Are you about to start planning your long term travel adventures and not sure where to spend your time?
In this post we cover 30 of the most popular countries around the world to stay long term.
With many of these countries offering working holiday visas for up to 2 years and tourist visas for up to 6 months, you can relax knowing that your journey doesn’t need to be a race around the world.
Are you ready to find out what they are? Here are our top 30 countries for long term travel…
Long Term Travel: 30 Best Countries To Stay For 30+ Days
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Thailand has quickly become one of the most popular countries for long term travelers, digital nomads and expats, with many people staying at least one month at a time.
Many travelers love to stay long term in Thailand due to its beautiful scenery, rich culture, low cost of living, relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, delicious food and good weather.
In fact Dan actually spent a total of 10 months in Thailand and I managed to squeeze in 4… It was difficult to leave!
Some of the most popular places to stay long term include Chiang Mai, Pai, Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Phangang and Krabi.
Check out our 10 cheapest countries to live, travel and work in to learn more about the cost of living in Thailand.
Bordered by Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, Cambodia is another southeast asian country which is quickly becoming a nomad hotspot.
Many travelers start in one country and slowly make their way through southeast Asia, stopping in Cambodia for up to a few months at a time.
Again, this is another one of the cheapest countries to travel in and most travelers who go there say the people are some of the friendliest they’ve come across.
This is also a popular country for digital nomads as it is home to a large community of foreigners who work remotely and plenty of co-working spaces.
Vietnam is a popular destination for long term travel due to its rich culture, low cost of living and amazing food.
The diverse environments also attract travelers from all over the world who want to immerse themselves in completely unfamiliar settings.
Some popular cities in Vietnam for expats and long term travelers include Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang City, Hanoi and Da Lat.
Bali, also known as The Island of the Gods, is one of the most visited Indonesian countries due to its beautiful beaches, great surf, incredible natural sites and cultural ceremonies.
Another very popular country for long term travelers, expats and digital nomads, Bali offers plenty of long term accommodation (including beautiful villas), free WiFi in most restaurants, co-working spaces, healthy and inexpensive food, great shopping and a fantastic range of things to do.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Bali include Canggu, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua, Ubud and Sanur.
Hong Kong is known as the gateway between east and west, which is what attracts so many expats to the country.
Not only do a lot of travelers and expats go there to start businesses, many people who visit love the fact that you can eat noodle soup on the side of the road and fully immerse yourself in Chinese culture one minute and then enjoy a signature cocktail in the world’s highest bar the next.
While apartments are small in Hong Kong, you’ll spend most of your time outside of it anyway with plenty to see and do, all within close proximity to the centre.
The most popular places to stay long term in Hong Kong include Happy Valley, Kowloon, Wan Chai, The Mid Levels and Repulse Bay (beach).
Made up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a country most travelers define as paradise.
With tropical weather, stunning beaches and coves, friendly locals and low cost of living, it’s easy to see why so many travelers decide to stay long term.
While the internet isn’t great in most cities, this is the perfect place to have a digital detox and relax for a month during your long term travel.
The most popular places to stay long term in the Philippines include Ilollo, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Makati and Baguio.
Although it’s not the cheapest country for long term travel, Australia is consistently ranked within the top 5 best countries in the world.
Many travelers who do plan to visit Australia opt for the working-holiday visa which gives them up to two years in the country.
The great thing about this is that you can work short term for Australian companies, save up some cash and then travel onto the next Aussie destination.
Some of the most popular places to live, travel and work in Australia include Sydney, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Launceston.
Much like Australia, New Zealand is another Australasian country which consistently ranks as one of the best in the world.
The climate, small population, incredible scenery and friendly people attract millions of tourists and thousands of expats every year.
Most people who do decide to travel around New Zealand take their time as there is so much beauty to take in…
Many even buy or hire a van and slowly road trip around the country.
Popular places to stay long term in New Zealand include Aukland, Wanaka, Queenstown, Tauranga and Wellington.
