Travel is a wonderful experience, but it is expensive. It can be very challenging to stick to a budget when wandering abroad with fares, meals, accommodations, and the countless tourist traps to pay for. It can even be tougher if you won’t do due diligence when planning. This is why it is tactical to know the possible costs of a travel when visiting a destination. With diligence, you might just avoid some headaches when you run out of money while on a holiday.
One way to have a pleasurable travel is to smartly decide on a destination that your budget can afford. Check 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum. It ranked 141 countries based on the countries’ “average cost of … flights to and from, average cost of hotel accommodations, cost of living, fuel prices, and purchasing power parity (PPP).” Accordingly, you may choose alternative destinations that can be as inspiring, but where you may spend less.
Susan Paterson shared how it can be done in the blog Five Cities Where You Can Live Large, for a Little posted in BBC Travel. She used an index made by the Economist Intelligence Unit that named the most expensive cities for 2013, such as Tokyo, Paris and Singapore, as well as Sydney and Melbourne. Paterson says:
“But in many cases, for each incredibly expensive destination there is a city that offers similar experiences, for less. In these five inspiring alternatives, comparable lifestyle, location and experiences can be found for a fraction of the cost.”
She then suggested the following alternatives:
Seoul, South Korea instead of Tokyo, Japan
“Tokyo may be your heart’s desire, but just over the Sea of Japan lies the South Korean city of Seoul, a city equally fused with high-tech, neon-lit modernity.”
Numbeo says Seoul’s overall consumer prices are about 35 percent lower than Tokyo while accommodations and meals are approximately cheaper by 40 percent. In terms of experience, Seoul makes a great alternative being a “hub of technology and engineering.” As a UNESCO City of Design, you will also be inspired by its rich culture reflected in its architecture. The city’s extensive and efficient public transport, shopping centers, entertainment and green spaces are certainly at par with Tokyo.
Berlin, Germany Can Alternate with Melbourne, Australia
“Culturally minded, food-obsessed Melbourne is officially the world’s most liveable city, and with that title comes a hefty price tag. Berlin, with its cool, artistic lifestyle and comparable riverside location provides ample similarities without blowing the budget.”
The consumer prices in Berlin are approximately 45 percent cheaper than in Melbourne while the accommodations can be around 50 percent lower, says Numbeo. Berlin, like Melbourne, is a
“haven for artists, musicians and writers, with a penchant for innovation and subversion.” The city is also home to a number of interesting museums, flourishing nightlife and wonderful fares to feast on ranging from Michelin-recognized fine dining, locavore organic restaurants to inexpensive exotic dishes, especially Turkish. You may also bike around in Berlin, just like in Melbourne.
Bangkok, Thailand Can Substitute to Singapore
“Urban giant Bangkok may be a lot grittier and more prone to gridlock than impeccably clean and efficient Singapore, but if excellent shopping, food, entertainment and a megacity vibe are what you are looking for in a hometown, it could be the perfect, affordable alternative.”
The consumer prices in Bangkok are amazingly 55 percent less expensive than Singapore, according to Numbeo. The street food in Bangkok also abound, offering tourists a cheap way to get delicious, but inexpensive (about 75 percent lower) options. Swanky restaurants offering gourmet cooking are wonderfully priced at about 50 percent lower than Singapore. The nightlife, entertainment and shopping might pale in comparison to Singapore, but there are numerous and exciting options as well.
Buenos Aires, Argentina in Place of Paris, France
“Chic, fashionable, wine-loving Paris, with its grand architecture and wide boulevards is likely the city of your dreams … But if you are prepared to temper Parisian style and sophistication with a Latin flavour, then Buenos Aires is right on the money.
Numbeo estimates that Buenos Aires ‘consumer prices are around 45% lower than Paris, despite inflation in the city. Buenos Aires can’t be dubbed as the Paris of the South, for nothing. The Parisian influence is tangible in the city’s Belle Époque architecture, effervescent cafe culture, Argentinean wines, gastronomic offerings, shops and fashion. The Latin American culture blends with all of these, making the city experience all the more wonderful and memorable.
Lisbon, Portugal Rather Than San Francisco, United States
“San Francisco may cost less than New York City or Los Angeles, but it will still likely leave a dent in your wallet. For a similar geographical and artistic flavour, Lisbon is an interesting alternative.”
Consider Numbeo figures: consumer prices in Lisbon are cheaper by 45 percent, while accommodations can be significantly cheaper by about 65 percent than San Francisco. There are distinct cultural differences between these two cities, but there are several topographic and visual qualities that are comparable – their suspension bridges (Lisbon’s Ponte 25 de Abril and San Francisco’s Golden Gate), their scenic views of the water, and their cable cars plying the streets. Lisbon even has a thriving street art scene that is akin to the Mission District in San Francisco.
Traveling to these alternative cities can be just as fulfilling. Being sensible in picking your destination can make your sojourn more enjoyable when you are not worried about your budget. While you covet to travel to certain wonderful destinations, they can wait.