. And along the same line, exploring a single country could take a lifetime (Mexico is huge, cheap and has a great long distance bus system).
    Still another consideration is the cost of seeing your family. You can of course “see” them on Skype, but to get a hug will mean travel. Flying from Mexico to the U.S. would be reasonable (remember that prices only go in one direction and that direction is not down), but flying from Spain to the US could get pricey.
    And one more thing is how romantic is your vision (not romance as in boy – girl)? Do you see yourself in a palm roofed cottage on the ocean (or something similar)? That will get lonely. A better option might be (I say “might” because everyone is of course different) an apartment in or near the center of town where you could take daily walks and say hello to the shopkeepers. So look at your dream from every angle. Try to find the downside as well as the upside (and vice versa).
    And finally, why not try out several places? Make a short list of the places that would fit your ideal and then rent a furnished studio apartment for a few months. Or rent a larger place and get some of the family to visit and give their opinion. For instance, this year our family in going to rent a 3 bedroom apt in Merida Mexico for a month for $1000 (utilities included). That’s a lot more than what you would pay to live there, but it will tell us whether or not we want to live in Merida (like you, we’re looking for a place to settle….but only for 1/2 the year for us).
    Hope this helped. Tell us what you’re thinking about. I’m sure I’m not the only one that would love to read about your thought process and how you proceed (and how you fare).

  6. Donna says:

    Hi Earl:
    This is my present situation: I have three children (and grandchildren) who live in 1) Long Beach, California; 2) central Connecticut; and 3) Galway, Ireland. I am single, retired and get approximately $1800 per month (net) with my pension. That will be increased by about $1400 per month when my Social Security kicks in in four years.

    My “problem” is when the whole world is open to you, how do you choose where to live? For most of my adult life I was agoraphobic. Except for driving on highways and bridges, I no longer have this affliction.

    I want to live in a walkable community with good public transportation. And I want easy access to an airport so I can still visit my kids. However, I’m rather shy and introverted and would like a place that is welcoming and friendly. Any ideas?

    Thanks for you help.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Donna – Thanks for the comment and I’d say you have dozens and dozens of possible options for a great place to live! First, I would start off by thinking about the regions of the world that most excite you. If you could fly somewhere today, some place that you’ve always thought about visiting, where in the world would that be? Once you have an idea of what region really calls out to you, then you can start looking at the best cities/towns to live in, because you’ll find places that match your criteria in every corner of the world!

      Just to give you a better idea, I can think of towns in Central America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia that might be ideal…as well as in Australia/New Zealand. So you’ll definitely have no problem finding that perfect place :)

  7. David says:

    I bought a apartment, brand new one in Beihai,China. I will retire there this May. I have spent 3 months there every year for the past 7 years. I spend the hottest time of the year there and with A/C running all day . food and travel. My wife and I live on $700 US dollars a month. e have a house keeper who comes in 3 days a week, eat out at very good places often, travel a lot and still this is what it costs during the summers there.

    • Earl says:

      Thanks David for sharing that information about Chian! That seems like quite a nice setup you have over there.

  8. Jayson says:

    Hi Earl
    Any comments concerning cost of visiting/living in the Philippines? I have visted there a few times and find it poor,hot and humid. Otherwise, I loved it.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jayson – I’ve never been to the Philippines so I can’t really say. But I do know several people who have lived their long-term and they all informed me that a comfortable lifestyle can be had for very little money. And when you combine that with beautiful beaches, it seems to be a perfect option for many people looking to live overseas without spending too much.

  9. Richard says:

    In my working years I had the good fortune to be able to live for three years on the French Riviera and Spain’s Costa del Sol and get PAID for doing it…I was the captain of a large sailboat.

    But I knew for decades that unless I wanted to work until the day I died I’d have to leave the U.S. and find a place where my Social Security check would allow me a comfortable living. I found it in Panama. I get $1,200/month and so far at the end of each month I have more money than I started with. For nearly 15 months I house sat in the mountains of western Panama. In the mornings I’d sit out on the front porch with a steaming mug of locally-grown coffee and stare down at the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Total cost to live in such luxury? About $150 U.S. a month!

    When the owners of the house returned I moved to a small pueblo about 35 miles from the Costa Rican border where I rent a lovely, fully-furnished 2 bedroom/2 bath house next to a small river for the extortionate sum of $175/month!

    You can get a good plate lunch of chicken, pork or beef WITH a cold bottle of beer for under $3. If I have dinner at a more expensive restaurant I can knock off 25% with the senior-citizen “Jubilado” discount. Of course I don’t ask for the discount when I’m getting a good meal for less than the price of a “Happy Meal” at McDoo Doo’s.

    A bottle of local Panamanian beer in the market will set you back between 35 cents and a half buck a bottle and at any of the neighborhood bars it will rarely be more than 75 cents. A bus ride from my house to the border with Costa Rica costs me under a buck. Baseball is a BIG sport here in Panama with their own national league. A ticket for a box seat goes for $4. First-run movie? Seniors get in for 1/2 price so it costs me a buck and a half.

    Life is good here for way under a grand a month.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Richard – Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in Panama! That certainly does seem to be a great place to live for under $1000 per month and I’m sure your information will prove useful to anyone reading this post. It just shows that we have so many options out there to live/travel cheaply but most of us just don’t know about them.

      Keep on enjoying life down in Panama!

    • Paul says:

      Hey Richard,

      I appreciate you sharing your experience in Panama. However, I thouht you were limited to the amount of time you could spend there being a tourist. How did you spend 15 mos. there without penalizing your stay? Then even longer when living near Costa Rica? Thanks!

