Author Topic: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun  (Read 23170 times)

tmoneyearlyretiree

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I traveled a bunch in the past six months. Been to around 35 countries since my "early retirement." There are a bunch more places I want to go in the next five years or so and thought I'd ask the community, what country is the best combo of cheap, safe, and fun in the world? My top three would be

1) Ukraine
2) Montenegro
3) Nicaragua

would love to hear your top or top 3, with explanation too if you want

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 10:30:43 AM »
...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

dougules

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 10:40:03 AM »
Don't know much about Eastern Europe, but Nicaragua is definitely fun and really cheap.  Nice beaches and Lake Nicaragua/Ometepe is beautiful.  Granada is also a cool little colonial city.  I missed out on "Volcano surfing" and on the little islands near Granada (Las Isletas).  Both of those are supposed to be really cool, too. 

I don't think Nicaragua is quite as safe as Eastern Europe, but I think safety is more about educating yourself, asking the locals, and staying aware of your surroundings.  That applies no matter which of the countries you pick.  And if you're worried about safety, you should worry about buses and taxis more than crime.  Traffic accidents may not sound as scary as some bad guy with a gun, but it's the mundane things that will get you. 

Weather is pretty hot in Nicaragua, too, so that's something to consider. 

...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

Only a small part of Ukraine is dangerous.  It's like not going to Florida because Detroit is dangerous. 

honeybbq

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 10:43:04 AM »
Hmmm, so far Argentina would be probably one of the tops of my list considering the dollar is so strong there - it's been awhile since I was there, but the exchange rate was about 3:1 when I was there, so essentially everything was 66% off as far as I could tell.


tmoneyearlyretiree

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 11:25:48 AM »
...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

Yeah that's why it's so cheap is because the rich tourists have a misconception as to the danger there in the western half of the country. I went to Lviv and Kiev a year ago, my brother is there right now.

Search Lviv on hotels.com. I typed in a query for tonight and found a 5 star hotel in the center of town for $54 a night, just 60 min away from the border of Poland, a NATO member. Don't think Russia will try anything there. Beautiful city too.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 12:20:48 PM »
Hmmm, so far Argentina would be probably one of the tops of my list considering the dollar is so strong there - it's been awhile since I was there, but the exchange rate was about 3:1 when I was there, so essentially everything was 66% off as far as I could tell.

Argentina is NOT safe. A few things I learned from a good friend of mine who relocated there to take over his families business.

.......inflation is RAMPANT
As a result the official exchange rates are RARELY honored
Crime is RAMPANT (he got carjacked at gunpoint by a few teenagers last year)
There is a scary political/economic climate that has many Argentinians on the edge of their seat

JustTrying

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 09:57:50 PM »
Thailand. Just went for the first time this year, and wanted to buy some land on the beach to retire in. Then found out that foreigners can't buy land, only condos. I'm not a condo person.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2016, 11:02:11 PM »
Oh fun question!

I would say Greece. It's my favourite country by far and not as expensive as you would think.

dougules

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2016, 10:31:51 AM »
I just now saw that you're looking for our top three aside from info on yours.

Out of the ones I've visited, I would say my favorites are

- India - There is so much life in India.  You will never ever be bored.  It's also so big and diverse that it's more like a continent than a single country.  And you aren't going to find a country cheaper than India.  Plus, the food is the best I have ever had.   Don't go if you're the kind of person that likes somewhere low key, though, because India is definitely not. 

- Mexico - seriously underrated.  The landscape is amazing, and the mix of Indigenous and European culture is fascinating.  Like India, it's a big country that has a lot of options geographically.  It's also probably the single most underrated food destination in the world.  The peso is way down, so now is a great time to go price-wise.  And yes, I know Mexico is not the safest country in the world, but you really can't generalize on this for such a big country.  Some parts of Mexico are very peaceful despite what's going on in Nuevo Laredo or Guerrero or wherever. 

