Everyone at one time or another has wanted to get away from it all and beach/ski/paraglide-bum it in some foreign land. Small problem: that's very expensive. Or is it? (That's our sweet rhetorical way of saying maybe not.) Check this list of 6 shockingly affordable paradises you can live in for peanuts...
1. Avarua, Cook Islands
Where exactly is this place: The Cook Islands are technically part of New Zealand, but are located 2,008 miles northeast of it, smack in the middle of the South Pacific. Avarua is the capital and rests on the island of Rarotonga. Raro-ton-ga. Raaaarooo-toooonga. Doesn't that just sound nice?
Why you should move here: It’s got tropical beaches, like in Hawaii or Tahiti, but the average rent for an apartment is $130 a month, unlike Hawaii or Tahiti... or anywhere else in America that's isn't an Airbnb igloo some dude is renting in New Brunswick.
Other things you should know: The inhabitants are mostly Polynesian natives; considering the Cook Islands’ natural beauty, they remain stunningly un-commercialized and host relatively few tourists annually, around 100,000. To give some perspective, Hawaii attracts near 8 million.
What you can do once you get there: Whale watching, hiking, snorkeling, forgetting that cubicles are real.
So… what’s the catch: Er, well, foreigners can’t buy property on the island. But they can lease it for up to 60 years. If you want to buy, you’ll have to become a full-fledged citizen or get special permission.
2. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Where exactly is this place: In the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic
Why you should move here: There’s a huge castle, cobblestone streets, and an overall medieval feel, which culminates in a summer solstice celebration that loosely resembles a Renaissance fair called the Five-Petalled Rose Festival, which includes jousts and fireworks and probably oversized meat legs. And you can get a three-course meal for two for 20 bucks year round and rent an apartment for $13 a day (which is cheaper than a smoking habit in New York City).
Other things you should know: It’s a small town, mostly full of Czech families that have roots going back centuries
What you can do once you get there: Live your Game of Thrones Fantasies and lead whitewater rafting on the Vltava, which is supposed to be one rollicking river.
So… what’s the catch: Trying to speak Czech.
3. Ksamil Beach, Albania
Where exactly is this place: The southern tip of Albania on the Adriatic Sea
Why you should move here: Ksamil is a small town and part of the Butrint National Park. Its got a quintessential Mediterranean climate, which is to say your new job could be making olive oil or growing tangerines. And, unlike Greece or Italy (or more recently, Croatia), the land is unspoiled and things are cheap. How cheap? Well, it’s not Bulgaria (beer here costs an average of 90 cents), but to rent a one-bedroom apartment would cost about $4 a day.
Other things you should know: Only about 2,000 (very lucky) Albanians live here.
What you can do once you get there: Eat seafood at a café (a meal is about six bucks at a mid-range restaurant and there’s 30 varieties of tasty fish in the Adriatic), drink cheap wine (about six bucks a bottle), hire a paddleboat and make out on an island with no other people.
So… what’s the catch: Whatever the catch of the day is.
4. Guanajuato, Mexico
Where exactly is this place: In the middle of Mexico
Why you should move here: It’s a cool, intellectual city. Some hack would probably call it the "Brooklyn" of Mexico. Plus, you can rent an apartment for around $6 a day, beer cost around a buck, and a movie ticket is a measly $3.
Other things you should know: There are lots of mummies. Seriously. There was a cholera outbreak in the mid-18th century and so many died that a tax was placed on buried bodies. As many couldn’t afford it, many corpses were disinterred and natural mummies resulted. Author of Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury wrote a story called “The Next in Line” about his experience there.
What you can do once you get there: Go and see the mummies. There’s also a big, famous arts festival called Festival Internacional Cervantino, named after the author of Don Quixote, which is supposedly so wild that it makes Sundance look like a lame tea party.
So… what’s the catch: Mummies are scary.
5. Agonda Beach in Goa, India
Where exactly is this place: The southernmost coastline of Goa, a state on India’s west coast
Why you should move here: You can ride an elephant on the beach, get a bottle of wine for $.44, a haircut for $.60, and an beach shack for $4 a day. Seriously, what else do you need? In fact, skip the haircut and get two bottles of wine without breaking a buck.
Other things you should know: It's pretty unpopulated. Unlike the rest of Goa, which is India’s wealthiest state (thanks partially to tourism), Agonda beach is relatively free of tourists and the things they bring (e.g. plastic sunglasses, kitschy pre-fab resort communities and worrying cries of Woo!).
What you can do once you get there: Beyond the beach, there’s not much. Maybe get your hair cut? There's also yoga, temples, and naan.
So… what’s the catch: There are a lot of soul-searching adrift hippies. They will ask if you can spare any cash or hash (or both).
6. Ho Coc Beach, Vietnam
Where exactly is this place: The southeastern coast of Vietnam
Why you should move here: You could guide tours through its 11,000-hectare tropical forest or go snorkeling in its tropical reefs or just enjoy being on a beach that's near deserted on weekdays and paying rent that's $6 a day.
Other things you should know: It’s a very small beach community with tight-knit locals.
What you can do once you get there: Check out the Binh Chau Hot Springs, where several lakes and a mineral-rich aquifer converge into a swim treat that stays near 80 degrees year round.
So… what’s the catch: People in your tour group saying, “Good morning, Vietnam” or that they “love the smell of napalm in the morning.” No one will be upset if you “lose” them in the jungle.