Everyone dreams of living in a country that offers a balance of the best of both worlds: cheap and safe! While many countries usually tip in favor of one or the other, a select handful of countries reward wanderlusters in both categories. Whether you’re looking for urban offerings, dramatic scenic views, or diverse cultures, you’re bound to find a country in the list below that you’ll love. You may also learn a new language while living abroad in one of these countries!

bowl of food on a table in ho chi minh

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The Global Peace Index, as well as the cost of living index, have helped to narrow down the cheapest, safest places to live in the world. The top countries that fit into both of these categories are primarily in Asia, Europe, and Central/South America, but the list is not exhaustive.

The hospitable locals, delicious dishes, and travel opportunities in these countries are sure to delight you! Here’s the top 8 cheapest and safest places to live in the world.

The 8 cheapest, safest places to live in the world

1. Portugal

A warm climate, fresh seafood, and stunning beaches make Portugal a popular place. Portugal ranks number 3 on the Global Peace Index, which makes it one of the safest places to live in the world. If you’re looking to enjoy the splendors of Western Europe without paying a high price, Portugal offers an affordable cost of living with reasonable rents and inexpensive transportation.

view of the coastline in madeira, portugal

Yowza. The cheapest and safest places to live in the world definitely look priceless!

Your biggest expense may be the seafood and wine! Many people in Portugal speak English, but you won’t be able to resist learning the romantic language of Portuguese. Portugal is also home to respected universities with outstanding reputations at highly affordable tuition costs if you’re interested in studying abroad!

2. Slovenia

You probably don’t hear much about Slovenia, but it’s a best-kept secret that boasts views of the Alps without the high costs of France or Switzerland. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll fall in love with the opportunities to ski, hike, and bike. Slovenia ranks in the top 10 on the Global Peace Index, and most people can live comfortably in Slovenia for under $1,500 a month, which makes it one of the top cheapest and safest places to live in the world.

The language of Slovenian could be a bit of a barrier, but many young people can speak English fluently. Learning English has become more important in Slovenia, so you may be able to nab a job teaching English here in the city of Ljubljana. 

3. Czech Republic

As a country that ranks number 10 on the Global Peace Index, you can’t go wrong with this charming castle capital of the world. Those who love history and culture will revel in the sites here. The Czech Republic boasts more than 2,000 castles sprinkled across the country, and some have been standing since the Middle Ages. You’ll also find twenty monuments that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

If you’re interested in studying abroad or teaching abroad, you’ll want to “czech” out this country! Average living costs are around $350-$750 a month, which includes food and accommodation. Teachers can earn up to $1,300 a month, and many jobs usually provide accommodation and other benefits too.

4. Malaysia

When you mix together a low cost of living, a low crime rate, friendly people, and a warm climate, you’ll see why Malaysia meets many people’s expectations as the cheapest and safest place to live in the world. Malaysia is also a good choice for those who want to study abroad here with its high-quality education programs and affordable tuition rates.

silhouette of a person in a cave in malaysia

Students and travelers alike will find Malaysia to be well worth it.

Many students enjoy the miles-long beaches, rainforests, and cosmopolitan cities. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is less than $200 a month, and many students choose to live on campus to save money. If students are interested in staying in Malaysia for long periods, they’ll be delighted with straightforward, student-friendly visa options.

5. Costa Rica

The land of “la pura vida” is an adventurer’s paradise where you can surf, snorkel, and zipline to your heart’s delight. Costa Rica is one of the cheapest, safest places to live in the world with reasonable rents around $500 a month and a fairly safe environment. The tropical climate, good health care, and tasty ceviche also make Costa Rica an attractive place to live, especially for volunteers and teachers — you can stretch your budget pretty far.

Teachers can earn up to $1,000 a month with the right credentials and teaching placement. As one of the most sustainable countries in the world that attracts thousands of tourists every year, you’ll find plenty of volunteer opportunities in ecotourism, tree planting, and trail building.

6. Uruguay

Uruguay may be South America’s second-smallest country, but it’s chock full of things to see and do. Learn to dance the tango, enjoy the longest running Carnaval, and take a selfie with the Beach of the Fingers sculpture. The colonial sights of cathedrals, plazas, and palaces as well as the plentiful beaches and museums are sure to fill your days.

Uruguay also makes the list of cheap, safe places to live in the world thanks to being one of the safest countries in Latin America, and you can find reasonable rents as well. Many study abroad programs in Uruguay are budget-friendly, but a strong fluency in Spanish is necessary for university classes. Uruguay is in pretty high demand of English teachers with a TEFL certificate, and they can do well financially. 

7. Panama

Another Central American country that ranks well on the Global Peace Index while enjoying a moderately low cost of living is Panama, which makes it a favorite on the list for the cheapest and safest place to live in the world. Where else can you watch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean and set over the Pacific Ocean in the same country?

person surfing in panama

You won’t be lacking fun things to do in these cheap and safe places to live!

You can live fairly comfortably in Panama from $1,500-$2,500 a month. The universities draw international students from around the world with diverse program offerings, free tuition, and classes that are taught in English. You can also find lots of volunteer opportunities in Panama in the areas of health care, conservation, and human rights.

8. Vietnam

From the Buddhist pagodas to the bustling markets, Vietnam’s diverse offerings know no bounds. You can see everything from mountains to beaches to caves to tunnels all in one country. Vietnam makes the list as one of the cheap, safe places to live in the world because it ranks well on the Global Peace Index, and you can get by comfortably with a budget of $1,000 a month.

Many people come to Vietnam to teach English because the demand is high, and they can earn up to $2,000 a month with the right qualifications and job placement. Additionally, you can find a range of volunteer opportunities in education, women’s rights, and health care.

Use FundMyTravel to get you to your cheap and safe destination ASAP!

Have you chosen one of these cheap and safe places to live?! If you’re in need of startup costs, emergency travel funds, or general financial help, the best way to bulk up is with the help of FundMyTravel. Launch a campaign with FundMyTravel to get the word out and recruit help from your network to raise funds and achieve your travel dreams!

You’ll find that this dedicated platform comes with lots of free resources, helpful suggestions, and easy instructions to get started. Many wanderlusters before you have successfully used FundMyTravel to raise thousands of dollars, and you’ll find the online community would be happy to share tips.

These cheap and safe places to live are a game changer

person staring down a road in indonesia

Where will your pursuit of the cheapest, safest places to live in the world take you?

Whether you’re looking to study, teach, or volunteer, you’ll find many opportunities available in these cheap and safe places to live. Don’t fret — you can find cheap and safe places to live in the world on other continents too! However, the cost of living varies between cities and rural areas, and crime can happen anywhere at any time; it’s best to learn more about specific places you’re visiting in the country before arrival. 

The benefits you can gain from these countries include earning college credits, gaining skills for your resume, making lifelong friendships, making a difference, and more! Many programs can also help take care of the big things like accommodation and visas, and FundMyTravel can help cover program fees too. From adventures in the ocean to explorations at historic sites, you’ll have one-of-a-kind experiences in any one of these cheap and safe places to live in the world! 

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Sydney LutzThis article was written by Sydney Lutz. Growing up as an “army brat,” Sydney could not help but develop a thirst for traveling. She has visited all 50 states as well as England, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Sydney graduated with a master’s degree in public communication and technology in Colorado, and taught abroad for a year in Quito, Ecuador. Her favorite things to do include studying Spanish, practicing yoga, and travel writing.