This was never a blog post I actually intended to write. However an innocent question asked out of sheer curiosity on Twitter sparked over 100 responses from people from all over the world telling me the most expensive places they have ever visited.
Of course, everyone’s perception of ‘expensive’ is subjective. It totally depends on the exchange rate and strength of your ‘home’ country currency. But despite this, a few countries consistently came up.
So I thought, why not add up the peoples votes and share them?
I also decided to do the opposite and find out the cheapest countries too!
So here are the top 10 most expensive countries to visit around the world ranked from no.10 down to no.1, as voted by the well-travelled people of the Twitter #traveltribe…
10. Tie – Italy and Australia
Italy and Australia came out as a tie for no.10 in this vote for the most expensive countries in the world, which considering they have quite different offerings, surprised me.
As someone who has been living in Australia for the past two years, I can sadly agree that Australia isn’t the cheapest country to travel, especially if you don’t live there and earn AUD.
Transport, accommodation, tours and general living expenses are higher than you would expect. But if you’re lucky and manage to get your hands on a car/campervan, petrol is cheap, local grown/produced foods can be reasonable and free camp grounds can be found everywhere. So it is possible to do some great, cost-effective road trips around Australia.
But then there’s the price of alcohol. If there’s one thing you should do to save money travelling Australia, it’s be tee-total. Though the below experience is just pure cruel!
Then there’s Italy. Having only travelled Italy for 2 weeks in the past, I can’t say I’ve had enough of an insight to the whole of the country but I was I horrified to see just how rammed the popular hot-spots were (Rome, Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast etc).
For me, the beauty of Italy was a little lost behind the crowds. I did also see massively inflated prices in these tourist traps, especially for food.
I budgeted £500 for 2 weeks of totally budget backpacking Italy, but I definitely spent more!
9. Tie – UK & USA
It’s interesting to see these two countries tied for 9th place.
For the UK, the general consensus was that it was London, more so than anywhere else, that was eye-wateringly dear.
As a ex-Londoner, I can agree. London is it’s own bubble that is not only expensive for tourists, but also those who live there.
Though since Brexit, the strength of the pound has weakened a lot, which has meant it’s become slightly more affordable for many people abroad. But as with any tourist city in Europe, it will always be expensive in the hot-spots.
With the UK, I believe everyone should visit London at least once in their life, but only for a few days. It’s worth heading up north to places like Yorkshire or Northumberland where it is a lot quieter, extremely beautiful and cheaper than the south.
The verdict with the USA was that it was generally expensive throughout, even for American’s to travel domestically.
It seemed especially the case when you are dining out a lot and you have to account for tips on top of every meal you buy. Of course tipping also goes for any tours or services too.
A country that I wouldn’t have initially thought would make this list is Bhutan.
But of course I was forgetting about the daily flat tourist fee of $250 that obviously sky rockets personal expenses.
Bhutan’s ‘tourist tax’ (that goes into counteracting the impact of tourism and is reinvested into the economy to provide things like their free healthcare and education system), is a great initiative for people who can afford it.
Interestingly, it’s not mandatory for every nationality it seems. One comment on Twitter from an Indian told me that this fee is waved for them, which is great news for travellers from Bhutan’s neighbour.
Although out of everyone who had voted for Bhutan, they still agreed that it was most definitely worth it.
Japan – a country I have swooned over since the beginning of my love affair with travel – and one I have always put off visiting because I fear I’ll need a bank loan.
Japan ranked at no.7 for the most expensive country to travel to – one of three Asian countries on this list.
No one explicitly said why, but interestingly, not everyone agreed that Japan was expensive:
I found Japan amazing value. Hostels were some of the best I've ever stayed in and rarely more than £20 a night, the tourist train pass was great value, attractions were mostly very cheap, and food and drink so well priced for the quality.— Kristian Godfrey (@kg_se10) May 17, 2020
Hmm, maybe I can afford to eat more than instant noodles and sleep in those terrifying looking pod capsules after all…
Singapore – the city state well known for it’s strict laws, rules and cleanliness is also well known for being pretty pricey too.
