You could spend three full days in Hanoi or Sofia Bulgaria or Warsaw (almost) for the price of a single day in Oslo, Norway.
The latest TripIndex Cities list for 2013, brought to you by the people at Trip Advisor, shows that the cost of a hotel, taxi, dinner and cocktails in Sofia is $158.42. That same day in Oslo? Try $581.08.
Trip Advisor says Sofia (see photo) checks out as the cheapest big city to check out in the world. Right behind was Hanoi, which I quite enjoyed on a visit a couple years ago, at $176.14, followed by Warsaw at $187.45.
The next cheapest were Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt ($191.34), Budapest ($193.44), Bangkok ($201.15), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($217.73), Tunis, Tunisia ($218.91), Cape Town ($219.46) and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which clocked in at $220.14 even though you can't get a cocktail.
The highest priced, ranking from 39th to 49th on the list, were Punta Cana ($435.66), Cancun ($441.06), Copenhagen ($443.58), London ($451.35), Sydney ($460.21), Paris ($511.40), New York ($515.97), Stockholm ($521.68), Zurich ($523.41) and then poor Oslo ($581.08, in case you were celebrating the Jays' win in Texas too much last night and drank too much champagne and forget what I just wrote).
Toronto? Yeah, we were up there in the 34th spot in the expense-o-meter, ringing in at a sizeable $389.74, which broke down to $256.57 for the hotel, $23.62 for the cabs, $77.69 for dinner and $31.86 for cocktails.
I'm relatively sure these figures are accurate in terms of weighing one city versus another. We all know Scandinavia is expensive and that big cities in Asia and Eastern Europe tend to be easier on the debit card.
But I was surprised by a few things, one of them the Punta Cana numbers and also that Sydney seems more expensive than London. Mind you, they have somewhat nicer beaches and a bit more sunshine in Sydney than in London. The Aussies even speak a form of English, which makes it a fun place to visit once you discover a "flat white" is a form of cappuccino or cafe latte and not a term used to dismiss Canadian travel writers who take pot shots at folks from Oz; a country that I truly love truth be known.
I'm also taken aback by the prices, as they seem to have found fairly expensive hotels. The index for the study says they specified a four-star hotel found on Trip Advisor or partner booking sites in each destination for a night between June 1 and Aug. 31. Each day's expenses include a traditional or common meal at a mid-range restaurant, including an appetizer and main course for two people with a bottle of house white (ugh) wine. Cocktail prices specified two dry martinis at a top-rated five star hotel and the taxi prices represented a pair of two-mile taxi rides.
The food prices seem okay and the cabs, too, but I know you can hotels for WAY less than the survey suggests in Toronto and other cities by using sites such as hotels.com.
Still, it's a fun survey that does show you how it can pay to stay in a different place than the rest of the crowd. I've often made the point that places like Hanoi and Bangkok are fabulous if you want to save money or if you want to live it up and spend what you'd normally spend on a vacation. Even considering the extra cost of flying to Asia versus Europe, you can save a lot by taking a week in Bangkok versus, say, Rome or Paris.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal today for a trip to the sunny Dominican Republic, priced at $788, including $389 in taxes.
- SAVINGS: Two travellers save up to $200 by booking with Jaunt.ca!
- All-inclusive 7-night stay at the Casa Marina Beach Resort, located in Sousa, Dominican Republic
- The resort is located ten minutes from the airport
- The resort is surrounded by world-class golf greens and great diving centres
- Valid for travel on July 10, 2013
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Puerto Plata and round-trip airport/hotel transfers in the Dominican Republic
- Accommodations in a Standard Gardenview room, featuring 1 king or 2 double beds and balcony or terrace. Maximum occupancy: 4 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.
- Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- Pricing (Rates are per person, plus tax):
Double : $399 + tax
Single: $535 + tax
Triple: $383 + tax
Quad: $374 + tax
Child: $289 + tax
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking