World’s most expensive cities

The Economist has released an infographic – based on the results of its Worldwide Cost of Living Survey – showing the world’s least and most expensive destinations. And for the first time in its 30-year history, the list is topped by three countries.

Compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey compares prices across 160 products and services to rank the most expensive cities in the world, and serves as a good indicator of how much travellers will need to budget for a trip to these destinations.

The most expensive cities in the world were:

  1. Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong (tied for first)
  2. Zurich
  3. Osaka
  4. Seoul, New York and Copenhagen
  5. Los Angeles, Tel Aviv

Other popular tourist destinations in the top 20 were New York, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Zurich, Reykjavik, Seoul and Dublin.

Caracas (Venezuela), Damascus (Syria), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Bangalore (India) were the least expensive.

Australia’s most expensive city was Sydney, falling out of the top 10 by six places to 16th place. Melbourne also dropped eight spots to 22nd and Brisbane was down 15 places to 41st. Adelaide (51st) and Perth (64th) were among the biggest movers down the ranking in the past 12 months, which has been attributed to Australia’s weakened dollar.

“Australian cities were cheaper by between 10 and 13 per cent from last year, and interestingly, it’s Sydney and Melbourne where the drop has been larger (13 per cent),” said EIU global chief economist Simon Baptist.

Travellers should note that just because a destination ranks high on a list like this, there are still plenty of ways to tour these cities without spending a fortune. Cheap accommodation can be found on Airbnb and in hostels (look for private rooms) and you can spend as much or as little on food and drink as you desire. Also, many cities offer discounts and programs to ease the cost of visiting, free tours and events are always on offer if you know where to look. The short story: there is value for money in any city you visit.

What was the most expensive city you’ve visited? What was the cheapest?

Related articles:
How expensive is Australia?
Cheapest European cities
Is travelling solo too expensive?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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