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Here at MyAdventureJobs we are always looking for ways to be a perpetual traveler, or to live out your traveling dreams. Whether that's saving up for a round the world ticket, backpacking through foreign countries or working in iconic locations for tour operators and local businesses there's always an option to escape the rat race of modern life. Are you tired of busy cities, crowded streets, or frustrated with rising mortgages & high rents? Want to make your dreams come true without having to punch that dreadful time clock. Sick of paying taxes on everything!!! Well..depending on what your dreams may be there are iconic and exotic destinations around the world were you can live a life of luxury for less than $500 a month. A good life without the high end price tag.
Some of the cheapest places to live are also some the most exotic and popular destinations to choose from. So whats stopping you from packing your bags and heading off to one of these paradise locations for a year or two, or even a lifetime? Most people will answer this with: money! In today's world though, money is beoming less and less of a hurdle. Not because there is more of it or that its easier to acrue, but because of modern technology like the computer and internet it is easier to work without being dependent on a particular location. Take for example Odesk. Odesk is an online virtual office where thousands and thousands of people every day log onto to post jobs or apply for jobs. What does that mean for you? Anywhere in the world there is an internet connection you can have a source of income! If you know how to work a computer, phone or read this blog there is something you can get paid for on Odesk. With the money you generate from places like Odesk you can live well and cheaply in exotic locations around the world.
There are few simple rules when becoming a location independent worker & searching for low cost living destinations:
1) Must have internet capabilities
2)The further from the big cities and large populations the cheaper it gets
3)If its a popular backpacking destination then its probably a cheap cost of living destination
4)Travel in out of the country must be equally as cheap as you will be doing so frequently unless you can get citizenship or a long term visa.
5)There must be an abundant of activities or boredome will kill your adventure quicker than no money will
Of course "cheap" is a relative term because what is cheap to you may be expensive to someone else in another part of the world, but if your definition of cheap is spending just a few dollars, euros, or pounds a day for living expenses than these locations in Central America, Phillipines & Asia may be of interest to you.
This could be your new office
Really, life is short and if you don't do it now when will you? When will everything be perfect to pick up and move half away around the world? Ever dreamed of visiting Thailand? Have you ever been to Thailand? What kind of adventure would it be to live in Thailand? Visit the sandy beaches, drink cheap beer, and camp in the jungles? If you've been to Thailand then you probably remember those $1 beers!! I bet you instantly asked yourself what it would be like to pay these prices back home, or what it would be like to enjoy such cheap prices on a daily basis if I lived here. Am I correct? If you did then why not move to the Land of Smiles for awhile?
Think about it no one is forcing to sit in an office and stare at the cubicle next to you, or that boss that yells non stop about the most trivial of things. Think about the jungle adventures you could be having, the sandy beaches you could be lying on, the constant sunshine you could be soaking up, or the amazing asian food you could be eating for than $3/meal. You could have all this for less than $500 a month. I bet you spend more than that now on car insurance & gas a month!
Of course for $500 a month this adventure doesn't come with beachfront apartments and penthouse suites, but you can easily find cheap living arraingements up north in beautiful Chang Mai were a small flat will only run you about $30 a month. Thats 6 blog entry jobs a month off of Odesk to have a place to live, or you can find a place along the coast for around $90/month.
Cooking at home will cost you next to nothing because all the fruits, vegetables & meats can be bought from local vendors at locals prices, but if your too lazy to cook the street side food stalls all produce excellent Thai food for less $1 in most cases. You can get an enormous plate of Pad Thai Chicken for less than a $1 from a street vendor or most sit down restaurants can run you about $6. Depending on your ambition food costs can range from $40-$200 a month leaving you will over $200 a month to spend on activities, parties, tours or anything else your little heart desires.
This could be your office window
Without any effort at all you can easily live for less than $500 a month in Cambodia; EASILY!! You could even live in the country's capital, Phnom Penh, for less than $500 month. I doubt you will be able to find anyone that will dare call Cambodia Paradise, but in terms of living cost Cambodia makes Thailand look like New York or London. It doesn't have as great as beaches as its neighbor, Thailand, but there more to an adventure than a beach right?
Since most travelers are on on short term visa's, and looking to stay in good standing with their passports to fulfill those childish requirements of leaving for 48 hours Cambodia is the perfect getaway. Not only is it close, but its even cheaper than its neighbor & filled with travelers from all over. As more and mroe foreigners take up residency in the capital rental unit prices are going higher and higher. Its still not hard at all to find somethng below $200/month, but if thats still not in your budget you can always find a roommater among fellow long term travelers looking to save a buck as well.
Depending on what you find you should have around $300 left in your $500/month budget giving you plenty of options to spend your money on. The food prices are lower than in Thailand so you can easily get by in this country with $300 a month. Eating out at local restaurants will run you about $2, but you still need to rein in your budget the food stalls are a great alternative. Traveling around the city will only cost you a couple bucks by way of Tuk Tuk's.
Cambodians are very modest and poor people, but getting to know them will go along way and showing them respect will go even farther. If your looking to extend your adventure in Cambodia by more than a couple days and want to double up on your Odesk income you can always explore Teaching English in the city. Cambodia is an amazing place, and in near by countries like Laos & Vietnam you can find fairly similar costs of living standards. When looking for an adventure with a tight budget Southeast Asia is my first stop.