Because it is such a large and diverse country, travelers to the United States need to spend at least 30 days there to truly experience all that it has to offer.
With snow in the north, beautiful beaches in the southwest, plenty of sunshine in the southeast, and amazing national parks all over, the USA is one of those countries you really do need to explore over a length of time.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in the USA include Portland, Seattle, Honolulu (Hawaii), Austin, New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans.
Canada is another huge country which really does require you to stick around for a while if you want to make the most of your travel experience.
Like Australia, Canada offers long term travelers the chance to stay for up to 2 years on a working holiday visa. They also offer other kinds of visas for young professionals and those looking to intern.
What’s great about Canada is that you can work seasonal jobs while you travel, for example, you can work in the ski slopes during the winter and harvest fruit during the summer.
Popular places to stay long term in Canada include Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler, Banff, Quebec City and Montreal.
With it’s beautiful warm weather, diverse scenery and tropical beaches, Colombia has risen to the top of the ranks at lightening speed.
What was once a violent, corrupt and unsafe country to be in, now sits amongst the most happy countries in the world.
Colombia has come a long way since the 90’s and now attracts thousands of travelers, expats and digital nomads from all over the world, many of whom stay for at least a month.
We spent just over a month traveling in Colombia and loved every minute of it.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Colombia include Medellín, Bogotá, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Cali.
Another popular South American country which is popular amongst digital nomads and backpackers traveling long term through the continent is Argentina.
Argentina is colourful, vibrant, and fairly inexpensive, yet it still offers those western comforts many long term travelers crave from time to time.
Not only do you have stunning scenery in Argentina, you’ll also find amazing food (and wine), friendly locals and a fantastic community of expats and travelers to explore with.
Some popular places to stay long term in Argentina include Buenos Aires, La Plata, Cordoba, Mendoza and Bariloche.
Home to some of the world’s best wine it’s no wonder why so many travelers end up staying longer than intended!
I’m kidding, Chile does produce amazing wine but it’s also home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural environments…
You’ve got places like Torres del Paine National Park, the Andes, the Atacama Desert and plenty more, which have helped Chile to become the number one travel destination in the world for many travelers.
Some popular places to stay long term in Chile include Santiago, Valparaíso, Coquimbo, Vina del Mar, Puerto Varas and Punta Arenas.
It’s chaotic, noisy and immensely overwhelming at times but that’s what keeps on drawing so many travelers back to India…
In fact, most travelers stay for up to a few months at a time because the cost of living is so low and the stark difference in culture is totally invigorating.
Something about India stimulates travelers and keeps them coming back for more, no matter how much they struggle in the process.
Dan even spent 5 months living in different parts of India and truly loved his experience, even though he got terribly ill more times than he can count.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in India include Goa, Kerala, Manali, Rajasthan, Shimla, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi.
While Sri Lanka is only a small tropical island, plenty of travelers end up staying long term due to the relaxed lifestyle, low cost of living and overall island vibe.
You can find yourself a little beach bungalow to live in and spend your days chilling ut by the beach, surfing and sipping on coconuts.
Many travelers find that Sri Lanka is a great place to visit after India to de-stress and unwind by the surf.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Sri Lanka include Kandy, Colombo and Hikkaduwa.
Named one of the cheapest countries in the world, Nepal attracts both adventure seekers and travelers looking for a soothing experience in the Himalayan mountains.
Because the cost of living is so low for most foreigners who visit Nepal, many tend to stay for months at a time.
Nepal is another country where Dan chose to set up base for a few months after a wild adventure in India.
Some of the most popular places to stay in Nepal include Pokhara, Kathmandu and Butwal.
Dubai – U.A.E
Dubai is becoming a hugely popular country for students, professionals and travelers who want to work overseas and earn a good income.
If you’ve been thinking of living and working overseas, Dubai has plenty of jobs on offer and a thriving expat community.
