What are the cheapest and safest places to travel to and enjoy one’s retirement? Here are 12 you can consider for your retirement travels.
In this article:
Safest Places to Travel to During Retirement That Are Also Budget Friendly
How We Came up With Our List
Our list of the top 12 cheapest and safest places to visit for retirement was filtered based on two metrics.
Metric #1: Safety via the Global Peace Index (GPI)
The first metric is the Global Peace Index or GPI from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The annual index involves 163 countries that comprise practically the entire international population (99.7%).
The GPI tries to quantify something that’s challenging to express numerically: peace. Of which, there are two types: positive peace and negative peace.
What is positive peace? Positive peace refers to factors that foster and sustain peaceful societies such as structures, institutions, and attitudes.
What is negative peace? Negative peace refers to harmony – or peace – that results from the absence of violence.
The Global Peace Index focuses on measuring negative peace based on three factors:
- Current involvement in local and global conflicts
- Societal safety and security
These three factors are measured using 23 metrics or indicators.
Metric #2: Affordability Through the Cost of Living Index (CLI)
The second metric is the Cost of Living Index (CLI), which the website Numbeo.com computes. The CLI measures the general cost of living in different countries relative to New York City.
For example, a country that has a CLI score of 90 means the average living costs in that country is only 90% of New York’s cost of living. Another way of interpreting this score is that the average living costs in that country are 10% cheaper than in NYC.
Top 12 Cheapest and Safest Places to Travel During Retirement
Among the 163 countries in the GPI, Romania ranked as the 25th safest country in the world. It also has the lowest Cost of Living (CLI) score, making it the cheapest among our list of the best countries to travel to during retirement.
Those who love seaside retreats will appreciate Romania’s Black Sea Coast, which stretches for 45 miles and filled with resorts and recreational facilities. If you’re looking for a different spa experience, you can check out the mud baths and medical spas.
The country also boasts of rich culture and scenic countryside and mountainous areas. Some of the top tourist spots in Romania include its ski resorts, the Carpathian Mountains, the Transylvanian Alps, and the painted monasteries.
With a GPI of 1.607, Bulgaria was the 26th safest country for 2019. Its CLI score of 36.70 makes it the second cheapest country on our list.
Located along the western shores of the Balkan Sea, Bulgaria boasts of beautiful churches, scenic hiking spots, and gorgeous beaches. Some of its most prominent tourist spots include the Rila National Park, Central Balkan National Park, and the Nature Park Bulgarka.
Its CLI of 40.04 makes it the third-cheapest country to go to during retirement. Its GPI of 1.65 ranks it as the 29th safest country in 2019.
Like Romania, this central European country also lies along the coastline of the Baltic Sea. One of the country’s major draws is its vast and lovely countryside areas that continue to remain relatively pristine.
Some of its major tourist spots include the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Wieliczka Salt Mine
- Kalwaria Zebrzydowska
- Malbork Castle
- Białowieża National Park
Coming in at fourth place, Hungary has a CLI of 40.85. It was ranked as the 21st safest country in the world based on its GPI of 1.54.
If you’re into architecture, you’ll enjoy discovering the country’s capital, Budapest. This city is lined with historic architectural styles, ranging from Art Nouveau to Neo-Gothic.
For those who are less mobile, you’ll be happy to know that the city has seen improvements to accommodate visitors with limited mobility. These include adding better facilities for access, including ramps and elevators, for some of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Outside Budapest, some of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary include:
- The beautiful caves of Aggtelek
- Bükk, which forms part of the Carpathian Mountain Range
- Lake Balaton
Coming in at fifth place on our list, Malaysia has a CLI of 39.12. It ranked as the 16th safest country in the world in 2019 based on its GPI of 1.53.
This Southeast Asian country offers beautiful diversity, from modern cities to beautiful and lush nature scapes. Some of its top tourist destinations include its capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, the beautiful Tioman Island, and Penang Island.
It also helps that it’s a gateway to Singapore, too, which is one of the safest and most beautiful countries in the world.
Lithuania has a CLI of 44.28. Based on the latest GPI list, Lithuania’s the 38th safest country in the world.
The country boasts of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Curonian Spit and an archeological site called Kernavé. If you get tired from sightseeing and want to rejuvenate, Lithuania offers various spa treatments, ranging from the usual sauna to the unique open-air beer bath.
7. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has a CLI of 46.15 and is ranked the 10th safest country in the world, with a GPI of 1.375. Its most popular destination is its capital, Prague, which welcomed more than 5 million visitors from January to September 2019.
Within Prague, you’ll be spoilt for choices on things to see, such as the historical Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square to the modern “Dancing Building.” Outside Prague, some of its top tourist destinations include its spa towns, the Litomyšl Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the St. John Monastery, and the Karlštejn Castle.
Coming in at 8th spot among the cheapest and safest places to travel during retirement, Slovakia’s CLI is only 44.46. Based on the 2018 GPI list, it’s GPI of 1.55 ranks it as the 23rd safest country in the world.
Another Central European country, some of Slovakia’s top tourist draws include four UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- A small Carpathian village named Vikolinec
- Slovak Karst National Park
- The spa town of Bardejov
- The Spiš Castle
Its CLI of 48.43 puts Croatia at the 9th spot in our list of cheapest and safest places to travel during retirement. Its GPI of only 1.64 makes it the 28th safest place in the world in 2019.
Some of Croatia’s top tourist draws include the Plitvice National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Kornati National Park, and the Krka National Park.
With a CLI of 47.94, Latvia ranks as the 10th cheapest and safest place to travel during retirement. The 2019 GPI list puts it as the 35th safest country, with a score of 1.718.
This Northern European country boasts of several tourist spots, including:
- The Livu Aqua Park, which is Northern Europe’s biggest water attraction
- A small town called Limbazi, which boasts of a beautiful beach and nature trail
- An open-air museum called Latvijas Etnografiskais Brivdabas Muzejs
11. Costa Rica
Officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica, this Central American nation started drawing in tourists in the 1980s. In particular, its well-preserved and protected nature areas and natural parks are its key attractions.
Costa Rica is the 33rd safest country in the world on the 2019 GPI list, with a score of 1.706. It’s also affordable, with a CLI of 53.98.
Taiwan ranked as the 36th safest place in the world in 2019, with a GPI of 1.725. It’s also a good option for the budget traveler with its CLI of only 61.37.
Taiwan’s best tourist spots are its capital city of Taipei with its vibrant culture, entertainment spots, and scenic attractions. Its local cuisines are also top-notch and affordable, making it a popular culinary destination.
These top 12 cheapest and safest places to travel during retirement offer a different type of retirement investment. These returns come in the form of beautiful memories and experiences.
I hope this list helps you discover affordable retirement destinations. Whether you’ve just begun retirement planning or you’re almost at the finish line, these are some of the places you can look forward to.
Is traveling part of your retirement plans and goals and if so, where do you want to go during retirement? Let us know in the comments section below.