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Senior Nomad Locations
Before you focus on your senior nomad locations, be sure you’ve got a good start on your priorities list. After all, it’s a lot easier and faster to find something when you know what you’re looking for.
In this next step we use your priorities list to help you find which locations are right for you as you travel the world in roving retirement style. But even if you know exactly what you are looking for, how can you possibly sort through nearly 200 countries and upwards of 50,000 cities to find what you want?
Simple… take advantage of other peoples well researched and published information. You just have to know where to look.
Using the internet
The internet will be your new best friend in your senior nomad locations research. The good news is that there are literally thousands of websites giving you travel advice, telling you all the virtues of any particular country or city you are interested in.
But that’s also the bad news. Your biggest problem will be that you receive too much information from every query. The vast majority of it will be either outdated, irrelevant or just plain incorrect.
In addition, nearly all of the world travel websites are geared towards tourist style traveling. And as we discussed previously, traveling in a slower retired nomad style is quite different. Top priority for senior nomads is having day-to-day living requirements met, not getting the occasional adrenaline burst.
To help you make your way effectively through this flood of data, I have listed below my favorite websites. These are the ones that I use for finding my personal nomad locations.
As you start your own research, always keep your priorities list in mind. Start a new spreadsheet where you can keep notes and rank places that capture your fancy as you read. I suggest just list the ones that look like a super good fit. And perhaps a second “later, maybe” list.
Be aware that your goal is not to add as many places as possible to your list! You’ll quickly get overwhelmed and drown in data that way. Instead, try to eliminate as many locations as possible as fast as possible, getting down to only the very best ones. These are the ones you’ll be visiting later on your exploratory trips.
Retire overseas information
Even though you’re interested in nomadic style travel rather than permanently setting up a new residence, the type of information needed for both objectives is primarily the same. So the publications that provide retire overseas information are a perfect resource we can readily take advantage of.
This company is the granddaddy of overseas destination publications targeted towards senior-aged North Americans. They’ve been at it for 35 years and have a humongous repository of information. Their primary focus is living better, for less money, somewhere overseas. IL provides excellent information on things like climate, safety, renting, healthy lifestyle, entertainment, cost of living and more.
Each year in January, IL publishes a list of the top 20 or 25 overseas destinations for people wanting to retire and relocate overseas. Even better, they’ve broken the rankings down by sub-category. So if you’re more interested in cost-of-living and climate, you can focus on those and ignore the rankings on purchasing property and investing.
You’ll find the names of the top-5 or top-10 countries plus some snippets on many other websites when they report on what IL says. But you’ll have to subscribe to the IL magazine to gain access to their full list with detailed descriptions of each country. I honestly think it’s worth it and have subscribed for over 15 years. I just checked and it’s currently about $4 a month. That will also gain you access to their archive of past issues and of course, all their new articles and resources for the length of your subscription.
I truly love IL, but sometimes they are a bit too positive with only glowing reports. We all know that every place has a downside. For me it’s important to know that as well. So put on your skeptics hat when reading. And be sure to dig around on the internet a bit to find out what’s not to like about a specific location. That will give you a more balanced view.
In any case, you can search on the IL website and you’ll get quite a lot of good information and shorter articles for free. Plus they offer free email newsletters on various topics. Subscribe to some that catch your fancy and try out IL for yourself.
Live and Invest Overseas
This organization targets the same demographic as IL. It’s run by a husband/wife team – Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon. They’ve been in publication for 10 years, but don’t let that fool you. For many years before that, Kathleen was the editor-in-chief of IL and Lief was their international investment expert. (I don’t know why they left but it’s not important.)
Since LIO is a relatively small organization, they don’t have nearly as many publications and countries they write about. But I really like the overall style of their publications, especially their personal attentiveness to readers. They have pretty much the same marketing strategy of multiple free email newsletters plus more in-depth paid subscription publications. I recommend signing up for their free stuff first. Follow along for a while before deciding if there’s anything you want to buy.
I found it refreshing that LIO will tell you more about the bad things about places and why you should not go there. Case in point… Nicaragua has been a rising star on the “best places to retire” lists, hitting the top-10 for the past 3 years. But recent (April 2018) unrest, protests, government clamp-down and deaths are now threatening the country’s stability. I was grateful to see this dramatic turn of events addressed by LIO in a straightforward manner. They offered level headed realistic options for the expats currently living there and advice for those still considering Nicaragua. Personally, Nicaragua is now off my list of countries to explore in the near future.
Digital nomad advice
True, most digital nomads are typically within the 30-something or under crowd that I discussed earlier. That’s not my age bracket and probably not yours. But digital nomads and what they consider to be a good location does have quite a bit of overlap with the senior nomad lifestyle.
For one obviously, they’re world nomads with no fixed residence. So they’re looking for well-equipped monthly rentals, not property investments. They too want things like safety, high-speed wifi, cheap restaurants with a pleasing variety of offerings, low cost-of-living, comfy climate, walkability, a cafe culture scene and English speaking.
Exactly what’s high on my list! So I often cruise the digital nomad websites to get more information about places I’m already interested in, and to get ideas for great nomad locations that are still off the radar of the “retire overseas” crowd.
One way to do it is just type “digital nomad top cities” in your search bar. To make sure you get the latest information, add the current year onto your search criteria. You’ll get loads of top-10 cities, best European cities, and many other specialized lists. They really are fun to read through.
Check for overlap. For example, if a large number of these have all mentioned Budapest as being great, then I might add Budapest to my personal should-explore-soon list if I were going to be relatively nearby.
But what’s even better, is that digital nomads love to help out and share their findings with other digital nomads. Here’s one of my favorite sites…
In my opinion this is the best type of information to have – direct reporting and opinions from actual people, the nomads themselves. This site is more like a TripAdvisor built by and for digital nomads. And it can be easily used as is for finding senior nomad locations.
On their home page they list the top nomad cities all around the world. Click to drill down to the sub-category ratings and see how a city is ranked for safety, cost-of-living, etc. You can search, you can sort, you can view them all on a map.
You can even add filters and narrow your results by things like only places with mountains, a particular size city, or a particular continent. They also offer additional search criteria, access to forums and messaging between members if you join and pay a fee. But right now the free features are enough for me.
Cost of living sites
Having an accurate estimate of the cost of living for each of your potential senior nomad locations is important. Especially if you are traveling on a more modest retirement budget. Balancing out those costly spurts of tourist activity with longer periods relaxing in a much cheaper spot will balance your budget and as well as your mood.
And like I just mentioned, I absolutely love having access to information that is 1) crowd sourced from real people, and 2) arranged in a manner where I can find what I want quickly and easily.
This next website fits the bill.
Numbeo is really #1 in this category. You can search for a city by name or from the world map. On the map the cities are color coded dots – the more red the more expensive, the more green the cheaper. Pick a city and get a full detailed page itemizing everything from apples to cheese, car prices, clothing, utilities, and rent.
Plus they tell you a lot more than just cost-of-living. At the top is a menu that will reveal information about health care, crime, air pollution, traffic, etc.
But the most fun I have with this site is the comparison feature. Let’s say you currently live in Atlanta, Georgia and want to see how that compares to the living costs of Medellin, Colombia. A couple of clicks will reveal that overall, your money will get you 3-times more in Medellin. Just as if someone magically tripled your income overnight! You can then drill down and see exactly where these differences come from, ie groceries vs rent vs transportation, etc.
And if you feel like helping out, you can even enter your own data for the costs of where you live now. You’ll be helping to build an accurate database for others to use.
Yes I know I’m a nerd, but honestly… I can play with this website for hours and be totally entertained!