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Travel Hacks: Cities where you spend the most (and the least)

20th February 2019

No matter what your budget is, any holiday is a good holiday. But if you’re planning your next big adventure, it is important to consider how expensive a destination is.  To make this easier for you, we have compiled a list of cities where you’ll spend the most and the least. Let’s kick this off with the priciest cities for 2019. Deep breathes everyone.

1. New York

If you can make it here you can make it anywhere... if you have enough spending money.

Much like the clothing sold on Fifth Avenue, New York is one of a kind. But the city comes with a steep price tag, earning it the ranking of 2019’s most expensive holiday destination.

In The Big Apple, a coffee will cost you around $4.30 AUD and a beer is $11 (you might need a drink after hearing these next stats). If you want to live off pizza slices, these will only cost you $5 AUD a slice, but a mid-range restaurant meal for 2 will be about $80. Finally, a double room in a mid-range hotel will set you back roughly $280 per night.

These costs come before you’ve even seen the sites NYC has to offer. Museums such as MOMA and The MET charge $35 AUD to enter, The Empire State building will cost you $30 AUD to go up to the observatory, and the cheapest Knicks tickets start at $50.

Now don’t let us discourage you, the city is a must see. But before you go full Alicia Keys, make sure you’ve packed plenty of spending money and a loaded Currency Pass.

2. San Fransisco

America is taking the gold and silver podium spots for this list, with San Francisco coming in at number two.

In San Fran, the price of a coffee, a beer and your meals are much the same as New York. In this city, however, accommodation is a bit more reasonable, with a midrange downtown hotel setting you back around $130-$150 a night. Luckily for you, some of the main attractions in San Fran are San Free. The Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and Lombard Street won’t cost you a dime, and a visit to Alcatraz will cost around $40 per head. Even with all of the budget-friendly activities, make sure you stock up on plenty of USD before you leave.


In third place we have Amsterdam. This city is teeming with culture, art and nightlife, all crowded onto its vintage canals. A coffee will cost you around $4.20, but if you get a ‘coffee’ from a ‘coffee shop’, it might cost a bit more. A beer will set you back around $10, and if at any time you get the munchies for any reason at all, you can get a cheap meal for around $15, or cough up for a restaurant meal for two for around $75. The accommodation might hit you hard, with a mid-range double room costing around $240 AUD per night.

There is also heaps to see in Amsterdam, and it’s all pretty reasonably priced. A visit to the Anne Frank House will cost you $15, The Van Gogh museum $28, and hiring a bike for the day is around $15. And if you want to skip the lines, be sure to book your tickets online. AmsterDAMN.



Zurich is all about the dollarZ. It’s a global centre of banking and finance, and Switzerland’s largest and wealthiest city. Unfortunately for us, this makes the place a bit pricey for tourists.

A coffee here will cost you around $7 (ouch), and a beer around $10. To make matters worse, Zurich was ranked as having the most expensive average meal, with a dinner for 2 costing around $100 AUD. If you’re in the mood for a more casual dinner, you can opt for a Big Mac, which will cost you a big $18 (not lovin’ it).

A double room in a two or three-star hotel will also set you back around $280. But before you get too down, Zurich has heaps of attractions composed of heaps of letters, that more than make up for these price tags. You can check out Grossmunster Church for $7, wander and shop down Bahnhofstrasse, or check out the Swiss National Museum for $15. So before you head over, stock up on Swiss Francs and start practicing your pronunciation.

5.Palma de Mallorca

Palma is a resort city (not made from chicken parma sorry) and is the capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca. The city is teeming with historical sites and picturesque scenery, complemented by beachy cafes, restaurants and bars.

A coffee in Palma will cost you around $4 AUD, a beer around $5, and a mid-range restaurant meal for two will cost you about $50. Accommodation in Palma might cause your bank account to suffer slightly. The price of a mid-range hotel can range anywhere between $120-$250 a night, with some even hitting the $350 mark.That’s a lot of chicken parmas.

