Zürich Switzerland

The Most Expensive Places to Travel

The majority of the travel money tips I post are of the low-budget variety so this week, I thought I would do something different: Blog about the most expensive places in the world to travel.

Budget travelers, you have been warned.

Need help planning your next trip? Hire me as your Travel Coach!


My best friend Bianca is Swiss, so when I travel to Switzerland, I have a free place to stay, free breakfast and often free transportation. In spite of this, I still spend a shit ton of money in Switzerland.

Case in point. When I arrived in Switzerland most recently, in early July, Bianca and I decided to celebrate with a veggie burger at Burger King. (Disclaimer: veggie burgers at Swiss Burger Kings are fucking awesome). The cost? A cool 13 Swiss francs, or about $14. Restaurant meals are even more expensive: A small pizza that would cost 6-7 euro in Italy is 22 CHF in Switzerland.

Transport in Switzerland is expensive, too. A one-way ticket from the village where Bianca lives to central Zürich costs 9 CHF for a 15-minute one-way journey. The ski lift to the summit of Melchsee-Frutt in the Swiss Alps, on the other hand, costs a whopping 15 francs.

The strange part is that while nearly everything travelers need in Switzerland is expensive, most discretionary items are affordable. A bottle of ordinary white wine at a Coop supermarket, for example, is just 5 CHF. Likewise, prices at international retailers like H&M are the same as they abroad so, relatively speaking, they are much, much cheaper.


I knew prior to arriving in Australia that it was going to be expensive. I didn’t understand just how expensive Australia would be until I sat down for a coffee in Melbourne and paid A$5 for a “long black,” which is essentially an American black coffee.

Everything is expensive in Australia, from staple cheap foods like Middle Eastern kebabs to staple cheap transport like Greyhound buses (although Australian Greyhound buses are, to be fair, the cheapest way to travel in Australia.) Even Australia’s hostels, which are among the worst in the world, are going to cost you minimum A$30 per night for a dorm bed!

It’s also expensive to take tours in Australia, and tours are often necessary due to the sheer size of the place. A one-day excursion to the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne? A$100. A day-trip to the (overrated) Whitsunday Islands in the north? A$120.

And it’s not just tours, either. When I was in Australia’s dusty red centre, for example, a mere round-trip bus transfer to iconic Uluru cost A$65. For a fucking bus!


It is ironic that Scandinavia, the origin of discount retailers like IKEA and H&M, would be among the most expensive regions of the world to travel.

To be fair, however, I found Sweden (where, specifically, these discount retailers come from) to be the most affordable country in Scandinavia, followed very closely by Denmark. And by closely, I mean not closely at all: You’re still going to pay over $40 per night for a hostel dorm bed.

Norway, however, is probably the most expensive place I’ve ever been — the train from the airport to the center of Oslo alone is more than 30 USD! Food is also expensive and alcohol, since it is only sold by the government monopoly, is even more so. How does $40 for a six-pack of local beer sound?


Yes, Brazil is an expensive place to travel, particularly if you compared to the rest of South America, which is relatively cheap. This is in part due to the explosion of the country’s economy (and its currency, the real) and in part, I’m told, because prices are being jacked up in advance of international events like the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Regardless, you’re going to pay a pretty penny to travel in Brazil, even eating at local churrascarías and drinking caipirinhas. I spent over R$100 per day when I traveled there in April 2011 (at the time, this was about 70 USD), and I was living very basically: Eating simply, staying in hostels and only taking public transport!

About The Author

is the author of 1025 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


Get Email Updates

Like what you're reading? Sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter – it's like a trip around the world to end every week!

Upcoming Trips

  • Climbing Mt. Fuji August 28-29
  • Shizuoka, Japan August 30-31
  • Kobe, Japan September 1-4
  • Koh Yao, Thailand September 24-29
  • Kyushu October 14-27
  • Sydney, Australia January 16-19
  • New Zealand January 20-February 4


lostinchina October 20, 2012 at 5:30 am

I spent 2 months traveling from Thailand to China, 10 days in Japan……… spent in 10 days what i did in 2 months.

Ulli Maier November 20, 2012 at 7:14 am

agree with brazil, brazil is very expensive, exept booze and cigarettes( this is to keep the locals quiet…)

Justin December 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Gabon in Central Africa- The Garden of Eden is ridiculously expensive. You would be caught up by surprises of exchange rates, accommodation cost and cost of flights.

Robert Schrader December 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

That is really incredible surprising and unfortunately, even if I imagine I’ll end up there some day regardless.

Jonathan January 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Mate, I don’t know where you are going to pay $5 for a long black in Australia, especially Melbourne, I mean, I’m aware Oz is expensive, but the most I pay for a good coffee in a great cafe is $3.50…. I hope you weren’t in starbucks 😉

Robert Schrader January 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Obviously not! But I paid that more than a few places in Melbourne and Sydney.

Mason James June 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

New Zealand never makes the most expensive lists and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve lived and worked in both NZ and Australia, and I find NZ grossly more expensive (admittedly from a residents perspective it’s probably due in part to NZ’s lower salaries – fml) but generally NZ is more expensive. Everything (item-wise) that is purchasable will cost you more; whether it’s a macbook, backpack, sushi roll, car, rosary.. you will pay more. Even domestic travel is horrendous these days (though bus-travel options are getting better) often it’s actually cheaper to fly from AKL-SYD than it is to fly from AKL-Dunedin/Chch, which is super annoying and silly. (my sister lives in Dunedin)
My only assumption as to why NZ doesn’t make the “most expensive” lists is due to our dollar being of lesser value than most other currencies worth mentioning (USD AUD EUR) but these days the lower value is not significant enough to challenge the general super-high prices of goods and services throughout the country.
All of this being said, I hope you are not deterred and do come and visit 🙂 It is as beautiful as you may have heard, much more so than Australia 😉 I do love Australia though..

Mason James June 7, 2013 at 6:36 am


Robert Schrader June 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Mason: New Zealand is definitely high on my list – nothing you can say will change that. Ha!

RC_RC July 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Japan isn’t that expensive. You haven’t been there. Accomodation for example is much cheaper in Tokyo than in NY. Food is also quite reasonable priced and very yummy. Japan has many discount systems, for example the JR rail pass, read carefully about the possible options and plan carefully. Japan has nowadays also budget airlines and you can also take the bus or local trains instead of the high speed train.

You will have a great vacation in Japan because Japan has a very very interesting culture. Start reading instead of believing all the myths and give Japan a try!

Grace October 31, 2013 at 8:21 am

Sigh. Step on to a uni campus and feel your wallet get lighter for each coffee you sip. I’ve (not knowing the price before) paid $8.20 for a coffee in an upper city suburb. Admittedly, it was an Italian cafe, and it was probably the best I’ve ever drank.

ps. this blog gives me too many ideas! 😛

Robert Schrader November 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

I’m so glad you love the blog! Hopefully it will take you to some cheaper places, ha!

Previous post:

Next post: