Reviews of Budget Hotels and Apartments

Where’s the best place to stay in Quito, Ecuador?

I’ve stayed in hostels and Air BnB’s all over the world. Some of them pretty good and some pretty darn sketchy.

I’m always happy discovering new places to live, but the BEST part of being a digital nomad is RETURNING to a favorite city!

What makes a city great for me, is the combination of culture, gyms, food and Wifi.

Before I head to a strange city, I’m always like, “Hmmmn, what’s the Wifi going to look like? Is there going to be awesome food? Will the place I live in be clean and nice?”

There are very few cities that I have hated, but there are some I’ll never go back to. Cali, Colombia is one of them. It’s one of the capitals for Salsa in the world. And I hate Salsa. (But, if you like it, definitely head there.)

One of my favorite cities is Quito, Ecuador. It’s cheap, safe, beautiful and friendly.


And one of the best places to live in Quito is at the Blue Door Housing in historic Quito.

I loved it the first time I was there, and was looking forward to being back!

It was literally like being back home. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not the air bnb was going to suck, or if the Wifi would be slow.

Blue Door, is perfect! Also look! They even welcomed me back on their Facebook page!I was like, “awwwwww…..I missed you guys too!”.

I love this place. It’s close to the historic part of town, is super clean, and the WiFi is Fiber Optic. YES! Fiber Optic! Literally blazing fast….

It was great seeing the fantastic family that ran it too. They speak English, which is a rarity in South America. And while my garbage Spanish is much better than the first time I got here in 2017, it’s still not so great.

My private room where I’m typing this out, has a great work desk, a balcony for the sunshine and lots of plugins for my electronic gear.

Blue door isn’t a party hostel, there’s no Beer pong….or All you can drink Fridays….

Which is why I love it. I find that if I am in a party hostel, no work gets done. And I’m drunk like, alllllll the time. Also party hostels are usually kinda dirty.

Instead if you’re looking for a true taste of what Ecuador is like it’s perfect.

They also have suites with in room bathrooms and kitchens! I didn’t stay in that one because somebody had already booked it for a year. Wow.

I don’t make any money or commission for recommending a property, but if you do stop by, make sure you tell them I said hi! If I’m in Quito, you’ll definitely see me there.

If you want to book a room there for the cheapest rate, I recommend contacting them directly, versus AirBnB so that you don’t have to pay any fees.


I hope you’ve all enjoyed this article on travel tips and advice on finding the best countries to retire cheap. DON’T HESITATE TO BUG ME ON FACEBOOK!



Where’s the best place to stay in Quito, Ecuador?2019-11-06T20:07:37+00:00

I survived living 30 days in a haunted after hours bar in Medellin

Searching for the best countries to live, I wandered into Casa de la Luna in Medellin, Colombia. It was like nowhere I’ve ever lived.  I’ve only felt so much paranormal activity in one other place in the world(A shady hotel in Bangkok).

This 100 year old plus house has been converted into a bar/afterhours/hotel and reeks of hauntings. 

Unlike the place in Bangkok the spirits here felt benign so I paid the $7 a night to stay here for 30 days and 30 nights. 

There are also 3 cats who live on premises I took this as a positive sign. Cats are my spirit totem. And at $7 a night…who’s afraid of some ghosts…..(cue theme song)

Living in a place advertised as a bar between Tuesday and Saturday, meant that anywhere between Tuesday and Saturday anything could happen. Some of those things were actually pretty cool. 

For example, an afterhours party went on till 9am in the morning. I loved it, everybody was super friendly and the music wasn’t too bad. It’s super cool to have parties, when you’re in the party mood. 

Some other super amazing things about living here? On Fridays the space was turned into a jam space for amateur musicians. And yes, it was truly as good as that statement entails. I’ve never truly appreciated tone, melody or the intricacies of music until I heard these musicians play. What they did to “Stairway to Heaven” was truly inspired.  I loved it when they would often play one song over and over. Each time slightly different. Are there anything better than amateur musicians? I got to bathe in their unique rendition of the Cranberries from a foreign language speaker. The only other time I really appreciated the difference of what a native speaker versus non-native hears was when I heard “Circle of Rife” at Hong Kong Disney. I also developed a new found respect  for sound engineers, because I got to really appreciate the grandness of over amplified microphone squeals. 

