The worst part about vacationing is when it ends, and you have to go home. But what if you never had to return to reality?
GOBankingRates analyzed the top travel destinations, according to Travel + Leisure and U.S. News Travel, to determine the feasibility of living where others only dream of visiting. Taking into account the average rent, utilities, food and transportation, these cheap travel destinations have surprisingly affordable costs of living. However, although affordability is important, it’s not more important than your safety. Before deciding to travel internationally or moving abroad, always check government warnings about safety and weather by visiting the U.S Department of State’s website.
So, why limit yourself to a short-lived visit when you can actually put down roots? Check out these affordable travel destinations, and see if you have the budget to spend every day in paradise.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $200.30
- Cost of Utilities: $23.99
- Cost of Food: $117.05
- Cost of Transportation: $8.56
One of the cheapest places to live on our list, Egypt has been the cradle of civilization since antiquity. History buffs will revel in seeing the pharaohs, Sphinx and, of course, the Great Pyramid of Giza — the last remaining ancient wonder of the world.
The Middle East is a fascinating place to live with the capital of Cairo being a sensory overload in all the right ways. It’s an interesting mix of old and new with taxis and donkeys vying for roadways and street markets competing with trendy bars and boutiques for business, all resulting in travelers and residents having plenty of options and purchasing power.
Mexico City, Mexico
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $548.16
- Cost of Utilities: $41.12
- Cost of Food: $158.21
- Cost of Transportation: $15.53
One of the top travel destinations of 2019, the capital of Mexico is hot, hot, hot. The entire downtown, Zócalo, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site with robust neighborhoods full of culture, gastronomy and more museums than anywhere else in the world, many of which are free to visitors.
A haven for the artistically inclined, Mexico City is one of the best places to live in the world for creative millennials. The street markets are affordable, and the city as a whole is much more cosmopolitan than it’s given credit for. If you’re looking for an urban hub where you can make a name for yourself, Mexico City is a great place to leave your mark.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $263.20
- Cost of Utilities: $48.64
- Cost of Food: $224.89
- Cost of Transportation: $12.37
The picture of paradise, Bali is a dream destination full of idyllic white sand beaches and 50 shades of blue. And while the all-inclusive resorts and overwater bungalows may conjure up dollar signs dancing in your head, the island is actually a bohemian haven for those in search of an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey.
One of the most sought-after cheap places to live in the world, there are plenty of ways to save money from traveling in the off-season (if you don’t mind a bit of rain) to making your base at one of the less touristy hubs. You can do Bali on a budget by staying in guesthouses, dining at warungs and shopping at the local markets.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $385.42
- Cost of Utilities: $157.93
- Cost of Food: $221.40
- Cost of Transportation: $33.99
Athens is a city that predates modern times. Home to the Parthenon and the Acropolis, the city is virtually an open-air museum with marvels that are major bucket list attractions. Connected by the Archaeological Promenade, a 2.5-mile, pedestrian-only thoroughfare, the city is walkable and welcoming.
While the economy is rebounding after the crash of 2015, the exchange rate is still in your favor. As a whole, the country remains a better value than other Mediterranean hot spots like Spain and Italy. Another plus: Athens has been considered one of the safest cities to visit.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $476.52
- Cost of Utilities: $102.71
- Cost of Food: $157.82
- Cost of Transportation: $51.39
Rio has been on the world radar a lot in recent years after hosting both the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2014 World Cup. Known for its sizzling party scene, the Carnival-like atmosphere is said to exist to some extent year-round with the beaches and nightclubs as a major draw.
To save some dough, seek out “por kilo” restaurants where you’ll pay for your food by weight. There are also open-air street parties for raucous and affordable fun after dark, most notably in Praça São Salvador, where you can samba in the streets.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $456.67
- Cost of Utilities: $50.80
- Cost of Food: $184.42
- Cost of Transportation: $30
Living in Nairobi offers a true taste of life in Africa — not just the usual deal in which you might fly in, see a safari, and get out. Once uninhabited swampland, the capital of Kenya is a pulsing city that’s a place of contrasts where modernity meets history. And don’t worry, animal lovers: You’re still just 20 minutes away from the magic of seeing wildebeest, cheetahs and rhinos in the wild.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $338.23
- Cost of Utilities: $73.21
- Cost of Food: $161.65
- Cost of Transportation: $38.08
Straddling two continents, Istanbul offers the unique opportunity for an authentic East-meets-West experience. With both European and Asian influences, the capital of three ancient empires — Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman — is a spectacular place to visit or live. Celebrated for its architecture, markets, food and waterfront, Istanbul is a feast for the senses — literally.
