20 Cheapest Countries To Live and Work in 2024

Dreaming of trading your daily grind for a life of travel and adventure, but your bank account is giving you the side-eye? I hear you.

With the cost of living skyrocketing back home, it’s easy to think that globe-trotting is a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. But here’s a little secret – it doesn’t have to break the bank.

In fact, with a bit of know-how and the right destinations in mind, you could be living a life of travel and still save a pretty penny.

Enter the 20 cheapest countries to live and work in. These aren’t just budget-friendly spots; they’re places where your dollars stretch further, your quality of life shoots up, and you get to immerse yourself in new cultures, all without constantly worrying about your wallet.

From the bustling streets of Southeast Asia to the laid-back vibes of Eastern Europe, living in these countries means you can have a rich, fulfilling life of travel that doesn’t cost the earth.

So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make the most of your adventure without sacrificing comfort or emptying your savings.

Understanding the Cost of Living in Different Countries

When searching for the cheapest countries to live and work in, it’s vital to understand what ‘cost of living’ actually means. This term encompasses all the necessary expenses you’ll encounter in your daily life, including housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and leisure activities.

But it’s important to remember that low cost doesn’t always mean the same lifestyle you may be used to. Adjusting to different living standards, cultural norms, and local economies is part of the journey.

For instance, while Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand offer incredibly low living expenses, they also come with distinct cultural experiences and different levels of access to amenities. Similarly, European countries like Romania and Portugal might offer higher living standards, but this could mean slightly higher costs compared to Asian counterparts.

In fact there are even cheaper countries to live in than the ones I’ve included below. However, for this post I’ve selected countries that offer affordability, opportunity and a safe and vibrant lifestyle.

The key is to balance affordability with your personal and professional needs. By understanding the nuances of the cost of living in these diverse locations, you can make an informed decision about where to make your next home while pursuing a fulfilling career.

1. Vietnam

aerial city view with tall buildings near body of water - cheapest countries to live

No 1 on our list of cheapest countries to live is Vietnam. Unlike most countries where the cost of living has been steadily rising, Vietnam is a stand out. It offers an affordable lifestyle against a backdrop of stunning landscapes and rich history.

Blending traditional Southeast Asian charm with rapidly developing urban centers, Vietnam provides an exciting mix of old and new. It’s particularly famous for its delicious street food, vibrant markets, and friendly locals, making it an appealing destination for those seeking an affordable life in a cost-effective yet culturally rich living experience.

Main Cities: Hanoi (the capital), Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), and Da Nang.

Currency: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam and its currency symbol is ₫

Popular Jobs: Teaching English, IT and tech-related roles, tourism and hospitality, and various remote working positions.

Cost of Living: In Vietnam, the cost of living for a single person without rent averages around $1308.84 (31,909,363 ₫). Dining out at an inexpensive restaurant costs about $2 (50,000 ₫), and a mid-range three-course meal for two is around $20.51 (500,000 ₫).

For accommodation, the monthly rent for an 85 sq. m furnished apartment in an expensive area is about $1215.18 (29,626,100 ₫), while in a normal area, it’s around $579.53 (14,128,800 ₫). Utilities for such an apartment average $65.89 (1,606,493.04 ₫) per month.

Internet costs are around $9.78 (238,545.34 ₫) for an 8 Mbps plan. Public transport is cost-effective with a monthly pass price at about $8.20 (200,000.00 ₫), and taxi fares are reasonable, starting at $0.62 (15,000.00 ₫).

Pro Tip

Having visited and stayed there on a few occasions now, I highly recommend Vietnam as a destination. Hanoi is a fun and diverse city, not far from the famous and incredibly stunning Ha Long Bay. Ho Chi Minh is steeped in history and culture and possible one of my favourite cities I’ve explored so far.

Watch out for the crazy mopeds though. There are thousands with minimal road etiquette. It’s an experience!

2. Thailand

aeriel city view of tall buildings and road and body of water in the middle during night time - cheapest countries to live

Thailand is a fascinating country with an eclectic mix of natural beauty and cultural vibrancy, all at an affordable cost. Home to stunning beaches, lush jungles, historic temples and busy cities, it offers a diverse array of experiences.

Thai cuisine, celebrated globally, ranges from flavorful street food to exquisite local dishes. The welcoming nature of Thai people adds to the charm, making it a favored destination for cost-conscious individuals seeking a rich cultural experience.

Main Cities: Bangkok, the bustling capital known for its cultural landmarks and nightlife, Chiang Mai, renowned for its historical significance and serene environment, and Phuket, famous for its beaches and entertainment options

Currency: Thai Baht (THB), sign: ฿; is the official currency of Thailand.

Popular Jobs: Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), roles in the burgeoning tech startup scene, and positions in the tourism and hospitality industry, including hotel management and travel guiding.

Cost of Living: In Thailand, the cost of living is significantly lower than in many Western countries, with a family of four monthly expenses, excluding rent, averaging around $2,066 (71,223.4 THB) and a single person’s at approximately $581 (20,024.6 THB).

Living costs are about 50.3% cheaper than in the United States, with rent being 72.4% lower. Transportation is affordable with a one-way ticket at $0.87 (30 THB) and monthly passes around $29.23 (1,008 THB).

Basic utilities for an average apartment cost about $72.53 (2,500.83 THB) per month, and internet services are reasonably priced. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages $510 (17,588.22 THB), making Thailand a highly cost-effective choice for living and working.

Pro Tip

I’ve lived in Thailand for over 10 years and the above cost of living estimates are an average excluding Bangkok or Phuket, which are significantly more expensive. Phuket even more so than Bangkok.

Phuket has also become much busier post Covid, traffic is a nightmare, and a decent house/villa here will cost you upwards of $1700 a month. While it’s a beautiful island to visit, if you’re looking to stay in Thailand long term I would explore the surrounding islands, particularly Koh Samui, Koh Tao, etc, check out the Chiang Mai area and do some travelling around. It’s a beautiful country with lots to experience!

