Remote working is one thing, but why not just quit that day job and move to an island so cheap that you don’t have to work and can spend your life on permanent vacation? A new report from International Living – a magazine and website devoted to economics, travel, investing and retirement abroad – shows that it could be possible.
International Living recently unveiled 15 Inexpensive Islands in the World where you can retire early and live on as little as $ 1,200 a month. “The idea of an island escape is shrouded in romance and adventure, but people generally place the idea in the category of fantasy – something only the very wealthy could pull off,” says Jennifer Stevens, editor-in-chief at International Living. “The truth is, however, there are all kinds of great-value islands nestled in the waters of the world, and many of them offer a cost of living much lower than the United States.”
So read on to discover about 15 places that will make your island dreams come true. We’ve listed the islands in order of cost, starting with the cheapest. One thing to keep in mind is that the prices are based on the cost for a couple; the cost for a single person will be about a quarter to a third less. And remember this: “There’s such a pent-up appetite for travel right now – and I think people are dreaming. But they should know: Island life could really be a reality – much more affordable than they probably think, ”says Stevens.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Phu Quoc may be Vietnam’s largest island, but it’s an intimate place, not much bigger than the city of Chicago, with barely 100,000 full-time residents. Adventurous expats love it here, as more than half of the island has protected parks and reserves, as well as at least 20 beaches. It’s as inexpensive as it gets: “A meal for two at most local restaurants, including multiple dishes of fish, shrimp, crab, squid, shellfish, sides and drinks won’t cost more than $ 30,” says International Living. . Add it all up – along with the rent – and a couple can live here on as little as $ 1,210 a month.
Isla Colon, Panama
Off the coast of Panama is Isla Colon, one of the small islands in the Bocas Del Toro chain. Here you’ll find the dream Caribbean lifestyle, where a couple could live comfortably for as little as $ 1,400 a month (or $ 1,200 if you’re single). “You would live day to day on that budget at home,” Stevens emphasizes. “But there you could have a house a stone’s throw from the beach and spend your days fishing, sailing – yes, living simply – but in the sun and with much less stress.
“The island of Penang, off the Malaysian coast, has been a favorite destination for discerning expats for decades,” says International Living. If you are greedy, you are in luck: a few years ago, Planet alone called Penang the first foodie destination to visit in the world. Plus, its location in Southeast Asia makes it easy to reach places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. A couple can live a luxurious life on a monthly budget starting at $ 1,500 per month.
Caye Caulker, Belize
“Caye Caulker, an eight-kilometer-long island off the mainland coast of Belize, is a charming Caribbean island where ‘go slow’ is the motto,” says International Living. Expats enjoy nature, water-related outdoor activities, as well as the abundant inspiration that attracts many artists, photographers and writers. A couple can live comfortably here for as little as $ 1,500 per month.
Koh Samui, Thailand
The second largest island in Thailand, Koh Samui is a popular destination for expats, with its endless choice of great places to relax. “It’s also fast becoming a golfers’ paradise,” says International Living. You’ll find world-class beaches, secluded bays, vast jungles, and cascading waterfalls. According to International Living, expat couples report living here for as little as $ 1,500 per month. Increase that up to $ 2000 per month and you will live like royalty.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and is a great choice for living for many reasons: world-class beaches, seaside tavernas, a relaxed atmosphere and good medical infrastructure. “The cost of living in Crete largely follows the cost of living in mainland Greece and because Crete is so big you will have a lot of accommodation options,” says International Living. The cost for a couple to live here: as little as $ 1,800 a month.
Surrounded by the warm, clear Caribbean waters, the Mexican island of Cozumel is a well-established vacation destination and a great place to quit your job and live a dream life. “Cozumel offers good value for money, even when it comes to accommodation,” says International Living. The cost: less than $ 1,900 per month for a couple.
“With so many beaches encompassing the coastline and lush mountain ranges throughout its center, Bali has attracted many expats,” says International Living. The weather is hot and tropical, although it can be cooler in the mountains (and even the rainy season has many sunny days). Rent is cheap here: according to International Living, you can find a villa in a place like Ubud for $ 500 a month. A couple can live well in most cities in Bali for $ 1,900 per month.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
About 8 miles from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is far from the world: most people use golf carts to get around. “This is no longer a hidden gem, but rather a mature destination where expats can enjoy an affordable island retreat in the relaxed Caribbean comforts,” says International Living. According to International Living, a single person can live here on as little as $ 1,700 a month, but a couple can get by on $ 2,000; increase it to $ 2,500 a month, and they’ll have a very good life, indeed.
Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
“If you like the idea of a fusion of Europe and the Caribbean, head to the northeast of the Samaná Peninsula and discover Las Terrenas,” advises International Living. French expats originally discovered this tropical island paradise in the Dominican Republic, and you can still see that influence, with upscale restaurants and bakeries. A couple can live here for around $ 2,000 a month.
Once a secret getaway for divers, Roatan is now a livable island paradise that’s popular with expats. Think white sand beaches, rocky coves, colorful fishing villages, and a jungly mountainous interior. It’s one of the most affordable places in the Caribbean: according to International Living, a couple could live well from $ 2,000 a month.
The Spanish island of Mallorca is surrounded by marinas and natural coves bordered by rocks. “You will also find Roman ruins, proof of its importance as an outpost of this empire,” says International Living. It has a mild climate all year round and a relatively affordable lifestyle. According to International Living, a couple can live well on $ 2,500 per month.
The tiny island nation of Malta is just 122 square miles, but as International Living points out, it has something for everyone – “from ancient walled towns and breathtaking coastal paths to country farms and charming restaurants. . ” The weather is warm year round and US dollars are going surprisingly far, with couples living comfortably on $ 2,600 per month. And guess what? If you want to try it for size, Malta has a new program that will pay you to visit.
Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland is extremely alluring, given its laid-back life and “in most towns and villages you are never too far from the ocean,” writes International Living. (It’s also one of the cheapest places to fly in Europe right now, according to a new report.) The cost? A couple could live fairly comfortably on a budget of around $ 2,800 per month.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and is spectacularly beautiful, surrounded by stunning turquoise seascapes. It is not overly developed either. According to International Living, a couple can enjoy a comfortable life in Ambergris Caye, including rent, starting at $ 2,950 per month. “If you own your own home on the island, expats report that it’s possible for a couple to live fairly comfortably on less than $ 2,000 a month,” says International Living.
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