The Most and Least Expensive Cities Around the World

Inexpensive doesn’t always mean “best” but in the pricey world of travel, knowing where there are bargains should be part of the consideration. looks over the world with a penny-pincher’s eye and annually surveys travel spots and ranks them by cost. Of course, it is cheaper to visit Newark than New York and that’s hardly the measure of where you’d want to be spending your time — and money. But looking around the planet, the mix of cost and desirability — the Daily Backpacker Index — sets up a nice array of information for the travel planner and daydreamer.

In Europe, Zurich takes the questionable cakefor being the most expensive, while Sofia in Bulgaria is the least expensive. Eastern Europe dominates in the cost department with, interestingly, Dublin being more expensive that London.


In Asia it’s no great surprise that Tokyo is the most expensive place to visit, with Singapore just behind. But what’s the “cheapest” destination? Pokhara in Nepal, according to PriceOfTravel. Well, maybe you’re not looking to go to Nepal but knowing where your favored destination falls on the list is important.

In Latin America, Caracas is the most pricey while Quito the least, with Mexico City in the middle. Rio’s near the bottom as a bargain but it surely has charms that might attract us more than, say, la Paz, near the top.

As a base, the PriceOfTravel calculate these items into their study:

  • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
  • Two public transportation rides per day
  • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but this is the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
  • Three “budget” meals per day (Minimum meal price and added 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
  • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional for each city.

Of course they know, as do we, that we’re likely to still go to Paris or Rome whether those burbs land high or low on the rankings but, as always, it’s good to know where things stand in relation to one another. Besides, it’s just fun to considers such wondrous locales in this kind of abundance.

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