3. Indonesia (Bali)

temple on top of rock formation surrounded by body of water- cheapest countries to live

Indonesia, most notably Bali, makes our list of the cheapest countries to live because of its budget-friendly lifestyle amidst stunning settings.

Known as the ‘Island of the Gods,’ Bali marries affordability with a deep cultural heritage, showcasing iconic rice terraces, untouched beaches, and lively religious festivals.

For those chasing a budget-friendly life surrounded by natural wonders and cultural richness, Bali is the place to be. It’s also very popular in the digital nomad community, so if it’s network of like minded people you seek, you’re likely to find it here.

Main Cities: Denpasar (the bustling capital), Ubud (the cultural heart known for its arts and crafts), and Seminyak (a trendy beach resort area).

Currency: The official currency of Indonesia is Rupiah which is Issued and controlled by the Bank of Indonesia. The currency code for Rupiahs is IDR, and the currency symbol is Rp.

Popular Jobs: In Bali, popular job options include roles in the thriving tourism and hospitality sector, such as hotel management and tour guiding. There’s also a growing demand for English language teachers and opportunities in the digital and creative sectors, catering to remote workers and entrepreneurs.

Cost of Living: Living in Bali, Indonesia is quite affordable, with estimated monthly costs excluding rent at around $548 (8,502,012.3 Rp). Dining out is cost-effective, with inexpensive restaurant meals averaging $2.58 (40,000 Rp).

Everyday grocery items are reasonably priced, adding to the overall affordability. Transportation costs are modest, with local transport tickets at about $0.28 (4,400 Rp). For the internet, expect to pay around $27.67 (429,285.71 Rp) per month. While daily expenses are low, be mindful that rent in Bali can be higher compared to other regions.

4. Mexico

aerial city view near body of water during night time - cheapest countries to live

Mexico offers everything from stunning beaches to historic cities, each with its unique charm and lower cost of living compared to many Western countries.

A lesser-known fact about Mexico is its rich culinary heritage, recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The country’s varied cuisine, combined with affordable street food and local markets, makes Mexico a top spot for food lovers.

The country also boasts a range of climates, from tropical in the south to more temperate regions in the highlands, catering to various preferences.

Main Cities: Mexico City (the vibrant capital), Guadalajara (known for its tech industry and cultural scene), and Playa del Carmen (a beach town popular with expats).

Currency: The Mexican Peso (MXN), Mexico’s official currency, has evolved over time to meet market demands. Currently, it’s available in nine distinct banknote denominations and nine coin values, varying from 5 centavos to 1,000 pesos

Popular Jobs: In Mexico, popular job opportunities include teaching English, roles in the growing tech and startup scene, tourism-related and sales positions. There’s also a significant number of remote workers and freelancers who benefit from the country’s affordable cost of living.

Cost of Living: Living in Mexico City and Guadalajara presents a more affordable cost of living compared to the United States. Monthly expenses for a single person without rent range from $706 – $750. Meals are economical, with inexpensive restaurant meals costing between $5 -$18 (100 – 300 MXN), and a mid-range three-course meal for two ranging from $35 – $118 (600 to 2,000 MXN).

Transportation is also budget-friendly, with one-way local transport tickets costing between $0.29 – $0.60 (5 – 10 MXN), and monthly passes between 200 – 600 MXN.

Accommodation costs vary, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranging from $588 – $1,469 (10,000 to 25,000 MXN) in Mexico City. Internet services are reasonably priced, typically between $22 – $42 (380 – 700 MXN) for a 60 Mbps plan. These figures are substantially lower than equivalent costs in many cities, highlighting the affordability of living in these Mexican cities.

5. Colombia

aerial city view full of tall buildings-cheapest countries to live

Colombia, particularly in cities like Medellín, has become a popular spot for those seeking an affordable lifestyle in a dynamic urban setting. Known for its remarkable turnaround in safety and urban development,

Medellín offers a lower cost of living compared to many Western nations, without compromising on the vibrancy of city life or natural beauty.

An interesting and lesser-known aspect of Colombia is its diversity in climates due to its varied geography, allowing residents to choose a city that matches their preferred weather, from spring-like temperatures in Medellín to warmer coastal regions.

Colombia’s rich coffee culture, lush landscapes, and welcoming locals add to its appeal as an affordable yet enriching place to live and work.

Main Cities: Bogotá (the bustling capital), Medellín (renowned for its innovation and pleasant climate), and Cartagena (a historic coastal city).

Currency: The Colombian peso, code “COP,” serves as the nation’s official currency. This currency includes a diverse range of coins and banknotes, encompassing denominations like 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 pesos in coins, and 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 pesos in banknotes.

Popular Jobs: Key employment opportunities in Colombia include teaching (especially English), roles in the expanding IT sector, and positions in the hospitality and tourism industries, benefiting from the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural attractions.

Cost of Living: Living in Medellín, Colombia is quite cost-effective compared to the United States. Monthly costs excluding rent average around $535 (2,098,056.3 Colombian Pesos).

Dining out is affordable, with meals at inexpensive restaurants ranging from $3 – $12 (11,684.99 to 45,000 COP) and a mid-range three-course meal for two costing between $18 – $51 (70,109.95 to 200,000 COP).

Transportation is budget-friendly, with local transport tickets costing between $0.66 – $0.82 (2,580 to 3,200 COP) and monthly passes around 103,200 to 300,000 COP

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranges from $281 – $664 (1,100,000 to 2,600,000 COP), which is significantly lower than similar accommodations in the U.S.

Internet service, offering 60 Mbps or more, is priced between $19 – $38 (75,000 to 150,000 COP) per month, also more affordable than in many cities.

