September 13th, 2007
South of the Equator is definitely the most affordable place to travel. Not only is the weather fairer over much of the southern hemisphere, now travellers find they don’t need to spend nearly as much as they do in the north simply to have a good time.
Two global surveys comparing the cost of living agree that Europe now has the world’s most expensive cities in which to live; one cites Oslo, the other says Moscow. And a third survey, released this week, adds that London is now the most expensive city in the world for dining out.
Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s annual survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Moscow tops its list followed by London.
Thanks to the strength of the euro, other serious European dollar drainers include Copenhagen, Geneva, Zurich and Milan. In comparison Sydney ranks 21st.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2007 Worldwide Cost of Living survey names Oslo as the world’s most expensive city for the second year running, followed by Tokyo and Reykjavik. London ranks fourth whereas Moscow is way down the list, only a shade more costly than New York. But the Economist survey omits housing, so doesn’t truly reflect the total cost of living.
Much more tuned to the tourist pocket is the recent Zagat Restaurant Guide 2007 survey. Its focus is the cost of a restaurant meal and it finds that London demands the biggest splash of your cash. Expect little change from $200 for a three-course meal for two! (average cost $94.35 or £39.09 per person). Next in line is Paris ($85.40 pp) then Tokyo ($84.75 pp).
Such astronomical costs may well drive travellers elsewhere, most likely in the direction of South American cities at the opposite end of the spectrum. Both COL surveys rank Asuncion in Paraguay as the world’s least expensive city, with Quito and Montevideo also low down on the list.