The Budget Savvy Travelers

11 Cheapest Countries to Live On Less Than $1000 Per Month in 2021

Many of the cheapest countries to live, combine beach life, scenic mountain backdrops, wine and cafe culture, and a temperate climate. Below are 11 countries where you can live on less than USD 1000 per month.

One of the best benefits of being a digital nomad is being able to live long-term in a foreign country. It can be such a thrill to lay down roots for a few months in another country.

Some of the best moments of our travels have been when we’ve gotten way off the beaten tourist path and lived like the locals. If you’ve ever dreamed of living in one of the countries on our list then maybe it’s time for you to take the leap? 

11 Cheapest Countries to Live On Less Than USD 1000 Per Month in 2021

During our four years on the road, we’ve lived in dozens of places all over the world. Sometimes we’ll stay for a few weeks, and other times we’ll stay for a few months. We’ll often find ourselves “slow-traveling” when we want to enjoy the local area or we need to take a break from traveling. We know. It’s sad, right?

There are amazing places to stay around the world on a budget. That’s us enjoying dinner in the Phillippines!

Remember, you can easily stay in any of these countries for less than USD 1000 per month. However, if you would like to have some of the creature comforts of home, it may cost a bit more. If your budget is higher than USD 1000, then there’s a good chance that you’ll have a higher standard of living in these countries (compared to your home country) at a fraction of the price.

Staying in these countries during a shoulder season will dramatically decrease the cost. We usually stay in apartments that we find on Booking.com. Once you’re established in the country though, it’s possible to work with locals to find something more permanent at a lower price.

1. Bulgaria

One of our budget stays had the feel of a Hawaiian resort. The cost, about USD 48 per night!

Bulgaria was one of the best countries we visited in Europe. The locals were kind, eating out was ridiculously inexpensive, and the wine was excellent. One of the highlights of staying in Bulgaria is the Black Sea. Certain regions offer a resort-like atmosphere and the sea is surprisingly warm during the summer. We stayed in Sofia, Plovdiv, Veliko Turnovo, and Varna.

Plovdiv is one of Europe’s hottest destinations for remote workers. There are many British, Swedish, and German ex-pats working as digital nomads who live here for affordable apartment rentals and cheap cost of living. Additionally, Bulgaria offers one of the fastest internet speeds on the planet.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Magic Castle Hotel
Excursion: Wine Tasting in Heart of Sofia

2. Chile

The rooftop pool at our apartment in Santiago. Short-term stays for luxury apartments will cost about USD 60 per night. Long-term stays can cut this cost in half.

After stumbling through Mendoza and its surrounding wine regions, we headed back to Chile to explore Santiago and some of the neighboring Chilean wine regions. We were most excited to visit the Colchagua Valley which is known for its Mediterranean climate and production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah, and Malbec.

The steep slopes of the Andes Mountains in the valley proved to be both scenic and the ideal location to grow the various varietals. We had an amazing apartment in Santiago with a rooftop pool that overlooked San Cristóbal Hill.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Lastarria Hotel & Aparts
Excursion: Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago

3. Argentina

Our first long-term stay was in Buenos Aires. We rented this studio apartment with an amazing balcony for USD 28 per night!

Our first long-term booking experience was in Buenos Aires. It was such an easy transition from the United States. We stayed for 32 nights in Buenos Aires at USD 28.69 per night. That’s only USD 14 per person per day!

The balcony came with views of the tree-covered streets below and skyscrapers above.

Our apartment was brand new, fully equipped, and located in the heart of the sophisticated Palermo Hollywood. We had easy access to the entire city, as it was about a five-minute walk from the Palermo underground station.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Bulnes Eco Suites
Excursion: Small-Group City Tour of Buenos Aires

4. Croatia

It’s no secret that Croatia has been our all-time favorite country to explore on our worldwide travels. Croatia is our go-to long-term destination. If we had one minute to decide on a place to settle down permanently, it might be Croatia.

There is just something about this country that resonates with us. Croatia seems to check off a lot of the boxes of a place we’d love to call home, such as:

  • Beach life
  • Scenic Mountain backdrops
  • Wine & cafe culture
  • Great hiking right outside your front door (outdoorsy lifestyle)
  • Affordable living
  • Safe
  • Temperate climate

During the high season of July and August, prices for lodging skyrocket. This is why we suggest visiting during the shoulder seasons: March through June and September through October. Travelers looking for a destination to enjoy the winter holidays may want to check out Croatia’s capital. Recently, Zagreb has been voted to have the Best Christmas Markets for three years in a row.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Swanky Mint Hostel
Excursion: Croatian Homeland War Walking Tour

5. Greece

Our studio apartment on the island of Santorini even came with a small pool, all for USD 28 per night.