6. Portugal

boat on body of water beside city full of colorful houses - cheapest countries to live

Portugal, with its charming cities like Lisbon and Porto, makes it on our cheapest countries to live list, as it stands out in Western Europe for its combination of higher safety standards and relatively lower living costs, compared to other European countries.

The country is noted for its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful coastline, which adds to its allure as a budget-friendly yet culturally rich destination.

Along with its warm Mediterranean climate and friendly locals, Portugal is an attractive choice for those seeking a high quality of life without the high costs typically associated with European countries.

Main Cities: Lisbon (the vibrant capital known for its historic neighborhoods and lively culture), Porto (famous for its port wine and riverfront district), and Coimbra (a historic city with a prestigious university).

Currency: The currency in Portugal is the Euro (EUR).

Popular Jobs: IPopular jobs in Portugal include tourism and hospitality, technology and startups (particularly in Lisbon), and teaching English. The country also has a growing remote working community, supported by good internet connectivity and coworking spaces.

Cost of Living: Living in Portugal offers a cost-effective lifestyle for digital nomads. For a single person, monthly expenses without rent range from approximately $696 – $778 (636.9 to 711.9 Euros).

Dining options are varied and affordable, with an inexpensive meal costing between $7 – $19 (6.50 and 17.00€), and a more upscale three-course meal for two ranging from $27 – $88 (25.00 to 80.00€).

Transportation is budget-friendly across these cities, with local transport tickets priced from 1.30 to 2.50 € and monthly passes available between 20.00 and 40.00 €.

Accommodation costs vary, with one-bedroom apartments in city centers ranging from $601 – $2,077 ( 550.00 to 1,900.00€), offering more affordable options compared to many cities.

Internet services, essential for digital nomads, are reasonably priced, typically between $32 – $64 (29.00 and 58.00€) for a 60 Mbps plan.

7. Malaysia

tall tower buildings during night time

Malaysia is a standout destination in Southeast Asia for its blend of affordable living, diverse culture, and safety, particularly in urban areas.

The country is known for its multicultural society, which brings together Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic influences, creating a rich mix of cultural experiences, cuisines, and festivals.

An intriguing aspect of Malaysia is its incredible biodiversity, with some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests, adding a unique natural element to its appeal.

This combination of cultural diversity, natural beauty, and urban development, along with a low cost of living, makes Malaysia an attractive choice for those seeking a budget-friendly yet enriching lifestyle.

Main Cities: Kuala Lumpur (the modern capital with its famous Petronas Towers), Penang (known for its historical significance and food scene), and Johor Bahru (a rapidly growing city close to Singapore).

Currency: The Malaysian currency, known as the Ringgit and symbolized as RM, uses the code MYR. It includes banknotes of RM100, RM50, RM20, RM10, RM5, and RM1, along with coins valued at 50 sen, 20 sen, 10 sen, and 5 sen

Popular Jobs: Malaysia offers opportunities in various sectors, including information technology, education (especially English teaching), and manufacturing. The tourism industry also provides numerous jobs, capitalizing on the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural attractions.

Cost of Living: Living in Malaysia’s main cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru offers an attractive and cost-effective option. For a single person, monthly expenses without rent in these cities range approximately between $2,555 – $2,797 (2,338.5 to 2,559.3 Malaysian Ringgit).

Dining out is affordable, with an inexpensive meal costing between $1.72 – $6.45 (8.00 – 30.00RM), and a mid-range three-course meal for two ranging from $12.90 – $53.76 (60.00 to 250.00RM).

Transportation is notably economical, with local transport tickets priced from 1.80 to 5.00RM and monthly passes available for about 50.00 to 217.39RM.

Accommodation costs are significantly lower, with rents for one-bedroom apartments in city centers varying from $215 – $761 (1,000.00 to 3,537.16RM).

Internet services, essential for digital nomads, are relatively inexpensive, typically costing between $21 – $43 (100.00 and 200.00RM) for a 60 Mbps plan.

Pro Tip

Having visited Malaysia on a few occasions now, it’s one of those places I need to see more of. I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur a couple of times and it’s a fantastic city.

Once when arriving after a very long flight I left our passports and money in a wallet in the back seat of a cab. After a couple of frantic hours with the hotel calling cab companies, the guy came back and returned it to us. This is not an isolated incident, the people there are truly lovely.

I also highly recommend spending some time in Penang, particularly Georgetown.

8. Philippines

ocean view with boats and rock mountain

The Philippines, known for its stunning archipelago of over 7,000 islands, offers a remarkably low cost of living along with breathtaking natural beauty. The country is celebrated for its idyllic beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich biodiversity, making it a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts.

A unique aspect of the Philippines is its widespread use of English, being one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world, which eases communication and integration for newcomers.

The blend of diverse cultures, warm hospitality, and a range of affordable lifestyle options makes the Philippines a top choice for those seeking a cost-effective yet scenic place to live and work.

Main Cities: Manila (the dynamic capital), Cebu City (known for its beaches and historical landmarks), and Davao City (famous for its natural attractions and safety).

Currency: The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine peso, commonly known as ‘piso’ in Filipino. Represented by the symbol ₱ and the code PHP, it is divided into 100 smaller units called ‘sentimos’. The currency circulates in various denominations of coins and banknotes

Popular Jobs: The Philippines has a growing demand for professionals in the fields of information technology, customer service, and English language education. The country’s developing economy also offers opportunities in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector and tourism-related jobs, benefiting from its natural attractions.

Cost of Living:The cost of living in the Philippines varies across key cities. For a single person, monthly costs without rent range from approximately $540.46 – $1,081 (30,000 to 60,000 Pesos).

Meal costs are fairly consistent, with inexpensive restaurant meals averaging $0.54 – $4.50 (30 PHP to 250 PHP), and a mid-range meal for two costing between $18 – $29.82 (1,000 PHP and 1,600 PHP).