Out of the places I haven't been to, my top 3 are

Indonesia
Sri Lanka
Rwanda

carlo319

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2016, 10:54:13 AM »
Philippines, as of now, is still not qualified
to be in the top of the list of combo of cheap, safe and fun

but if you intend to visit Singapore / Hong Kong / Bangkok,
here are the 3 places worth visiting, with direct flights from the cities mentioned:

1.  Boracay (Kalibo airport) - beach, nightlife, wide selection of international cuisine
2.  Palawan (Puerto Princesa airport) island hopping, laid back islands and beaches
3.  Subic Bay Freeport Zone (Clark airport) - jungle, sea, nightlife


Lyssa

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2016, 11:10:20 AM »
The Baltic states are nice, safe and cheap.

Interesting for anyone not caring for tropical beaches.

MandalayVA

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2016, 11:22:23 AM »
Oh fun question!

I would say Greece. It's my favourite country by far and not as expensive as you would think.

Yeah, there's just that tiny problem of the historically unstable government.  ;)

dougules

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2016, 01:40:11 PM »
Oh fun question!

I would say Greece. It's my favourite country by far and not as expensive as you would think.

Yeah, there's just that tiny problem of the historically unstable government.  ;)

I don't think that's really going to affect the casual tourist unless you go somewhere with a bunch of protests.  It actually works somewhat in your favor since it scares away all the other tourists and gives you less competition.  You can get deals and still help out an economy that really needs it. 

TrMama

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2016, 01:52:35 PM »
Following. My DH's FIRE plans include permanently moving to a warmer, cheaper country. I'm not sold on the idea yet, but if we can find the trifecta of warm, safe and cheap I may consider it.

dougules

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2016, 02:05:06 PM »
Following. My DH's FIRE plans include permanently moving to a warmer, cheaper country. I'm not sold on the idea yet, but if we can find the trifecta of warm, safe and cheap I may consider it.

I'm on the other side of that coin.  I'm wanting to move somewhere in Latin America post-FIRE, but I'm afraid my DH won't take to it.  He says he's ok with it, but we'll see.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2016, 02:06:40 PM »
I mean, compared to some countries, parts of the USA are cheap, safe and fun. You can get by in CO or UT and have a super awesome lifestyle like MMM (just stay away from the ritzy mountain towns and certain areas of Boulder/Denver), or you could be in a different kind of paradise in FL for pretty cheap (not my cuppa tea due to humidity, but people like it there).

If I weren't married, I'd move to Mexico at retirement. Perhaps 50/50 time spent between Puebla and Playa del Carmen (for a taste of old school colonial Mexico along with laid-back beachfront fishing town Mexico). Both are pretty safe from my experience.

dougules

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2016, 02:25:45 PM »
I mean, compared to some countries, parts of the USA are cheap, safe and fun. You can get by in CO or UT and have a super awesome lifestyle like MMM (just stay away from the ritzy mountain towns and certain areas of Boulder/Denver), or you could be in a different kind of paradise in FL for pretty cheap (not my cuppa tea due to humidity, but people like it there).

If I weren't married, I'd move to Mexico at retirement. Perhaps 50/50 time spent between Puebla and Playa del Carmen (for a taste of old school colonial Mexico along with laid-back beachfront fishing town Mexico). Both are pretty safe from my experience.

It's not quite as much about cost to me since we're going to save up to Tennessee-level FIRE to not get "stuck" in Latin America.  Parts of the USA are cheap and safe, yes, but all the fun parts to me are crazy expensive and/or freezing cold.  I want to live where there's always something happening and where a car is completely unnecessary.  Maybe I'm crazy, but I really like Mexico City. 

Rubic

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2016, 03:15:16 PM »
The list keeps changing, but I'm thinking:
  • Ecuador
  • Croatia
  • Morocco
Cost of travel will be taken care of by credit card points/miles, which will also cover some hotel stays, though most AirBnB lodging rates in these areas falls below my current rent expense.

I know OP limited us to 3 countries, but since I haven't decided on the last two, honorable mentions for:
  • Bulgaria
  • Uruguay

tmoneyearlyretiree

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2016, 03:23:55 PM »
Bulgaria is really nice if you stay away from the casinos and the strip club bars. Heard a sad story of a young Japanese guy that got extorted by the Russian mob at one of the strip clubs in Sofia. They threatened to beat the crap out of him if he didn't cough up 2000 euros. That said, if you stay away from that scene Bulgaria is tremendous, and I was just in the Sofia area.

