The Best Places for Bay Area Expats Who Want to Live Like Kings

Ever dream of moving to a country where you can you live well, even luxuriously, in a beautiful setting with only modest savings and a Social Security check? Here are some suggestions from International Living, with testimonials from the publication's correspondents.

by Mike Moffitt | SF Gate

Maybe you're tired of writing your landlord a $3,000-plus check every month for your one-bedroom apartment in the Mission.

Or perhaps you're a Baby Boomer putting off retirement because you never managed to save as much as you intended.

Or maybe you're just fed up with the daily soul-crushing bumper-to-bumper traffic crawl at the Bay Bridge, or on 101 on the Peninsula or just about anywhere on I-880.

Time to pull up stakes?

The high cost of living and other headaches that come with living in the Bay Area have prompted many frustrated residents to search for supposedly greener pastures, with Seattle, Portland and the Sacramento area among the most popular destinations.

But there's another option: Flee the country altogether.

Sure, it's significantly cheaper to live in Denver than San Francisco, but the savings pale to those that you'd enjoy in some Central or South American cities. Bargains can be found even in Europe.

The Flee Market: Living in and affording expensive San Francisco Of course, becoming an expatriate holds more appeal for the retired. In some cases, you won't even need to tap into your 401(k) fund to pay the bills; a Social Security check goes a long way in, say, Panama City.

Younger folks who are able to make a living by telecommuting, consulting or other nontraditional jobs might also be tempted by the lure of a low cost of living — possibly so low that you barely need to work, if at all. Here are the cheapest places overseas to live well, according to International Living.

The monthly magazine and website scours the planet for the best deals for people looking for opportunities beyond their own shores. As its lists for Best Places to Retire and Cheapest Places to Live overlapped, we've made a mashup from both.

International Living's ratings are not scientific, but rather based on anecdotal information from the site's more than 200 correspondents living in other countries. However, a number of its choices show up on similar lists by Forbes, LifeBuzz and Tim Leffel's Cheapest Destinations.

To see the complete list of destinations, click here.