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The Most And Least Affordable Travel Destinations In The World – Revealed

Have you ever daydreamed about traveling the world but your budget just doesn’t seem to allow it? Well, you’re not alone. 

With so many destinations to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go and how much to spend. 

That’s why I’ve conducted a study to determine the most and least affordable travel destinations around the world.

Using data from various sources, including average hotel and food prices, transportation costs and attraction prices, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most and least affordable travel destinations around the world. 

I analyzed 60 destinations that are well known to be either super cheap or super pricey in order to come up with an ultimate list of the most and least expensive.

Least Affordable Travel Destinations

Photo of Monaco saying that Monaco is the least affordable travel destination in the world.

I’ve ranked the following destinations based on the average cost of a 5-day trip per person. This excludes flight prices as that varies drastically depending on where you live.

RankPlaceTotal Cost For 5 Day Trip
1Monaco$2,258 / £1,805
2St Barts$2,181 / £1,743
3Gstaad, Switzerland$2,065 / £1,650
4Reykjavik, Iceland$1,919 / £1,534
5Bora Bora$1,918 / £1,533
6Honolulu, Hawaii$1,914 / £1,530
7San Francisco, US$1,885 / £1,506
8New York City, US$1,779 / £1,422
9Grand Cayman$1,637 / £1,308
10Venice, Italy$1,548 / £1,237

Out of the top ten least affordable travel destinations in the world, almost all of them (9/10) are in either Europe or North America. 

The only exception is Bora Bora which is a remote island in the South Pacific Ocean however this does officially form part of France.

The cost of accommodation and food is the main reason why these destinations are so expensive but attraction costs and local transportation are also much higher than in other destinations around the world.

1. Monaco

As you can see from the list, Monaco comes in as the most expensive travel destination in the world with an average 5-day trip costing $2,258 (£1,805) per person excluding flights.

It’s hardly surprising that Monaco tops the list given its reputation as the home of the rich and famous. 

Prices in Monaco are sky high partly due to limited space (Monaco is just over 2.1 km2 total).

Monaco is also a prestigious city with a long history of attracting wealthy and influential people from around the world. 

In fact, according to CNN, just under 70% of people living in Monaco are millionaires.

The city is also home to numerous international events and institutions including the Formula One Grand Prix, the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monaco Yacht Show. 

The prestige of these events and institutions adds to the allure of Monaco, driving up prices for everything from accommodation to entertainment.

The whole place is filled with high end restaurants, designer shops, luxury boutiques and upscale entertainment venues which all come with high price tags.

2. St Barts

Coming in at number 2 is St Barts, officially Saint Barthelemy, which is a small island in the Caribbean famous for the luxury lifestyle it offers and its stunning white sandy beaches.

Similar to Monaco, St Barts is known as a favorite holiday spot of the rich and famous. Stars like Beyonce & Jay-Z regularly vacation in St Barts as do the Kardashians and Gwen Stefani.

The whole island is filled with luxury villas and hotels, high end restaurants, exclusive shops and picturesque beaches. Naturally they come with a hefty price tag to match. 

Additionally, St Barts is a really tiny island, it measures just 21 km². Due to limited space and high demand, prices have been driven up due to scarcity.

3. Gstaad, Switzerland

Gstaad, Switzerland comes in at number 3. Gstaad is a picturesque resort town located in the Swiss Alps and is known for its luxurious lifestyle, stunning mountain scenery and extensive skiing facilities.

Gstaad is also a popular holiday destination for the wealthy and famous with numerous high-end hotels, luxury chalets and designer boutiques lining its charming streets. 

Due to its exclusive and remote location in the Swiss Alps as well as its reputation for luxury, prices in Gstaad are sky high.

4. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, comes in at number 4 on the list. Iceland is a pretty pricey country mainly due to its isolated location. The closest major country to it is the UK which is still 846 miles away.

The cost of living is also pretty high in Iceland which has pushed prices higher and higher over the years.

5. Bora Bora

At number 5 on the list is Bora Bora which is a small island located in the South Pacific and forms part of French Polynesia. 

It is famous for its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters and luxurious overwater bungalows. 

Bora Bora is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world and is a popular destination for honeymooners and luxury travelers.

Bora Bora is pretty expensive mainly due to the fact that it’s a remote island in the South Pacific Ocean. Its isolation and limited infrastructure contribute to its high cost of living and expensive tourism industry. 

The island is located far from major cities and transportation hubs which makes it expensive to import goods.

Also, the demand for luxury tourism on the island is high and the supply of high-end resorts and overwater bungalows is limited. 

One night in a 5-star overwater bungalow can easily cost over $1,000 per night and that’s on the lower end.

This means that the prices for accommodation, food and activities are generally higher than in other destinations.

Most Affordable Travel Destinations

Photo of Delhi saying that Delhi is the most affordable travel destination in the world.

I’ve ranked the following destinations based on the average cost of a 5-day trip per person. This excludes flight prices as that varies drastically depending on where you live.