Rwanda is a neat choice. I'd saw Mexico is fun too anywhere south or east of Mexico City.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2016, 07:14:10 PM »
I am in agreement about Mexico. I spent 8 months there working and traveling and had the opportunity to see many towns. My favourites towns are Puerto Escondido a laid back surfer town and San Cristóbal, a town full of beauty and culture.

Rubic

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2016, 08:05:43 PM »
Bulgaria is really nice if you stay away from the casinos and the strip club bars. Heard a sad story of a young Japanese guy that got extorted by the Russian mob at one of the strip clubs in Sofia. They threatened to beat the crap out of him if he didn't cough up 2000 euros. That said, if you stay away from that scene Bulgaria is tremendous, and I was just in the Sofia area.

Since I'm not into strip clubs or casinos, I'd probably be safe in Sofia.  However, I was actually considering Plovdiv, because I have a Bulgarian friend who lives not far from the city.  (My friend considers Sofia especially corrupt and refuses to go there -- though I'd be likely to visit the safer areas.)


arebelspy

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2016, 03:53:09 AM »
Following!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Secretly Saving

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2016, 06:50:38 AM »
Are we talking for retirement or just to visit?

For retirement: I'm dividing by region and picking up to three that I'd consider good options for the region.  (I haven't traveled in Eastern Europe so I left that area out.)

Western Europe: Spain, Portugal, Ireland

Central America: Belize or Nicaragua

South America: Ecuador or Colombia

Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia

Also on my list is the US Commonwealth option:  Northern Marianas Islands.



 






NinetyFour

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2016, 08:11:20 AM »
Posting to follow...

MandalayVA

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2016, 10:38:31 AM »
Oh fun question!

I would say Greece. It's my favourite country by far and not as expensive as you would think.

Yeah, there's just that tiny problem of the historically unstable government.  ;)

I don't think that's really going to affect the casual tourist unless you go somewhere with a bunch of protests.  It actually works somewhat in your favor since it scares away all the other tourists and gives you less competition.  You can get deals and still help out an economy that really needs it.

When the "bunch of protests" gets big, as happens with Greece, yeah, it affects the casual tourist. 

Then again, I'm going to Great Britain and France in September.  GB's freaking out about Brexit and ISIS seems to like France.  There but for the grace go I ...

SimplyMarvie

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2016, 11:04:10 AM »
Romania!

Strangely perpetually overlooked; the Eastern Europeans consider it Balkan and ignore it, but the Balkans consider it Eastern European and too big for it's britches, and ignore it too. An amazingly gorgeous language that is as close as you will ever get to spoken vulgar Latin, a country that looks like Middle Earth, caves, forests, castles, orchards, mountains, hiking, a to-die-for music scene, a "foodie" scene that is less about going back to the old ways as it is celebrating the ways that have never changed, fastest internet in Europe, and a populace that is warm, friendly, beautiful, educated and has a great droll, dry, sense of humor that I adore.

Beats the pants off Bulgaria and Ukraine. :)

Choices

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2016, 11:46:20 AM »
Another vote for Thailand! Super-cheap once you're there, I always felt totally safe, and there's tons of cool stuff to do. Bonus: amazing street food. Anything you want on a stick.

MakeSmarterDecisions

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2016, 11:56:47 AM »
Following too! 

potm

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2016, 07:13:08 AM »
Following!

FIREby35

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2016, 08:14:44 AM »
My wife and I have spent a lot of time in Mexico. We lived in Mexico City for a year. Mexico City is huge. People are always worried it is dangerous, but that is like saying New York City or Chicago is 100% dangerous. In Mexico City you can stay in their really nice neighborhoods where movie actors and politicians live for $1500 a month. You can find nice safe neighborhoods for less. Mexico City has world class museums, theatre, restaurants, everything. A movie ticket cost like $2, the subway costs 15 cents and you can take a 30 minute taxi ride for $5. Even the he expensive restaurants cost a fraction of some overpriced American chain like Olive Garden! Lastly, if you need suits or other expensive clothing like that (I do, I am an attorney) you can buy them for way, way less in Mexico City. A nice, wool suit tailored to fit costs $100. I love Mexico City and have plans to return.


