Travel Overseas

International Living’s editors and correspondents travel the world searching out the best retirement destinations. They clock up a lot of air miles and in their time on the road (and in the air) they have found the best ways to travel for less in interesting places overseas.

Maybe you’d shop in chic markets in Paris…golf on Ireland’s famous links…have a suit custom tailored in Bangkok (and delivered to your hotel)…

Well, good news: You could afford all of that…even on a modest budget.

It doesn’t take a fortune to enjoy a rich travel experience abroad. You simply need to know where and how to do it. And we can show you.

The travel postcards below will give you new ideas about places to visit…and live. Find out more about ways you can save money when you travel, where to find the best hotels in the world at affordable prices, get some insider knowledge to take you off the beaten track and read about travel ideas that won’t cost the earth, but will make you feel like a millionaire.

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5 Great Towns in Rural Italy

I love Italy. It’s the country that brought us Michelangelo, pizza, and the concept of la dolce vita (literally translated as “the sweet life”). It’s where you’ll find history-steeped Rome with its special winter artichoke dishes and its well-kept ancient monuments…Venice with its air of mystery and its famous masquerade balls…and Florence with its art and culture and vineyard-covered surroundings.


3 Affordable Regions and Cities in France

Living in Paris is wonderful, but it’s not the cheapest place on earth. This came home to me recently when, after having a simple cup of coffee in a café, I got socked with a €6 bill. Almost 7 dollars, for a not-so-big cup of coffee. Argh. Not all of Paris is so exorbitant, of course.


My Favorite Beach Town in Thailand

The famous white powdery sands that stretch around the islands of Phuket and Kho Phi Phi in southern Thailand have attracted international tourists for decades. But on the Gulf coast, just four hours from Bangkok is where you’ll find my favorite Thai beach town…Hua Hin.


The Prettiest Beach Towns on Brazil’s Northeast Coast

A recent trip to Brazil’s Northeast coast was where I fell in love with this country. Culture…food…music…art…dance…beautiful weather, and beautiful people—it has it all. And I discovered two of my favorite Brazilian towns—Pôrto De Galinhas and Olinda. The towns are a 90-minute drive from one another, with the city of Recife (the capital of the state of Pernambuco) nestled between the two.


Burn Away the Old Year in Ecuador

Ecuadorians are famously fun-loving people, who party every bit as hard as they work. This is magnified during the winter holidays, when throngs of visitors from Quito descend on the Bahía-San VicenteCanoa corridor on the northern coast for their family vacation. Over the last few weeks of the calendar year, the broad sidewalks of Bahía’s malecón (boardwalk) fill with vendors.


Swim with Golden Jellyfish, Hidden Guatemala, and much more…

During the second Chinese Opium War, in the 1850s, a penniless teen named Cheong Fatt Tze fled from China to Southeast Asia. There he would make his fortune as a merchant. He became so wealthy that he earned the moniker of “Rockefeller of the East.” Tze owned many fine houses throughout Southeast Asia, but none was as extravagant as the Blue Mansion, on the tropical island of Penang off the coast of Malaysia. It’s a colossal beacon of 19th-century Chinese extravagance


Walk With History and Nature on Scotland’s Isle of Saints

Off the west coast of Scotland, in the Inner hebrides, lies a small island that looms large in Gaelic history and religion. If you love walking in the footsteps of legends, you’re an avid nature buff, or you’re seeking some peace and tranquility, a visit to the island of Iona is a very special experience. Only one mile wide and about four miles long, Iona sits alone in the cold north Atlantic. Even today you can only reach Iona by ferry from the Isle of Mull…


Tagaytay: Highland Haven in the Philippines

The road winds its way up tree-lined slopes. Here, the hustle and bustle of the Philippine capital, Manila, seems a world away. As you breathe in the cool mountain air, you can already feel the heat and humidity easing off. But it’s the scenery that leaves a lasting impression. Below you, the forested hills descend to a massive blue lake with small islands jutting from its basin. Rising from the lake’s center is a volcano, whose crater holds yet another small lake. There are views you can tire of… but this certainly isn’t one of them.


