Travel Expert's Practical Advice for Moving Abroad

Kerry Dexter's picture

What would it be like to move to a new country, not to visit but to live there, to relocate your life?

Travel Expert's Practical Advice for Moving Abroad

Maybe that's a long time plan you are researching. Perhaps it's a passing dream you've thought of now and then. Maybe A Better Life for Half the Price, the title of Tim Leffel's book, has you curious.

Wherever you fall on that line of interest, Leffel has a lot of useful information and practical advice for you.

He has good qualifications to offer advice and information on the subject, too. A world traveler who has lived in several countries himself, Leffel is also a journalist who is an expert on the economics and practical aspects of traveling, moving, and living abroad.

He brings those skills to A Better Life for Half the Price. As he was working on this revised and updated second edition of the book, the pandemic closed in, limiting his own research travel. He turned that into a benefit, reaching out his wide network of well-informed people on the ground in countries across the world for added perspective and information.

A Better Life for Half the Price: How to Thrive on Less Money in the Cheapest Places to Live

The book is arranged broadly in three sections. There is an introduction along with ten chapters of advice and opinion setting up why and how you may want to use the country specific chapters which follow. Practical points and examples of how moving to another country may slash your bills (and ways it may not) are part of the discussion. There are points to help you evaluate whether moving abroad is a good course for you, and why it may not be. The importance of making a trial run to places you're considering—and what to keep in mind when you plan that—are included, too.

In a chapter called Where Should I Move To? which leads into the second, country-specific chapter section, Leffel writes: "I'm going to tell you stories, introduce you to some people living in these places, and give you a sense of the pros and cons of each destination...This book is an idea generator and a way for you to think through your future, cheaper life."

An idea generator it is, with information on countries as varied as Honduras, Albania, India, Mexico, Portugal, Ecuador, Thailand, well more than a dozen chapters in individual countries, as well as a chapter including shorter pieces on other places to consider.

Guanajuato plazas. From Open Your Eyes! A Better Life for Half the Price: How to Thrive on Less Money in the Cheapest Places to Live
Guanajuato plazas

About evaluating the countries, Leffel writes "Just picking a spot on the globe that's cheap is easy. Picking one where you'll actually want to live for an extended period is much more difficult...I want to guide you to a place that is a bargain but is a pleasant and stimulating place to settle down in as well, maybe even a place where you would raise a family." The decisions, he reminds, are yours. What he offers is a solid beginning toward making them, as well as a way to compare many popular and some less well known expat destinations in a number of aspects.

Each country specific chapter is headed by a short note on pros and cons, followed by a narrative about the place, and sections on food and drink, transportation, health care, other costs (utilities, movie tickets, school fees, for example), what the visa process is like for the country, downsides, and a note about places, usually online, to look for more information.

All of this is discussed through the dual perspectives of how much things cost and what that has to do with quality of life. How these things will align with your own budgets and plans are for you to figure out, of course; Leffel and the people he interviews give you plenty of practical tips and ideas about how to begin thinking about those things. Though it's focused on readers based in the US, much of the information will be useful to those based elsewhere also.

Argentina vineyard. From Open Your Eyes! A Better Life for Half the Price: How to Thrive on Less Money in the Cheapest Places to Live
Argentina vineyard

The third part of the book comprises chapters that'll help you consider your decisions further, including a chapter with ideas on ways of working and making a living, one on considering schools and other aspects of moving a family abroad, and another on something you may not have thought of: how to handle the resistance you will face once you make a decision to move from your home country. There's also a section on further resources, and a reminder that none of this is legal advice.

The style of A Better Life for Half the Price is straightforward, focused, and at times opinionated, which, given the subject matter, comes across as more helpful than not.

There is a wealth of good country-specific information, presented through the lenses of costs and practical issues. That is a focus rarely found in books about moving abroad. These ideas inform the chapters on general considerations, too. Of course, you will focus on material about countries of most interest to you, but I'd suggest reading every chapter. You are likely to pick up useful tips and ideas to think about along the way.

Wherever you are in your ideas about moving abroad, A Better Life for Half The Price (revised 2nd edition) makes a good read, an interesting place to begin and continue your research, and a fine idea generator.

You can keep up with Tim Leffel's ideas at his site:


Disclaimer: Kerry Dexter writes for another of Tim Leffel's sites, Perceptive Travel. Here at Wandering Educators, at Perceptive Travel, and elsewhere, her opinions are her own.



Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.

All photos except adapted first photo courtesy and copyright Tim Leffel, used with permission. First photo credit via pixabay.