25 Most Expensive City Vacations
When it comes to travel, most of us are searching for the best deals. We want the splurge of a beautiful hotel coupled with melt-in-your-mouth dining, but we also don't want to break the bank trying to afford it.
Want to know which cities will cost you the most to visit around the world? British-based airport shuttle company Hoppa annually reviews the price of hotel stays, fine dining, on-the-go-dining, taxis and more to determine which cities are the cheapest — and which ones will cost you. The most affordable city getaway (including all but flights) is Manila in the Philippines for less than $100 per person, per night. The most expensive? Well, that one will cost you more than $500 per night.
Check out the top 25 most expensive cities for travelers to visit in 2019.
Average cost per person per night: $265.35*
Not only will it cost an arm and a leg to catch a 10- to 14-hour flight from North America to the Land Down Under, but the cash will be flying out of your wallet as quickly as the waves come rolling in on the beaches in Sydney. The most popular city to visit when visiting Australia, Sydney is renowned for its wave-like architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House, surfers off of Bondi Beach, and shopping along Darling Harbour.
We have to say all of the above — and plenty more — make Australia worth visiting, even if it is one of the world's most expensive places to explore. Who doesn't want to visit the world's smallest continent at least once?
*Figures converted from British pounds to U.S. dollars
Average cost per person per night: $274.85
As one of the more open Middle Eastern countries to Western visitors, Qatar has been growing in popularity among vacationers. But its Persian Gulf capital city will cost you. Would you expect less of one of the world's richest cities, which has created man-made islands filled with luxe beach hotels with bathrooms outfitted in 18-karat gold?
Persia may be home to great coffee, but in Doha, that cup will average you $5. Prefer a brewski? That's an average $8 a pint. And a fruity concoction or even a G&T may run you $20 a pop! An Arabic nation, Qatar considers it an offense to drink or be drunk in public, so most residents stay sober. With those drink prices, you should do as the locals do and skip the bevvies. (Your credit cards will thank you.)
Average cost per person per night: $277.36
The rumors are true: Paris is expensive. But that doesn't stop millions — 23 million in 2018 alone! — from descending upon the French capital every year, making it the most visited city in the world.
People around the world will pay nearly $300 per night for a hotel just to see the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Moulin Rouge, which cost an additional $18.92, $17.81 and $166, respectively.
Did you know you can take in a view of the Eiffel Tower for free just by securing a spot in the Champ de Mars park? Buy bread and cheese for less than a ride to the second floor, and enjoy a picnic as you gaze upon the world-famous tower.
Average cost per person per night: $277.93
Bahrain, the island nation separating Qatar from Saudi Arabia, is as pricey as its Persian counterparts, according to Hoppa. Get ready to pay more than $5 for a cup of coffee, nearly $17 for a cocktail and — believe it — nearly $22 for a glass of wine. (Just in case you need a reminder: You can purchase a bottle for less in most countries!)
In Manama, the capital city, visitors flock to museums, mosques and souqs. While you will pay to see the museums, mosques provide free entry and it never costs a dime to shop at a souq (if you don't buy anything, of course!).
Average cost per person per night: $278.39
The capital of Japan is known for having an array of shopping, culture and entertainment. From ancient temples and gardens to city parks filled with cherry blossoms to a bustling city center packed with restaurants, karaoke bars, malls and people, Tokyo is truly a sight to see.
How can you take it in for less? The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building doesn't charge admission to see the city from its observatory, walking the Kabukicho red-light district is entirely free, and if you head to Omoide Yokocho (Piss Alley), you'll eat delicious Japanese street food while taking in Old Japan.
20. Abu Dhabi
Average cost per person per night: $279.22
The United Arab Emirates is quickly becoming one of the richest countries in the world, due to its discovery of oil. With Dubai attempting to break as many world records as possible, the capital city isn't too far behind in offering glitz and glamour. Which means, you guessed it: It's expensive.