If you can travel outside of July and August, you’ll be amazed at how far your money will go in the Greek islands. We stayed in a nice guest house for USD 28 per night in Santorini, a place where it’s not uncommon for many people to spend USD 500+ per night.

The key to finding affordable lodging is staying outside the main tourist areas and using public transportation to get around. Another positive aspect of living on a budget in Greece is the food. Travelers can often dine out enjoying local dishes like fresh Greek salads and hearty gyros for under USD 10 for two people.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Marble House
Excursion: Athens Full Day Private Tour

6. Macedonia

Our apartment in Skopje came with a huge flat screen, a comfortable living space, and a nice balcony, all for about USD 22 per night.

We called Macedonia “home” for two months during the summer high season. In our opinion, this country is severely underrated. Booking monthly significantly brought down the price of our Airbnb rentals. We secured an apartment in Skopje that featured a balcony, mountain views, fast Wi-Fi, a smart TV with a premium cable package, all for under USD 800 a month.

Macedonia is another country that offers high-quality wine, great budget eats, and cheap public transportation costs. We enjoyed dinners at local, high-end restaurants for under USD 15 for two people. We highly recommend a visit to Lake Ohrid to enjoy one of Europe’s cleanest, most beautiful lakes.

First-Time Visitors

Book NowSkopje Marriott Hotel
ExcursionHalf-Day Tour from Skopje: Millennium Cross and Matka Canyon

7. Hungary

The winter holiday season is often an expensive time to travel. As digital nomads, we have found Budapest to be the best city to experience the holidays while living in Europe.

We typically arrive at the beginning of December and stay for 5-6 weeks. The key to getting budget-friendly rates is securing your accommodation early enough to take advantage of an entire month-long stay in one unit.

While December can be fairly inexpensive, be advised that Budapest is surprisingly one of Europe’s trendiest towns to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s important to be proactive and book far in advance to get rates to be around USD 1000 for a 30-day stay. The apartment in the video above was booked for USD 22 per night.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: The Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel
Excursion: Budapest Danube River Evening Sightseeing Cruise by Legenda City Cruises

8. Thailand

Thailand’s a no-brainer. Whatever the budget, whatever you’re looking for you can find it here. | 11 Cheapest Countries to Live On Less Than USD 1000 Per Month

Being in Thailand for two months felt like a dream because living here was so wonderfully easy. We spent two months in two large apartments with comfy beds, dreamy balconies, and beautiful views! We also appreciated access to pools, a fitness center, and having a scooter to explore every day of our stay.

Thailand will probably be the only time in our life that we’ll ever have the luxury of having a housekeeper. Audrey felt lucky to have been relieved of her job as “head chef” as the food here is ridiculously cheap and delicious. Oh, and the fresh watermelon and mango shakes, are to die for!

Weather plays a huge factor when staying in Thailand long-term. The monsoon season hits almost like clockwork and everyday downpours quickly put a damper on this tropical paradise.

Our average cost for a high-end apartment cost us around USD 1,000 a month. While in Thailand, we based ourselves just outside the main tourist city of Phuket.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Sukhumvit Park, Bangkok – Marriott Executive Apartments
Excursion: Private Guide In and Around Bangkok: Custom Tour

9. Ukraine

One of the bedrooms in our two-bedroom apartment in Kyiv.

Year after year, Ukraine gets ranked as one of the cheapest destinations to live on the planet. Compared with the other destinations on that list, Ukraine is a great destination to lay low for any digital nomad or long-term traveler.

The city is safe, urban, with an inexpensive, yet highly efficient, metro system. We loved Kyiv’s outdoor spaces, cafe culture, and gorgeous architecture.

The apartment came with a very charming balcony.

Apartments throughout Ukraine can be very hit-or-miss. We had a blend of some beautiful units and some that were not so clean. Pay attention to guest reviews and do your research! Ukrainian cuisine would lure us back alone. Ukraine was a country where we appreciated the opportunity to dine out and experience the city’s nightlife due to the low cost of food and drinks. We stayed in Odesa and Kyiv.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Oselya Kiev
Excursion: Tour Of Central Kiev With Natalia

10. Serbia

A country with great food and plenty of budget-friendly accommodations.

Serbia is a country where we find some of the most budget-friendly lodgings. Additionally, every apartment we have booked has been very clean and well-equipped. Belgrade is known to be a gritty, party town, but we love the laid-back people, café culture, and local cuisine.

For those looking to cut costs on accommodations to have more funds for nightlife, Belgrade may be their ideal city. Rates typically run about USD 20 a night for a nice flat in the city center. In Serbia, we have spent time in both Belgrade and Niš.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Hotel Mint
Excursion: Belgrade Center Walking Tour

11. Poland

Part of the beauty of Poland is that it doesn’t get too touristy, so it doesn’t seem to ever lose its cultural heritage.

