You can fund your overseas adventure by working from home in these top destinations.
Imagine opting out of the daily grind and taking off for grand global adventures. Today’s technology makes it possible for you to follow your wanderlust at will.
However, to embrace a new life in a new country without the support of a retirement nest egg or a trust fund, you’ll need to generate an income. The great news is that some of the world’s most appealing places to reinvent your life are so affordable that the amount of income you need to live well is small.
It’s not always easy to find a job in desirable locations overseas. But perhaps you don’t want a job. Moving abroad isn’t about exchanging one 9-to-5 experience for another. Relocating allows you to embrace new experiences and get the most out of every day.
A business of your own allows you both cash flow and flexibility. If you’re interested in increasing your leisure time, you probably don’t want a retail business with local customers and employees. Instead, use 21st century technology to run a business from your laptop. A laptop business allows you to make your own hours and clock out for the month when you’ve made enough to pay your bills. In some parts of the world, you could get by on as little as $1,200 per month.
There are several types of businesses you could run from your laptop. You could be a travel writer or photographer, a web designer, an online researcher, a medical claims processor, a virtual teacher, a consultant or a life coach. You could make a good income doing all these things from interesting places around the world. The only practical requirement is a good internet connection.
Where you live influences how much you would need to earn. The lower your cost of living, the less income your enterprise needs to turn over. Here are nine places where the cost of living comfortably is so affordable that you could earn enough from a part-time laptop business to cover your expenses.
1. Abruzzo, Italy. You’ve heard of the wonders of Tuscany. Maybe you’ve dreamt of experiencing them for yourself. If Italian country life is your ideal, look beyond pricey Tuscany to much more affordable Abruzzo. Abruzzo has everything Tuscany offers and more at a fraction of the cost. A couple could live here comfortably on as little as $1,500 per month, including rent. Your monthly budget could be much less if you own your own home. And you could buy a tumble-down but charming property for renovation for as little as $6,000. This is a traditional, rural region with a low cost of living and of real estate and no tourist over-development. However, you’ll probably need to learn Italian to make a life here.
2. Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Playa del Carmen (“Playa” to the locals), located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast an hour south of Cancún, is home to more than 10,000 expats, including Europeans, North Americans, Argentines, Colombians and others. You’ll meet 20- and 30-somethings chasing adventure, young families and retired couples. Playa is a melting pot established and expanding on a beautiful white-sand beach. Playa is also a particularly welcoming destination for the LGBT community. You could call this eclectic, high-energy beach town home on a budget of as little as $1,500 per month, including rent.
3. Cuenca, Ecuador. Ringed by dramatic Andean peaks, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a showplace of colonial architecture. Wandering the streets, you feel like you’ve been transported to another time, and the colorful Andean culture leaves no doubt that you’re in the middle of a brand new and exciting life experience.
Cuenca offers great weather, so there’s no need for heat or air conditioning, which helps to reduce an already low overall cost of living. Real estate and health care are also global bargains. The $1 fixed-price lunch is alive and well in Cuenca, though $2.50 is more common these days. The city is awash with fresh tropical fruits and vegetables that cost pennies on the dollar. You can rent a furnished apartment for $400 per month, an unfurnished apartment from $300 per month or buy a small condo for less than $40,000. A couple could live here on as little as $1,000 per month, not including rent.
4. Cali, Colombia. Cali is not what you think. First, it’s safe. Second, its weather is not miserably hot year-round. Cali offers diverse lifestyle options, from high-end gated communities in a country setting to lively downtown city living, and from colonial houses to new high-rises. You could buy an upscale apartment at a prime address for less than $100,000. This can be a walkable city, depending where you base yourself, meaning you can live here conveniently without a car. Cali has done an excellent job of conserving its trees, and the streets are pleasantly shady in many sectors. This helps not only with the temperatures inside homes, but it also makes for more comfortable city exploring. Situated at the confluence of three rivers among gentle hills, Cali offers plenty of parks and riverfront walking areas.