How were the living conditions? The water at Casa de Luna was always a nice brisk chilly cold. So, you never have to worry about whether you are taking too long in the showers and therefore wasting water. Earth first! 

What also is fun, is roughly every 10 days they’d bring in a washing machine! You can do your laundry, which is a huge bonus. And the kitchen is great too! You get to become an expert of cooking on a camping stove! Keep in mind the use of the kitchen and the laundry, and shower are all included in the $7!

Do you like surprises? I’d be wandering around at night in my pajamas, making a protein shake and bam! Party happening! Isn’t that a fun surprise? Who doesn’t love surprises? I now truly relate to the classic song “Splish splash I was taking a bath……”(Although there are no baths here….see my note about the showers).

Living inside a bar, there’s little chance of sleeping if the music is blasting. I got a great joy in testing out how good my Jaybird wireless headphones were. Cranked full volume, I truly could not here the pounding music outside! Outstanding!

Also living in Casa de la luna, is also like living closely to nature. Open to the air, it’s wonderful for people who don’t mind living with bugs, and flys. I’m used to this from my stay in Asia, but you might not love it. A couple of bug bites never killed anybody!

If you’ve ever wanted to live in an afterhours bar, and party until you fall down, this is the space for you!

Don’t worry if you are worried that partying all night will make you sleep all day. The doorbell starts ringing at 9am in the morning, and it gets loud as people start working. You’ll be so productive! Asleep at 5am, up at 9am! I got a lot done……and again it was $7 a night…….

I lived in a haunted afterhours bars for 30 days while looking for the best country to retire cheap and survived!

Post script: Besides the eerie felings of being watched at times, and my occasional missing cheese from the fridge I never got to document any ghosts. I also suspect the cheese was being eaten by DJ Flaco, a kiwi who was also living here. 

Post post script : I would never stay here long term again, but Casa de la Luna is a great spot if you like to live in a chaotic environment. It will keep you young. Also the owners Alexandro and Ned were pretty great! 

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

I survived living 30 days in a haunted after hours bar in Medellin2017-05-12T15:40:19+00:00

I lived in a hostel for 30 days and survived: part 2. Man buns and skinny dipping

Listening to acoustic guitar while being surrounded by 20 somethings, I’m immediately thinking, “Will this be a 30 day stereotypes ridden trip?”

I’ve already spotted several people that I’m categorizing and judging.

There’s a kid I’ll call Detroit. He’s oozing with that 20 something desire to let everyone know just how wise he is. He’s somehow able to drop a philosophy quote every third sentence. Oh, are we going to the bar? “The famous philopher Nietzsche said, that alcohol is the spirits for our soul and emotional self”. This guy wants to learn to speak German, so that he can read Immanuel Kant in its original language. I loathe him immediately. 

There’s also Man Bun, who well, has a man bun and tribal tattoos. Including the traditional Thai one done with bamboo. I actually get to like man bun after a while but wow so stereotypical.

There’s several other people all hanging around the pool, and even though I’m stodgy, boring and judgmental I actually wind up having a great time. Being around people all drinking, on a travel high and intent on fun It’s easy to have good times.  We wind up partying in that pool until the wee hours in the morning. Skinny dipping and doing cannon balls into a pitch black pool while in Bali is something I’d definitely recommend doing. (I do think we might have annoyed the hell out of people who had to get up at 5am though for a boat ride to Gillie T. Sorry)

Sleeping is something that’s hard to do if  you’re a light sleeper in a hostel (seriously ear plugs are now on my travel essentials list, and not just ear plugs. Industrial strength construction ones will be living in my suitcase from now on.)

If you’re super introverted it can be hard, and you’ll wind up hiding in your air conditioned room during the day. If you want to be more of the party person bring a small cheap waterproof portable speaker (I’m throwing in my bag next time)

It’s an interesting mix of people I’ve met here.