We also spend time in Zihuatanejo (Pacific Coast). This is a small town of approximately 50,000 people. It is touristy without being a resort. Lots of great, affordable restaurants. Fresh avocados, mango, blackberries, strawberries and other fruit from the market for super cheap. Fresh daily fish from the ocean. We take our entire family (Wife and three kids). A nanny for 8 hours a day costs 400 pesos (right now, that's like $25). We paid $150 pesos (approx $7.50) for hour long swim lessons for our three kids (all under five years old).  We got a local photographer to take family pictures and give us all the digital prints for $1,000 pesos ($50). This was a really good photographer, btw.

I also recommend the colonial cities of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. It will remind you that Mexico has a really cool mix of Indigenous, European and colonial history (which you see everywhere but especially in Mexico City and other major colonial towns).

Anyway, we are taking a 3 month sabbatical this year (our first taste of FIRE, we are about half way to our number). We will be using airline miles to get there and then slow traveling through Mexico. Our expenses will be lower in Mexico even with eating out and other splurges just do to the exchange rates and all that. Feel free to ask anything you need to know about Mexico.


DINKs

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2016, 09:21:21 PM »
I have visited over 30 countries as well.
All have their own reasons why they are so great, but I will give you my favorite out of the ones I've visited so far.

South Korea- Safe, always entertaining, great food, and amazing public transportation.
Romania- Cheap! Amazing meals at fine restaurants for next to nothing. Never felt unsafe there.
Ireland- Friendliest people on Earth. Great vibes and delicious beer.

I could tell you a million things about all the countries I've been to.

aspiringnomad

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2016, 10:11:39 PM »
Have been to 40ish countries and agree with Thailand, Portugal, and Mexico, particularly the smaller towns. Would add Estonia as well. The problem with some of the "cheaper" developing countries is that in recent years the touristy parts of these countries have gotten really expensive to the point where they're nearly on par with countries that are a bit safer and have more infrastructure (such as those I listed). And the nontouristy parts of those countries often don't have the infrastructure many here would be looking for in a place to settle down. Nicaragua is a decent example of this, IMO. Such countries are still certainly worth visiting, and perhaps even settling in, but it's something to keep in mind when planning where to FIRE.

Tom Bri

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2016, 10:20:58 PM »
Choose any two of the three options! No Latin American country is safe by US standards. They all have violent crime/murder rates about like Detroit, which Americans hardly consider a safe city. Ditto for most SE Asian countries, except Singapore or Hong Kong. Cheap, fun, and rather dangerous.
And yes, I have lived and worked and vacationed in Latin America and in Asia.

goatmom

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2016, 06:21:33 AM »
Are we talking for retirement or just to visit?

For retirement: I'm dividing by region and picking up to three that I'd consider good options for the region.  (I haven't traveled in Eastern Europe so I left that area out.)

Western Europe: Spain, Portugal, Ireland

Central America: Belize or Nicaragua

South America: Ecuador or Colombia

Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia

Also on my list is the US Commonwealth option:  Northern Marianas Islands.

I thought Ireland was really expensive.  I rented a house there two years ago in a non-touristy area. The groceries were very pricey.  Gas was expensive.  Housing not so expensive.  Maybe things have changed.  But it was fun and safe!!

lemanfan

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2016, 06:38:36 AM »
Thailand. Just went for the first time this year, and wanted to buy some land on the beach to retire in. Then found out that foreigners can't buy land, only condos. I'm not a condo person.

I understand that the current solution to this is a long term lease of a plot of land with a house on it.  Others create a thai corporation that will own the house.  Get a thai lawyer before you committ any major sums...  Laws will change over time.

researcher1

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #35 on: July 05, 2016, 12:04:47 PM »
...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

Yeah that's why it's so cheap is because the rich tourists have a misconception as to the danger there in the western half of the country. I went to Lviv and Kiev a year ago, my brother is there right now.

Search Lviv on hotels.com. I typed in a query for tonight and found a 5 star hotel in the center of town for $54 a night, just 60 min away from the border of Poland, a NATO member. Don't think Russia will try anything there. Beautiful city too.

It appears Poland and NATO are not as confident as you...

