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The 10 Most and Least Expensive Cities in the World

Editor’s Note: For the latest version of this story, see The World’s Most and Least Expensive Cities, Ranked.

If it seems that most of the cities you most want to visit are particularly expensive, you’re probably right. According to The Economist’s latest “Worldwide Cost of Living 2018” report, the world’s 10 most expensive cities are also among the world’s top travel destinations.

The study’s rankings are based on prices for 160 products and services in each city, including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, rents, transportation, utility bills, private schools, domestic help, and recreation costs. So what’s being measured is more cost-of-living than cost-of-visiting. Still, if it’s expensive to live there, it’s a safe bet that it’s also expensive to visit.

As it has for several years, Singapore was at the top of the world’s most expensive list:

1. Singapore
2. Paris
3. Zurich
4. Hong Kong
5. Oslo
6. Geneva (tie)
6. Seoul (tie)
8. Copenhagen
9. Tel Aviv
10. Sydney

At the other end of the cost-of-living spectrum, Damascus, Syria, was the cheapest of the cities reviewed, followed by Caracas, Venezuela, and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

1. Damascus
2. Caracas
3. Almaty
4. Lagos
5. Bangalore
6. Karachi
7. Algiers
8. Chennai
9. Bucharest
10. New Delhi

U.S. cities lost ground since last year’s report, due to the weakening of the dollar against other currencies. New York, which was the ninth most expensive city in 2017, fell back to number 13 in 2018. And Los Angeles slipped from number 11 to number 14. Still pricey, but a tad less so.

Reader Reality Check

How seriously do you consider on-the-ground costs when choosing travel destinations?

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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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