  • The French people who only speak speak with each other.
  • The 20 something girls finding themselves.
  • The guy who has traveled for far too long. He is so weary of traveling but is afraid of stopping.
  • The tall Dutch girls, who are amazing. Actually I’ve found everyone I’ve met from the Netherlands super friendly. They are my new favourite people.
  • 18 year olds on their first trip ever with mommy and daddy’s credit card.
  • The backpacks so many backpacks. I’m one of the only people with a wheely suitcase.
  • The vegan yoga teacher barista.
  • The topless stripper party girl.
  • The English. So many people from the UK here. I’ve learned that Essex is the New Jersey of England.
  • Germans! They really are much more personable than the movie stereotypes.
  • Lonely planet guide readers
  • The moped accident one
  • The guy who is way too old to be staying in a hostel. (That’s technically me too!)
  • The stinky guy.

If you are prone to loneliness, booking a few days in a hostel is a great way to meet a lot of people and make new friends. There are so many stories to tell and so many journeys that people are on. You cannot help making new friends. I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

I lived in a hostel for 30 days and survived: part 2. Man buns and skinny dipping2017-02-28T21:17:45+00:00

Air Bnb vs Hotels

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Air Bnb has been my go to for my stay in Asia. $10 a day is my budget for my stay in every country . If you’re going to look for the best countries to retire cheap, you’ll need cheap accommodations. The only hotels I could find were all above that in price in the countries I’ve gone to. With Air BnB though I found plenty of places with that budget. Air Bnb has everything from hotel rooms, hostels and personal apartments.

Here’s the pros and cons of using Air BnB.


Cheaper places available. I rented a beautiful condo with a pool for $14 a night.

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Getting to know your host. I’ve made some good friends with my stays, and done some activities that I never could have without it. One place I stayed in Cebu, I got to go on several island trips because the host was going. All I had to pay was a share of the boat.

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Bonuses like if your host is going to the market to buy groceries are also things I’ve experienced. Instead of walking or getting a cab, I’ve had several rides to and from the supermarket in Kuala Lumpur.


Sometimes the host isn’t that professional. They aren’t actually used to having renters, and treat you a little too much like you’re a friend. This can get odd if you don’t like your host. One French couple hid in their room for the time inside,maybe because the host liked to sit around his living room topless. Also I’ve had the host turn off a light I was using in the living room saying “it’s daytime you don’t need a light.”

Inability to maintain stability. One place I stayed at, actually double booked a room, because he thought a 2am check in was for the next day. This left us scrambling for a place for me to stay. I wound up staying at a friend of his for a few nights!

Family. One place I was close to booking I narrowly avoided a baby. The host didn’t say anywhere in the listing that they had a baby. I only found out when I noticed there was a baby in their host photo, and asked. I like children, but screaming babies and loud dogs are two things I try to avoid in my roommates.

Cultural attitudes. I’ve had a host tell me that they wouldn’t take gay couples. If you’re gay you might want to let the host know before booking. Different countries are going to have different attitudes about things you find “normal.”


If you have the time, book a longer stay. In the “more pricing” area in Air BnB the host will show you additional discount for time of stay. I’ve seen up to 40% discounts for a month.

Book a short stay though until you’ve seen the place. Pictures are great, but you never know.

Use my referral code. This code gives you a $28 -$30 credit towards any stay. (I also get a credit! Win!) It’s only 1 time per account though. So if you’re traveling together make sure you only make 1 Air BnB account until you’ve stayed the first time. Then make a second account for person 2, and share your own code. This will net you $84 – $90 in credits total. Which if you’re staying in cheap places is 8 free nights!

Final tip, if you find a place on Air BnB you like that’s a  hotel, you can email them directly and ask for the same rate. This lets you and them both avoid Air BnB fees. Warning though, if the place turns out not so great you have nobody to complain too.

I hope this article helps you on your own personal quest to find the best countries to retire cheap.

Air Bnb vs Hotels2016-12-12T00:11:28+00:00

Poolside living in Kuala Lumpur 

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What’s the cost of living in Kuala Lumpur? Can you afford to retire here? Is this the best country to retire cheap?

After my first few days here I can say Kuala Lumpur is much more of a developed country than the Philippines or Thailand.

I’m renting a room for $14 (45 rm) a day which is $450 a month. That’s 50% more than I am trying to budget for, with my monthly budget being $300 (900 rm). Food is also about double what it was in Thailand and the Philippines.