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-biggest-threat-global-security-says-poland-471620
http://sputniknews.com/world/20160704/1042418443/russia-poland-border.html
http://blogs.wsj.com/brussels/2016/06/10/poland-seeks-nato-help-to-close-defense-gap-it-fears-russia-might-exploit/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/politics/nato-battalions-poland-baltics-russia/


researcher1

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #36 on: July 05, 2016, 12:12:53 PM »
...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

Only a small part of Ukraine is dangerous.  It's like not going to Florida because Detroit is dangerous.

No.  It's not like that at all!

The correct analogy would be...
"It's like not going to Florida because Detroit has been invaded by Russia."

afuera

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2016, 01:10:42 PM »
Posting to follow! There are too many places I have yet to see.

GreenEggs

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2016, 03:37:36 PM »
following  :)

norabird

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #39 on: July 05, 2016, 08:33:45 PM »
I was thinking of Nica too! Or Mexico in the yucatan. Peru, but I have to say I didn't love it like I did the other two named above. India!


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Filliteracy

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2016, 09:15:03 AM »
...Ukraine? The country at war with Russia?

Only a small part of Ukraine is dangerous.  It's like not going to Florida because Detroit is dangerous.

No.  It's not like that at all!

The correct analogy would be...
"It's like not going to Florida because Detroit has been invaded by Russia."

To be really nitpicky about this, assuming distance from a given conflict area is the best proxy for safety of said other area, an even more correct analogy would be not going to Florida because Kentucky "rebels" with weapons and supplies from Russia, aided by Russian special forces, were vying for "sovereignty" against USA's federal government.

Had to :)

honeybbq

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2016, 09:21:59 AM »
Hmmm, so far Argentina would be probably one of the tops of my list considering the dollar is so strong there - it's been awhile since I was there, but the exchange rate was about 3:1 when I was there, so essentially everything was 66% off as far as I could tell.

Argentina is NOT safe. A few things I learned from a good friend of mine who relocated there to take over his families business.

.......inflation is RAMPANT
As a result the official exchange rates are RARELY honored
Crime is RAMPANT (he got carjacked at gunpoint by a few teenagers last year)
There is a scary political/economic climate that has many Argentinians on the edge of their seat

Mhmm.
                       Argentina       USA
Murder rate   5.5              5   

Rape rate            8.5              27.3   3 times more than Argentina   

Total crimes   1.34 million     11.88 million   9 times more than Argentina

Total crimes per 1000   35.63     41.29   16% more than Argentina

There's lots more here:
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Argentina/United-States/Crime


It's a heck of a lot safer than living in the US, and I've been here most of my life.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 09:23:42 AM by honeybbq »

retiringearly

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2016, 09:28:15 AM »
For retirement, I have thought a lot about Ecuador.  You can find inexpensive real estate at the beach or in the mountains.  The recent earthquake made me think that renting is a better option than buying. 

JoJo

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2016, 03:03:46 PM »
I've been to over 80 countries and there are some that are quite liveable, at least for awhile:
* Ecuador - loved Quito (stayed for 7 months).  Heard good things about Cuenca
* Colombia - like the cities down the Andes.  Great festivals.
* Georgia - lovely country.  They recently changed the visa (used to be able to stay 360 of 365 days).  Relatively cheap flights to Europe.
* Thailand - stayed in Chang Mai for a month.  It's hot but there were good comforts
* Sri Lanka - Hill country was nice.  Food was great
* Philippines - lots of great beaches, but getting busy.

Cassie

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2016, 03:29:16 PM »
I hate the heat so any warm countries are out for me.  There are many countries I have not been to but  I like Poland for it's beauty, LCOL, friendly people and 4 seasons. Although, in the winter they burn coal so my asthma would probably not like that.  Actually I would not want to retire anywhere but in the US. However, it would be fun to spend a few months in one place.  I have friends that are spending a year traveling in Europe so are staying a month in each place.

Tom Bri

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2016, 07:50:13 PM »
Hmmm, so far Argentina would be probably one of the tops of my list considering the dollar is so strong there - it's been awhile since I was there, but the exchange rate was about 3:1 when I was there, so essentially everything was 66% off as far as I could tell.

Argentina is NOT safe. A few things I learned from a good friend of mine who relocated there to take over his families business.

