The most rewarding things in my life have not only come by traveling from place to place, but also in living somewhere completely new.

Chosen specifically because of overall cost of living – like food, rent, transport and utility bills – here are some of the most affordable places to live in the world if you’re considering a longer stay – without breaking your wallet.



The list is mostly based on the reading of the bi-annual World Cost of Living Index Report of 2014 and the Livability Ranking Report of 2016 from The Economist Intelligence Unit. The unit is a leading research and analysis division for The Economist Group creating a global platform for businesses, financial firms and governments for understanding how the world is rapidly changing.


(P.S. Follow @projectinspo on instagram + facebook for daily updates + motivational messages.)



1. Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: tumblr


Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania located in the southeast part of the country, is the second largest city of the Baltic States. Less famous than many of the other European cities and despite a dynamic and fast growing economy, Vilnius is still considered one of the most affordable places to live. The city is known for its many churches and has the largest baroque old town in Europe filled with a combination of cobbled alleys, crumbling corners and hilltop-views all while keeping a village-feel to it all.

Vilnius, Lithuania | Travel | @projectinspophoto:


According to Forbes Magazine, the demographics are young and attractive, and ranks 40.9 on the World Cost of Living Index compared to New York and Zurich, which both score 100 on their list when it comes to living costs. Vilnius is considered politically and economically stable being compared to the Scandinavian countries.


(READ: Europe’s Best-Kept Secrets: 10 Underrated Countries To Visit This Year)


Vilnius, Lithuania | Travel | @projectinspo



2. Kathmandu, Nepal

photo: Jamin Lee /The Land of Snows


The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, is the core of Nepal’s largest and densest urban area located in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley. The city is filled with ancient history and according to traditional myths and legends in the Buddhist scripture of Swayambhu Purana, Kathmandu was once a huge and deep lake full of snakes. Known for its traffic-jammed alleyways and a riot of sights, sounds and smells, Kathmandu is considered one of the most affordable cities in the world ranked number 44 on the World Cost of Living Index.


Despite being struck by the devastating earthquake in 2015, Kathmandu is an amazingly rich and spiritual city with its heritage stretching from hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards filled with an abundant of spices, chillies, fruit and rice and sites that rightfully belong to the UNESCO World Heritage list, such as the holy and sacred Swayambhunath temple.


Nepal | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Elizabeth Bacon / EB Photography + Artistry



3. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Adrian Red Photography


The beautiful city of Budapest is a popular destination with its abundance of hot thermal springs, official bathhouses, sophisticated cuisine and rich and historic sites. Visit the castle district for some major architectural delights such as the Royal Palace and Parliament or stroll along the river of Danube and take in the famous Széchenyl Chain Bridge that connects the western and eastern sides of Budapest.


According to the World Cost of Living Index, Budapest ranks 38.6 on the list making it a relatively affordable place to live in Europe. Still, the city is experiencing a fast growing economy due to new political leadership that might up the costs and living expenses in the future.


Budapest, Hungary | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: MB Photograph



4. Mumbai, IndiaStreets of Mumbai, India | Travel | @projectinspo

photo: Karl Grenet/Flickr


Mumbai, also known as Bombay until 1995, is the capital city of Maharashtra in India and is one of the most populated cities in the country with an estimated 18.4 million people. If you plan on going, prepare to be immersed in a furiously busy city where limited public transportation and pollution makes it challenging for travelers. Known for its contrast of wealth and poverty, Mumbai is the financial centre of India, but also has some of Asia’s biggest areas of slums so be prepared to see both sides.


Despite its differences, Mumbai is ranked number 39 on the World Cost of Living Index making it an affordable place to live. Now, I might have scared you off by explaining how the city is over-stuffed and polluted, but it also has other sides such the grand and famous fairy-tale of a hotel Taj Mahal Palace, hidden temples and bazaar markets such as Chor Baaar, known as The Thieves Market, filled with antiques, street food, spices and old-fashioned belongings and trickets.


