138 World cities ranked cheapest to most expensive: Backpacker Index for 2018
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 8th year for 2018, below you'll find all major destinations around the world ranked by price for backpackers.
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.
Prices in most of the world were very stable through 2017, at least in nominal terms, but there were some currency shifts that did change things in many places. The US Dollar weakened against nearly every currency in the world in 2017, so now the rest of the world is a bit more expensive for Americans, though most places are still bargains. Aside from the British Pound, which remains a bit weak in the wake of the Brexit situation, nearly all of the world's currencies started 2018 on a generally fair footing. The US dollar had been unusually strong, but it ended 2017 at a good equilibrium with all of the major currencies.
As always, Asia is home to most of the world's best travel bargains, and even its most expensive cities (Tokyo and Singapore) are close to the center of this entire list.
Detailed information available by region
- Africa and Middle East Backpacker Index
- Asia Backpacker Index
- Australia/New Zealand Backpacker Index
- Europe Backpacker Index
- North America Backpacker Index
- South and Central America Backpacker Index
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: 138 global destinations for 2018
(Totals below are recalculated by exchange rate and re-ranked daily)
Cheapest to most expensive
*The prices for Caracas are using the official exchange rate. Visitors bringing in other currencies can change them at a much higher rate once there, so overall costs can be much less.