      • Richard says:

        Paul: I am retired here in Panama as a “Jubilado.” I don’t ever have to leave if I don’t want to. Tourists, on the other hand, are restricted to 180 visits. Then they simply leave and return. Supposedly one is required to leave for 72 hours but I’ve read of people who pass over to CR, get their passports stamped and return immediately with no hassles. I don’t know. I don’t have to do that. I do know of people who live here as perpetual tourists making runs for the border for years. Two are Americans who have been here for a dozen years and even own businesses.

  10. Stewart says:

    I am very happy to find your web site . Im 51 years old and live in Canada. I want to start spending 3 months Jan-April a year in mexico starting @ 55. I will retire at 60. So when you say a person can rent plus exspenses for $ 1000.00 per month gives me hope. I felt I would have to wait until 60yrs. Also is there places to learn conversersion spanish cheaply.

    Thank you.

    Stewart.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Stewart – Welcome to the site! As for Mexico, it really is possible to live well on that amount of money. So there should be nothing stopping you from making it happen. With Spanish lessons, language schools tend to be quite expensive but usually you can find someone who is willing to give you private lessons for much cheaper. I was taking private lessons 4 times per week and it cost me $25 USD per week!

  11. Carol says:

    Hate to be a ballbuster here, but in checking your links I don’t see antway you could be getting what you claim to on rentals. I checked out the one place in your article on how to get cheap apartments and it isn’t plausible. All those places are charging same rates as hotels in America and more. I don’t believe you get a place costing $130per night to rent to you for $400 or whatever. Even a $50 per night room would be $1,500
    a month. We are mostly talking $1,500-$3,900++++ at nightly rate. I don’t see them giving you that kind of deal. Also it’s obvious you preview, and don’t post negative comments on your blog. Maybe it’s a one man running dialogue. Makes you money I guess, but I’d hate to be a travelor who takes your advise and is in for a rude reality when they hit the road!

    • Earl says:

      Hello Carol – Thank you for taking the time to comment. And it’s not that I preview comments, but like most blogs, first-time commenters or those commenting from suspicious email addresses are automatically sent into the ‘pending comment’ folder in order to prevent any spam or worse affecting the site. I’m more than happy to post negative comments as well. Not sure how it’s obvious that I don’t post them.

      Anyway, you don’t have to believe what I write, but if I was giving out false information, I’m quite certain that my site would not be enjoying as large and active a community as it currently enjoys :)

      • Bill says:

        Hi Earl, Well, I’ve been following your advice for a while now and have done pretty well. I rented a 3 bedroom apartment in Querétaro Mexico for $700 for the month. I know that’s not dirt cheap, but Querétaro isn’t the cheapest place in Mexico (only an hour and a half by bus from Mexico City). It’s within walking distance from the zocolo, includes all utilities and has free wifi. That’s $24 a night for 3 bedrooms. And it’s really nice – not some little cramped place. (by the way that would be $8/nt per bedroom). I saw a place later for $150 less, but I like this place a lot.

        • Earl says:

          Hey Bill – Thank you for sharing your situation and sounds like you have quite a deal in Queretaro! I love that city actually and have a good friend who lives on a ranch about twenty minutes away from the city center. There’s something about the purple color that seems to cover the semi-desert landscape right around sunset…I’ll never forget it.

          Keep on enjoying yourself over there!

  12. Roy says:

    Hi Earl. Thanks for some inspiring writing. I am about to leave my job and my partner and I (both 50 somethings) have been thinking about an adventure. Maybe 2 or 3 months in 3 or 4 places around the world taking a year out from life in the UK. We love the idea but also find it a little daunting and scary so your writing has really helped us see the excitement and opportunity! One question – do you tend to find your accommodation once you arrive? I’ve tried internet searches for places to rent but usually get directed to upscale/hotel type places which are very expensive.

    Keep up the great work (maybe its pleasure as much as work?)
    Thanks once again!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Roy – I appreciate the comment and that’s great to hear that you’re thinking of heading off for a while. I normally find accommodation once I arrive, for the very reason that you discovered already…everything you find online ahead of time is geared towards foreigners only and is therefore much more expensive. Here’s a post I wrote that will give you a better idea of how I rent apartments while traveling: How To Rent an Expensive Apartment For a Budget Price

      That method works quite well in many parts of the world!

      If you have any other questions at any time, please feel free to send me an email as well and I’d be more than happy to answer them as best I can…

  13. Meg says:

    Earl- I’m SOOO inspired by you! Your posts are amazing! I’m leaving for Chiang Mai in 2 weeks and am working on a TEFL online course. I can’t wait, and you’ve inspired me!!! Thank you for all your articles! Blessings and many more wonderful travels!
    Meg

    • Earl says:

      Hey Meg – You’ll have such a great time in Chiang Mai!! It’s one of the most livable cities I’ve ever come across, so full of possibilities for rewarding and interesting experiences and adventures. If you ever need any advice about that city, just send me an email and I’d be more than happy to help out!

    • Anthony says:

      Hey Meg,

      Sorry to butt in, but I read Earl’s post when I was still at home and to be honest I found it hard to believe, coming from an expensive country. I’m in Chiang Mai now and it’s CRAZY CHEAP!! :P

      Safe journey!