Mumbai, India | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Solomon Hsu/



5. Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Rodin Kovekin/Let’s Travel Somewhere


Riga is the capital of Latvia and the largest city of the Baltic states. The city is situated on the Gulf of Riga and at the mouth of Daugava, making it a scenic and diverse place to stay for a longer visit. Riga was founded in 1201 and is reknown for its Art Nouveau and Jugendstil architecture, which has honored it with a UNESCO World Heritage title. Though it has a quiet and reserved feel to it, Riga is a vibrant cosmopolitan city filled with hip bars, modern and contemporary art and food fusions perfect for a longer stay.


On the World Cost of Living Index, Riga ranks a 37.1 on the list making it one of the most affordable Baltic cities on the list, and it is also one of the safest.


Riga, Latvia | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: MondyGo/




6. Panama City, The Republic of Panama

Panama City, Panama | Travel | @projectinspo


Though Panama City might conjure distant dreams of palm trees, tropical dreams and a balmy-wind-in-your-hair kind of feeling, it is the largest city of Panama located at the Pacific Ocean entrance of the Panama Canal. It was founded in 1519 by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila, whom made it the starting point for expeditions to the Inca Empire in Peru. According to the World Cost of Living Index, Panama ranks at number 55 despite its strong regional hub of economy and trade.


Panama City is considered the cosmopolitan capital of Central America with its vibrant and lively culture, and its connection to various tropical escapes. It’s known to be the equivalent to Miami with its tall skyline, traffic jams, casinos and chic and trendy clubs alongside international banking sites.



7. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Elia Locardi/


For some reason when I think of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, I think of a nostalgic and romantic city deserving of its title as one of the most ancient cities of Europe. It has been the centre for politics, culture and economics during its 1100 years of existence and flourished during the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras making it one of the most important cities in the European history.


What makes Prague even more alluring is the fact that it’s ranked 36.4 on the World Cost of Living Index. Imagine walking through the maze of cobbled lanes and small courtyards towards the famous Old Town Square where you can find numerous of ancient chapels, gardens, cute cafes and old-fashioned beer bars all within a walking distance.


Prague | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: spacesxplaces/



8. Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Auhero Travel


According to Lonely Planet, Bucharest has gotten kind of a bad reputation, but it’s in fact a dynamic and energetic city. Though I admit I have never considered Bucharest it has opened my eyes to a longer visit due to the fact that it’s the spot to travel through if you are going to Transylvania (to Vlad Dracula’s homeland). Bucharest ranks 34.5 on the World Cost of Living Index making it the third least expensive city looked at by the bank.


Bucharest, Romania | Travel | @projectinspoBucharest, Romania | Travel | @projectinspo



Some top sights to see in Bucharest are the Palace of Parliament, the world’s second-largest building with more than 3000 room and the Cimigiu Garden where you can take a relaxing walk by the lake, have a coffee at one of the small cafees and choose between a ridiculous amount of benches for people-watching and coffee-sipping.


Bucharest, Romania | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Oxana & Max St. John/



9. Karachi, Pakistan



Karachi is the largest and most populated city in Pakistan and a mecca for the nation’s economy making it one of THE mega-cities of the world. The city’s economic market and bustling cosmopolitan vibe attracts workers from across the country creating a diverse population of nationalities. Though Karachi has a reputation of civil unrest and communal violence, it is largely now a thing of the past, but tensions do still occur making it an unstable city.


Karachi, Pakistan | The Most Affordable Places To Live In The World | @projectinspo


According to the World Cost of Living Index, Karachi ranks number 40 as one of the most affordable cities in the world. Lonely Planet states that few travelers choose to visit the city because of various challenges, but that a few days in Karachi can tell you more about life in modern Pakistan than anything else can.


Karachi, Pakistan | The Most Affordable Places To Live In The World | @projectinspo


10. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | Travel | @projectinspo
photo: Eric Lafforgue/Flickr


Jeddah, the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia, is a city in the Hijaz Tihamah region on the coast of the Red Sea. It is the principal and most important gateway to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, and Medina, the second holiest place in Islam. Mixing both a commercial capital and a nostalgic testament to former days of pilgrimage and trading, Jeddah is becoming a popular destination for travelers.


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | @projectinspo
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia | @projectinspo


Jeddah is ranked number 56 on the World Cost of Living Index making it affordable to live there. Visit Al Balad district, the old town of Jeddah with beautiful coral architecture, historic buildings or monuments, or go scuba diving in the Red Sea if you’re feeling adventurous.