Ever wanted to work with your feet in the ocean
Another exotic destination alternative were the cost of living will easily fall under $500/month is the Phillipines. Following your golden rules of getting away from the big cities and crowds to get cheaper living expenses means Manila isn't really an option when trying to call the Philipines home as rent here will cost you around $375/month, but if you set your sites for Cebu you'll find more what your looking for. Plus Cebu is home to sandy beaches, amazing golf courses, excellent shopping, and above all one of the most developed provinces in the Phillipine's. Just like in Chang Mai you can easily find cheap housing. In Cebu you can expect to pay around $150/month, but if you wonder out to Damaguete City you can find housing for as low as $40/month. Food shouldn't even be considered in the budget on a Phillipine adventure because a glass of beer and pack of cigarettes will only run you about 55 cents! Yes, I said cents not dollars. Depending on what you choose for living expenses $200 a month is more than enough to cover your food and activity needs while living in the Phillipines.
Besides being a cheap place to esacpe the real word and seek out your paradise adventures the Phillipines offer a special resident retiree visa that you can take advantage of as early as 35 years old. The catch is though you have to deposit $50,000 into a Phillipine bank, but at age 50 or older you only need to deposit $10,000 and show that you have at least $800 in income for a single person or $1,000 in income for a couple. Malaysia, has a similar program that they call: "My Second Home Program". Something anyone looking for dual citizenship should look into.
You know you want to call this home
For some reason every traveler I have talked to confuses Costa Rica with Cuba which baffles me every time, but if your truly looking for an adventure in a paradise setting take a good look at what Coast Rica has to offer. Costa Rica has 12 different climate zones, abundance of wildlife and even more outdoor activities. Along with spirited and friendly natives, called Ticos, Costa Rica is an
international playground for Perpetual travelers. You can easily survive in Costa Rica on just a few dollars a day. Especially if you can find a roommate you can easily live on $500-600 month in San Jose were the cost of services & goods in the city are among the lowest in the world!!! Again, if you follow the golden rules and get out and away from the city you'll find even cheaper standards. If you go about 50 miles away from the city you can rent a medium size house for $250/month. With a roommate thats only $125/month.
In general everything is cheaper in Costa Rica. You can go out to a nice sit down restaurant order a full meal with desert, and only expect to pay between $4-6. Cigarrettes are around a $1.50 a pack, a whole thing of bananas is only 50 cents, and if you purchase all your food from local markets and street vendors you will pay a lot less than what you find at the supermarkets. Supermarkets are about 50% higher than local markets and street merchants.
Outside of cheap food & great restaurants if your not too lazy you there are plenty of activities to explore. One of the most popular activities is surfing. Developing your surfing skills in Costa Rica is not only a must, but is also a surfers paradise with its great breaks and amazing surfing conditions. Surfers from around the world come to surf Costa Rica every year. Learning Spanish is a good hobby as well because the cost of lessons here dramatically lower than back home.
If your serious about trying your hand at a Costa Rican adventure check out www.therealcostarica.com a blog written by Tim Luisa, originally from Chicago, who has been living down there for years, and has put together a wealth of knowledge on the ins & outs of "TheRealCostaRica."
Another great resource to get your hands on if your seriously thinking about moving to Costa Rica is a book called, "Living Abroad in Costa Rica" by Erin Van Rheenen. Her book put together after she moved there covers the countries history, culture, and exotic realm of the place. There are alot of tips between these two resources before making the leap, but the best one by both of them is to to do a reconnaissance trip before you make the big leap.
A TRAVELERS DREAM COME TRUE
Out of all the Central American countries Belize is believed to be the ultimate destination because of its bargain price & unlimited adventure options. What gives Belize its main draw is the country's official language is English! With its diverse wildlife, plethora of activities, magestic beaches, subtropical climate and generous exchange rate to go along with English is the native language its hard to argue that Belize isn't a finalist for cheapest travel destination.
While it may not have the Great Barrier Reef that Australia is home to Belize is a scuba divers & snorkeler's paradise. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to over 127 offshore islands where you will find the world's best preserved marine ecosystem for your viewing pleasure.
As with all budget travel destinations local is the way to go, and Belize is no different. If you buy imports and shop at big box stores your wallet will loose its weight faster than any diet will loose your spare tire. Shopping at local markets and street vendors will stretch your money by more than 50% then if you shopped for imports and big box stores. The cost of living is fairly similar to that of Costa Rica. A large house an hour away from Belize city is going to run you about $300, but depending on if your traveling alone or can find roommates along the way you cut that price in half most time down to a third.
Like the Phillipines Belize also has a retirement program allowing you to extend your stay and not have to worry about that trivial and pointless leave the country for so long rule before you can come back. The benefit of the Belize Retirement Program is that you can apply at age 45 & you may qualify to live a tax free life depending on your situation.
Before you quit your job, sell all your belongings & pack your bags remember Belize has a rainy season & a dry season. So its not always paradise weather. The rainy season is sever & runs from May to October bringing rain every day and hurricanes frequently. If your only planning on a couple months or want to know the best time to visit is from November to April.
Remember though the world is shrinking and changing fast so at the time of this writing these may be bargain destination now, but the future may not keep them so affordable for long. To a perpetual traveler the best things in life are free. Living out your dreams and adventures abroad for less than $500 a month is amazing, but what matters most is the: memories you make, all the people you come across, the friends you make, the experiences you stumble upon, the places you see, and all the smells & tastes you learn to love or hate. The best things in life aren't things so take too many pictures, laugh to hard & embrace what ever comes your way.
Share if after reading this you have been infected with the travel bug, comment if you would like to see other places added to this list, and keep checking back for new additions to this bargain destination list.