Pro vs Con of living life in Albania

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Many locals ask me why do I want to stay or when will you return to the US. My answer is home is here and I don't plan to return full time to the US only to visit, this comes with a "PSE?" which means why in Albanian. So below are a few pros and cons for life here.

Pro - Cost of living is 200% cheaper than living in our Florida town

Con - Economy is weak with limited growth predicted

Pro - Very little traffic to some of the most scenic views and places

Con - Odds of finding a clean western bathroom while traveling in Albania 1:10

Pro - Beautiful landscapes at every turn outside of the cities

Con - Some landscapes are littered with trash

Pro - Amazing hospitality is part of the culture

Con - A quick visit will turn into a 4 course meal

Pro - Most people under 30 can speak enough English to have a general conversation

Con - Shaking your head from side to side means 'Yes' and up and down means 'No' to some older generations and mountain towns (can be quite confusing)

Pro - Traveling in and out of Albania is really simple at the airport

Con - The lines at some of the busier road border crossings can take hours or five minutes

Pro - The neighboring countries are all beautiful

Count of Monte Crisco in Montenegro

Con - The language changes at most borders minus Kosovo so it can be difficult when asking for directions or recommendations

Pro - Albanian language is unique and beautiful

Con - Extremely difficult to learn how to speak and has three dialects

Pro - High speed fiber internet and 4G cell service are really cheap

Con - When you live near a border, like we do, roaming is an issue and semi frequent power outages can cause the internet to stall at least once a week

Pro - The food is extremely tasty and mostly organic

Con - If you love fast food or take away options are limited. Option one, byrek which is filo dough with meat or cheese/yogurt or option two, pizza in most places outside of the capital

Pro - Shop owners are always super friendly and welcoming

Con - The concept of forming a line and waiting a turn has never really took shape here so if it is a busy shopping day personal space may be violated and patience is required

Pro - The weather is mild with less than 50% humidity and mostly warm sunny days

Con - Summers can be very very dry

Pro - A date night meal for two is usually less than $20 and that's with coffee and dessert

Con - The menu is similar at most places so variety is a little challenging

Pro - Fresh fruit and vegetables are very accessible and cheap (between the gardens and vendors at every corner)

Con - No excuse not to eat more fruits or veggies

Pro - Most cafes and restaurants have outdoor seating

Con - Smoking inside is still a thing here and still legal to do inside (probably my #1 pet peeve)

Pro - Modes of transportation include cars, trucks, mini buses, horse and cart, donkey and cart, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles and some versions of cart and motorcycle combinations

Con - Road blocks can occasionally happen most are sheep, cows, pigs, goats or a new driver in an 'AUTO SCHOOL' car

Pro - Most homes are made of cement very thick and solid

Con - Home remodeling nearly impossible (interior walls are 2 feet wide)

Pro - Shopping options for staples like paper towels, toilet paper, fabric softener, laundry detergent and soap are extremely cheap

Con - No bulk options available so frequent trips required

Pro - The water out of the tap is fresh and delicious

Con - We have two large storage tanks for water because we take turns on water between us and another small neighborhood (we have never ran out but it was close a few times)

Pro - We bike to town mostly so we maybe spend $20 or less on gas during most months

Con - Gas can be expensive if you need it for everyday commutes

Pro - Property taxes are extremely affordable, $60 for our home and land and $2 for the car

Con - The infrastructure needs improvement like roads (outside of the main highway), parking in city centers and pot holes

Pro - Fields in the north are covered in herbs like sage and lavender, smells heavenly

Con - If you have allergies this area could be hell

Pro - Hiking here is beautiful

Con - Trails are still not very clearly marked or documented (hints how we lost our trail going up the mountain

Pro - Coffee is served as frequent as water and cheap

Con - If you are the first to join a group for coffee you could be on the hook for the entire table's bill

Pro - The coastal beaches are beautiful

Con - Beaches are super crowded during the summer season

Pro - The lakes are not over commercialized with boats and waterside resorts so it is still very serene

Con - When you do hear a motor it kind of kills the mood

Pro - The days in the summer are long with 15+ hours of daylight

Con - The days in the winter can be super short with less than 8 hours of daylight (our sun sets behind the mountains in Montenegro in the winter months)

Pro - If you don't have any form of transportation a mini bus is usually available in most town centers or you can hitch from the main highway

Con - Some mini buses are clean and some are not and there is never really a schedule so be prepared either way

Pro - There is one main highway that connects the north to the south

Con - Alternative routes are limited mostly because the mountains that run parallel to the highway

Pro - Custom furniture is more affordable than ready made pieces

Con - Makes your options nearly limitless when deciding how to furnish (that can be more stressful)

Pro - Walking after the evening meal is tradition

Con - Sometimes that evening meal doesn't start until 10 pm or later, I am not a night owl

What questions do you have about living life in Albania?

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