133 World cities ranked cheapest to most expensive: Backpacker Index for 2023
We have all heard that some parts of the world are “cheap” to visit while others are “expensive” but most people have a hard time quantifying any more precisely. That’s why Price of Travel launched our Backpacker Index numbers for cities all over the world in late 2010. Now totally updated in its 13th year for 2023, below you’ll find all major destinations around the world ranked by price for backpackers.
The 2023 update was very challenging as this is the first year when inflation was widespread across the globe. North America and Europe have become more expensive in the last year, while most of Asia has stayed fairly steady in prices. Some places increased far more than others, of course, and the most dramatic changes were in places where the cost of hostel dorms went way up. It won’t surprise anyone that during the pandemic, many hostels went out of business and many others converted a great number of dorm rooms into private rooms. This has pushed up hostel prices in many parts of the world, although it also means you’ll be less likely to be sharing a room with 31 other people in 2023.
More specific information can be found by clicking on the regional articles just below, or by clicking on the individual city names in the main list.
Those looking for the best travel bargains in the world will continue to find almost all of them in Asia and Latin America, although there are a few European cities that are surprisingly close to the top of the cheap list. It’s unwise to go to any given city simply because it’s “cheap” but every destination on the list below has something going for it and these are almost all of the world’s top travel destinations.
It’s worth noting that Moscow and St. Petersburg dropped off the list for 2023. Not only are very few people interested in visiting Russia at the moment, but some of our partners including Hostelworld no longer list hostels there anyway. We’ve also deleted Beirut, Lebanon as of March of 2023 after they devalued their currency. Hopefully things will stabilize enough to include them again next year.
All of the prices below are based on data that is researched and calculated as of January, 2023, and the exchange rates update automatically every day.
Detailed information available by region
It’s important to mention that the links just below are the REAL Backpacker Index information and are far more useful for anyone planning a trip. The long list of all 133 cities at the bottom of the page is just a summary to be able to compare the cities in one, quick place.
What the prices below mean
There is a longer explanation of the Backpacker Index on each of the regional pages, but the short version is that we found the price for a group of things for each destination, and then translated that into US dollars on a daily basis, so the list is always current after exchange rates. While this data is meant for backpackers and budget travelers, the proportions will be nearly identical, so the list should also be useful to those with more money to spend.
For each city this daily total includes:
- A dorm bed at a good and cheap hostel
- 3 budget meals
- 2 public transportation rides
- 1 paid cultural attraction
- 3 cheap beers (as an “entertainment fund”)
Backpacker Index: 133 global destinations for 2023
(Totals below are recalculated by exchange rate and re-ranked daily)
Cheapest to most expensive
$16.53Luang Prabang, Laos
$20.08Hoi An, Viet Nam
$20.98Chiang Mai, Thailand
$21.80Hanoi, Viet Nam
$24.15Zanzibar City, Tanzania
$24.53Buenos Aires, Argentina
$24.77Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Viet Nam
$28.43La Paz, Bolivia
$28.72Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
$29.01Colombo, Sri Lanka
$29.04Siem Reap, Cambodia
$30.22Granada (Nicaragua), Nicaragua
$30.96Phnom Penh, Cambodia
$35.82Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
$35.93Cape Town, South Africa
$37.71Boracay Island, Philippines
$42.82Santa Ana, El Salvador
$43.69Mexico City, Mexico
$48.00Panama City, Panama
$48.40Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
$48.46Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
$48.58Cesky Krumlov, Czechia
$50.46San Jose, Costa Rica
$51.32Seoul, South Korea
$54.47Hong Kong, Hong Kong
$59.40Roatán Island, Honduras
$68.33San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), Belize
$78.16Auckland, New Zealand
$86.75Queenstown, New Zealand
$91.44Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
$93.94Tel Aviv, Israel
$97.20Las Vegas, United States
$97.30Edinburgh, United Kingdom
$102.20New Orleans, United States
$103.80Los Angeles, United States
$108.89San Francisco, United States
$111.00Chicago, United States
$111.55Washington D.C., United States
$115.38Miami Beach, United States
$119.37Honolulu, United States
$125.24London, United Kingdom
$130.85New York City, United States
$159.80Boston, United States