Due to its central location you can also travel to a number of nearby countries in just a short plane ride.
Some of the most popular areas to stay long term in Dubai include Jumeirah Lake Towers, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Sports City and Deira.
Home to Cape Town, one of the world’s top cities, South Africa is wildly popular among travelers and many are deciding to stay long term.
With incredible safari destinations, beautiful beaches, lush winelands, stunning cliffs, forests, lagoons and more, South Africa not only has a lot of beauty to offer but also provides plenty of things to do.
You can also enjoy a relatively low cost of living, good weather and rich history.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in South Africa include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth.
My dad still says that out of all the places he’s been in Europe, Turkey was his favourite…
The people, the food, the beautiful clear ocean, fantastic diving, enchanting markets and low cost of living all make Turkey a desirable country for long term travelers.
Turkey is close-by to many other amazing European countries, yet it definitely has a more middle-eastern feel to it.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Turkey include Istambul, Izmir and Ankara.
Located in eastern Europe, many travelers don’t often consider Georgia as a long term travel destination, however, it’s a beautiful country with a lot to offer.
Like Turkey, Georgia is at the intersection of Europe and Asia so you have a little bit of both worlds…
Home to the Caucasus Mountain villages, the Black Sea beaches, Vardzia (a 12th century cave monastery), Kakheti (the ancient wine-growing region), diverse architecture and cobblestone streets, you’ll need a good 30 days to really immerse yourself in your unique surroundings.
Some popular places to stay long term in Georgia include Tbilisi, Telavi, Mtskheta, Sighnaghi and Batumi.
Located on the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe, Serbia is starting to attract more digital nomads and expats as of late due to it’s close proximity to other interesting countries, rich culture, mild temperature and beautiful surroundings.
Serbia is a unique stop off point if you are traveling long term through Europe, and not only that, it’s really quick and easy to move on to the next country once you’ve finished exploring.
Some popular places to stay long term in Serbia include Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis.
Located in the Balkans, Albania is home to stunning beaches along the Adriatic and Ionian coastlines, the Albanian Alps across the centre of the country and many castles and archaeological sites.
While public transportation is almost non-existent in most parts of the country, Albania does boast amazing food, a good art and music scene and lots of interesting places to go.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Albania include Korça, Përmeti, Bajram Curri, Vlora and Çorovoda.
Situated in Central Europe and bordered by Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia, Hungary is the perfect destination to set up for a while and explore other European countries from.
Budapest, the capital, is attracting more and more digital nomads every year with many saying it’s one of the most beautiful cities they’ve ever been to.
Not only that, Hungary is one of the most affordable countries in Europe to live in making it also one of Europe’s most popular countries.
With its amazing nightlife, array of places to eat, quality healthcare, easy public transportation, close proximity to bordering countries, rich culture and beautiful weather, it’s no wonder why so many travelers stay long term.
Some of the most popular places to stay in Hungary include Budapest, Sopron, Szentgotthárd and Lake Balaton.
As one of our favourite countries to date, there’s just something about the Netherlands keeps us hooked on visiting.
The last time we were there we spent one month living in Amsterdam, just outside the city centre. We bought bicycles for 50 euro each and rode 15 minutes into Centraal most afternoons.
The people, the warm and inviting atmosphere and the array of things to do make the Netherlands a highly desirable country to spend a lot of time in.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in the Netherlands include Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amstelveen and Haarlem.
For a long time, Spain has been a popular hub for British expat’s, with many retiring and heading over there to relax in paradise.
But these days, not only will you find British expats and retirees all over the place, you’ll also find that a huge number of travelers, digital nomads and students are spending more time in Spain as well.
I do believe it’s the great weather, amazing food and 24/7 holiday vibe that keeps people like us hanging around.
In fact, Dan even spent 3 months living in Barcelona where he learned to speak Spanish. He still says Barcelona is one of his favourite cities in the world.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Spain include Barcelona, Madrid, the Costa Brava, Seville, Granada and Costa del Sol.