Europe’s Royal Beach Escapes

The Golden Age of Europe’s royal houses may be long over, but the Old world beach resorts where the continent’s aristocracy summered still cling to a fin de siècle grandeur… In these spots, you can enjoy urban luxuries as fine as the enticing, sandy beaches. Biarritz, on the southwest French coast, has attracted European royalty and jet-setters ever since Napoleon III and his Spanish-born empress, Eugénie, built a palace there in 1854.


Lakes, Castles, and Legends in Europe’s Secret Corner

Imagine a country with the Alpine landscapes of Switzerland, the mountaintop castles of France and Germany, an excellent foodie culture…and all with about half the tourists (and a fraction of the price) of Western Europe, even in so-called high season. Slovenia isn’t a place you hear about often. It’s one of those well-kept secrets—beloved by those who know it, but hidden away from the tourist masses. Even if you visit in high tourist season—July and August—the crowds are manageable. You can have whole castles, pretty hiking trails, and breathtaking gorges almost entirely to yourself. And with the dollar strong against the euro now this southern European nation of two million people is even better value.


A Slice of Bygone England on the Scilly Isles

The setting sun casts a glorious orange hue across the sky and sea as it sinks into the west. As you tuck into some fresh lobster caught just offshore, you recall the friendly seal that nibbled on your flipper during today’s dive. Dessert is a generous helping of thick, local ice cream followed by a walk on the golden-sand beach. Hard to believe you’re in England, of all places. We don’t associate Britain with secluded islands where peace and serenity abide, where warm weather pervades (at least in summer), and white-sand beaches lie unspoiled by throngs of tourists. But you’ll find all this on the Isles of Scilly, 28 miles off the coast of Penzance, Cornwall. (It’s the town on England’s southwest tip.)


Your Perfect Retirement in Southeast Asia

Here you can have the adventure of a lifetime…and the comforts of a truly pampered lifestyle for pennies on the dollar. You can get in on one of the world’s most attractive retirement programs (it’s easy to qualify) and enjoy money-saving tax breaks…obtain a long-term visa…and live on an island with world-class beaches and a great culinary and arts scene…where you can rent an ultra-modern, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for as little as $220 a month.


Rent in This Royal Italian City for $650 a Month

The Italian city of Monza isn’t usually on any tourist or expat must-see list…but it should be. It has all the charm of Italy, beautiful architecture, and great food. When I moved to Italy from the Midwest of the United States, I wanted a place that was charming, but that also had the amenities I’d need and wouldn’t put a strain on my finances. Luckily for me, Monza ticked all the boxes.


Stockholm: Sweden’s Eccentric and Cultured Capital

Stockholm has a well-developed café culture, and there’s no shortage of great eateries to choose from. After checking out the museums, I stopped off at Ersta Terrass on Fjällgatan, a cliff-top street from which you get great views of the city. Seated at my balcony table as the sun set on the shimmering waterfront, I marveled at one of the finest views of Stockholm. I had my fill of homemade bread, herrings, and capers, washed down with a generous glass or two (well, let’s call it three) of excellent wine.

Southeast Asia

The Inside Scoop on Southeast Asia’s Best Festivals

One of the most diverse regions on Earth, Southeast Asia is home to a myriad of different religions and cultures, many of which trace back thousands of years. And every year, the unique cultures of the Far East manifest themselves in a variety of colorful festivals, all free of charge, the likes of which you will find nowhere else on the planet. Add to this some of the world’s best beaches and street food, and you have every reason to stop by this neck of the woods.


Take a Camera to Paris and Earn

I love shopping with my daughter, Allison. I always come away with something terrific, at half the price I’d pay at a department store. So, when she graduated from university, I invited her to join me for a week in Paris. Since I discovered how much you can earn from travel photographs, I’ve turned it […]


Top 5 Activities To Do in Roatán

Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, is surrounded by the beautiful Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and also boasts a lush, verdant landscape above water. As you fly toward the island on a direct flight from the U.S. or Canada, you’ll notice how much of this paradise remains undeveloped. Natural beauty abounds on Roatán. Homes built on the gorgeous jungle-covered hillsides overlook the turquoise Caribbean water and even beachfront homes enjoy privacy and tranquility.


Explore Ecuador’s Wondrous Islands on a Budget

When my husband Mark said, “Let’s go to the Galapagos for your birthday,” I couldn’t help but laugh. The Galapagos Islands, after all, are one of the ecological treasures of the world—and have a price tag to match…or so I thought. But when we used my 58th birthday as an excuse for a five-day, four-night trip there I found out otherwise. The bill? $1,037 for the two of us, including airfare.