Known as the Garden City, Abu Dhabi transformed its desert into parks and gardens, albeit surrounded by skyscrapers and shopping malls. Still, you can enjoy the old U.A.E. and ride camels in the desert like the original tribes did. It's not necessarily cheap (an hour-long ride generally costs over $100), but it's worth it.
Average cost per person per night: $284.83
In 2018, Barcelona received a record-number of cruise passengers, helping Spain break records for international tourism.
It's this over-tourism that is causing the prices in Barcelona to rise. You see, the Spaniards are so unhappy with the millions of people pouring into the city, especially during the summer, that it created a law to limit the number of beds available at hotels and apartments. The result? A supply-and-demand scenario where those with beds could jack up the rates.
Give the residents a break and visit smaller cities scattered about Spain instead. The food is delicious, you can uncover ancient history, the scenery is beautiful and you'll help local businesses that need a bit more demand.
Average cost per person per night: $293.52
Often called the New York of Canada, this charming city on Lake Ontario is such a splurge, even New Yorkers can't afford to live there. Since accommodations can easily cost hundreds a night, you'll need to cut costs in other areas to see what the city offers.
Thankfully, you can enjoy a lot of the city for free by walking Toronto's elevated and underground pedestrian tunnels known as the PATH; visiting Sunnyside and High Parks' beaches and gardens; and hiking in Scarborough Bluffs, home to nine different parks and a beach.
Average cost per person per night: $294.47
Scotland's capital city is also one of the most expensive in the world. Hotels average more than $230 per night here, among the top 10 priciest in the world — and nearly $200 more per night than the world's cheapest (Denpasar, Indonesia)!
The city also lands in the top five for medical emergencies, but perhaps all the whisky you can find at the local distilleries will ease your pain?
If you want to visit a Scottish city, consider Glasgow. Less frequented by travelers, you'll find this western city is also far less expensive.
Average cost per person per night: $296.43
Ooh, Oslo. Tsk tsk. The capital of Norway will hurt your bank account when you dine out and grab drinks. The most expensive brews are found in this Scandinavian city, charging nearly $9 for a pint! Want a cocktail? That'll average you nearly $14. Fast food? That's another $11. Dining out at a nice restaurant? You'll spend more than $54.
If it's going to cost $100 just for dinner and drinks, you know the rest of your vacation is going to be expensive...
You'd be better off visiting the amazing countryside of Norway. Near Oslo, you can explore the Bygdoy Peninsula's beaches, forests and parks for free — just 4 miles away!
15. Las Vegas
Average cost per person per night: $302.43
Las Vegas is one of the least budget-friendly destinations you can travel to — and that's before taking into account the additional money you may lose on the casino floor. (Or rather, will almost certainly lose on the casino floor.)
There's so much room inventory that it's possible to find decent hotel deals, especially if you venture away from The Strip. But Vegas' glam extras — like soothing spa services, celebrity-chef driven restaurants, notorious DJ-led nightclubs and Broadway-worthy theater — are guaranteed to make a dent in the wallet.
Want to watch Lady Gaga do her diva thing? Set aside $400 at least.
Ready to dance the night away at a club? Weekend cover charges can be as high as $100.
And don't make your trip a sequel to "The Hangover." Vegas was also found to be the one of the most expensive places for a short visit to the doctor for antibiotics, which run an average of $136.
Average cost per person per night: $316.19
The extravagant Dubai, which boasts the world's tallest building, the largest shopping mall in the world and man-made islands in the shape of palms, is known for luxury. Expensive cars, designer brands, upscale hotels — it's no wonder Dubai is one of the most expensive cities to visit.
As a Muslim country, the United Arab Emirates does not allow alcohol in most of its restaurants, although you can find spirits in Dubai hotels. When drinks are available, desperate travelers need to pay a pretty penny for them: Dubai has some of the most expensive pints ($11.56 on average) and cocktails ($19.26 on average) in the world.
Oh yes, and you pay more than $11.50 for a cuppa joe here, as well.