Holy Prophet Mosque, Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia | Travel | @projectinspo



Please do note that some of these places may not be the safest destination for new travelers/tourists – so make the necessary research before opting for a longer stay.  Have you lived in any of these places or wish to recommend some other budget-friendly places to live? If so, please leave a comment or share below!



READ THIS NEXT : 10 of the Cheapest Countries To Travel To



Thank you so much for reading this post!  (P.S. Follow @projectinspo on instagram + facebook for daily updates + motivational messages.)





  • I lived in Budapest for 3 months and i loved! It’s a wonderfull city and it’s full of life.:)

    Another Lovely Blog!,

  • Everything is relative. The area in the south of France where I live is crawling with retirees from the U.K. trying to make their pensions stretch. I know some French who are doing the same in Morocco.
    I also know someone with a telecommutable job who lives in Prague–pretty, cheap, centrally located.

  • Emma

    The photo you have for Karachi, Pakistan. The first image… is of Auckland New Zealand. That tower is the Auckland Sky Tower. I live in Auckland so can be certain it is not a cheap place to live haha!

  • Yes, these are amazing places! A few new ones to add to my visit list too! Thank you. I love Prague so much.
    xx Jenelle

  • Please, check your facts. Lithuania joined the EU in 2004 and adopted Euro in 2015.

    • Ane Sund Sjoevold

      Hey, thanks for the feedback! I have corrected it.
      Keep smiling and stay happy, Ane

  • Wouldn’t have thought Prague or Mumbai would be on this list! I live in London which is CRAZY expensive so might have to bookmark this haha

    • Ane Sund Sjoevold

      I lived in London to and it was so expensive!! But it’s one of my favourite cities that I would love to live in again <3

  • Tala

    The second photo you for Romania is of Brasov city’s main square. I lived there for 6 weeks.

  • Siobhan

    Fun article! A quick image note: the second image under Bucharest is actually Brașov, a very charming but much smaller city in the Transylvania region. Highly recommend visiting both! I went over spring break during my semester abroad and was absolutely charmed.

    • Ane Sund Sjoevold

      Hi Siobhan,
      Thanks for letting us know! 🙂
      Keep smiling and stay happy, Ane

  • Veronika

    I’m pretty happy that you included Lithuania, but this part is wrong “In January 2015, Vilnius joined the EU and is now politically and economically stable being compared to the Scandinavian countries”. Lithuania (not Vilnius, because it’s the capital city) joined EU back in May 1st, 2004 🙂

    • Ane Sund Sjoevold

      Hi Veronika,
      Thanks for the feedback! I have corrected it 🙂 Sorry for the misinformation!
      Keep smiling and stay happy, Ane

  • Everytime you read these lists you realize how unrealistic they are. For example, Vilnius is much more expensive than one could think and the prices in Lithuania are really high. By the way, Lithuania joined the EU on 1 May 2004, so you should correct your information and add that Lithuania joined the eurozone on 1 January 2015. Moreover, Vilnius Historic Centre has UNESCO World Heritage title as well, and Lithuania have four of them in total.

    • Ane Sund Sjoevold

      Hi Jurate,
      Thanks for the feedback! 🙂
      The list that I have sourced this from takes into consideration every country in the world and calculates this according to overall cost of living. I included the ratings, which gives you an indication of the price.
      Keep smiling and stay happy, Ane

  • Vilnia looks amazing!

    Abigail Alice x

  • Wow….i am shocked that you included Bucharest…i live here and i think in every single city and town is good and is bad…. BUT Bucharest is realy a nice place to see! We have so many nice laces, amazing places and if you would visit Romania, Bucharest must be included too!

  • Ah I love that Prague is on this list! I went to Prague a few years ago and it made such an impression on me.

  • I’ve been to Prague and Budapest and the transportations there are amazing! Maybe because I live in a small town in California, but the fact that these trains and buses take you literally everywhere (at a small cost) is amazing!

    love from Grace Says

  • Totally swooning over Panama City, The Republic of Panama! What a beautiful place!