There’s something about warm weather that always makes us feel that tiny bit happier. Maybe it’s the summer Fridays, extra vitamin D or the fact that we get to wear cute dresses, but it just seems to put a little more bounce in our step. But it always leads to the inevitable realization (and impending dread) that summer will eventually come to an end. Before we know it, our sweaters will be out of storage again and we’ll be drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Which definitely has its merits, mind you! But damn, wouldn’t it be amazing to chase summer around the globe for a year or so?
It’s a thought that’s crossed most of our minds, before glancing at our bank statement and holiday allowance and thinking “nope!” But realizing that their two weeks of annual leave is never going to go far, some savvy millennials have come up with another way to see the world. Inspired by Tim Ferris’ book Four Hour Work Week, more and more people are taking ‘mini retirements.’ It’s not backpacking, nor is it going on a holiday. Rather, it’s setting up a home base in another (usually exotic) location for a few months, before moving on to the next.
The natural question is: how on earth can they afford to do that? Well, many are remote freelancers or business owners (aka digital nomads — you can take a course on becoming on here) who can continue to earn money while living anywhere with wi-fi connection. It also helps that they’re living in destinations here you can comfortably live off less than the equivalent of your weekly rent per month. Oh yeah, and they also happen to be beautiful places! Feeling the wanderlust? Us too.
Read on for 5 amazing destinations you can live in for less than $500 US a month.
Do you like stunning beaches, cheap beer, and delicious food? If so, Thailand is your perfect home-away-from-home. While the entire country is beautiful (and it’s really cheap and easy to travel internally), many expats flock to Bangkok for its thriving nightlife or Chiang Mai for its breathtaking mountain scenery.
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The Southeast Asian country of Vietnam is easily one of the cheapest places to live in the world. An apartment in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City will set you back around $300 per month , while you can get delicious street food like Banh Mi rolls for less than a dollar. HCMC is a great option if you’re running an online business, as it’s become a bit of an entrepreneurial hub in recent years and there’s fast wi-fi everywhere.
Yes, you can live cheap in paradise! You can easily find one bedroom villas (with a private pool and wifi) in places like Ubud or Canggu for less than $300 per month. When you’re not chilling at the beach or exploring the amazing jungles, there’s plenty of cool cafes where you can mingle with like-minded expats and locals.
If you want to live in Southeast Asia but avoid the tourist traps, check out Laos. The country is a little pricier than Thailand or Vietnam (it’s still cheap compared to home), but a lot more untouched. From the pristine lagoons of Vang Vieng to the amazing Buddhist temples of Luang Prabang, there’s no shortage of things to see in your free time.
If you really want to get great bang for your buck, heads to the the South American country of Peru. The cost of living is almost 50% less than the US, but is still of a high standard. $500 a month will not only cover your rent, utilities, wifi and phone, but will also allow you to eat our regularly. And oh yeah, you get to live in the Amazon rainforest!