Cheapest world destinations for impecunious expats

Published:  1 Sep at 6 PM
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Whatever the reason you’re desperate to desert your home country, if you’ve limited funds you need to research the cheapest world destinations before you start packing.

Expats become expats for a variety of reasons, one of which is they’ve fallen out of love with the country of their birth. This alienation is tricky to deal with, especially if you’re cash-strapped or on a less than generous pension and have little in the way of savings. Obviously, the place to look is online, with price comparison sites taking in just about every country on the planet.

For those not wanting, or unable to afford, elite surroundings and a glamorous lifestyle, there’s plenty of choice, although getting into certain countries where you can live on pennies may well cost a good part of your savings. Nepal, for example, is as cheap as its possible to get, with the average USA pension putting its lucky recipient straight into the ‘wealthy elite’ category. However, getting residency is very tough unless you’re able to set up a charity or get a work visa.

India is famous as a bargain basement expat destination, with small towns and Himalayan mountain villages perfect for those needing a walk in the real world away from Western life. It’s already a favourite with thousands of expats, who don’t seem to miss the luxuries of home. These days, visas are easier to get, although there’s no retirement visa for those looking to stay permanently. Border runs, it seems, are the answer for long-stayers of any age.

Indonesia’s tourism hotspots are far from being cheap, but places such as Sulawesi and Sumatra tick most of the boxes for less than loaded expats. Long term visas are tough, unless you can find a business happy to get you a work visa or if you’re over 55 with a decent income. Local expats might be willing to share their successful workarounds for the present system.

Central and Southern American countries are popular with expats looking to live an interesting if quieter life, although most new arrivals nowadays seem to be from North America. If that’s not a problem, heading to Bolivia, Columbia, Argentina or Mexico, avoiding the major cities and settling where the real folks live is another way to survive on little and still enjoy life.

For would-be expats fascinated with Asia, Cambodia is the hot tip right now, with its government just about to introduce a three-year retirement visa. Living outside the capital Phnom Penh is as cheap as chips, the weather is great and the majority of the scenery is still unspoiled. At present, expats are arriving from across the border in Thailand after deciding the present military regime is a little too much to stomach.
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