Average cost per person per night: $322.33
The British-based Hoppa doesn't hold back on its hometown. London often makes the list of most pricey cities to live in — it's 22nd on the 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey — and it lands even higher on the list of costly places to visit.
From high-priced hotels and restaurants to costly taxi rides and ritzy attractions, London is expensive at every turn.
But at least London knows it's worth it. The international city features around-the-world dining, and its historic attractions, from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London, are among the most intriguing on the planet.
Another positive about London Town? Its national museums are free, so at least you won't have to pay a cent to see priceless works of art and antiquities.
12. Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Average cost per person per night: $325.81
Located in Spain's Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is just one of three Spanish cities topping the list of most expensive city destinations.
Santa Cruz is the capital of the Canary Islands and actually not a huge tourism town. But it's a business hub, and as such, travelers who make their way here will feel the pinch in terms of hotel stays and dining out. One of the most expensive cities for luxury-hotel accommodations, Santa Cruz averages $260 per night. (It lands fifth on Hoppa's list for the world's priciest luxury lodging.)
Hey, at least it isn't as bad as rates in one of the world's biggest business hubs: New York.
Average cost per person per night: $325.97
As one of the most crowded tourist destinations, Venice is a victim to simple supply and demand.
Venice hotels are some of the most expensive, averaging $242 per night. And, for a city on the water with only water taxis as an option (no cars are allowed beyond the bridge parking garage), Venice is home to some of the most expensive taxi rides too. Based on a three-mile journey, you'll pay more than $18 per person.
By the way: Those once-in-a-lifetime gondola rides will run you more than $100 for just 20 minutes. Ouch!
Average cost per person per night: $330.23
Spain's run of expensive hotel stays continues in Marbella, on the southern coast. If the marina filled with yachts docked after exploring the Mediterranean Sea doesn't give away the money being tossed around here, perhaps this nickname will: "The Golden Mile."
Hotels average $250 per night in this resort town, which isn't too bad considering the price of those aforementioned yachts. But add up the pricey dinners and drinks at the nightclubs and you'll be wracking up a bigger bill than you would in a less glamorous city by the sea.
Average cost per person per night: $353.39
Looking to party on the island of Ibiza? Bring your credit cards.
It's the second most expensive city for fine dining, averaging $63 for a meal out for two. Add to the meal nearly $20 per drink, and you'll be finding your party night costing you hundreds. (Hotels average $184 per night.)
And, those all-night raves with world-famous DJs? Tickets to those shows can run upwards of $1,000! Is an hour of David Guetta really worth it?
Average cost per person per night: $354.14
Copenhagen also draws a younger crowd looking for fun at its nightclubs, pubs and bars, though to a slightly lesser extent than its pricey cousin of Ibiza.
After a night on the town, however, don't turn to fast food to cure your hangover. A Big Mac in Copenhagen will cost you nearly $12 — one of the most expensive Big Macs in the world.
Drinking a coffee with that? That could be another $7. Of course, that means dining out at a restaurant isn't any better. Eating out for two averages $55 per meal.
Copenhagen is also home to the most expensive taxi rides, averaging nearly $17 per person for a three-mile journey. This isn't abnormal in Scandinavia, where Stockholm and Oslo also crack the top 30.
At least the city is very bike-friendly — rent a bike and take a spin to get around here instead.
7. Los Angeles
Average cost per person per night: $359.76
The City of Angels is filled with glitz and glamour thanks to Hollywood celebrities and big-name musicians. The city is not only 7th on this list, but also nabbed the 10th spot on the 2019 World Cost of Living Survey's ranking. Suffice it to say, this is not a place the budget-minded should visit or live.
For a chance to see a star in Tinseltown, expect to pay more than $250 per night at a hotel. And though there are certainly dining options for those watching their bank account (food trucks and taquerias abound), a nice dinner out comes with costs only A-listers can comfortably afford.
