Living abroad for a long period of time is something many people dream about, but few people do. I think it´s because there is risk involved. For starters, it´s not guaranteed you will find work as a foreigner, so watching your bank account drain without the stability of monthly earnings can be very unsettling.
However, living abroad for cheap can and has been done. Ecuador, a lovely little country in South America is one of those places where you can live a very simple life for very cheap. I have met several people who have been living here for a long time on practically nothing. If you can afford to purchase your round trip ticket to Ecuador and back, then there a few ways you can live well on less than a thousand dollars for a six-month-period.
I joined WorkAway a year ago and have had incredible luck with finding amazing opportunities to volunteer in far-away places in exchange for accommodation and food. Ecuador has a lucrative coastline that flocks foreigners from all over the world. There are ample opportunities you can visit at WorkAway.Info in order to work a few hours a day helping with check ins, room cleaning and misc. duties in exchange for three meals a day and a room. The high season in Ecuador starts in December around the holidays and continues through February. Membership for a WorkAway account starts at around 20 dollars for individuals and if you are applying with a friend or a partner, it is 30 dollars for an annual membership -a small fee to pay for months of ¨free¨food and accommodation.
The food in Ecuador is cheap, especially along the coast. The national currency is the U.S dollar and you can pretty much find a plate of seafood with a heap of rice anywhere you go for just under three dollars. The local beer runs at about $1.50, and bottle of water is generally around .50 cents. As long as you stay away from the fancy ¨gringo¨ restaurants, you will be able to fill your belly with food for under $20 dollars a week.
The best advice I give people when looking to travel for an extended amount of time without wanting to spend a ton of money is to pick a place and stay put. Traveling, no matter how cheap it is, can be expensive. If you have worked out a volunteer/work exchange deal with a hostel in Ecuador, then your travel may limited . However, if you do get the chance to explore the many amazing places that Ecuador has to offer, transportation is fairly easy and cheap. A typical bus ride from the coast to major cities such as Quito and Quenca, costs around 10 dollars one way. You can find Backpacker hostels in these cities of interest for about $10 to $15 dollars a night that include a kitchen and a shared living space. Buses to and from smaller cities run at about .25 cents each way. Skip taxi rides, as they generally cost around a dollar or two to travel a very short distance. Public transport in major cities also runs at around .25 cents that will take you to all the major points of interest.
What other countries could you live in cheaply?? We want to know!