Traveling through summer’s high season can be a challenge for long-term, budget travelers. The key is taking advantage of a discounted monthly rate. Poland was just added to this list because we just booked a month-long stay in Warsaw!

Warsaw has much to offer as a base for digital nomads. Poland’s capital maintains its charm by not being overly touristic, but still very lively. Public transportation is efficient and cheap, which means touring the city is very accessible.

Our unit is just outside the city center, located next to a metro stop. Booking a unit just outside the tourist area significantly brought down the cost of our stay to about USD 1,000 for a month.

First-Time Visitors

Book Now: Ibis Warszawa Stare Miasto – Old Town
Excursion: #1 Pub Crawl Warsaw with Premium Open Bar

We imagine there are many other countries that you can live pretty well for around USD 1000 a month. These are just destinations that we have personal experience with. Any thoughts or questions about our list? Feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below.

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2 thoughts on “11 Cheapest Countries to Live On Less Than $1000 Per Month in 2021
  1. I am a single female and will be traveling alone hopefully immediately before the airlines are requiring travel passports. I loved Phuket, have always wanted to go to Croatia, but you rave about Macedonia. Between the three: where can I stay long-term without needing a visa? Which would be the easiest to obtain a long-term visa after arrival? Which would you say would be the safest for me and cost the least? Finally, which place would be the easiest to obtain work if and when needed?

    I will be sincerely grateful if you could help me to the best of your ability with all of these questions. Truth be told, I have had severe major depression for 4 1/2 years and I am literally dying. I need to leave now to find my soul🥺

    Thank you so much!🥰🙏😇

    1. Hi dear,

      Thank you for writing in and seeking out some advice. One question I have for you is where are you currently located? Are you an American?

      Here are some thoughts:

      Croatia: You may know we adore Croatia. It is one of our favorite destinations on the globe. One of the main reasons we love it is because it is so safe. It is an excellent choice for solo female travelers.

      Unfortunately, around this Balkan region, Croatia currently has the strictest lockdown measures. As of now, all bars, cafes, restaurants, and clubs are closed. We have a friend in Zagreb and she tells us the capital is completely dead and quiet. No livelihood or energy there. This may be isolating for you.

      Also, there is a ban on inter-county travel within Croatia. If you want to travel around the country, you need a special pass to do so.
      You will have to research the current situation with this before securing flights. I know you need to present a negative COVID test upon entry and proof of your place of stay (Reservation and address for Airbnb). You would land, get to your apartment, and then have to stay within that region until the county travel ban eases.

      Travelers get 90-days in Croatia. I know the country is currently working on a Digital Nomad visa for long-term stays. This is something you may want to stay updated on. To extend your stay, you are supposed to fill out paperwork at the closest police station. We have never completed this process or sought out a long-term visa stay. This is something you may have to further research.

      If you are looking for nightlife and some excitement, you won’t find it there yet due to covid and lockdowns. If you are looking for beautiful mountain/sea landscapes and serenity, then maybe this is where you may want to head. I would imagine there is an established ex-pat community there.

      Macedonia: Yes, we do love Macedonia and it may be slightly cheaper than Croatia. However, I think it may be a little more isolating there than in Croatia, especially in the winter months. Macedonia also offers a 90-day visa. I do not know the policy for extending a stay there. Bars and restaurants are currently open but close at 9 pm. The health minister there just eased COVID restrictions slightly.

      Albania: If you are an American, then Albania is another option. Americans get a one-year visa here with no questions asked. I do know that there are solo female travelers living here as ex-pats. But overall, Croatia just seems safer to me compared to the vibe in major Albanian cities. Cafes, restaurants, etc. are open here with a 10 pm curfew.

      Montenegro: Montenegro is another option. Americans are able to enter without COVID testing. Cafe bars and restaurants are open until 8 pm. There is a 90-day visa in Montenegro. I would imagine Montenegro would be very safe too.

      Overall, one thing I want to stress is that finding work in both these places will be difficult. This is because tourism is struggling and even the local people are having difficulty with employment options. If the local population isn’t working, then a non-citizen is not going to easily find work, especially without speaking the local language. We would propose trying to establish some online work before arriving.

      One positive thing going for travelers is that Airbnb owners may be desperate for bookings. Be sure to try to negotiate the rates. You’d be amazed how far your money can go by messaging an apartment owner explaining, “My budget is X. Can you come close to this rate for a long-term stay?”

      Last, I would start searching for ex-pat groups on Facebook and begin asking questions. You may want to establish that there is an ex-pat community there before making arrangements if you want to make some connections and/or friendships. These groups offer great insight into what it actually like in each destination, who to contact for budget-friendly apartments, and what to do for extending your stay via long-term visas.

      These are just my initial thoughts. Let me know if you have any more questions or if you want to discuss further. I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.

      I, too, believe that if your heart and soul are telling you to go now….then you are making the right move.

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