Chestnut Booze and a Failed Assassination

Many years ago, the Portuguese island of Madeira had a surplus of chestnuts. To make the most of this bumper crop before it went off, the creative locals used chestnuts in every conceivable dish, from soup and cake to bread and even liqueurs. And from November 1 to 2 each year, residents of the rural district of Curral das Freiras commemorate their ingenuity with the Festa da Castanha, or Chestnut Festival.


A Very Sinister Chapel…

It’s not so much the peeling paint or statues of winged angels that catch my eye in this ancient chapel…it’s the pillars of skulls holding them aloft. A church decorated with bones—thousands and thousands of human bones—might sound like a macabre monstrosity. But not so in the Czech town of Kutná Hora, where it takes pride of place among the locality’s other attractions.


Tour Phang Nga Bay like Bond and Picnic with Sun Bears

When 007’s speedboat cut through the waters of Phang Nga Bay in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, he was zipping past some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world. Today you can tour this southern Thailand gem yourself. But with dramatic rock formations, turquoise lagoons, floating villages, and a vast array of exotic wildlife to view, you’ll need the whole day to fully appreciate it and a speedboat to see it all.


The Falklands: Penguin Paradise in the South Atlantic

There are certain islands on almost everyone’s bucket list: Hawaii…Tahiti…the Falklands. The Falklands? Okay, maybe not. But if you happen to find yourself in the Atlantic Ocean, 300 miles east of Argentina’s Patagonia region, you’ll certainly enjoy a memorable visit to this isolated and unusual archipelago.


The Five Best Day Trips From Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, in the heart of northern Thailand, has become popular among expats like me for its low cost of living and many attractions. An ancient city with over 300 exquisite temples, it’s culturally rich, vibrant, and offers a wide variety of things to do. But don’t limit yourself to the city. While Chiang Mai proper can keep you busy with its many cafés, cultural events, bookshops, and expat hangouts, some of the best discoveries lie in the foothills beyond the historic city center…


Paradise Awaits You in the East

Don’t let Southeast Asia’s “exotic” reputation fool you. Yes, this part of the world is rich with color and unfamiliar culture. But what you may not realize is that Southeast Asia is also one of the easiest places for English-speaking expats to get “set up” and start living very, very well…for a small fraction of what a comparable lifestyle would cost at home.

Readers Rights

A Travel Writer’s Life…Everything You Dream Of

So, what’s happened to me in the past year since becoming a travel writer? Well, I’ve received the services of a butler…enjoyed a helicopter thrill ride…and called a best-selling author “neighbor.” Before travel writing, I thought these things only happened to people in the movies. Now, my dream-come-true is happening as we speak.


Sipping Cocktails on the Beach—And You Call This Work?

I’m sitting on the beach in Hopkins Village in Belize—mimosa in hand—staring out over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea trying to find the exact point where the clear blue sky meets the water. This friendly village is the heart of the Garifuna culture in Belize and my home for the next couple of days. There isn’t much on my to-do list…sunning, swimming, and a Garifuna drumming lesson with a local drummer.


Turn Your Travel Experiences Into an Income

Someone once asked me the most ridiculous thing I ever did as a travel writer. The list is long—very long—but the notion that I could communicate in Chinese was pretty ridiculous. The day’s plan was to explore the 1,000-year-old town of Yangmei, not far from Nanning. It sounded fascinating—a place of temples, lotus ponds, and architecture dating back to the Ming dynasty. The hotel in Nanning arranged a taxi to get me there and back, so it didn’t matter that I’d left the phrase book in my room.


Sail the World on Your Social Security

The place they now call home is a Cape Cod-style cottage on the hillside of a popular neighborhood. But this is a relatively recent development. For nearly two decades, they’ve been sailing around the world together. Years ago, they discovered that a sailing retirement was a lot easier (and cheaper) than they ever could have realized. And they didn’t need a vast amount of knowledge to get started.


Top 5 Healthiest Places in the World

Home to 4.4 million people, New Zealand and its awesome landscapes are admittedly a long way from North America. But as our winter is their summer, you could consider retiring here part-time. In a pollution-free environment, it’s much easier to embrace a healthy lifestyle.