  14. Pseftelis Panayiotis says:

    Thank u very much for all your tips…

    Finally I`ve decided to limit my target at the northwestern – center – western part of Costa Rica using local transportation and having a place to stay by the month ( as I was looking a medium size room with wc not far away from the beach costs 500 $) …The aero plane ticket from Greece to San Jose is 1200$… Anyway more work has to be done …

  15. Pseftelis Panayiotis says:

    Earl , hi…
    My name is Panayiotis (forty years old and I live in Greece ) ,I am very excited from your articles about the bag pack way of living around the world. My profession is interior designer, and I am fed up visiting European countries the last twenty years and having the same dish all the time ..
    I have visited US in the past (New York – California – Miami) with a group but I haven`t tried the southern part as Costa Rica – Venezuela –Panama…
    I have decided to try a three month solo trip because I got fired from my job and I need to get away for a while… My budget for this trip is about 2.200 euro ,that’s why I need your help about condo`s near beach areas – your opinion about transportation and generally easy way of three month living there to enjoy my summer ( 1st june till 1st September),,,and my target country is Costa Rica…

    thanks in advance ,keep up your excellent work…

    • Earl says:

      Hey Panayiotis – Thank you for the comment! Unfortunately, I don’t have too much information about condos near the beach in the countries you mentioned. Most of the time I spent living in that part of the world took place in Mexico. But you should not have much problem at all accomplishing your goal. If you don’t mind being in a small beach community and not a main tourist area, then you could find a place for three months that won’t cost you much money at all. I think you should be fine with your budget as long as you stay in one place and don’t move around too much. If you want to travel the region quite a bit and always use transportation and stay at hotels as well, then you might have a harder time sticking to that budget.

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  17. Spot on with $1000 a month you can live very well in lots of countries, here in Chiang Rai Northern Thailand you can rent a 6 bed house “outside of town” for $250 a month and you would be hard pressed to spend $750 something smaller and central can easily be found for the same price. A few places in Thailand will find you having to be careful with just $1000 a month Phuket comes to mind as it is the most expensive place to live way ahead of Bangkok.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Neale – Thanks for sharing that information! That’s very useful stuff. And I hope all is well up there in Chiang Rai, which has always been a city I enjoyed exploring once a month or so when I was living in Chiang Mai. Enjoy!

  18. Kristin Montoya says:

    Hi Earl! I am a young, by young I mean 19, stay at home mom and wife. My husband and I love to travel and I consider myself very cultural and diversified but we are unsatisfied with our current location (Houston, Texas). We do not fit here at all. We are very liberal, you see.. In Houston, there are no hills, the nearest beach is brown – not blue – and with our newborn, I feel she deserves so much more. I’m studying to become a conservationist lawyer. The need to conserve our beautiful planet is a concept many people here don’t seem to grasp. We are desperately wanting more out of life- I don’t want to spend my life knowing nothing more than America other than short visits or scripts in magazines and books. My husband’s job is international and he will need to continue working, I spend my time at home with my little one but could continue to volunteer (or even work) wherever I move so long as no one minds my little one. We’d like somewhere safe with a scene (mountains, hills, lakes, forests, you know- nature) and with the ability to commute via walking/riding a bike on a daily basis. Schooling is also extremely important. A relatively low cost of living is also a factor, but we can afford $1000/month with ease. We also prefer a temperate climate (no extreme temps – hot or cold, little to no humidity, and not a lot of sad rainy days). I (we) would reallllyy appreciate your advice when I ask you to please help us find the best place for US to live abroad! In advance, thank you so much for your help.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Kristin! I appreciate the comment and can definitely offer a few suggestions, although it might be a little difficult to match all of your requirements. Some ideas that come into mind would be Mexico, Argentina, Thailand and Turkey. Each of those countries offer plenty of nature, good education, low cost of living and decent weather year round. Those would definitely be my first choices if I were looking to live for a lengthy period of time overseas.

      And if any other questions come to mind, just send me an email through the site and I’d be more than happy to respond!

  19. Robert says:

    These personal experiences are exactly what I needed at this very moment. I am 48 years old and have an income of $700 per month (tax free SS disability), including about another $100 supplemental. So, at $800 per month, I can live my dream residing in countries, such as; Costa Rica, India, Thailand etc. Your stories are essential and inspirational. Thank you for the encouragement and insights. Now…

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  22. Bill says:

    Consider that you may be trading one kind of crap for another (except in another language). I’ve found that it helps to limit myself to no more than 1/2 an hour of news a day. Much less crap that way.

  23. Hey wandering Earl,
    Love your very informative website.Your website actually has meaningful info from someone who has done it.
    I just retired at 62 on SS at $1,550.00 per month. No debt and can dump my house for 125K,plus 20K in savings.Would like to bring my motorcycle or buy one to get around.
    Where would you live outside of the USA on this amount thats nice and safe,friendly etc.I am tired of the crap in America.I live in New Mexico.

  24. Karol says:

    Hi Earl,

    I’m trying to find a studio/casita/apartment for rent for the months of January, February and March, 2012 in Playa del Carmen (or environs). I’ll be writing, so ideally a bright, relatively quiet space with Internet access. I’d like to bring my cat. Do you have any suggestions? I’m hoping to pay between $500 and $600/month. As it’s high season, am I expecting the impossible? Thanks!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Karol – That’s not impossible to find something in that price range for a one bedroom apartment. Most likely it will be located just outside the city center, especially if you want a more modern, comfortable place, but you’ll still be within walking distance to beaches, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.

      • Karol says:

        Thanks, Earl, for your comments. Any suggestions of who I might contact to find such a place? I’ve tried Hora Feliz, but they’re apparently already booked for that timeframe.

