BreakingModern — What if you could trade your crowded miles-from-everything studio for a two-bedroom apartment in the city center? What if you could do this and have enough money left over to dine out most nights, drink fine wines and even pay someone to clean your house?
You can. But you’ll have to move.
Here are five international cities where you can live like a king (or queen) for cheap, without sacrificing amenities, comfort or safety.
Located smack in the middle of Argentina’s fertile wine country, Mendoza offers all the perks of a major city — cosmopolitan dining, sidewalk cafes that stay open well into the night and grand tree-lined boulevards — at a fraction of the price you’re used to.
Housing in the city center sets you back a paltry $300 per month for a one bedroom/one bath apartment, to about $850 for a furnished two-bedroom (including utilities!) Hire a maid to help you with the upkeep for only $3 per hour. Does all this money-saving make you hungry? In Mendoza, a high end steak and wine dinner for two costs a mere $35. And, because the city is surrounded by vineyards, wine here is cheap and plentiful.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
With a large expat community already taking full advantage of Chiang Mai’s low cost of living, you’ll find it easy to make new friends in this super-affordable northern Thai city. In Chiang Mai, studios rent for as little as $100 per month. Delicious street food — think fresh pad see ew and spicy pad kra pao — sells for less than $2, about the same price as a beer at the local pub. Expats will also appreciate the low cost of quality medical and dental treatments, as well as the $6 per hour Thai massages. (Yes, $6 for an hour massage!)
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of Europe’s most beautiful — and most affordable — cities. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will set you back less than $600 per month. A fancy dinner for two won’t run more than $30, and the city’s delicious local beers cost less than a dollar in the grocery store. Work for just a few hours a day and then make time to explore your new home’s medieval castles, hidden courtyards and narrow cobblestone alleyways.
Panama City, Panama
Warm weather, cheap prices and its close proximity to some of Central America’s most beautiful scenery make Panama City a magnet for expats from around the world. The currency in Panama City is USD, so the transition is exceptionally easy for Americans — and that dollar goes far. A one-bedroom apartment with a terrace overlooking the nearby mountains runs about $600 per month. A night on the town will only set you back $10 if you stick to beer. And a taxi ride from one city to another shouldn’t cost more than $5.
Another highly affordable European capital, Romania’s grand boulevards and French-inspired architecture earned it the nickname “Little Paris” in the early 1900s. The city lost a little luster under communist regime, but restoration efforts in the city center are bringing Bucharest back to its original glory. Here a one-bedroom flat runs a little more than $400 per month. On top of being affordable, Bucharest also boasts an amazingly fast Internet connection, low crime rate and a reliable public transit system.
Ready to move? Better hurry. As more expats discover these high-value locations, costs are likely to rise. Enjoy the savings while you can!
For BMod, I’m Helen Anne Travis.
First Image Credit: “Ciudad de Mendoza” by Jorge Gobbi via Flickr Creative Commons
Second/Featured Image Credit: “Old Town Square-2” by Nitin Vyas via Flickr Creative Commons
Third Image Credit: “stavropoleos” by fusion-of-horizons via Flickr Creative Commons