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We all love the Carolinas, but let’s be real. We are always looking forward to the golden day when we can retire on the beach. 


According to the State Department, more Americans than ever—8.7 million—are moving or retiring abroad. The big lure? Lower price tags. The editors at International Living recently compiled a list of the most affordable places to retire abroad. Based on their calculation, couples can live comfortably in these destinations on less than $30,000 per year.

1. Portugal

Claiming more than 1,100 miles of coastline on the Iberian peninsula, Portugal is rife with beauty, history, and culture yet manages to fly slightly under the radar in Europe. Those looking for the absolute best bargain should head to low-key Mafra, 15 minutes from the surf-centric beaches of Ericeira. The charming town is home to white-washed homes and cobbled streets, as well as a small but lively downtown filled with cafes, bars, and one of the country’s largest national palaces

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the cheapest places to snag real estate near the coast. International Living suggests checking out the Central Valley, where you’ll get the moderate climate and lush green landscape coupled with safe, residential communities, great restaurants, and quality healthcare. (Pristine beaches are just a quick drive away.)

3. Ecuador

Those looking for an unhurried pace and unspoiled beaches should set their sights on Ecuador’s 530-mile stretch of coastline, where land comes cheap and fresh seafood plentiful.

4. Panama

On paper, Panama often wins big among Americans looking to retire outside the States: It’s nearby, relatively easy to obtain residence, boasts quality healthcare facilities, many English speakers, and the U.S. dollar as its currency. But while many expats might hone in on Panama for its practicality, they fall in love with its exciting cities, lush mountain towns, and world-class beaches. And according to International Living, a single person can live here on a modest budget of $1,391 per month (and as little as $1,665 for a couple).

5. Cambodia

Looking for something a little more exotic? Cambodia may be far away, but its beautiful scenery, culture, food, and affordability more than makes up for the distance. (It’s claimed the top spot in the cost-of-living category three years in a row in International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index.) While the capital city of Phnom Penh (where you can find a one-bedroom urban apartment for $250 per month) draws many expats, the laid-back coastline is equally as enticing, with many international residents settling down in the charming, cultured resort town of Kep.

This story originally appeared on Coastal Living.