        Thanks again!
        Karol

        • Earl says:

          Hey Karol – Another good option to try would be Croc Condos. You can find their contact details on their Facebook Fan Page. They offer a range of apartments, from studios to 1 BR to a penthouse and the location is quite good, about a ten minute walk from the exact center of town and less than ten minutes to the beautiful beach :)

  25. Jon says:

    Hi Earl
    My name is Jon. I have always wanted to travel, always being led to believe that I would never be abale to afford it. I am now disabled, limiting my walking and use of my arm greatly. Not sure where one could live on disablility, I have been doing some searching. But most sites are marketed to those without physical limitations. I guess my questions are where would someone like myself go, where I can get the medications and possible medical care I need. And what are the cost involved for these needs abroad. Also I have children whom I will want to travel back to see a couple times a year. What are the cheapest modes of travel? And are there any tricks for saving money on such expenditures? If you own your own car is it easier to bring it with or leave it behind? And lastly where are the countries with the best educational programs?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Jon – While I’m not too familiar with your situation, I can try and offer some basic advice that might be useful. First, in most of the world, even in developing countries, you will have no problem finding the medications and medical care that you need. This is one of the reasons that so many Americans are flocking to places such as Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica, etc. to live. Of course, there is a cost involved as you will not be covered by insurance most likely and these costs can vary. I really don’t know what you can expect in terms of costs for the treatments you need, and while it won’t cost as much as it would in the US, it will still be a significant expense.

      The cheapest mode of travel will depend on where you choose to live. For example, if you live in Mexico, you could take buses back to the US, although often times you can find flights for cheaper than the long-distance bus fares. If you were to live farther away, chances are your only option would be to fly. And the best way to find low airfares is simply to be flexible. If you don’t have set dates then you can check sites such as SkyScanner.net and Kayak.com in order to find the best fares available within a certain time period. Also, you might find AirNinja.com useful as this will give you a list of the budget airlines that fly the routes you need, many of which do not come up in normal online airfare searches.

      And with a car, you would only take your own car if you are going somewhere such as Mexico or Central America as you can drive from the US quite easily to those destinations. Apart from that, there’s really no sense in shipping a car and in many parts of the world, a car simply isn’t needed. Public transportation is usually quite cheap and extensive in most of the world and having a car would just be an added expense.

      In terms of educational programs, are you referring to schools for children or universities? If you can provide a little more information I may be able to offer a little more advice.

    • Bill says:

      Hi Jon, One thing you need to know is that in many countries, especially “developing” countries which would be cheaper to live in, is that very often the infrastructure isn’t very walking friendly. In Mexico, for example, most often you’ll find high curbs, very narrow uneven sidewalks and lots of broken pavement. It can sometimes be difficult even for people without difficulties. Don’t let that discourage you – it’s just something to be aware of. Good luck to you.

  26. Özcan says:

    Thanks alot for the reply Earl, I appreciate it. I see that you are in Serbia now, good luck with your adventure – I envy you :)

  27. Alex says:

    Thanks for this list, I had no idea that you could live in Australia for less than 1000$. I’d rather go to Thailand though because you probably get a better lifestyle for the same amount. Mexico sounds great too!

  28. Özcan says:

    Hi Earl – thank you so much for all the information and motivation.

    I’m originally from Turkey, but was born and raised here in the Netherlands. I have decided to leave the Netherlands, as soon as I have the opportunity. I want to live in a cheap country like other posters here. I think I have a serious opportunity to retire early in Turkey in my fifties. I have to pay a certain amount of money (around $ 50 thousand, I think). Here is the problem; I don’t want to wait 20 years, that’s just way too long for me…

    I have to save enough money to be able to go at age 45, which means living 10 years without any income whatsoever (!), except my savings of course.. Anyway, here is my question; perhaps I could live 10 years (till I retire in Turkey at around age 55) in a cheaper country than Turkey? I mean Turkey is still cheaper than western countries, however it’s a rapidly developing industrial country and not as cheap as it used to be. You mentioned Syria, which is Turkey’s neighbour. What’s your opinion on this country for example? How much money would I need to live there for 10 years? If you have other countries in mind, please inform me because I’m open to all countries in the world. Thank you again for all the information and motivation! And I’m sorry for my flawed English, I hope I was clear..

    • Earl says:

      Hey Ozcan – You definitely have some options but I think the best way to choose is to decide where you would be happy. There is no point in living in a cheap country for 10 years if you are not interested in that culture or you are not able to enjoy your life there. So once you have an idea of what part of the world you really would like to live in, then it becomes easier to choose a place to live. Some ideas to get you started would be Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, etc.) or Latin America (Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, etc.) and yes, the Middle East, such as Syria. Here is a link to my Syria posts if you want to read some more information about this country. And it definitely is cheap. My guess is that you could live quite well there for about $800 USD per month. But again, make sure you choose a country that excites you!

  29. melissa says:

    hello, i am 20 years old living on guam right now. I am from Georgia and i came here to stay with my sister who is in the navy. I will be going home shortly to stay with my mother until the winter is over. It is hard to find a place to start over when I am looking at so many possibilities. I have looked into Colorado, California and Oregon but still feel like I should take an even bigger risk and try overseas living seeing as in I will only be able to do this for six months. My budget will only be about $500 a month for rent plus food, transportation, etc.. I am a little scared of being mugged or something like that because I will be alone and do not really have impeccable street smarts. I went to Mexico only on a mission trip. I am hesitant but extremely willing to live somewhere I’ve never been, after all its only six months. My question to you is where do you think would be safe yet fun and cheap yet classy?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Melissa – Thanks for the comment and you definitely have some options in terms of finding a place to stay for six months or so. If you stay in one place and don’t move around too much, you could look at Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia) or even Mexico and much of Central America. As for being mugged, the most important thing is to use your common sense, the very same common sense you would use at home to avoid such a situation. The world is much less scary than people think! I’ve never been mugged, attacked or found myself in a scary situation in 12 years of traveling on my own :)

      So perhaps you should look at a place like Chiang Mai, Thailand or maybe Leon, Nicaragua or even Playa del Carmen, Mexico. These are just a handful of possibilities but might be a good place to start your research!

