Would you like visiting Amsterdam for all its beautiful museums and art or pick Bali just to unwind and relax by the vivid landscapes? Amsterdam is the most expensive city on our index, while Bali is the ninth cheapest. Or, would you like to see what fits within your budget because this is your first international holiday and you don’t want to go overboard on your expenses? Do you want to spend as much as you would for a holiday in Delhi or do you want to enjoy the thrill of exploring a foreign destination but at a lower cost? The Mint Globetrotter Index prepared by Mint’s data partner Howindialives.com, a database and search engine for public data, took into account a basket of essential spends—25 in all, across various categories such as accommodation, shopping, leisure, market and food to come up with an index that will help you make the most of your money.
“Indians are known to be smart travellers, especially when it comes to choosing destinations and optimizing costs. The smart Indian traveller is constantly on the lookout for best bargains on tickets, combo deals, etc., to maximize the value for time and money," said Rajeev Kale, country head, holidays, MICE Visa, Thomas Cook India Ltd.
This year, we also spoke with travel bloggers and experts to understand what some cities in these regions have to offer in terms of food, culture and tourism. Their anecdotes and experiences will give you a taste of what these cities are like and perhaps help you settle down on a destination for that upcoming trip. But first, a run down on the methodology that Howindialives.com adopted for the index.
HOW THE INDEX WAS DRAWN
A set of qualitative and quantitative filters were applied to shortlist these 50 cities from five regions—North America, Europe, Australia and Asia together forming Australasia, the rest of America and others. The “others" category is a heterogeneous mix of cities which didn’t make it to the individual regions. To start with, we looked at data from the Indian aviation regulator to arrive at a list of the busiest airports routes from India, which indicate frequent traveller trends. Then, routes where Indians typically travelled mostly for work or because they were aviation transit hubs such as Doha were eliminated, leaving around 75 cities.
To shorten the list to 50, we looked at only those cities that were listed on Numbeo.com, a website that uses technology and crowd-sourcing to collect data on the cost of living in cities across the globe. If a particular country had multiple cities with a similar cost profile, we chose just one among them. For example, in Germany, Frankfurt and Munich were dropped but Berlin was retained. However, for Italy, we retained both Rome and Venice because they have very different cost profiles. The diversity was also tested and a few cities such as Auckland were added to widen the options and not leave any region unexplored.
Once this was done, data from these 50 cities was collated based on 25 items that are essential for any international travel experience. In doing this, flight tickets were left out because prices depend on how much distance you’d have to travel to reach a specific destination, and this could vary from person to person. The basket covered costs related to food, entertainment, accommodation and commute within the city and the cost of the 25 items was converted from local currencies to dollars and then to rupees. To allow easy comparison between various cities, the indices were benchmarked to a value of 100 for Delhi and re-based accordingly. Thus, Zurich has an index value of 301 which means the 25 items cost 201% more of what they cost in Delhi. Or, Kathmandu has an index of 82, which means the same items cost 18% less than what they cost in Delhi.
Mint, after all the number crunching, learnt that there’s something for every kind of budget on this list. Within Europe itself, from Istanbul with an index of 109 to Amsterdam with an index of 335, the options are vast. The graphic on the right shows how these 50 cities stack up against Delhi. Data capsules atop the pages show the cost extremes when it comes to basic spends.
We hope the index helps you make the right choice and helps you fly or sail economically. Bon voyage!