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Apr 25

Places around the world to live like a celebrity…on an everyman budget

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Do you ever scroll through your Instagram thinking you’d love to live like a celebrity? We all do!

“Seeing photos of celebrities frolicking in places like Bali, Italy or Portugal, we assume that to gallivant in style requires their jet-set budget. But you can enjoy a high-style life cheaply. And in lots of overseas locales,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor, International Living.

“Sure, celebrities enjoy their international escapes. George and Amal Clooney have a place in the Italian Lake Como. Super Bowl star Tom Brady and his wife and model Gisele Bündchen own a home in Costa Rica. Equally, these beautiful, cultured retreats have lots of good living to offer the everyday Joe. And often for less than it costs to stay home.”

Even in today’s coronavirus-struck world, it’s still possible to find some great travel deals to live a luxurious lifestyle!


“David Bowie began his love affair with Bali way before he honeymooned on the island in 1992. And since then many celebrities have visited,” says IL Bali Correspondent, Josephine Brierley.

“In 2018, Kim Kardashian, John Legend and Pink chose Bali as their vacation destination. Instagram was overflowing with photos of temples, beaches, jungle swings and massive over-the-top villas. But it’s easy to stay in Bali and enjoy all of the these things for a fraction of what the A-listers pay.

“Private villas perched high on cliff-tops or with ocean-front views are easy to find. You can hire a local driver to tour the popular places from around $45 a day.

“Even better, rent a car and tour the island. Firstly, follow the coastal road past the black sandy beaches of Amed and frolic in the balmy waters of Lovina. Then, uncover ancient rice field terraces and temples.”

The tropical climate of Bali offers a relaxed, simple lifestyle with world-class dining at very affordable prices. You can enjoy a comfortable life on around $1,150 a month. Push that to $1,800 and you’ll be living like a celebrity.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been a desirable destination. Live like a celebrity, enjoying the beach and sun.

“There are a number of celebrities who have visited Costa Rica,” says Kathleen Evans, IL Coastal Costa Rica Correspondent. “Tom and Gisele own a place here near Santa Teresa.”

On the far tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, the fishing village of Montezuma is great for those looking for a laid-back destination. There’s no major development. The town centre has just a few restaurants, hotels, and shops.

The roads on the way to this part of Costa Rica can be rough. Especially in rainy season from May to November. But this Pacific-coast retreat is still worth a visit.

Due to the location, you get a sunrise instead of sunset. The beach is an easy walk from town. There, you’ll find a unique freshwater waterfall right on the sand, with pools for soaking and swimming.

“Since Montezuma is off the beaten path, you can still find good real estate rental deals,” says Kathleen. “A two-bedroom place to rent will cost to between $500 and $1,000 per month.

“Without a car, and living a modest retirement, a couple could live on between $1,500 to $1,700 a month.”



The crème de la crème of A-listers are attracted to Portugal. Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Adams, Sting and Michael Bolton all spend time there. The favorite summer retreat of the former royal family, Sintra, stole Madonna’s heart – and that’s where she owns a place. You too can live like a celebrity in this beautiful place.

You’ll find Sintra a mere 40-minute train journey from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. The palaces, mansions and architectural follies deliver an enchanted setting.

Moorish doorways, crenellated watchtowers, Scottish Baronial turrets, Manueline sea monsters. You can find them all right outside Sintra’s railway station. Some visitors mistake the first turreted fantasy building for the National Palace. It’s merely the town hall.

Sintra is packed with opportunities to explore. From the gothic-style National Palace to the ramparts of the 8th-century Moorish castle, you’ll fall in love. The remarkable Convento dos Capuchos monastery is built into a stony hillside. Quinta da Regaleira features an elaborate, Harry Potter-esque palace complete with gargoyles, a chapel, and an expansive park boasting lake, grottoes, and fountains.

The standout attraction is the pastel-painted Palace of Pena. This 19th-century Romanticist marvel sits high atop Sintra’s hill. The pink turrets, daffodil-yellow tower and monstrous gargoyles are incredibly striking.

A couple could live well in this arts-rich tourist town on a budget of $3,065 a month. It’ll be less elsewhere in Portugal.



If you’d like to venture outside Europe, Colombia might just be the place for you to live like a celebrity.


Cartagena is one of Colombia’s most popular tourist destinations. It boasts interesting history, excellent cuisine and amazing shopping. You’ll find it on the Caribbean coast, 256 miles from the Panama Canal. It’s a major seaport for both commercial shipping and vacationers on cruise ships.

The chances of rubbing shoulders with the glitterati are on the rise here. More and more discover the delights of this city. Think Mick Jagger and Justin Bieber, for example.

Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s retained much of the original, colonial architecture – simply take a walk through the old city. You’ll find narrow, cobblestone streets, old churches, museums, restaurants and shops housed in colonial buildings. It’s like stepping back in time.

Oozing history and romance, Cartagena’s centre is surrounded by a historic city wall, with a Clock Tower (Torre del Reloj) overlooking the main entrance. Sections of the wall have steps that let you walk along the top. Many residents like to stroll there, warmed by ocean breezes, to admire the breath-taking views and listen to the waves crashing on the shore close by.

Shopping is exceptional in Cartagena. Depending on your budget, you can buy from upscale boutiques, local artisan shops or sidewalk vendors. Emeralds are an especially popular item. But despite the glamour, you can live well cheaply. Depending on your lifestyle, you should be fine on a monthly budget of $1,615 to $2,015 for a couple.


Take an hour-long flight to end up in Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín. The American singer and songwriter Nicky Jam resides there, for example.

Surrounded by the Andes mountains, the City of Flowers enjoys a spring-like climate year-round. The reason it’s popular is that retirees choose it for an active, outdoorsy lifestyle with all the benefits of a city.

With over 30 universities, an array of art and history museums, theatres and restaurants, Medellín has a cosmopolitan vibe. Check out classical music at the Metropolitan Theatre, for example. Then, visit the Museo de Antioquia to enjoy a large collection of paintings and sculptures by Medellín native, Fernando Botero.

Price tag? A couple could live well in Medellín on $1,400 to $2,000 per month.

Don’t fancy moving full-time? Check out our guide to affordable travel.



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1 year ago

I’d love to travel like this.

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