  30. Richard says:

    Hi Earl,

    I was wondering if you have a way to cut withdrawal cost while you travel. In some countries, we can only withdraw small amounts at ATM machine and the fee for each withdrawal is high. Can you get around that? Do you open an account in each country that you visit? If so, when you open an account in a country, is there a minimum time to keep it open and some cost to open the account in addition to the money transfer?

    Thanks,

    Richard

    • Earl says:

      Hey Richard – The way I’ve been able to avoid paying any withdrawal fees is by opening an account in the US with Capital One bank. This bank offers checking accounts that do not have any fees for international transactions. In addition, a couple of their checking accounts also reimburse you for the fees that local banks charge in whatever country you may be traveling in. So as a result, you don’t have to worry about any fees whatsoever.

      I know that Charles Schwab also offers similar accounts as well in the US. If you’re not located in the US, I would suggest trying to find a bank in your home country that may have a similar deal. This is much easier than opening up accounts in other countries, something that I’ve never done as it simply isn’t worth the hassle.

  31. Brian says:

    Hey Earl i was just wondering how safe most of these places are. Ive been doing a lot of research on living in countries for cheap. (btw you have to most informative website so far. thank you!) Mexico of instance has a huge drug cartel problem. I want to have the nomadic lifestyle but i also dont speak any languages besides englisl. (however i am learning spanish and plan to learn arabic.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Brian – Thank you for the comment! To be honest, most of the world is incredibly safe, even the places that we think are not safe or that we are told are not safe by the media back at home. As for Mexico, life in 99% of this country is peaceful, safe and completely laid-back. Where I live, it is as safe as can be. The drug cartel problem exists in tiny pockets of the country and along the border of the US. The rest of the country is not affected. I saw a recent statistic that showed how Mexico City, a city of 25 million people that most people in the US think is dangerous, has a murder rate that is the same as Madison, Wisconsin.

      The point is, if you pick up a newspaper at home, chances are you’ll find a lot more to be afraid than you’ll find in most places overseas!

  32. David says:

    Hi Earl,
    I have taken early retirement and receive $1000.00 monthly. Your info is very helpful in terms of finding a suitable home in another country..except.
    One thing I’m concerned about is healthcare or a good hospital. How would that work in another country. What about medication I take now. I now live in the United states. Thanks.

    • Earl says:

      Hey David – I appreciate the comment and your question is quite a valid one. Healthcare standards are of course different wherever you go but in some places, such as Mexico and Thailand (two places where you could live for $1000/month), you’ll find high standards and good hospitals. Of course, any medical expenses would come out of your pocket as another country, unless you have citizenship or permanent residency, isn’t going to cover you. Travel insurance can help out for emergencies but generally it doesn’t cover routine appointments and check ups.

      As for medication, depending on what it is, you might very well be able to find the same thing overseas but again, it depends on where you choose to live. If it is hard to find medications or medications that are simply not available overseas, you might have to plan a trip home once or twice per year in order to stock up. But if you do a quick internet search for the medication you require and a potential destination, such as “xxxx medication available in xxxxx” you should find your answer.

      I hope this helps out but if you have any other questions, feel free to send me an email.

  33. I work in the US and would like to purchase condo/home abroad. I haven’t made a transition to full time travel but would love to have some place where I can spend 1-2 months at a time. Any places you would recommend? And what are reasonable prices (if you know about purchases).

    Sorry for the confusion. Thanks in advance!

    • Earl says:

      @Bluegreen Kirk: Got it now. Sorry, it was 2:30am when I was checking comments last time so my exhaustion might have led to my confusion!

      If you want to stay relatively close to the US, there are plenty of place in Mexico and Central America that might offer what you’re looking for. It also depends on whether or not you prefer the beach, mountains, big cities, small towns, etc but everywhere from Panama to Nicaragua and both coasts of Mexico offer great places to have a condo. I can’t speak for all of those places but using Mexico as an example, in Playa del Carmen one can purchase a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment close to the beach for $150,000 USD. So the good news is that if you chose a place that was less touristy, that number would drop significantly!

      If you were looking to go farther away from the US, perhaps places such as Bali, Turkey or Thailand might be worth a look. Each country has their own rules as to whether or not foreigners can purchase property so in some places it can be tricky while in others it can be relatively straightforward.

      It’s really hard for me to give more specific advice as I have yet to look for a place to purchase during my travels :)

  34. This post just assures what I read when I picked up 4hourworkweek a few years ago. In the US people spend $500 on a car payment but aboard you can live very comfortable for the price many pay on extra things. Really enjoyed this post!

    Is there a place you would recommend if you are working is just want to buy something to be able to visit 1 or 2 at a time?

    • Earl says:

      @Bluegreen Kirk: It really is all about prioritizing our spending. If we spend our money on what we want most in life, we discover that it is often much more affordable than we originally thought.

      As for your question, I’m not quite sure what you were asking….can you clarify?