Why stay in L.A. when the traffic is notoriously as bad as the smog and you could find cheaper city destinations on the West Coast? San Diego, for example, didn't appear on Hoppa's list and features beautiful beaches and the same cool California vibe.
Average cost per person per night: $369.77
Island paradises don't come cheap, especially in Hawaii. The bustling capital city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu is one of the most expensive in the world, with hotels averaging nearly $260 per night.
Coffee may be grown in Hawaii's mountains (Kona coffee is oh-so-good!) but that doesn't mean you get a discount. The coffee here averages $5 per cup, also among the world's most expensive.
Hoppa doesn't even factor the price of airfare into its calculations, but as one of the most far-flung destinations in the United States — the mainland is some 2,500 miles away — this isn't a cheap place to get to, either.
At least lounging on the beach for hours on end is free!
5. Palma de Mallorca
Average cost per person per night: $370.23
While Ibiza may be party central, neighboring Mallorca surpasses it in terms of expense. The largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, it is surrounded by the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea and boasts fabulous cliffside views.
The island's city of Palma is the most expensive of the Spanish cities on the list. The biggest expense here? Hotels averaging nearly $300 per night. You cannot even camp to save a few Euros, as it is strictly forbidden everywhere save for a small handful of designated campsites.
To save money visiting the island, don't stay in the city; smaller Mallorca towns like Soller and Pllenca offer plenty of cheap hotels and Airbnbs.
Average cost per person per night: $380.26
This sleepy Swiss banking town knows how to keep money in its pockets. Beginning with a taxi from the airport, which averages $25 per person every three miles, you'll be reaching for your credit cards again and again.
Dining out? Zurich is the most expensive city for fine dining, charging $77 for a party of two. On-the-go fast food isn't any better. A Big Mac at McDonald's will cost you nearly $13. If you are raising a glass for a special occasion, cocktails here will cost you nearly $17.
The good thing about Zurich: its beautiful lakes and nearby hiking trails in Alpine foothills, which won't cost you much to enjoy.
Average cost per person per night: $386.78
Considered Europe's Las Vegas, the capital of the Netherlands is the most expensive European city to visit, according to Hoppa. Average hotel rates are $279, average meals for two are $54 and that three-mile taxi will run you $17 per person.
Still, travelers love visiting the City Centre, where art museums and historical homes rest on Amsterdam's famous canal waterways. Bike or boat around the city for beautiful one-of-a-kind views, then enjoy the renowned nightlife. Just remember, a coffee shop and a cafe are two very different types of establishments!
2. San Francisco
Average cost per person per night: $390.94
From coast to coast, the U.S. tops the list of most expensive cities. Out west, San Francisco lands at No. 2 in the world.
You'll begin with an average hotel rate of $270 per night, shell out $59 for a dinner for two and pay more than $7 for your beer in San Francisco.
Believe it or not, living in the City by the Bay may be even worse: one-bedroom rents average $3,690, according to database collection site Numbeo. No wonder the city is No. 25 on the 2019 World Cost of Living Survey.
Want to save a few bucks? Spend time in surrounding cities like Oakland and Berkeley. They're hardly what one would call cheap, but they at least offer slightly better rates on hotels and lower costs on dining.
1. New York City
Average cost per person per night: $480.27
Drum roll, please, for the No. 1 most expensive metropolis in the world to visit: New York City.
The Big Apple "wins" by a mile: The average cost to spend a day and night here is nearly $100 more than No. 2 on the list.
Be prepared for sticker shock when you discover the average hotel night costs a whopping $359. Dinner for two means dropping another $55 per couple. Even a nice pint of beer will burn a hole in your wallet, costing over $7.50 on average.
And that's not even taking into account getting there; three of the airports used to access New York — JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty — crack the list of the top 10 most expensive airports to fly into.
The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey also featured New York City at No. 7 on its list.
Worth it to explore Central Park, visit some of the finest museums on the planet, see the world's best theater shows and eat cuisine pushing the boundaries of what's possible? You decide.