.......inflation is RAMPANT
As a result the official exchange rates are RARELY honored
Crime is RAMPANT (he got carjacked at gunpoint by a few teenagers last year)
There is a scary political/economic climate that has many Argentinians on the edge of their seat

Mhmm.
                       Argentina       USA
Murder rate   5.5              5   

Rape rate            8.5              27.3   3 times more than Argentina   

Total crimes   1.34 million     11.88 million   9 times more than Argentina

Total crimes per 1000   35.63     41.29   16% more than Argentina

There's lots more here:
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Argentina/United-States/Crime


It's a heck of a lot safer than living in the US, and I've been here most of my life.

Hmm. Numbers fight. This source says otherwise:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
Argentina 7.6/100,000
US 3.9/100,000
Canada and Chile are the only New World countries with a lower murder rate than the US, as near as I can tell from this chart.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2016, 08:41:14 PM »
Yeah I've been to chile 10x over last decade including a six month stint in Santiago. It is not dangerous at all if you are a savvy person used to being in urban environments. Perhaps if one came from a suburb or rural area Santiago could be scary. But I look and sound like a Gringa even though I am fluent and the worst that happened was being pick pocketed which is such a small matter it's barely with mentioning. That said it ain't cheap.

Kaminoge

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2016, 01:16:39 PM »
Hmmm cheap, safe and fun... it's fascinating seeing what countries people think hit the mark. There's nothing in Western Europe I'd consider cheap (that's just in response to the listings of Portugal, Spain and Ireland).

I guess it depends whether you want to live there or just visit. For example I'd say Ukraine is great for a visit (except for their ridiculously high visa fees for me) but I wouldn't want to live there (the weather... urrrrghhhh) and I certainly wouldn't want to be earning in local currency. But if you were seriously thinking about living in countries obviously the visa situation would play a role.

But without over thinking it I'd say.

1) Bulgaria. I'm totally biased but I've lived all over the world and I love this place (I've been here 3 years now). Cheap cost of living (which ruins you for most other places) but still with easy access to Western Europe. Totally safe (I live in Sofia and I feel as safe here as I did in Tokyo which is where my last job was and certainly a hell of a lot safer than I do in Australia when I visit). Fun if you're in to outside stuff (mountains, beaches, climbing, skiing, hiking...) and as far as I know fun if you're into more of a party culture (not my thing but others seem to like it)

2) Albania. I don't know why but when I visited Tirana I just had this immediate feeling of being at home and felt like I could live there. It's definitely cheap. Felt safe and I imagine it could be a lot of fun. I only visited as a tourist though but I could see myself living there.

3) China. Definitely getting less cheap but I feel like it is still worth a mention. Safe (if you ignore what you're breathing) and fun if you love surprises and craziness.

A question to the OP. Why Montenegro? I'm just interested because if I was ranking the Balkan States that would go at the bottom of my list.

ohsnap

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2016, 02:35:45 PM »
My wife and I have spent a lot of time in Mexico. We lived in Mexico City for a year. Mexico City is huge. People are always worried it is dangerous, but that is like saying New York City or Chicago is 100% dangerous. In Mexico City you can stay in their really nice neighborhoods where movie actors and politicians live for $1500 a month. You can find nice safe neighborhoods for less. Mexico City has world class museums, theatre, restaurants, everything. A movie ticket cost like $2, the subway costs 15 cents and you can take a 30 minute taxi ride for $5. Even the he expensive restaurants cost a fraction of some overpriced American chain like Olive Garden! Lastly, if you need suits or other expensive clothing like that (I do, I am an attorney) you can buy them for way, way less in Mexico City. A nice, wool suit tailored to fit costs $100. I love Mexico City and have plans to return.
...
Anyway, we are taking a 3 month sabbatical this year (our first taste of FIRE, we are about half way to our number). We will be using airline miles to get there and then slow traveling through Mexico. Our expenses will be lower in Mexico even with eating out and other splurges just do to the exchange rates and all that. Feel free to ask anything you need to know about Mexico.

I agree with your assessment of Mexico City.  We loved our visit there last year, and hope to return soon.

Your upcoming trip sounds fantastic; are you going to blog about it?

thd7t

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Re: Best country in the world for combo of cheap, safe, and fun
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2016, 03:00:15 PM »
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