  35. Bruce says:

    I would also recommend Oaxaca City, as well as San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico…

  36. Hey Earl, great post. Thanks.

    I live in Ecuador. Here is a breakdown of our cost of living. Cost of Living in Ecuador: Haines Family in Cuenca. Hope you don’t mind the link. Might be useful to your readers. This post is from a couple months back but still accurate.

    Thanks for a great site!

    Bryan

    • Earl says:

      Hey Bryan – Thank you for sharing that link. I have no doubt that it will be helpful to anyone heading to the region, including myself whenever I decide to head down that way!

  37. Paul Tarris says:

    Seth, I’ll second taking a look at Playa del Carmen. Before I discovered this site, I thought Playa del Carmen was going to be too expensive for us. Wandering Earl helped us out with a lot of great information. My wife and I stayed in Playa from March 6th till April 6th 2011, at a very nice hotel for only $500. It wasn’t very close to the tourist resorts and restaurants, which was fine for us. We walked on the shady side of the streets in the morning and returned home along the beach early evening. Our dental work was done at a fraction of the cost we’d have paid here in the U.S. And it was fun travelling cheap (5 pesos) in collectivos. Many of the drivers have great taste in music. Lots of smiles and friendly people. The best opportunity I’ve ever had for learning Spanish. So many people are eager to learn English, so I helped them and they helped me with Spanish. Earl, thanks again for all your help. If you are ever travelling around our area, Bellingham Wa, let us know, you have a free place to stay.

    Paul

    • Earl says:

      Hey Paul – Well, I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to read your comment. I’m honestly happy to hear that you had such a good month down here (although I’m sure the dental work wasn’t too fun) and that everything worked out so well for you!

      And I certainly appreciate your offer of a place to stay as well. If you ever make it back down to Playa, the spare bedroom in my apartment is all yours. I actually arrived back in Mexico just a few days after you left!

    • Suzanne Parrish says:

      Paul,

      Like Seth, I’m on disability ($825- just up from $795!), and also live in the Pacific Northwest. Just wanted to say that your generous offer to Seth made me cry! I’d love to hear more about your adventures, and ideas on learning Spanish. I have books, tapes, etc. but have been lazy.

      Suzanne

  38. Seth Shotwell says:

    Any Caribbean islands that 1000 or less will cover?

  39. Seth Shotwell says:

    I just discovered your site Earl and can’t be more appreciative. I am disabled and make 990/month on Social Security at age 49. I’m hoping that, with your help and advice, I can find a nice warm place to chill out for my waning years and live comfortably and happily. You give me hope and inspiration with your ideas and research. THANK YOU AGAIN!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Seth – Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment! I think you’re in a great position to find a nice warm place to live. With your earnings you definitely have options. If you’re interested in the Caribbean, I would have a look at a place like Playa del Carmen, Mexico, which is on the Caribbean Sea. It is much, much cheaper here than on most of the islands and you still have that laid-back, Caribbean atmosphere. The islands tend to be a bit more expensive because everything has to be shipped in from other places, so even basic groceries cost much more than you would pay at home. But in a place like Mexico’s Caribbean coast or even in Costa Rica as well (which has several communities on the Caribbean Sea that are home to a good amount of foreign expats), a much higher standard of living can be had for much less money.

      If any other questions come to mind, please feel free to send me an email at earl @ wanderingearl.com and I’d be more than happy to try and offer any advice that I can!

  40. US$1000 per month is definitely do-able in Eastern Europe.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Roy – Agreed. Eastern Europe is another region where a $1000/month is more than sufficient to live. If it didn’t have a longl winter, I’d probably spend more time over there myself!

  41. Joe A says:

    Yo Earl! Really interesting post. Are there any other countries that you could profile???

    I live in Bogota, Colombia on about $450 a month. Basic necessities (food, housing, transportation) 375-450 depending on mostly how lucky you are finding a good place to live.

    I was super lucky and found a room in a very nice house of a very nice family near the center of the city all for about $190. I cook my own food so going out to eat would obviously cost quite a bit more. Transportation here is relatively expensive .75-$1 for per ride.

    I live quite basically, but you can spend a lot and still be under $750/month.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Joe – Thanks for sharing that info about Bogota. And that’s good to know as I’ve been thinking about making a visit to Colombia at some point in the near future.

      There are definitely plenty of other countries where one could live for under $1000. I’ll try to put some more posts together soon with more details but here’s a general list of a few more places where I have spent some considerable time myself without spending much: Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Sri Lanka, Syria, Guatemala, Nicaragua. I’m sure there’s more but those are the countries off the top of my head where I know that a good living situation can be head for under $1000!

  42. Pingback: How To Rent An Expensive Apartment For A Budget Price When Traveling | Wandering Earl

  43. Tom says:

    Fascinating. I will have the opportunity to retire in 5 years
    , at the age of 55, on a pension of around £14000 a year. Even taking off the ubiquitous UK taxes (which I have to pay)that will still leave me around $1500 dollars a month at todays exchange rates.

    My current rent and utility bills are almost $1300 a month. It almost makes you cry to realise how you are living compared to how you could be living.

    I doubt it is easy however given the choice between living the rest of my life in the rat race or sitting on a beach reading a good book and seeing the world I know where I would rather be

    • Earl says:

      Hey Tom – I think the most important thing is simply making the realization that you have options. So when the time comes to retire, you’ll be able to make a decision as to where and how you want to live. A little bit of knowledge provides you with a great amount of freedom, something that many people are unfortunately living without! Thanks for the comment!

  44. Jackavelli says:

    Interesting article. Do most of these countries require some type of fee to move to them for retirement ? Whether it’s a residency fee or fee for not being a citizen or something. Thank you.

    • Earl says:

      @jakavelli – As for retirement, every country would have their own rules, which might range from having to obtain a retirement visa and prove that you have a certain amount of money in your bank account or in some cases you can simply arrive on a tourist visa and keep on extending it all the time. Once you decide on a country, simply check out their Embassy website and you’ll find all the information you may need.

  45. Manda says:

    Ive always wondered if I could do that in the States. Do you which states are the least expensive to live and travel in? Im visiting New Orleans and New York a few times this year, and would love to find affordable accomodation while vacationing.

  46. Bruce from Canada says:

    I worked as an English teacher in Mexico for three years. My monthly expenses for rent, utilities, basic groceries, etc. were about $500 US a month. I would also go out for a cheap lunch every day, go to the local beaches, rent DVDs, watch movies in the local cinema, and have enough money to go out of town on long weekends and holidays. My total expenses were maybe $650 US per month.

    It can be done… if you stay away from the areas where tourists and gringos hang out, and live more like a local.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Bruce – Your example is perfect as I think a lot of people think living for under $1000 per month while overseas equates to living in squalor. But clearly that wasn’t your experience either and for $650, you seemed to enjoy quite a good lifestyle. It most certainly can be done as you said!

  47. cindy says:

    hi earl,

    i have read many of your posts and found it all fascinating and informative. I also have a few questions that have come up- primarily while it may be true that one can live and travel cheaply overseas in many places- you can’t make the incomes needed to support that unless you have a some internet, web design or some business enterprise- or you’re young or supported by parents, have independant means or retirement age. what are your thoughts of how people fund this, including you? i am in my 50s and thinking of how i can live on my social security well on what will surely be just about $1000 and i don’t fancy cat food :) Personally i would like to move sooner and find a way to teach or even do peace corp to really support myself. Life as a real estate agent is just not what it was and my equity in my house has evaporated! I also wonder what life would be life in many of the countries you mention for a single woman, thanks for all the inspiration.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Cindy – Thank you so much for your comment and for reading my blog!

      To be honest, if you are able to have a steady stream of $1000 coming in every month, there are plenty of places you can live a good life without having to worry. Sure, internet business or web design skill certainly would come in handy if you wanted to earn more but you could always teach a little English to provide you with some extra income as well.

      However, in many places, that would not be necessary, as for $1000/month, I hardly eat cat food :) For example, in places such as Mexico, I lived in a modern apartment one block from a white sand beach, ate out most meals and took plenty of side trips and managed to spend around $700 per month. In Thailand, you can live in a comfortable apartment in Chiang Mai for around $300 USD per month, with incredible food available for less than a dollar. There’s a reason why thousands upon thousands of foreigners are moving to locations all throughout Central America and Southeast Asia as so little money is needed to live better than most people live in their home countries. Spending $1000 in one month can be difficult in many parts of the world!

      As for being a single woman, there really are few places that would be a challenge. Even during my recent trip to the Middle East I met quite a few single foreign women living in places such as Lebanon and Syria, living good lives without any problems at all. And I know it may be difficult to imagine, but places such as Chiang Mai, parts of Mexico, even Costa Rica or Argentina, have so many foreigners living there that you’ll find an instant community almost as soon as you arrive.

      I hope this information helps a little but please feel free to send me an email through the Contact Me page on my site if you have any further questions at all. I’d be more than happy to offer as much advice as I can!

      As for me, I earn money from working on the internet, mostly through the sales of some eBooks I have written.

      • Paul Tarris says:

        Thank you for all the great information. My wife and I are waiting to hear back from a dentist in Playa Del Carmen. Hoping the prices for crowns are similar to Costa Rica ($250). Since crowns are about $1,000 in the U.S. and we need five, we thought maybe we could get a vacation if we left the country for the dental work. Searching online, we have yet to find any place in Playa Del Carmen to rent for the month of March for $500. Should we feel confident that when we bus down from Cancun airport, we will find dozens of signs in windows with prices for around $500 per month? And will they be furnished and available for just one month? Thanks for your help.
        Paul

        • Earl says:

          Hey Paul – There is actually a great dentist in Cancun that I used for a crown and she charged approximately $200 for everything. It was one of the best dentist experiences that I’ve had anywhere and when I visited a specialist in the US a month later, he told me the work she did was flawless. Her name is Cristina Enciso at Dental Plus Cancun. Here email address is: dentalpluscancun@hotmail.com

          As for an apartment in Playa del Carmen, you will definitely see signs everywhere for places to rent, but none of them have the prices on them. Most will be furnished but finding something available for just one month is a little more challenging. However, with that said, here are links to two different places I stayed in, both of which cost around $400 – $500 and the owners will rent them for as short term as a month.

          Hora Feliz Playa: http://www.horafelizplaya.com/index_esp.htm
          Playa Y Sol: http://www.solplaya.ch/ (the website is not so good but click on “Hotel Sol y Playa” and send the owner, Christian, an email

          I hope this helps but feel free to send me an email if you have any further questions!

      • cindy says:

        thanks earl for your response. i don’t have the $1000 social security income yet- have a few more years to go for now. at present i am hoping to join the peace corp for the experience and to open up some new avenues for my “working years”. Like others in my profession, real estate, the market changes have hit us hard, I am losing my house so am getting a forced move! However i think when one door closes another opens and this is having me rethink my priorities and envision getting to those places i have always wanted to live. As it turns out,i am not alone and there looks to be plenty of middle agers looking for new opportunities in our “forced” new world. Fortunately all my kids are out of the house and have what they need and doing well so now its my turn to take care of me :) Hoping i can teach english if not peace corp or after. Wish me luck!

