Vacation should be a part of everyone’s life on a regular basis, but travel is more expensive than ever, and it doesn’t look like costs will be coming down anytime soon.
Sometimes a smart way to save in the long run — and build up your net worth while you’re at it — is to invest in a vacation rental property. Doing this in the U.S. may break the bank, so consider these 10 international cities with affordable vacation rental properties, according to real estate experts.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina has endured a currency crisis over the last two years, with inflation skyrocketing — up over 100% in April. This has led to an interesting opportunity for expats with cash interested in real estate.
“It’s virtually impossible to get a mortgage to buy a home in Argentina, leaving only cash buyers in the market, which depresses real estate values,” said G. Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder at SparkRental. “The upshot: You can buy cheap vacation rentals in cities like Buenos Aires, Mendoza and San Carlos de Bariloche (a popular ski and hiking destination).
“In fact, I know a founder of a crowdfunding platform whose entire business model is buying upscale vacation rentals in Buenos Aires and San Carlos de Bariloche, then recovering his cash purchase by selling fractional shares. He’s seeing cash flow in the 6% to 13% range and projected internal rates of returns in the 12% to 24% range on those vacation rentals.”
According to numbeo.com, the cost of living in Argentina is roughly 85% less than in the U.S.
Playa del Carmen, México
Another city that stands out for its affordability and potential for high rental income is Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
“I personally have experience investing in Playa del Carmen, where the real estate market offers a range of affordable options,” said Paige Robinson, owner of House Buyers. “This city’s thriving tourism industry and beautiful beaches make it a highly sought-after destination for vacation rentals. With careful research and the right property management, investors can achieve attractive rental yields.”
Cost of living here is reasonable. According to Top Mexico Real Estate, the average person will spend $30 per day in Playa del Carmen, which amounts to about $900 per month. That includes groceries, transportation, rent, utility bills and more.
“Bali offers a range of affordable vacation rental properties, from beachfront villas to cozy apartments,” said Aleks Grigoriev, real estate expert and co-founder of Priority Home Buyers. “Enjoy a tropical paradise with stunning landscapes, vibrant culture and affordable living costs.”
The average cost of living in Bali is $702, which is in the top 28% of the least expensive cities in the world, according to LivingCost.org.
Be charmed by Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, and its lovely vacation rental properties. “Explore historic sites, indulge in delicious cuisine and soak up the vibrant atmosphere without breaking the bank,” Grigoriev said.
Lisbon isn’t especially cheap, from a global perspective, but it’s a lot cheaper than some places in the U.S. According to numbeo.com, Lisbon is 46.2% less expensive than New York (without rent).
The capital of Hungary is both gorgeous and reasonable when it comes to vacation rental properties.
“Budapest boasts a rich history and architectural beauty, coupled with affordable vacation rentals,” Grigoriev said. “Explore its thermal baths, visit iconic landmarks and experience a lively nightlife while enjoying budget-friendly accommodation options.”
According to LivingCost.org, the average cost of living in Budapest is $1,070, which is close to the world’s average cost of living.
“Medellin has emerged as a popular destination with affordable vacation rentals,” Grigoriev said. “Experience the warmth of Colombian culture, explore botanical gardens and take in panoramic views from the city’s cable cars.”
You’ll certainly save a lot on basic expenses. The average cost of living in Colombia is 75% less than in the U.S., according to LivingCost.org.
The capital of Vietnam is calling.
“Hanoi combines ancient traditions with modern charm,” Grigoriev said. “Enjoy affordable vacation rentals while exploring bustling markets, serene lakes and indulging in authentic Vietnamese cuisine.”
According to William Russell, the cost of living in Vietnam is around 42.8% lower than in the UK and 63.5% lower than in the U.S.
Grigoriev says that in Marrakech’s traditional riads, you can find affordable vacation rental properties. Marrakech is 66.4% less expensive than New York (without rent), according to numbeo.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
“Siem Reap is the gateway to the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat and offers affordable vacation rentals,” Grigoriev said. “Explore the ancient ruins, experience Khmer culture and enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife.”
You might also explore some seriously affordable living, too. In Cambodia, the cost of living is 64% lower than in the U.S., according to LivingCost.org.
Ingrid Mary Poole, a licensed Florida real estate agent, was so drawn to Västerås that she and her family relocated there from Tampa in 2021.
“As one of Sweden’s five largest cities, Västerås offers a unique combination of urban amenities and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a memorable and budget-friendly holiday,” Poole said. “Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Mälaren, this charming city boasts year-round activities and enchanting secret islands, making it an irresistible choice for travelers.
“The average short-term rental price for a two-bedroom cottage in Västerås ranges from approximately $120 to $250 per night. When compared to Stockholm, that’s a massive savings from $250 to $550 per night. Coming from Tampa, you’re lucky to find a two-bedroom in the city for under $150 per night.”
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