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center varies significantly, from $90 – $540.46 (5,000 PHP – 30,000 PHP).

Internet costs range from $18 – $54 (1,000₱ – 3,000₱), while transportation expenses like local transport (jeepney) range from $0.22 – $0.54 (12₱ – 30₱).

It’s important to note that these figures represent costs in major cities, where most tourists stay. In the provinces and smaller towns, the cost of living can be significantly cheaper, offering more budget-friendly options for those willing to explore beyond the urban centers.

Pro Tip

The Philippines are stunning. Get out of Manila as fast as possible and head to places like Palawan, Bohol, Boracay and other islands. Also, it’s a meat lovers paradise. If you’re Keto, you’ll love the diet here.

9. India

infront of white structure building

India is a country that stands out for its incredible affordability and rich cultural diversity. Known as the land of contrasts, it offers an array of experiences from bustling metropolitan cities to serene countryside landscapes.

The country’s rich history is visible in its plethora of historic sites, diverse cuisines, and colorful festivals. An interesting fact about India is that it’s home to some of the world’s oldest cities, like the incredibly spiritual Varanasi, which has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years.

This deep-rooted history, combined with modern developments and a low cost of living, makes India a compelling choice for those seeking a budget-friendly yet culturally immersive lifestyle.

Main Cities: New Delhi (the capital city with a blend of historical and modern architecture), Mumbai (India’s financial and entertainment hub), and Bangalore (known as the Silicon Valley of India).

Currency: The currency of India, known as the Indian Rupee, symbolized as ₹ and abbreviated as INR, is composed of units called Paise, with 100 Paise equaling one Rupee. The currency is available in various denominations of coins and banknotes.

Popular Jobs: The Indian economy offers diverse job opportunities, particularly in sectors like information technology, telecommunications, and healthcare. There is also a growing demand for educators, especially English teachers, and professionals in the burgeoning startup ecosystem.

Cost of Living: In India, the cost of living is relatively affordable, with monthly expenses for a single person ranging from about ($348.4 – $1751.61 (28,983.7₹ to 145,716.48₹), depending on lifestyle and location.

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in city centers varies between $180.31 – $360.62 (15,000 INR – 30,000 INR). Meals in an inexpensive restaurant cost about $3 (250₹), while a mid-range restaurant meal for two is around $14.42 (1,200₹).

Street food and local dining offer more budget-friendly options. internet costs average about $8.33 (693.19₹) per month for a 60 Mbps unlimited data plan. Transportation is reasonably priced with public transport passes around $12 (1,000₹) monthly, and taxis offering variable rates.

Pro Tip

People say that India is one of those countries you love or you hate. But it’s such a huge and diverse country that’s simply not true. The South of the country is a completely different culture and landscape to the North and there’s so much to do and see.

Some time exploring and experiencing India is highly recommended. The food there is nothing less than an explosion of taste in your mouth. Most of it is not too spicey and we went vegetarian the whole time we were there and had no issues with Delhi belly!

A fascinating country I can’t wait to return to and explore further!

10. Turkey

brown/pinking concrete building surrounded by green trees- cheapest countries to live

Turkey is a captivating country where East meets West, offering a unique blend of cultures at an affordable cost. It stands out for its rich historical heritage, visible in its ancient ruins and architectural wonders, and its vibrant bazaars and cuisine that blend Asian and European influences.

A lesser-known fact about Turkey is that it hosts part of the famous Silk Road, adding to its historical significance as a crossroads of civilizations.

The affordability of living in Turkey, combined with its diverse cultural landscape, makes it an appealing choice for those seeking an inexpensive yet culturally enriched lifestyle.

Main Cities: Istanbul (a city that straddles two continents, known for its historic sites and vibrant culture), Ankara (the capital and a hub for business and politics), and Izmir (a port city with a more laid-back lifestyle).

Currency: The Turkish lira, abbreviated as TL and represented by the symbol ₺ (code: TRY), serves as the legal tender in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. It’s subdivided into 100 kuruş, and is available in various denominations of coins and banknotes.

Popular Jobs: In Turkey, there is a demand for professionals in the tourism and hospitality industry, given its status as a major tourist destination. Additionally, English teaching and various roles in international trade and business are popular, benefiting from Turkey’s strategic geographic position

Cost of Living: In Turkey, the cost of living for a single person without rent averages around $487.75 (14,572.7TL) per month. Meals at an inexpensive restaurant cost about $6 (180 TL), and a mid-range three-course meal for two is approximately $25.10 (750TL).

Monthly rent for a furnished apartment in an expensive area is about $1253.85 (37,462 TL), and in a standard area, it’s around $733.53 (21,916 TL). Utilities for a similar-sized apartment average $112.89 (3,373 TL) per month.

Internet costs are about $9.80 (292.82 TL) for a 60 Mbps plan. Transportation costs include a monthly public transport pass at $26.01 (777 TL) and varied taxi fares

11. Argentina (Buenos Aires)

aerial city view full of tall buildings - cheapest countries to live

Argentina, especially its capital Buenos Aires, makes our list of the cheapest countries to live, due to it’s affordability mixed with its vibrant culture.

Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires offers a unique mix of European and Latin American influences, evident in its architecture, music, and cuisine.

A fascinating aspect of Buenos Aires is its thriving arts scene, with an abundance of theaters, galleries, and tango dance halls that reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage. The focus on urban safety and the low cost of living make Buenos Aires a preferred choice for those seeking a lively yet budget-friendly urban environment.

Main Cities: Buenos Aires (the cosmopolitan capital), Córdoba (a cultural and educational hub), and Rosario (known for its dynamic arts scene).

Currency: The Argentine Peso, introduced in 1992 as the peso convertible, serves as Argentina’s official currency. Locally, its currency code is “ARS”. Argentina circulates coins of denominations 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, and 1 peso, along with banknotes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 pesos.