5. George Town, Malaysia. Malaysia is a regional and global hub for trade, business and cultures. Because it is a former British colony, English is widely spoken, so you don’t have to worry about trying to learn to speak Malay. George Town, with a population of about 750,000, is small enough so that it’s easy to make friends and meet your neighbors, yet large enough to have health care that meets international standards. Living here, you’d have easy access to all the goods and services you might need and a sizable expat population to tap into for support.
George Town is one of the world’s most affordable places to embrace a rich and interesting life. A couple could live here on as little as $1,100 or $1,200 per month, including rent. The downside to life in George Town is the weather. If you don’t like hot and humid, cross George Town off your list.
6. Pedasí, Panama. Panama is a small country that offers many lifestyle options. The farther from the capital city you travel, the more affordable the cost of living. Charming coastal Pedasí is about four hours from Panama City. This area offers the best of beachside living at a bargain price.
Pedasí is a Mayberry by the sea. It’s a low-key beach town where the living is slow and easy and the community, both local and expat, is welcoming. If you’re looking to de-stress and like the idea of being able to take off any given morning to ride the waves, Pedasí could be the ideal place for you to launch your laptop venture. The great news is that you’d only need to earn $1,200 per month to live well here, including rent.
7. Fortaleza, Brazil. Fortaleza is at the center of Brazil’s beautiful northeastern coast. There are wide sandy beaches, warm South Atlantic waters, great restaurants, sizzling nightlife and fantastic weather. This is really three cities in one: the original historic center and downtown area, the in-town beach area with its lively Latin nightlife and high-rise living and the quieter outlying areas of palm-lined, white-sand stretches to rival the best beaches anywhere in the world. It’s a lifestyle combination that’s hard to beat.
Fortaleza is known for its beaches and its food. Seafood is king here, and you can feast on a beachfront wood-grilled lobster dinner for as little as $8 per person. This vibrant city is one of the best beach values on the continent. At the very favorable current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real, you could rent a two-bedroom apartment near the ocean for $650 per month, and a couple could live well on $1,500 per month.
8. Alicante, Costa Blanca, Spain. On Spain’s Mediterranean Costa Blanca is lovely Alicante, a city of 350,000 people that includes a small but solid expat community. Although its roots are ancient, Alicante today is a 21st century city with a bustling center of chic designer shops and department stores, equally chic people, a harbor crowded with white yachts and a sleek tram/light-rail system.
And yet, Alicante manages to retain the feel of Old Spain. Businesses observe the afternoon siesta. Friends who meet by chance on the sidewalk stop to chat, and the conversation continues over a leisurely cup of coffee. Alicante is an ideal place to savor Continental café culture. The challenge living here can be resetting your internal clock to get in sync with the local rhythm. The Alicantines have learned that it’s best not to battle the afternoon sun. Shops open at 9 a.m., close at 2 p.m., reopen at 5 p.m. and then remain open until 8 p.m. Dinner is at 10 p.m. or later, and people take regular evening walks along the Explanada.
Perhaps the best part of this beautiful Old World coastal city is the cost of living here. This is one of Europe’s greatest bargains. You can rent a furnished apartment in a good location for as little as $400 per month.
9. Crete. Its history dates back 4,000 years, its beaches are superb, the Mediterranean water is crystal clear and the sun shines 300 days a year. This is the island of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Crete has miles of beautiful beaches and sunny skies, but it’s also got mountains – covered in snow half the year – gorges, ancient history, timeless villages and excellent Mediterranean food.
You can feast on a huge Greek salad with fresh made Feta cheese or ntakos, a local dish of crusty barley rusk topped with tomatoes, olive oil and crumbled mizithra cheese, for 4 euros. Wash your meal down with excellent local vin de Chania at 3.50 euros a bottle. Crete’s Old Town is a hive of activity, with restaurants, redevelopments, tourist shops and locals going about their daily business. Outside town the countryside is marked by olive groves, vines and great bushes of flowering mimosa. Fringing it all are beautiful beaches leading to blue-green seawater lagoons.
You could call this exotic old world paradise home on a budget of as little as $1,000 per month, not including rent, and you could rent a two-bedroom apartment for as little as $700 per month.