Panama City, Panama
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $957.41
- Cost of Utilities: $93.71
- Cost of Food: $251.74
- Cost of Transportation: $25
Most come to Panama City to see the canal, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The colonial core is a cobblestone city burgeoning with café culture and beautiful beaches. But it’s also the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America with plenty of chic clubs and hip restaurants enveloped by lush jungle and ocean views.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $507.65
- Cost of Utilities: $127.66
- Cost of Food: $211.20
- Cost of Transportation: $52.85
Santiago is very neighborhood-like — each barrio has its own flair and flavor. From the street art to the cuisine, the capital has much to offer urban dwellers, but most use it as a base for exploration around Chile. Surrounded by mountains and water, access is its biggest selling point with trips to Patagonia, the Atacama Desert or the local vineyards offering virtually any type of adventure you’re after.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $979.66
- Cost of utilities: $107.02
- Cost of food: $207.91
- Cost of transportation: $41.92
One of the leading travel destinations in 2018, Lisbon is a historic city that’s also one of the coolest in Europe. Celebrated for its nightlife, gastronomy and beaches, it’s known for its impeccable hospitality. And 290 days of sunshine per year doesn’t hurt, either.
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Prague, Czech Republic
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $804.63
- Cost of Utilities: $182.11
- Cost of Food: $200.80
- Cost of Transportation: $24.31
Another sought-after capital, Prague boasts one of the best-preserved historic districts in Europe. With an impressive collection of 14th-century buildings, the astronomical clock and the castle, people come for major attractions like the Lennon Wall or the Charles Bridge. But you should stay for the rich neighborhoods full of markets, art and craft beer culture.
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $748.67
- Cost of Utilities: $168.16
- Cost of Food: $182.14
- Cost of Transportation: $65.34
Dubai’s quieter and more conservative neighbor, UNESCO named Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. Don’t expect a raging bar scene or even liquor stores, though, as the city is completely dry. If you can live with that, the area is a mecca for history buffs and art enthusiasts as museums and galleries offer an unparalleled look into Islamic culture.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,009.63
- Cost of Utilities: $153.54
- Cost of Food: $227.14
- Cost of Transportation: $61.86
Madrid is huge, both in size and spirit. Larger than both Paris and Rome, new restaurants and attractions are popping up daily to ensure you never get bored. Home to many of Spain’s most important museums, it’s also a culinary capital of Europe and known for its beguiling nightlife with the most fun coming after dark.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,060.23
- Cost of Utilities: $159.48
- Cost of Food: $237.19
- Cost of Transportation: $56.65
Las Ramblas is the heart of Barcelona. The bustling, pedestrian-only thoroughfare is home to markets, cafes and street performers. Settle in with a sangria and some tapas, and get to people watching, one of the area’s favorite pastimes. When you’re ready to explore, the city is a treasure trove of Gaudí’s masterpieces, so make yourself an architectural scavenger hunt to find your favorite designs.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,031.16
- Cost of Utilities: $164.74
- Cost of Food: $290.20
- Cost of Transportation: $61.97
A coastal city entwined with the Baltic’s bays, inlets and islands, Helsinki is the capital of one of the happiest nations in the world. Architecturally ahead of its time, the colorful wooden buildings are postcard-worthy in every sense of the word. But it’s the nature that really strikes your eye. With year-round opportunities to kayak and hike or ski and ice fish, Helsinki is a fit, active place to put down roots.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $679.75
- Cost of Utilities: $160.81
- Cost of Food: $299.22
- Cost of Transportation: $56.65
Famed for its whitewashed walls and cobblestone streets set against a backdrop of dazzling blue, Santorini is one of Greece’s most popular islands. Some people believe it was the home of the lost city of Atlantis, but most just agree it’s paradise — if you don’t mind living on an active volcano, that is.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,138.94
- Cost of Utilities: $150.38
- Cost of Food: $299.70
- Cost of Transportation: $39.65
The capital of the ancient world, Rome has been the heart of it all for centuries. A living, breathing outdoor museum, UNESCO World Heritage Sites abound from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to the Sistine Chapel. Life in Italy is more about la dolce vita, though, so don’t feel like you have to rush around. Slow down, settle in and adopt the city’s laid-back attitude.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,065.64
- Cost of Utilities: $132.26
- Cost of Food: $262.48
- Cost of Transportation: $82.70
To become one of the Galway girls Ed Sheeran is pining over, embrace your beer-loving bohemian side and head to the Emerald Isle. The most stereotypically Irish of Ireland’s cities, Galway is a gateway to the countryside and the friendliest place in the world, according to Travel + Leisure.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $883.18
- Cost of Utilities: $156.07
- Cost of Food: $343.60
- Cost of Transportation: $39.65
A Renaissance city teeming with charm, Florence is home to more than 1 million art pieces. The heart of Tuscany has inspired creators for centuries and is the birthplace of major fashion powerhouses, great wine and even better cuisine.
- Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $968.44
- Cost of Utilities: $182.99
- Cost of Food: $325.52
- Cost of Transportation: $45.32
Timeless and classic, Vienna appreciates the finer things in life in the form of art, literature and opera. One of Europe’s most walkable capitals, take in the imperial architecture, rich museums and highbrow culture.
Click through to see the countries where home prices are dropping.
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