Money

How Long Can You Live In These 10 Overseas Cities For $10,000?

Between remembering to renew your passport, quitting your job and applying for a visa, the various things you need to get done before leaving for an extended trip abroad can be overwhelming. Another thing to add to your list is compiling a budget — a dollar can go a long way in countries like Indonesia, but heading to the US or Europe can make a big old dent in your bank account pretty quickly.

We’ve calculated how long you can live in several different countries from Hong Kong to Marrakech to Toronto using $10,000 as a benchmark, to make your research a little easier.

The method

We’ve chosen a popular city from each country, and found the average nightly price of a bed in a hostel close to the city centre using hostels.com. We’ve then added daily living expenses: three meals in inexpensive restaurants, one beer and a return public transport trip, plus admission to a popular tourist attraction once a week. We’ve also taken into account the country’s tipping practices.

All prices are in Australian dollars. This is a stay that is somewhere between a backpacking trip and a mid-range one. You could save money by buying food from a supermarket or street vendor rather than eating out, and you may want to visit more than one tourist attraction a week, go shopping and drink or eat at more expensive or cheaper places. This is a very general guide and doesn’t include your flights to the destination.

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1 / 10

Toronto, Canada

Bed: $35/night
Meals: $15 each +15% tip = $51.75/day
Beer: $5.30 + $1 tip = $6.30
Transport: $5.86 (bus/train)
Tourist attraction (Royal Ontario Museum): = $17.15

Total: $709.27/ week

$10k will get you three and a half months in Toronto.

The Canadian dollar is pretty much on par with the Aussie dollar at the moment, meaning that the cost of living is fairly similar in both countries.

2 / 10

Kuta, Indonesia

Bed: $12/night
Meals: $4 each = $12
Beer: $3
Transport: $1 (back of a motorbike)
Tourist Attraction (Ubud Monkey Forest): $3.99

Total: $151.99/week

$10k equals about one year and three months – how’s the value for dollar on that one?

Even though Bali has become more expensive over the years thanks to its hordes of tourists, it’s still super cheap in comparison to economic powerhouses like the US and UK. You could stay a little less time and spend your time living in places like trendy Canguu or spiritually-minded Ubud, too.

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3 / 10

New York, USA

Bed: $75/night
Meals: $15 each + 15% tip = $51.75/day
Beer: $5.41 + $1 tip = $6.41
Transport: $7.84 (subway)
Tourist attraction (Museum of Modern Art): $32.68

Total: $1,019.68/week

$10k will get you about two and a half months in the Big Apple.

New York is notoriously expensive, and with the Australian dollar continuing to weaken a visit can hit the pocket hard. Luckily it’s relatively easy to find a cheap meal in the Big Apple, so at least you can save on food. 

4 / 10

London, UK

Bed: $33/night
Meals: $18/meal + 10% tip = $59.40
Beer: $6.62
Transport: $8.10 (underground)
Tourist Attractions (Tower of London): $42.22

Total: $792.06/week

$10k will see you through a longer stay than NYC, at about three months in LDN.

Like New York, London is known for being mighty expensive. Most major museums and art galleries are free though, so make the most of London’s amazing culture on not much dime. 

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5 / 10

Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Bed: $20/night
Meals: $6.54/meal + 10% tip = $21.60
Beer: $2.61
Transport: 90 cents (subway)
Tourist Attractions (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires): $8.92

Total: $342.69/week

$10k is seven sweet months and one week (29 weeks) in Buenos Aires.

South America is known for being perfect for those travelling on the cheap. And while it’s still economical compared to European and North American cities, more developed nations like Argentina are becoming more expensive thanks to a growing middle class.

6 / 10

Mexico City, Mexico

Bed: $14/night
Meals: $5.74/meal + 15% tip = $19.80/day
Beer: $1.68
Transport: 72 cents (metro)
Tourist Attractions (Museo Frida Kahlo) = $8.60

Total: $262/week

$10k is nine and a half taco-filled months (38 weeks).

Like much of Central and South America, Mexico is bang for your buck, even in major cities. With its great location smack between the US and the rest of Latin America, Mexico City is a great base to explore the Americas.

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7 / 10

Hong Kong

Bed: $23/night
Meals: $10/meal = $30/day
Beer: $6.29
Transport: $16.86 (rail)
Tourist Attraction (Ngong Ping 360): $21.92

Total: $554.95/week

$10k is four and a half months (18 weeks) in Hong Kong.

As the second most expensive Asian city, while Hong Kong doesn’t come cheap, it is a super-fascinating collision of east and west that’s more than worth your money.

8 / 10

Berlin, Germany 

Bed: $33/night
Meals: $12.26/meal + 5% tip = $38.61
Beer: $3.15
Transport: $7.88 (rail)
Tourist Attractions (Pergamon Museum): $17.51

Total: $595.99

$10k gives you four solid months of attempting to get into Berghain.

Berlin is renowned as a haven for bohemians and artists thanks to its relatively low cost of living compared to the rest of developed Western Europe. More recently, prices have gone up as the city has become increasingly gentrified, but it’s still relatively affordable.

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9 / 10

Paris, France

Bed: $35/night
Meals: $18.97/meal = $56.91
Beer: $5.47
Transport: $5.54
Tourist Attractions (The Louvre): $21.88

Total: $742.32

$10k means three months and a week of that classic Parisian lifestyle.

Paris isn’t known for being easy on the wallet, but there are bargains to be had if you look hard enough. And why not splurge? You’re in the City of Lights, after all.

10 / 10

Marrakech, Morocco

Bed: $8/night
Meals: $4.02/meal = $12.06
Beer: $4.02
Transport: $8.04 (bus)
Tourist Attractions (Palais Bahia): $1.46

Total: $226.30

$10k is a solid stint in Marrakech at 11 months.

While still more expensive than many other African countries, Morocco is a bargain – particularly considering its proximity to Europe – and the second cheapest city on this list after Kuta.

As you would expect, some countries are much cheaper to live in as a traveller than others. Where you choose to go and for how long depends on your priorities, and what you hope to achieve by living in another country. But whether you’re spending two months in New York, or more than a year in Bali, there’s much to be learnt from any extended stay abroad.


Che-Marie Trigg is a freelance writer and full-time subeditor. Her work has appeared in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Collective Hub and GoPlaces with Toyota magazines among others, as well as on websites like Broadsheet and Junkee. Follow her on Instagram @chemariet.