Popular Jobs: Buenos Aires offers opportunities in various sectors, with a focus on the creative industries, technology, and education. Jobs in tourism and hospitality are also prevalent, taking advantage of the city’s cultural attractions and vibrant nightlife.

Cost of Living: Argentina presents an affordable urban lifestyle for travelers. Dining options range from a lunchtime meal in the business district at around $9.51 (7,696 ARS) to a fast-food combo meal priced at approximately $5.48 (4,430 ARS).

Housing costs vary, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranging between $300 – $600 (242682.27 – 485364.54 ARS) per month, while similar accommodation outside the city center costs between $180 – $500 (145609.36 – 485364.54 ARS).

Utility expenses for a larger apartment (85 sq. m) are around $53.40 (43,211 ARS) per month, and for a smaller studio, they are about $41.45 (33,537 ARS). Internet services are priced at about $13.10 (10,603 ARS) monthly for an 8 Mbps connection.

In terms of transportation, a monthly public transport pass costs approximately $7.30 (5,906 ARS), and a typical 8 km taxi trip is around $5.36 (4,335 ARS). It’s important to note that costs in provinces outside of Buenos Aires tend to be lower, offering more budget-friendly living options​​​​​​​​.

12. Romania

road full of vehicle beside tall building during the dawn- cheapest countries to live

Romania is an increasingly popular destination for its low cost of living, high-quality internet connectivity, and general safety, especially in its urban areas. It combines the charm of Eastern European culture with modern amenities, making it a great place for those seeking an affordable lifestyle.

A unique aspect of Romania is its rich history and folklore, including the famous region of Transylvania, known for its medieval towns and castles.

Additionally, Romania’s scenic landscapes, from the Carpathian Mountains to its Black Sea coastline, offer diverse living experiences. Its growing economy and investment in technology have also made it an emerging hub for innovation.

‘Main Cities: Bucharest (the vibrant capital known for its mix of historical and modern architecture), Cluj-Napoca (a center for technology and education), and Timișoara (known for its cultural diversity and baroque architecture).

Currency: The currency of Romania is known as the Romanian leu, identified by the code and symbol ‘RON’. It is expressed as ‘1 leu’ for singular and ‘2 lei’ for plural, with no alternate symbols for identification.

Popular Jobs: Romania’s economy is diverse, with opportunities particularly in the IT sector, customer service, and teaching English. The country’s developing infrastructure also provides jobs in construction and engineering.

Cost of Living: In Romania, the cost of living for a single person without rent is about $634.62 (2,886.5 lei) per month. Meals are affordable, with an inexpensive restaurant meal costing approximately $8.79 (40 lei) and a mid-range three-course meal for two priced around $43.97 (200 lei).

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages at $436.77 (1,986.62 lei), and $331.35 (1,507.11 lei) outside the city center. Monthly utilities cost about $141.18 (642.16 lei) for larger apartments and 436 lei for smaller studios.

The cost for a 60 Mbps internet plan is around $9.13 (41.53 lei) per month. Public transportation is also reasonable, with a monthly pass priced at $19.79 (90 lei)​​​​​​.

13. Georgia

top view of a city with house on top of hill- cheapest countries to live

Georgia is gaining recognition for its affordable lifestyle and straightforward visa procedures, making it a desirable destination for nomadic solopreneurs seeking a cost-effective place to live and work.

Nestled at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia offers a blend of rich history, diverse landscapes, and a growing economy. A unique feature of Georgia is its ancient wine-making tradition, dating back thousands of years, making it a paradise for wine enthusiasts.

The country’s safety, combined with its hospitable culture and scenic beauty ranging from the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea coastline, adds to its appeal as a budget-friendly yet culturally rich destination.

Main Cities: Tbilisi (the vibrant and historical capital), Batumi (a coastal city known for its beaches and modern architecture), and Kutaisi (an ancient city with a rich cultural heritage).

Currency: The lari, denoted by the symbol ₾ and the code GEL, serves as the official currency of Georgia. It’s subdivided into 100 units known as tetri. “Lari” historically refers to a treasure or wealth in Georgian, and “tetri,” a term dating back to 6th century BC in ancient Colchis, translates to ‘white’. The currency is available in various coins and banknotes.

Popular Jobs: Key employment sectors in Georgia include tourism, agriculture, and increasingly, technology and business services. The country’s growing international ties also open opportunities in language education and cultural exchange programs.

Cost of Living: Rent for an 85 sq, m apartment ranges from $907.92 (2,442 GEL) in a normal area to $1457.80 (3,921 GEL) in an expensive area. Utilities for a similar-sized apartment cost between $47.40 – $111.54 (127.50 – 300 GEL) monthly.

Eating out at an inexpensive restaurant is about $9.29 (25 GEL), while grocery prices are reasonable. Public transport is very economical, with one-way tickets as low as $0.15 (0.40 GEL) and monthly passes around $14.87 (40.00 GEL).

Leisure activities like gym memberships and cinema tickets offer a range of prices for different budgets. It’s important to note that costs can vary based on personal lifestyle and location, with even cheaper options available in provincial areas outside major cities like Tbilisi​​​​​​​​.

14. Greece

houses or building near body of water- cheapest countries to live

Greece is a country that offers a remarkable balance of affordability and safety, particularly in its smaller towns. Known for its rich historical legacy, stunning Mediterranean landscapes, and sunny climate,

Greece provides an idyllic setting for a cost-effective lifestyle. A lesser-known fact about Greece is its diverse geographic landscape, which includes not only iconic islands but also mountains and lush forests, offering a variety of living environments.

The warm hospitality of the Greek people and the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle make Greece particularly appealing for those seeking a relaxed yet affordable living experience.

Main Cities: Athens (the historic capital with ancient landmarks), Thessaloniki (a vibrant city known for its cultural events and cuisine), and Patras (an important port city with a lively cultural scene).

