The Most Expensive Countries in the World To Travel – Ranked

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This was never a blog post I actually intended to write. However an innocent question asked out of sheer curiosity on Twitter sparked over 100 responses from people from all over the world telling me the most expensive places they have ever visited.

Of course, everyone’s perception of ‘expensive’ is subjective. It totally depends on the exchange rate and strength of your ‘home’ country currency. But despite this, a few countries consistently came up.

So I thought, why not add up the peoples votes and share them?

I also decided to do the opposite and find out the cheapest countries too!

So here are the top 10 most expensive countries to visit around the world ranked from no.10 down to no.1, as voted by the well-travelled people of the Twitter #traveltribe…

The most expensive countries to visit in the world:

10. Tie – Italy and Australia

what is the most expensive country in Europe?
Photo by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash
Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

Italy and Australia came out as a tie for no.10 in this vote for the most expensive countries in the world, which considering they have quite different offerings, surprised me.

As someone who has been living in Australia for the past two years, I can sadly agree that Australia isn’t the cheapest country to travel, especially if you don’t live there and earn AUD.

Transport, accommodation, tours and general living expenses are higher than you would expect. But if you’re lucky and manage to get your hands on a car/campervan, petrol is cheap, local grown/produced foods can be reasonable and free camp grounds can be found everywhere. So it is possible to do some great, cost-effective road trips around Australia.

But then there’s the price of alcohol. If there’s one thing you should do to save money travelling Australia, it’s be tee-total. Though the below experience is just pure cruel!

Australia, bought 3 beers in the same bar they raised the price every time from 7 to 8.50 to 11 , than the guitar player sang a song about stupid Americans, hint hint. #notnice #leavingnow #thanksnothanks

— AudaciousChoice (@OHaraAmber) May 16, 2020

Then there’s Italy. Having only travelled Italy for 2 weeks in the past, I can’t say I’ve had enough of an insight to the whole of the country but I was I horrified to see just how rammed the popular hot-spots were (Rome, Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast etc). 

For me, the beauty of Italy was a little lost behind the crowds. I did also see massively inflated prices in these tourist traps, especially for food.

I budgeted £500 for 2 weeks of totally budget backpacking Italy, but I definitely spent more! 

9. Tie – UK & USA

Photo by Charles Postiaux on Unsplash
statue of liberty statue in New York
Photo by Andrew Hubbert on Unsplash

It’s interesting to see these two countries tied for 9th place.

For the UK, the general consensus was that it was London, more so than anywhere else, that was eye-wateringly dear.

As a ex-Londoner, I can agree. London is it’s own bubble that is not only expensive for tourists, but also those who live there.

Though since Brexit, the strength of the pound has weakened a lot, which has meant it’s become slightly more affordable for many people abroad. But as with any tourist city in Europe, it will always be expensive in the hot-spots.

With the UK, I believe everyone should visit London at least once in their life, but only for a few days. It’s worth heading up north to places like Yorkshire or Northumberland where it is a lot quieter, extremely beautiful and cheaper than the south.

The verdict with the USA was that it was generally expensive throughout, even for American’s to travel domestically.

It seemed especially the case when you are dining out a lot and you have to account for tips on top of every meal you buy. Of course tipping also goes for any tours or services too.

8. Bhutan

Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

A country that I wouldn’t have initially thought would make this list is Bhutan.

But of course I was forgetting about the daily flat tourist fee of $250 that obviously sky rockets personal expenses.

Bhutan’s ‘tourist tax’ (that goes into counteracting the impact of tourism and is reinvested into the economy to provide things like their free healthcare and education system), is a great initiative for people who can afford it.

Interestingly, it’s not mandatory for every nationality it seems. One comment on Twitter from an Indian told me that this fee is waved for them, which is great news for travellers from Bhutan’s neighbour.

Beautiful country though!! pic.twitter.com/bsyOqDhgHC

— Deah (@PalmTreeMusings) May 16, 2020

Although out of everyone who had voted for Bhutan, they still agreed that it was most definitely worth it.

7. Japan

is Japan an expensive country to travel to
Photo by David Edelstein on Unsplash

Japan – a country I have swooned over since the beginning of my love affair with travel – and one I have always put off visiting because I fear I’ll need a bank loan.

Japan ranked at no.7 for the most expensive country to travel to – one of three Asian countries on this list.

No one explicitly said why, but skiing in Japan can be extremely expensive as can the entry fees for general tourist activities. Interestingly, not everyone agreed that Japan was expensive:

Hmm, maybe I can afford to eat more than instant noodles and sleep in those terrifying looking pod capsules after all…

6. Singapore

singapore city at sunset
Photo by Swapnil Bapat on Unsplash

Singapore – the city state well known for it’s strict laws, rules and cleanliness is also well known for being pretty pricey too.

Although I’ve never been, I have been told that it’s somewhere you should see at least once in your life. Probably the no.1 piece of advice I have received is to make a friend to stay with so you don’t have to pay for accommodation!

5. Sweden

Is Sweden an expensive country to visit?

Sweden is the first Nordic country to appear on this list, ranking at no.5. It frequently appeared usually alongside another country but nonetheless, the votes added up!

Although the cost of living for people in Sweden isn’t as high as places like the UK or Australia, tourists (especially from the US) do find it to be expensive.

4. Denmark

colourful houses on a street in Denmark
Photo by Steffen Muldbjerg on Unsplash

Denmark came up more times than expected. It seemed like people experienced the price ‘shock factor’ here much more than most other countries. I too wouldn’t have thought it would be particularly expensive, but here we are!