RankPlaceTotal Cost For 5 Day Trip
1Delhi, India$181 / £145
2Phnom Penh, Cambodia$224 / £179
3Kathmandu, Nepal$229 / £183
4Tbilisi, Georgia$249 / £199
5Medellin, Colombia$255 / £204
6Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam$259 / £207
7Chiang Mai, Thailand$286 / £229
8Cairo, Egypt$289 / £231
9Luang Prabang, Laos$291 / £233
10Bangkok, Thailand$292 / £233

Out of the top ten most affordable travel destinations in the world, not a single one is located in Europe or North America. 

(The exception to this could be Tbilisi which, according to Wikipedia, lies at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.)

The majority (8/10) are located in Asia with the others being located in either Africa (Cairo) or South America (Medellin).

The reasoning for this is that, in general, the cost of living in Asia is a lot lower than in Europe and North America.

1. Delhi, India

According to my research, the number one most affordable travel destination in the world is Delhi, India.

India’s capital city is a bustling metropolis that blends modernity and tradition, and is known for its rich history and vibrant culture.

Delhi has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. The city has been ruled by a succession of dynasties, including the Mughals, the British and the modern Indian government. 

This rich history is reflected in the city’s architecture, with landmarks such as the Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

It won’t cost you a lot to visit Delhi at all as the average cost of a 3-star hotel room for one night is just $19! 

The average cost of a 5-star hotel in Delhi is just $186 (£149) per night which is crazy in comparison to the most expensive travel destination on this list, Monaco, where 1 night in a 5-star hotel would cost you $1,217 (£972) on average.

2. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Coming in at number 2 is Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is a bustling city that features a mix of modern and traditional architecture and offers a wide range of attractions to visitors. 

Some of the top attractions include the Royal Palace, which is home to the current King of Cambodia, as well as the National Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Khmer art and artifacts.

As a developing country, the cost of living is much lower than in other countries so things are generally a lot cheaper.

The entire cost of a 5-day trip to Phnom Penh is just $224 (£179) on average (excluding flights) which is way cheaper than even just one night’s accommodation in Monaco!

3. Kathmandu, Nepal

At number 3 on the list is Kathmandu which is the largest and capital city of Nepal. It’s a vibrant and colorful city that blends ancient and modern culture, and is known for its rich history, architecture, art and spiritual significance.

Kathmandu is also a popular destination for adventure seekers, with many trekking and mountaineering opportunities available in the nearby Himalayas. 

As the cost of living is low in Nepal compared to other countries, a vacation in Kathmandu will be very cheap. Visiting all of the city’s top 3 attractions will cost you approximately $1.50 (£1.20) in total.

4. Tbilisi, Georgia

At number 4 is Tbilisi which still remains a relatively unknown travel destination to most. I actually visited Tbilisi myself last year and was shocked at how cheap it was!

Pretty much all of the main attractions in the city are free, food is very cheap and as the whole city is super walkable, you’ll spend almost nothing on transportation.

Over the centuries, Tbilisi has been ruled by various empires and kingdoms including the Persians, Arabs, Mongols and Russians. The city was also located along the Silk Road.

Tbilisi is known for its diverse architecture which reflects the city’s long and complex history. 

Some of the city’s most famous landmarks include the Narikala Fortress, the Sameba Cathedral and the Bridge of Peace, all of which are free to visit.

5. Medellin, Colombia

Coming in at number 5 is Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city. The city has a complex history, marked by periods of violence and conflict, including drug-related violence in the 1980s and 1990s. 

However in recent years, the city has undergone a transformation and is now widely regarded as one of the most innovative and dynamic cities in Latin America and is popular with tourists.

Top attractions in the city include Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Colombian village, and the Comuna 13 neighborhood, which has been transformed from a former stronghold of drug cartels to a thriving artistic community. 

The city is also a gateway to the surrounding Andes mountains with many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking.


This article has provided a list of the top ten most and least affordable travel destinations in the world, based on the average cost of a 5-day trip. 

Nine out of ten of the least affordable destinations are located in Europe or North America, with Monaco being the most expensive destination at $2,258 (£1,805) per person, excluding flights. 

The high cost of living, limited space and reputation for luxury are some of the factors that drive prices up in these destinations.

Out of the top ten most affordable travel destinations, none are located in Europe or North America. 8/10 of them are in Asia with one each in Africa and South America. 

Delhi, India is the number one most affordable travel destination, with an average 5-day trip costing just $181 (£145), excluding flights. Prices are so low due to the low cost of living in India.


The affordability of each location was calculated by looking at the following criteria:

  • Average nightly cost of a 3-star hotel in the location
  • Average daily cost of food (dining at mid-range restaurants)
  • Average daily transportation costs (using public transport where possible)
  • Combined cost of the top 3 most popular attractions

The data for each category was collated using the latest data available from reputable sources.

60 different locations were analyzed to come up with the final list. These locations were chosen based on online travel guides which recommended them as either cheap or expensive locations.

Here is a list of the data points used in the study:

  • Average nightly cost of a 3-star hotel: Analyzed the ten most recommended 3-star hotels on to work out the average cost.
  • Average daily cost of food: Used which has collated the average cost of food for various travel destinations from tens of thousands of travelers.
  • Average daily transportation cost: Based on the price of a day pass on the main public transport system or average taxi costs where metro isn’t available.
  • Cost of the top 3 most popular attractions: Top 3 most popular attractions were chosen according to and the total is the combined price of the entrance fee to all three. In some cases, the entrance was free.


Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir, who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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