Currency: Greece, a member of the European Union, adopted the Euro (€, EUR) as its official currency in 2002, replacing the Drachma. Euro currency includes banknotes of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euros, and coins of 2 and 1 euros, as well as 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 euro cents.

Popular Jobs: Employment opportunities in Greece are diverse, with tourism and hospitality being predominant sectors due to the country’s status as a major tourist destination. There are also growing opportunities in the service sector, education (especially language teaching), and in small business enterprises.

Cost of Living: Greece offers an affordable lifestyle, especially in smaller towns and provinces. For a single person, monthly rent ranges from $592.74 (€542) for a standard apartment to $781.93 (€715) in more expensive areas.

Utilities average around $240.10 (€219.55 monthly, and a reasonable internet plan costs about €29.52. Dining out at inexpensive restaurants averages $16.40 (€15) per meal, while grocery costs are quite reasonable for daily essentials.

Public transportation is efficient and affordable, with a monthly pass costing around $32.81 (€30). Leisure activities like gym memberships are also reasonably priced, averaging $44.95 (€41.10) per month.

Overall, the estimated monthly cost for a single person in Greece can vary from $1090.33 – $2381.89 (€997 – €2,178), depending on lifestyle and location.

Pro Tip

Greece is a stunning country that I haven’t been back to for a few years. But if you love a Mediterranean salad with real Greek feta cheese, you’ll love spending time here!

The weather is also amazing with clear blue skies from April time through to October, and the Mediterranean is one of the prettiest coastlines in the world. Well worth taking some time to explore Greece and the surrounding areas.

15. Bulgaria

aerial view of city focus on the white gothic church - cheapest countries to live

Bulgaria is on our list of the cheapest countries to live as it stands out as a destination with a notably low cost of living, high-quality internet connectivity, and a general sense of safety, especially in urban areas.

The country merges the charm of Eastern European culture with a growing technological infrastructure, making it attractive for those looking for an affordable yet modern lifestyle.

A unique feature of Bulgaria is its rich history, evident in its well-preserved medieval cities and numerous archaeological sites. Bulgaria also boasts beautiful natural landscapes, including mountains and Black Sea beaches.

This combination of historical heritage, natural beauty, and modern amenities, along with its affordability, makes Bulgaria an ideal choice for those seeking a cost-effective place to live and work.

Main Cities: Sofia (the capital, known for its vibrant cultural scene and green spaces), Plovdiv (famous for its Roman ruins and historical architecture), and Varna (a major port city on the Black Sea coast).

Currency: The Bulgarian lev (BGN), symbolized as лв, serves as Bulgaria’s official currency. Despite being an EU member, Bulgaria has not switched to the euro. One lev, translating to ‘lion’ in historical Bulgarian, is subdivided into 100 stotinki. “Leva” is its plural form. The currency

Popular Jobs: Key employment sectors in Bulgaria include the technology industry, especially in Sofia, as well as opportunities in tourism, agriculture, and education. The country’s growing business environment also offers roles in various international companies.

Cost of Living: In Bulgaria, the cost of living is quite affordable. Rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in expensive areas is about $663.92 (1,186 лв) monthly, and in normal areas, it’s around $409.21 (731 лв).

A smaller 45 sq. m studio costs approximately $455.11 (813 лв) in expensive areas and $331 (592 лв) in normal areas. Utilities for these apartments average $136 (243 лв) for two people and $82 (147 лв) for a single person, with the internet costing about $9 (15 лв) per month.

Eating out, such as a basic lunch in the business district, costs around $12 (21 лв), and groceries are reasonably priced. Public transportation is also affordable with a monthly pass at $26 (47 лв). Overall, Bulgaria offers a cost-effective lifestyle, especially outside major cities​​​​​​​​.

16. Serbia

top view of a city mix of buildings, plants. tree and body of water- cheapest countries to live

Serbia is becoming increasingly popular for its affordability and the growth of a community interested in flexible working lifestyles.

The country offers a safe urban environment, particularly in its major cities. Serbia is distinguished by its blend of historical Eastern European charm and contemporary culture. A unique aspect of Serbia is its vibrant café culture, reflecting the social and artistic life of its cities.

Additionally, Serbia’s rich history, visible in its well-preserved fortresses and monasteries, adds to its appeal. The combination of low living costs, safety, and cultural richness makes Serbia an attractive destination for those seeking an inexpensive yet stimulating place to live and work.

Main Cities: Belgrade (the bustling capital known for its nightlife and cultural events), Novi Sad (famous for its music festivals and historic architecture), and Niš (one of the oldest cities in Europe, known for its historical significance).

Currency: The Serbian dinar, with the ISO code RSD and symbol дин or din, is Serbia’s official currency. It’s divided into 100 paras, and there are coins and banknotes in various denominations available for use.

Popular Jobs: The Serbian job market offers opportunities in various sectors, including information technology, teaching (especially English), and services related to tourism. The growing number of co-working spaces also supports a thriving community of remote workers and freelancers.

Cost of Living: In Serbia the cost of living is quite affordable, especially in urban areas. Rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in expensive areas averages $1287.29 (137,837 Дин), and in normal areas, it’s about $754.62 (80,801 Дин).

Smaller 45 sq. m studios cost around $838.99 (89,835 Дин) in expensive areas and $536.01 (57,393 Дин) in normal areas. Monthly utilities for a standard apartment are about $180.35 (19,311 Дин), with internet costing approximately $23.81 (2,549 Дин).

Eating out is budget-friendly, with meals at inexpensive restaurants costing around 800 Дин. Groceries are also reasonably priced. Public transportation is relatively inexpensive but not highly rated for reliability; a one-way ticket costs about 65 Дин, and a monthly pass is around 2,500 Дин.