Bordering on Spain, Portugal is a European summer holiday destination with a growing expat community.
Not only is Portugal home to Lisbon, which has been named one of the top cities in the world, the cost of living is also very low, which makes it extremely affordable for long term travel.
With beautiful beaches, enchanting villages and delicious food, Portugal is a small but diverse country that will stimulate your every sense.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Portugal include Lisboa (Lisbon), Porto, the Algarve Region, Chaves and Braga.
Located in Central America, Nicaragua is that quintessential tropical paradise where everyone goes to surf and chill out.
While Nicaragua is among the poorest countries in America, its incredible terrain of lakes, volcanoes and beaches still attract over a million tourists to the country every year.
Offering the lowest cost of living in Central America, you can set yourself up for a long term stay and pay about half the price for things compared to the US.
Some popular places to stay long term in Nicargua include Granada, San Juan del Sur, Managua, León, and if you like rustic living you can head over to Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast.
Bordering on Costa Rica and Colombia, linking South and Central America, Panama is home to an array of rain forests, jungle, mountains, beaches, islands, reefs and underwater marine life.
The local cost of living in Panama is quite low, as long as you don’t opt for American brands or other imported goods, which can be more expensive than what you would pay in the US.
At sea level, you can expect a warm and tropical climate year round. However, in the mountains, and you can expect a spring-like climate with cooler temperatures.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Panama include Bocas del Toro, Panama City, Boquete, Volcan and El Valle.
Bordering on Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is one of the most popular latin American countries among digital nomads and expats.
With a relaxed tropical vibe and some of the most welcoming people you’ll meet, Costa Rica offers the highest standard of living in the region and it’s more affordable than living in the US or western Europe.
$1,500 – $2,000 per month will cover all of your expenses in Costa Rica and allow you to live very comfortably.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Costa Rica include Tamarindo, Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, Escazu and more.
Every year millions of tourists visit the vibrant coast of Mexico for sunshine and good vibes, but only a handful of them are fortunate enough to stick around for longer than the average holiday maker.
Mexico is a wildly diverse country known for its Pacific and Gulf of Mexico beaches, incredible landscape of mountains, deserts and jungles, ancient ruins, Spanish colonial-era towns, renowned museums and gourmet restaurants.
Some of the most popular places to stay long term in Mexico include San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato City, Puerto Vallarta region, Playa del Carmen, Mexico City and more.
Now that you’ve read through our top 30 countries for long term travel I hope you’ve got an idea of where you might want to spend more of your time as you adventure around the world.
Each of these 30 countries are different from one another and all offer something special and unique for travelers and expats.
And as mentioned throughout the article, if 30 days isn’t long enough, you can always look into working visas and set up base for a while as an expat.
Alternatively you could look into ways to make money online and travel the world as a location independent digital nomad.
Our eBook, 12 Steps To Full Time Travel will help you to understand how you can turn travel into a lifestyle through becoming a digital nomad. Click here to download your copy for free.
Have an amazing long term travel experience!
If you are interested in long term travel and liked this post, you’ll love this one… Here are the World’s 10 Cheapest Countries To Live, Travel And Work!
World Travel Resources
Flights: We always search for the best flight deals using Cheap Flights
Accommodation: We love to use Airbnb for long stays but if we’re only staying for a few days or in need of a little more comfort we’ll book a hotel. Hotels Combined will scan all the top booking sites (Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, etc) for the cheapest prices possible.
Travel Insurance: World Nomads is always our go to travel insurer.
Luggage: The Minaal Carry-on 2.0 Bag is our newest addition and is perfect for minimalist travelers and digital nomads who want to travel light and look professional. It has it’s own lap-top/briefcase section and then all your clothes pack into the front. The best part? You can take it straight onto the plane with you.
Now it’s over to you! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below…
- Are you planning for long term travel? Got questions? Fire!
- Are there any more countries you recommend for long term travel? Share away in the comments section below!