My conclusion? If you’re looking for a cheap European weekend break, perhaps Denmark isn’t the place.

3. Iceland

Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash

Iceland – yet another absolutely stunning country that is sadly so expensive, I’m sure many people just won’t have the opportunity to visit. 

That’s especially the case if you are planning to visit Iceland during the winter season to see the aurora borealis (or ‘northern lights’), when flights and accommodation costs sky rocket.

What was very apparent about Iceland was that even the most basic of foods and travel methods, i.e. eating sandwiches and hiring a car/camper, shocked nearly everyone who visited.

It’s definitely a country for the bucket list, but even scrimping and doing it on a budget may well leave you out-of-pocket.

2. Norway

nordic house on a lake with rugged mountains
Photo by Seth kane on Unsplash

Scandinavia – you break our hearts! Now that makes all three of the countries in this sub region of Northern Europe feature in the top 5 of this list – Norway apparently being the most expensive of them all. 

The thing that cracked me up the most was this Tweet. I think sums up the in-country costs pretty perfectly!

I also noticed that more than one person told me that the capital, Oslo, is also slightly overrated considering the cost. Perhaps it’s better to head out of the cities and discover somewhere more rural…

1. Switzerland

swiss house on lakefront surrounded by trees and a mountain

Oh Switzerland – how can a country so stunningly beautiful also bankrupt us so?!

Exceeding all other votes by an absolute mile, pretty Switzerland seems to be the most expensive country to visit in the world, as voted by the trusty people of Twitter.

It wasn’t just one thing that was expensive in Switzerland, but seemingly everything – transport, food, accommodation – the lot.

That being said, everyone I asked (bar one person who clearly didn’t leave the airport), was in agreement that it was worth it and they’d 100% go back if they had the chance. Oh, and no doubt the funds too…

For someone who only visited for 5 days I am also in agreement – if you can manage to save up for it, it will be a totally magical holiday you’ll never forget.

Others that just missed out…

In case you’re interested, other destinations with multiple votes for this list of the most expensive countries to visit included Monaco, France, Ireland, Canada, The Maldives, Austria, The UAE, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Oh… and not forgetting the land of…

That inflated, consumerized tourist bubble is most definitely a law unto itself!


Now that you now the most expensive country in the world, how about looking at the top 10 cheapest countries to travel in the world?

What are you opinions on the destinations included on this post? Would you add somewhere or do you have any budget tips for any of the places included? Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

Going Travelling Soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

Book your accommodation through Booking.com or Hotels.com.

To cover yourself for any unplanned situations, I use and would recommend World Nomads travel insurance.

To search and compare the best group tours and activities worldwide (with up to 50% off), use TourRadar.

For some travel inspiration for your next trip, how about Lonely Planet’s top 500 places to see… ranked?

Don’t forget to check the government visa entry requirements for the passport you are travelling with.

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15 thoughts on “The Most Expensive Countries in the World To Travel – Ranked”

  1. Very interesting read! As a British person I am shocked to see that the UK was voted more than Italy (especially with Venice!)! I completely agree with Singapore!

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  2. I couldn’t agree with you more about Switzerland. It’s a beautiful destination that I absolutely loved!! While it’s pricey, now I know how much to save for my next trip. 🙂

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  3. I was actually just thinking about going to Sweden because I think that the prices are going to be lower now during Covid at any other time! It looks like a really beautiful place and I want to go so badly.

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  4. This list really isn’t what I was expecting! 1-7 yes, I’d expect them in the top but Buthan really surprised me. And so did Italy … but guess it really depends on where in Italy you go – Venice is excruciatingly expensive and they have this funny thing of charging you extra for service at the table (which you don’t have to pay for if you order at the bar) and then they charge you for ‘cutlery’ on top of that. I’m also surprised New Zealand isn’t on the list

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    • I know – I remember Italy charging for all sorts of random things when you went out for a meal. I wondered whether it was just a tourist thing? But yes, I thought New Zealand should have made the list too!

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      • Naah, not a touristy thing and pretty standard wherever you go in Italy. It’s a bit like the mandatory tips in the US… except in Italy they expect tips on top of all the extra charges lol

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  5. Interesting about Bhutan. I had no idea that would have been one of the pricey places.

    Being from the UK, I never found Japan that expensive. I think it *can* be pricey if you don’t speak Japanese, but hotels and food are waaaay cheaper than the UK, so it’s actually pretty good value for tourists. If you speak Japanese (and book hotels through local websites) you have more choice, so it’s even cheaper…

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    • Yes same, but it will add up quickly and I think it’s a great initiative. I’m hoping to go to Japan as soon as I can and I’m glad to hear you don’t think it’s too bad. The accommodation was what I was worried about the most to be honest x

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  6. Surprised that New Zealand didn’t make the list, but not surprised to Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, or Norway on the list.

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    • One person said New Zealand but I tallied them up and only mentioned the ones with multiple. So not exactly scientific but I’d agree – I found New Zealand to be a lot more expensive than I had imagined. More so than Australia in fact!

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  7. I love your pictures! I have heard how expensive Iceland can be.. Living in US for the past 4 years, I realized one can easily choose to survive/travel on a budget as you could end up spending on luxury. While the infrastructure makes driving easier, it’s a big country and domestic flights/trains can get expensive.

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    • Yes I can imagine! The US is huge and so much to do, so travelling domestically must not be cheap! You have to learn budget ways!

      Reply

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