17. Ecuador

aerial view of the city with a files full of green trees and plants in the middle

Ecuador is noted for its affordability and strikingly diverse landscapes, which range from Amazon rainforests to Andean highlands and the Galapagos Islands. This geographic diversity not only offers a variety of natural experiences but also contributes to its low cost of living.

Ecuador is unique in that it uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency, simplifying financial matters for those from the United States.

The country’s mix of urban and rural areas provides different safety levels, with many of the urban areas being generally safe. Ecuador’s rich cultural mix, influenced by both indigenous and Spanish colonial heritage, adds to its appeal as an affordable destination with a wealth of cultural experiences.

Main Cities: Quito (the high-altitude capital, known for its well-preserved colonial center), Guayaquil (a bustling port city), and Cuenca (famous for its colonial architecture and expat-friendly environment).

Currency: The US dollar, identified by the symbol “$” and the code “USD,” is the official currency of Ecuador. Adopted in 2000, it replaced the Ecuadorian sucre. In Ecuador, while US dollar banknotes are circulated, the country mints its own centavo coins. The available denominations include coins of various centavo values and dollar banknotes.

Popular Jobs: Key sectors for employment in Ecuador include tourism, agriculture, and education, particularly teaching English. The country’s growing expat community has also led to opportunities in real estate and services catering to foreign residents.

Cost of Living: In Ecuador, the cost of living is notably affordable. Rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in expensive areas is about $780 per month, while in more standard areas, it’s around $410.

Smaller studios are even cheaper, with rent in expensive areas at approximately $500 and in normal areas around $270. Utility costs for these apartments average about $55 per month, and internet is reasonably priced at around $20 per month.

Eating out in Ecuador is budget-friendly, with a basic lunch in a business district costing about $10. Groceries are also affordable, with essential items like milk and bread costing just a few dollars.

Public transportation is cheap but noted for its unreliability, costing around $0.35 for a one-way ticket and $17.50 for a monthly pass.

18. Peru

top hill view full of buildings and road. also down are houses and building near the body of water- cheapest countries to live

Peru is on our list of cheapest countries to live due to its exceptional cultural richness and affordability, making it a prime destination for those seeking a cost-effective lifestyle. The country is abundant with historical sites, including the world-famous Machu Picchu, and is renowned for its vibrant indigenous cultures and traditions.

A fascinating fact about Peru is that it has one of the greatest biodiversities in the world, from the Amazon rainforest to the Andes Mountains, offering an array of environments to explore.

While safety standards can vary regionally, many urban areas are generally safe and welcoming to newcomers. Peru’s combination of historical depth, natural beauty, and low living costs makes it an attractive option for those looking to immerse themselves in a culturally rich environment without a high price tag.

Main Cities: Lima (the coastal capital with a rich culinary scene), Cusco (known as the historic heart of the Inca Empire), and Arequipa (famed for its colonial architecture and surrounding volcanoes).

Currency: The Peruvian sol (symbol: S/; code: PEN) is Peru’s official currency. It is divided into 100 céntimos. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 céntimos and 1, 2, and 5 soles, while banknotes are issued in 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 soles.

Popular Jobs: Opportunities in Peru are diverse, with significant roles in tourism, especially in areas with historical and natural attractions. There are also growing opportunities in education, particularly in teaching English, and in services supporting the increasing international community.

Cost of Living: In Peru, the cost of living is quite affordable. Housing costs vary, with monthly rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in expensive areas around $852 (S/. 3,150) and in normal areas at $446.19 (S/. 1,649).

Smaller studios are cheaper, costing $558.21 (S/. 2,063) in expensive areas and $319.56 (S/. 1,181) in normal areas. Utilities for these apartments average $56.01 (S/. 207) per month, and internet costs about $21.92 (S/. 81).

Eating out in business districts is budget-friendly, with a basic lunch costing around $7 (S/. 25). Groceries are also affordable, including essentials like milk and bread. Public transportation is relatively inexpensive, with a one-way ticket costing about $0.54 (S/. 2) and a monthly pass around $37 (S/. 137).

19. Morocco

colorful blue houses on top of a hill

Morocco is renowned for its unique blend of African, Arab, and Mediterranean influences, creating a rich cultural environment that makes it a fascinating and affordable place to live and work.

The country is celebrated for its colorful markets, historic medinas, and stunning natural landscapes, ranging from the Sahara Desert to the Atlas Mountains. A captivating aspect of Morocco is its architectural heritage, which includes intricate mosaics and iconic Moorish designs.

Major cities in Morocco generally offer a reasonable level of safety, making it a popular choice for those seeking an exotic yet cost-effective lifestyle.

The combination of Morocco’s cultural depth, scenic beauty, and affordability makes it an appealing option for those looking for an enriching experience on a budget.

Main Cities: Marrakech (known for its vibrant souks and historical sites), Casablanca (a modern metropolis with a rich colonial legacy), and Fes (famed for its well-preserved medieval old town).

Currency: The official currency of Morocco is known as the Moroccan dirham, abbreviated as MAD. This currency is divided into 100 smaller units called centimes, or cents. Available in both coins and banknotes, the Moroccan dirham is issued in various denominations, including 20, 50, 100, and 200 dirhams.

Popular Jobs: Key sectors for employment in Morocco include tourism, agriculture, and the textile industry. There’s also a growing market for language teachers, particularly in French and English, and opportunities in various service industries catering to the international community.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Morocco is generally affordable, with variations depending on location and lifestyle. For a single person, meal prices range from $2 – $6 (20-60 MAD) at inexpensive restaurants and %15 – $50 (150-500 MAD) for a three-course meal at mid-range establishments.

Accommodation costs differ significantly between areas, with monthly rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in an expensive area averaging around $847 (8,417 MAD), and significantly less, about $455 (4,523 MAD), in more standard areas.

Internet services, offering speeds of 60 Mbps or more, are available for $20 – $50 (250-500 MAD) per month. Transportation is reasonably priced, with local one-way tickets costing $0.40 – $0.80 (4-8 MAD) and monthly passes ranging from 100-250 MAD.