An average street vendor dish here is about $2 (60 rm)vs the $1 (30 rm) that I’ve grown to love.

Some saving graces for my budget, include the fact that the condo I’m renting has a gym and a pool in it. I’ve been waking up, making breakfast (eggs are delicious and cheap here) and then working out. After my workout, I’ll hit the pool and just hang out.

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Swimming a couple laps, then drying off and writing an article on my lounge chair is my life. I don’t know if this counts as living in Kuala Lumpur? It’s more like being at a beach resort. I’ve been out and about here in Kuala Lumpur, but my life here for the last week has been mostly about  the pool.

Total costs per day are low because all my entertainment is taken care of. I’m still in love with Iflix, and I have my Kindle. Meals including what I bought at the supermarket are about $5 (15 rm) a day.

I’m spending $20 (60 rm) a day for everything, even though Kuala Lumpur is more expensive. I’m still on budget for  living in a country that is a $1000 a month. (It does leave my entertainment budget only $5 a day though).

I’m definitely going to say that you’re able to retire here for $1000 a month, but it might get kind of boring with only $150 (450 rm) a month for entertainment and sundries.

Poolside living in Kuala Lumpur 2016-12-12T00:11:34+00:00

Khao San Road. Where backpackers go to puke and pass out.

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It’s 6am and this 18 year old kid from Wales is lying on the street covered in his own vomit. I think he’s going to be robbed, and/or butt raped by trannies. Khao San road, a place in Bangkok where a lot of backpackers wind up. Tattoo shops, cheap tshirt vendors and pad Thai carts engulf this stretch of area. If you’re looking for a cheap place to retire Thailand is always on there.

One of the craziest places you’ll seein Thailand is Khao San road. Khao San is the Asian Las Vegas strip. Drinking on the street, clubs pounding out everything from gangnam style to drum and bass, it is a chaotic energetic place.

Khao San road is far away from the rest of the areas of Bangkok, so I thought it deserved its own trip report.

What does it cost to get here from the airport? Roughly $14 (400thb). You can get a mini bus for $5 (150thb). Food is surprisingly not marked up much at the carts, Pad Thai is$ 1.25 (40thb)vs $1 (30 thb) in other parts of Bangkok. If you want to cab here from the Sukumvit area it’s $2.50 (75 thb). Accommodations are cheaper here than anywhere I found in Bangkok. You can get a dormitory style 10 person room with a shared floor bathroom for $10 (300 thb) or a tiny personal room with private toilet for $18(500 thb).

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There are Thai police present but they don’t really do much, just make sure nobody dies or does something ridiculously illegal.

Everybody is partying and nobody is really making the smartest decisions. “Laughing gas? Sure why not.”

It is really really easy to think you’re at home, because while there are Thais selling things and giving massages, there are no Thai people that aren’t working here. (That’s not 100% true, I did meet a 40 year old Thai guy who was here because he loved picking up white girls.) The whole area is dreadlocks, families, and tattooed travellers. Lots of travelers no real locals.

With so many people here that are just looking to party it’s actually kind of safe. Kind of is the key phrase here. Imagine if you’re at home, decide to go to a seedy part of town (like north side Edmonton) and decide that drinking until you literally pass out on the concrete is a good idea. What would happen?

I met 2 guys I shall refer to as Netherlands and Wales at the corner shop picking up a couple of after the bar drinks. At Khao San road you can buy legal beers at 7-11 $2(60 thb)till midnight, and then buy street beers $3 (90 bht)till whenever.

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We hit it off pretty well until Wales starts puking. I’ve hung out with enough 18 year olds to have seen this before.

It’s just vomit everywhere. And then he flops over on the concrete, and just blacks out. That’s right , right there on a filthy curb in Thailand at 4am.  A couple hookers come over to see what is going on.

I can see Wales has his wallet just kind of sticking up, and his passport is right there too to see. I watch these hookers come by and then the most amazing thing happens.

One of them just sits down with us and starts chatting. Not trying to solicit just starts chatting. The other one squats down in her tight dress and heels and just starts calmly splashing water on Wales. She is literally taking care of this poor passed out 18 year old from Wales.

We spend the next couple hours just chatting, until the sun starts coming up. I cannot believe that these hookers are that nice. They don’t want anything, just normal people helping a kid out. They don’t steal his wallet or passport, and are honestly being nicer to the kid than me and Netherlands are. (We’re kind of snickering and reminiscing about being 18 and drunk.)

Wales eventually wakes up 2 hours later and I tell him point blank how lucky he is. If the situation or place was different he really might have died, been robbed or as we threaten raped by ladyboys.

Just like the rest of Bangkok, Khao San road is a great place to visit, but it’s not possible to stay here for $1000 a month. If you’re looking for the best countries to retire cheap, scratch this area of Thailand off. Till then I’m going to keep hunting for cheap places to retire!



Khao San Road. Where backpackers go to puke and pass out.2016-12-12T00:12:09+00:00

$300 Apartment in Chiang Mai?

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As you know I’ve had a great time in Chiang Mai , and after being here for 2 weeks I can definitely see myself living here. It’s one of my top choices for being the best country to retire cheap.

The area I’ve been looking in and living in is by the university, so not really any tourists. Unlike Bangkok, there aren’t near as many hookers, tailors or massage places. The prices for places to live here are significantly cheaper as well. The place I’m staying in costs on average $10 a night (300 thb). It’s pretty fantastic but really more of a day to day kind of place.

I went looking for an apartment today to see what they were like and the prices. One I found randomly was right across from the market I have been going to for my morning congee.

The prices I found were right in line with what I was hoping for.

The photo I have up top is one of the studio rooms, so about $300 (9000 thb) a month.

One thing that is cool is the free wifi. Water and electricity a month is pretty reasonable as well. The biggest cost foe electricity is air conditioning in Asia. I’m currently paying for 1 week water and electricity where I’m staying so I’ll be able to tell you more when I check out.

Did you notice bed linens and maid service? 2000 thb is $60. While it may seem low to you in Canada or abroad, it really eats into my $1000 a month budget. $30 (1000 thb) for maid service every other week seems fantastic though! I guesssss I can live with maids every 2 weeks…sigh.


  • Massage/Spa: around the corner $10 (300 thb)
  • Food vendors: tons $1-2 (30-60 thb)
  • Gym: 10 minute walk $2 (60 thb)
  • Movie theatre : none
  • Hospital : 10 minutes walk
  •  Pharmacy: around the corner
  • 7-11: Every 15 feet
  • Mango stands: none
  • Taxi/bus: horrible Chiang Mai jeep things

I love the location and will definitely recommended it.


$300 Apartment in Chiang Mai?2016-12-12T00:12:13+00:00

Month One: How Many Days Can I spend in Bangkok? Budget Report

Retirement in Bangkok for $1000 a month is the goal! May 1 2016, I land in Bangkok.

First I started with searches on AGODA

The very first place I found was $4 a night. That’s correct. $4. There are over 21 places that were $10 and under per night. This isn’t a private villa with a pool and a butler by any means, but still that’s what I could find while searching the internet in Canada. Are there better deals to be had in Bangkok, that might not be advertised?

I’ll find out!

One tip I always give to my fearless readers is don’t book your complete trip over the internet . Book a few days and then explore around looking for hotels or places to stay that you might not have considered.

My first place I booked was at the Overstay Hostel.

There was no benefit to booking a longer stay than two days (that’s a perfect amount of town if you want to see if the accommodations you’ve booked online is great or not so good)

Here’s what it would cost if you stayed 30 days here

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$246.79  for a month of stay in Overstay hostel in Bangkok

I showed up at the overstay hostel, and got a nasty surprise. My cab driver couldn’t find it, and the phone was disconnected. I wound up in a panic (I was so tired after a 20 hour flight). I had the cab driver find me a different place to stay. It wound up being $30(1000 thb). This really was not in my planned $1000 budget. If I stayed here it would cost $900 in just hotel rooms.

The next day I looked at the other places that were in my budget, and found that the cheap prices were mainly for dormitory style bunk beds. That’s not I had in mind for a place to stay. Read more of the travel blog to find out how my first month in Thailand ends.

Month One: How Many Days Can I spend in Bangkok? Budget Report2017-12-19T18:46:01+00:00

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