For anyone who has ever daydreamed about living the expat lifestyle, the motivations are usually to experience cultures different from one's own while cutting down on the cost of living. Thankfully, as Business Insider has uncovered, there's an index to help you choose wisely.
While Numbeo's Cost of Living 2018 indices by continent provide a simple percentage comparison to New York City (100), Business Insider and The Independent put the list for Europe into finer detail — outlining the top 26 European cities (including Russia) where one could live for less than 600 pounds sterling ($833 USD) per month.
Spoiler: They're all in Eastern Europe, and they're all beautiful.
Former USSR cities in Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Belarus, Macedonia, Kosovo (as well as Russia proper) all made the Business Insider/Independent cut, with stunning architecture and cultural attractions to rival any other European city — even some of the same employment and academic opportunities.
Our own quick search of the Numbeo indices for other continents found affordable monthly cost of living plus rent in a similar range (around 30 to New York City's 100) in almost all of Mexico and Central America and in popular destinations throughout South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.
Here were a few additional cities worth mentioning — all outside Europe — where the cost of living (without rent) is under $600 per month:
- Cancun, Mexico ($443.29, cost of living plus rent score of 23.33)
- Bali, Indonesia ($481.17, cost of living plus rent score of 26.60)
- Mumbai, India ($376.75, cost of living plus rent score of 27.64)
- Hanoi, Vietnam ($446.93, cost of living plus rent score of 28.07)
- Mexico City, Mexico ($455.52, cost of living plus rent score of 28.15)
- Casablanca, Morocco ($430.88, cost of living plus rent score of 27.99)
- Chiang Mai, Thailand ($535.36, cost of living plus rent score of 30.55)
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic ($526.07, cost of living plus rent score of 31.54)
If none of those float your boat, Numbeo also has interactive tools and calculators you can use to compare the cost of living in any of its hundreds indexed cities around the world to your own city, broken out in minute detail — including rates for crime, pollution, health care, traffic, travel, and the all-important quality of life.
Because, after all, that's why we move (or daydream about it), right?