Although I’ve never been, I have been told that it’s somewhere you should see at least once in your life. Probably the no.1 piece of advice I have received is to make a friend to stay with so you don’t have to pay for accommodation!
Sweden is the first Nordic country to appear on this list, ranking at no.5. It frequently appeared usually alongside another country but nonetheless, the votes added up!
Although the cost of living for people in Sweden isn’t as high as places like the UK or Australia, tourists (especially from the US) do find it to be expensive.
Denmark came up more times than expected. It seemed like people experienced the price ‘shock factor’ here much more than most other countries. I too wouldn’t have thought it would be particularly expensive, but here we are!
My conclusion? If you’re looking for a cheap European weekend break, perhaps Denmark isn’t the place.
Denmark. It was brutal. We went for a weekend just when the pound had just plummeted due to Brexit and paid about £7 for a cappuccino. The Air BNB we stayed in was miserable. I have never thought a weekend away would feel too long. 😂— Fashion and Frappes (@FashionFrappes) May 16, 2020
Denmark was the first Scandinavian city I visited and it was shocking how large the price difference could be (commute prices were 7:1 comparing to my own country🙈). Of course, Norway is more expensive but as I visited it later (when my country already had EUR) it was fine(ish).— Postcard Stories I Travel Blog (@StoriesPostcard) May 17, 2020
Iceland – yet another absolutely stunning country that is sadly so expensive, I’m sure many people just won’t have the opportunity to visit.
That’s especially the case if you are planning to visit Iceland during the winter season to see the aurora borealis (or ‘northern lights’), when flights and accommodation costs sky rocket.
What was very apparent about Iceland was that even the most basic of foods and travel methods, i.e. eating sandwiches and hiring a car/camper, shocked nearly everyone who visited.
It’s definitely a country for the bucket list, but even scrimping and doing it on a budget may well leave you out-of-pocket.
Scandinavia – you break our hearts! Now that makes all three of the countries in this sub region of Northern Europe feature in the top 5 of this list – Norway apparently being the most expensive of them all.
The thing that cracked me up the most was this Tweet. I think sums up the in-country costs pretty perfectly!
I also noticed that more than one person told me that the capital, Oslo, is also slightly overrated considering the cost. Perhaps it’s better to head out of the cities and discover somewhere more rural…
Oh Switzerland – how can a country so stunningly beautiful also bankrupt us so?!
Exceeding all other votes by an absolute mile, pretty Switzerland seems to be the most expensive country to travel in the world, as voted by the trusty people of Twitter.
It wasn’t just one thing that was expensive in Switzerland, but seemingly everything – transport, food, accommodation – the lot.
That being said, everyone I asked (bar one person who clearly didn’t leave the airport), was in agreement that it was worth it and they’d 100% go back if they had the chance. Oh, and no doubt the funds too…
Yep Switzerland! We paid $30 AUD for plain burgers for dinner... in Aus it would be $15 max. Our regular Starbucks order was a heap more expensive too compared to the rest of Europe. Beautiful place though, and worth the money 😍— Mel • Your Travel Handbook (@YourTrvlHndbk) May 16, 2020
For someone who only visited for 5 days I am also in agreement – if you can manage to save up for it, it will be a totally magical holiday you’ll never forget.
Others that just missed out…
In case you’re interested, other destinations with multiple votes included Monaco, France, Ireland, Canada, The Maldives, Austria, The UAE, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Oh… and not forgetting the land of…
That inflated, consumerized tourist bubble is most definitely a law unto itself!
Now that you now the most expensive country in the world, how about looking at the top 10 cheapest countries to travel in the world?
What are you opinions on the destinations included on this post? Would you add somewhere or do you have any budget tips for any of the places included? Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!
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