      • Alycia says:

        Hi Earl,
        I am retired and would like to live someplace where they have a “Town Square” and the locals sing and dance in the evenings, weekends and holidays. Would like good food, safe living quarters, friendly people and most of all – a place where they RESPECT women. I am widowed and NOT looking to get married again. So many countries (I live and was born in the US) consider women second class citizens. I just want to dance through the rest of the years I have left…lol…and be happy.
        Do you have any suggestions? All of your comments are most interesting and informative.

        Thanks :-)

        • Earl says:

          Hey Alicia – Sounds like you’re describing a movie :) As for places with a town square full of activity, you’ll find that all throughout Mexico. One of my favorite places is the city of Queretaro, a great city about 3 hours north of Mexico City that matches exactly what you’re looking for. Other places to consider, might be Oaxaca, Mexico / Grenada, Nicaragua / Antigua, Guatemala.

          Also, I wouldn’t say that ‘so many countries’ consider women second class citizens at all. I would say that there are a handful of countries that fit into this category but as a result of my 12 years of traveling I’d have to disagree with such a statement. I think you’d be surprised to discover that it’s really not the case!

          I hope this information helps but if you have any further questions, please feel free to send me an email.

        • Bill says:

          I think much of Latin America fits that description. Certainly Mexico, where we have visited most often (we’ve been to other Spanish speaking countries as well). My wife has gone to immersion schools (alone) in several areas of Mexico, usually walks to school, gets out on her own, etc. She’s retired (and very attractive, I must say) and says that men are very respectful, to the point of looking down when she passes one on the street. She has had no problem speaking with men in stores, etc, but has never had a problem with harassment of any kind. Not once. A cab driver tried to cheat her once, but that was because she was anglo and not because she was female. (Or maybe he tried to cheat everybody). Mexicans are wonderful people, the zocolos (town squares) are usually lovely and vibrant and life can be good (of course the Mexicans we’ve observed worked very very hard).
          Alicia, if you go, and if you don’t speak Spanish, please please please try to learn as much of it as you can. You don’t HAVE to, of course, and can get along without it, but a) it makes life easier, b) it makes it more fun and c) it’s just the right thing to do.
          Earl suggested Queretaro and Oaxaca. Very good suggestions. Also Guanajuato. If you need a larger English speaking population, try around Lake Chapala and the town of San Miguel de Allende (be prepared to spend much more, though. The more English you hear, the more it costs). Hope you make the plunge. Good luck.

        • Doug says:

          I second Earl’s recommendation of checking out Grenada, Nicaragua. Definitely worth a visit, at least. Beautiful area, tranquil city and wonderful people.

  48. Roy says:

    Dude $1000 a month is a lot of money. I know people who lived on that in London!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Roy – That’s exactly my point. For $1000, you could live incredibly well all over the world. Many people simply believe that you need more money than you spend at home in order to live overseas when it is often the opposite.

  49. Bill says:

    Do you have a posting on your expenses in Mexico? I’ve just retired, and we’d like to spend winters in Mexico – a month here, a month there. It would be helpful for us to see a breakdown of your living expenses there. (You may have posted it already, but I just couldn’t find it). Thanks

    • Earl says:

      Hey Bill – I haven’t actually written an expenses post about Mexico for some reason (so thank you for that idea!). However, I can send you an email with some further details so that you’ll have some information to look at. And then if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email and ask away!

  50. Loc says:

    Thanks Earl for this great post! I’m 37 years old. I just need to work for 2 more years then I’m able to quit my corporate job, travel overseas frugally. The only problem is that I want to be a mom next year. Have you seen moms carrying a baby around while exploring? I know I want to have it all, being a mom and still not missing out! The world out there is fascinating. I speak a few different languages and love to learn more. Especially, it doesn’t take a lot to make you happy. $1300/month I can do it with the baby. I now live in the U.S., originally from Vietnam. I love to go back and forth SEA, Central America and U.S. My boyfriend is a teacher and I’m sure he can take 3 months off in the summer to live in Asia with us. I look forward to your advices.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Loc – I’m excited to hear of your plan to start traveling in a couple of years! And I can honestly say that I have seen plenty of moms traveling around with their children. Of course, there are a few additional challenges involved but nothing that can’t be overcome. And I can’t even begin to imagine all of the benefits that such travel experiences would provide for the child. Most of the families/children I’ve met while traveling have been beyond fascinating.

      You should check out http://www.AlmostFearless.com. The author, Christine, is currently traveling with Drew and Cole, her husband and young baby! I just met them in Thailand and they are real proof that it’s possible.

      Seems like you have such a good plan in place :)

      • Jason says:

        Earl,

        My wife and I want to relocate our family of 8 to a small village in Mexico. We are not real familiar with the areas and was wondering if you had any places in an agricultural area that we could move to as well as being far away from civilization and the cartel wars. We are looking for solitude with a small village near by. Any advice?

        • Earl says:

          Hey Jason – That’s a tough question and it depends on several factors, such as how connected you want to be to the outside world and what kind of housing you want to live in. A couple of general regions to try would be the area between Valladolid and Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula or even the 300 person village of Chacala, in the state of Nayarit on the west coast. This is a quiet, gorgeous village with only a trickle of foreigners that visit. In fact, anywhere in Nayarit would be ideal. Those would be two regions I would look at if you wanted to get away from it all while still being somewhat close to civilization.

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