Five Great Meals for Less Than $5 in Arequipa, Peru

Nestled in a majestic valley in Southern Peru flanked by three volcanos and the Peruvian Andes is Arequipa—a colonial-style city with an ideal spring-like climate and warm people, known as the gastro capital of Peru.


Mariachi, Beer, and a Silver Arrow

Being neighbors, the Dutch and the Germans have a natural rivalry—especially when it comes to beer. Each nation claims to brew the better pint. So while Germany’s Oktoberfest is better known, Amsterdam also celebrates its impressive beer heritage this October with the Bokbier Festival, a month-long celebration. Over 12,000 visitors will descend upon the Dutch city to sample more than 50 types of beer on tap.


The Best Curiosity Shop in Paris

Tripping over a tiger is a first for me. Thankfully, it didn’t seem perturbed. If you’ve been in Paris and done the same, I know where you were—up the stairs at Deyrolle. On Rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement, this store—if store is quite the word—is extraordinary. In business since 1831, Deyrolle is a cabinet of curiosities on the grand and gothic scale. Bats hang from the ceiling. Exotic beasts stare at you from every nook and cranny. An ape perches nonchalantly on a desk.


Cheapest Times to Fly, the World’s Largest Maze, and much more…

For any intrepid traveler, finding great deals on airfares is one of the best ways to save money as you travel. And fortunately, there’s an app on the market that can help you do just that. Hopper is a smartphone app (available in the Apple app store) that can tell you the cheapest time to fly to locations all around the world and find you the cheapest deals on airfare. Knowing the right time to book can save you up to 40% on airfare alone.


Sunset, Surfing, and Whales in Ecuador’s Laidback Beach Retreat

Although living in Cuenca, Ecuador, seems like a year-round vacation for me, it’s still nice to get away for a few days to explore other parts of this beautiful country. And one spot that’s well worth a visit is the small coastal village of Puerto López.


The World’s Best-Preserved Soviet City

Armenia is an ancient place. The world’s first Christian country, it’s home to soaring mountains, secret valleys and a warm and friendly people. Sure, it’s a bit out of the way, but it’s still one of the easiest countries to visit in the wild Caucasus region. The capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s most ancient cities—it dates back to the 8th century B.C.—and you’ll find a unique mix of artwork, architecture and some unforgettable kebabs.


Adventure in the Mountains of Bolivia

Located right at the heart of South America, Bolivia is famous for amazing natural settings, stunning wildlife, and intriguing archeological sites. And in one very special town, you have all this right on the doorstep: Samaipata.

Fund Your Life Overseas

Home Comforts That Fit in Your Pocket

Advances in the internet have changed so much about living or working abroad. My wife, Suzan, and I have seen it happen before our eyes. When we first moved abroad in 2001, “instant” messaging was just taking off. If you could get a decent internet connection (which was a much bigger “if” back then than now) you could type a message to someone and get a reply in just a minute or two…which was pretty much “instant” at the time. It was truly amazing for us and for our family and friends back home.


Lazy Living Among the Vineyards of France

After spending a crazy weekend in Paris decades ago, dashing madly from the Louvre to the Arc De Triomphe, with chaotic traffic and irate Parisians, I had no desire to return to France. That was until my husband Michael and I spent a few weeks at an award-winning vineyard in southern France. It was a far different experience than the chaos of Paris.


Rent For $390 a Month in a Poetry-Filled Spa Town

Trailing in the footsteps of tragic poets is one of my favorite pastimes. So after reading the words of a letter sent by Spain’s best-known poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, I had to visit Lanjaron. Lorca and a host of writers, musicians, and intellectuals spent the summers of the 1920s in this Andalusian spa town.


Castles, Gardens, Food Festivals…and a Paycheck at the End

One of my favorite things about Ireland is its festivals. Then, of course, there’s the castles…and the gardens…and the music…and the people… I started out by researching my Irish ancestry and now I’ve been guiding tours to the island for 18 years. It’s a natural calling for me and I picked it up really quickly. Anyone can do it.

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Your Chance to Retire Overseas Now

Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE RESEARCH REPORT on the most desirable —and cheapest— retirement havens available to you today.

Each day you'll learn about the best places to retire, travel, buy real estate and enjoy life overseas.

Enter your E-mail Address Below

We Value Your Privacy.