For daily essentials like bread, milk, and eggs, expect to pay between 1.81-39.75 MAD depending on the item. It’s important to note that prices can be much lower in rural areas and provinces compared to major cities​​

20. Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia - vacation spots

Last on our list of the cheapest countries to live is the incredible country of Cambodia.

Increasingly recognized for its exceptional affordability and a favorable safety environment for expats, particularly in cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. This Southeast Asian nation is rich in history and culture and is home to the world-renowned Angkor Wat temple complex.

An interesting and lesser-known fact about Cambodia is its vibrant arts scene, particularly in Phnom Penh, where traditional and contemporary arts are flourishing.

The country offers a mix of ancient traditions and growing urban development, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a low-cost but culturally enriching experience.

Main Cities: Phnom Penh (the bustling capital known for its historical sites and vibrant markets), Siem Reap (gateway to the Angkor region), and Sihanoukville (a coastal city popular for its beaches).

Currency: The Cambodian riel is the national currency of Cambodia. The riel is available in various denominations, including 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 riel banknotes. It’s worth noting that coins are rarely used in Cambodia.

Popular Jobs: The job market in Cambodia offers opportunities in education (especially English teaching), hospitality and tourism, and the growing NGO sector. There’s also a rise in demand for skilled professionals in the business and technology sectors as the economy develops.

Cost of Living: Living in Cambodia, particularly in cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, is quite affordable. A basic meal in a restaurant costs between $4 – $6 (16,155 to 24,000 Riels).

Monthly rent for a furnished 85 sq. m apartment in expensive areas is around $838 (3,423,250 Riels), and in normal areas, it’s about $527 (2,153,800 Riels).

Utilities average $98 (400,524 Riels) per month, and the internet is around $13 (51,685 Riels). Transportation costs are low, with one-way local transport tickets at about $1.25 and monthly passes at around $11. Taxi fares start at approximately 1 USD.

These prices give a general idea, but actual costs can vary based on lifestyle and specific location.

Pro Tip

Cambodia blew my mind. I knew vaguely about the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, but I didn’t have a deep understanding of the utter tragedy the country went through as recently as the 80’s.

Our guide who was around our age, had no idea what his last name was, knew he’d had a sister, and knew his parents had been killed. He ‘guessed’ he was about late 40’s, but didn’t know his actual birthday.

When the Khmer Rouge took control they destroyed all documents and tortured and murdered around 3 million of their own people over a 4 year period.

Filled with hope of a brighter future we met so many younger people happy to welcome tourists and modernisation to their country. Well worth a visit to soak up the history, see the advances their making (although politically it’s still a nightmare), and to take a moment to realise how lucky we are that we know our own history.

Cheapest Countries to Live – Essential Resources for Digital Nomads

Making the right choice on where to live and work as a digital nomad is crucial. Here are three essential resources to help you in your decision-making:

  1. NomadList – A go-to platform for comparing cities globally on factors like cost of living, internet speed, and safety.
  2. Numbeo – Offers detailed insights into the cost of living, including rent prices, groceries, and more, across various cities.
  3. Reddit’s Digital Nomad Community – A vibrant forum for real-world advice, experiences, and tips from fellow digital nomads.

Utilize these tools for a well-rounded view of potential destinations, helping you find the perfect balance of affordability and lifestyle.

Cheapest Countries to Live and Work – Summary

Exploring the world doesn’t have to leave your wallet empty. In many cases you can live more cheaply than you can in your home country. Why do you think so many younger nomads live in places like Thailand and Bali?

But whether you prefer the bustling markets of Delhi, the historic streets of Georgia, or the serene landscapes of Cambodia, the world is truly your oyster. Embracing a nomadic lifestyle opens up a kaleidoscope of affordable, breathtaking destinations waiting for you to visit!

The key to travelling cheaply is a well-thought-out budget and the commitment to stick to it. With careful planning, you can immerse yourself in experiencing the globe without the financial strain.

Remember, an epic journey doesn’t need an epic budget. Have fun!

Cheapest Countries To Live and Work – FAQ’s

What is the Cheapest and Safest Country to Live In?

The cheapest and safest places to live in, known for their balance of affordability and quality of life, include:

  • Portugal: Affordable, safe, with a high quality of life.
  • Malaysia: Offers low living costs, high-quality healthcare, and safety.
  • Vietnam: Economically growing, safe, and very cost-effective.
  • Thailand: Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and low cost of living.
  • Cambodia: Offers an ancient heritage, warm community, and incredibly affordable lifestyle.

Which Country has the Lowest Cost of Living in the World?

Sadly Afghanistan is currently the country with the lowest cost of living. However, presently controlled by the Taliban, not the most opportune country to live and work in right now, particularly if you’re a woman. For countries that offer safety, opportunity and a great lifestyle look to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

What is the Cheapest English Speaking Country to Live In?

The Philippines is often regarded as one of the most affordable countries where English is the primary language. Alongside the ease in communication are the most amazing islands, beaches and landscapes. Well worth a visit!

What Country is Cheaper to Live in than the US?

Numerous countries offer a lower cost of living compared to the United States. Some notable examples include:

  1. Vietnam: Known for its affordable lifestyle, Vietnam offers low living costs alongside rich cultural experiences.
  2. Mexico: With its proximity to the US, Mexico is a popular choice for its lower cost of living, especially in terms of housing and healthcare.
  3. India: India is often cited for its significantly lower living expenses, especially in cities away from the main metropolitan areas.
  4. Thailand: Famous for its beautiful landscapes and affordable living, Thailand is a favored destination for expatriates seeking a budget-friendly lifestyle.
  5. Portugal: As a European country, Portugal stands out for its relatively low cost of living, pleasant climate, and high quality of life.
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