As pricey as this sounds, the city offers some pretty phenomenal sights that make the extra expense worthwhile. You can check out the Catedral-Basilica de Sanata Mariia de Mallorca (bit of a mouthful) which was opened in 1229, The Castell de Bellver, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, or simply relax on the beach and hit up your nearest tapas bar. To enjoy these sights make sure you pack heaps of euro in cash and on your Currency Pass.

Now that we’ve covered the most expensive cities, let’s take a breath and look at the other side of the coin. The five cities where you will spend the least in 2019.


1. Manila

Manila is one of Southeast Asia’s best cities for sightseeing and culture and has been ranked as 2019’s cheapest holiday destination. In this budgeter’s paradise, a cup of coffee will cost you $2.80 AUD, and a beer is just over $1. Warm Summer air and $1 beers, does it get any better? Yes it does.

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can grab a street meal for $4 or you can go all out and treat yourself to fine dining for $10 per person (big spender). In terms of accommodation, a double room with air-conditioning will set you back between $30-$80 a night.

So with all the money you’ll save, what can you do with it? Visit the UNESCO site San Agustin Church and museum, walk along the Manila Baywalk, and take in the city’s Spanish history at Fort Santiago – all for free. But before you head over to Manila make sure you pack plenty of pesos.


Antalya is a Turkish resort city, complete with a yacht-filled harbour and turquoise waters. If this doesn’t sound beautiful enough for you, the prices might.

You can score yourself a coffee for around $2.50 AUD, and a beer for $4. A cheap meal will cost you about $4, a flash fine dining experience will come in at $16, and a double room will cost about $75 a night.

If this wasn’t enough, a lot of Antalya’s main attractions cost a big fat $0 to enjoy. You can stroll around Kaleici; the historic district, and visit the Roman Harbour. Hadrian’s Gate erected in AD 130 is also a must-see, charging around $5 AUD entry. Before you head over, grab your Turkish lira in store.

3.    Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia and is characterised by its fusion of skyscrapers and lush greenery blooming in the city’s sticky heat.

Kuala Lumpur is another great destination to scoot around on a tight budget. You can grab a cup of coffee from a market for $0.50, or one from Starbucks for $5. A cheap feed will cost you $4, or you can stretch the budget to enjoy fine dining for $20.

Finally, a comfortable hotel room can range between $30 and $130. With all your extra cash, be sure to check out the Petronas Twin towers for $30 AUD, the limescale Batu Caves with the iconic golden Lord Murugan statue for $10, and
take in the view from the revolving restaurant atop the Menara Tower, charging $16 for the view and a meal from $40. Before you start planning your trip, make sure you grab plenty of Malaysian ringgit.


4.    Ho Chi Minh

Ho ChiMinh, also known as Saigon, is a city in southern Vietnam. The city is famous for its role in the Vietnam war, as well as the high paced energy of the city and its residents.

You can get your coffee fix for as little as $0.60 here, and a local beer is roughly the same price, so there's no way you’ll go thirsty. You can also grab a cheap meal for around $5 or dine in a smart restaurant for $12.

Finally, you can stay in a reasonable hotel room for around $50 a night. While you’re there, you’ll want to check out the Cu Chi Tunnels for $8; an underground tunnel complex used by Viet Cong soldiers, grab some souvenirs at the Ben Thanh Market, and marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral. To enjoy these sights make sure you stock up on Vietnamese dong before you leave.

5.    Denpasar

This list wouldn’t be complete without some reference to Bali. Last but not least we have Denpasar. This city is the capital of Bali and the main gateway to the island.

A coffee will cost you $2.50, and a beer (likely Bintang) can be priced between $1.50 and $9. A cheap feed will cost you about $5, and fine dining about $20. Finally, a room in a mid-range hotel will cost you between $70-200 a night.

So, what should you do in Denpasar? You can drink cocktails on Seminyak beach, visit Tanah Lot temple, tan a lot by your hotel pool, and visit the Bali Museum for $5 AUD. Before you pack your thongs and boogie boards, leave room in your suitcase for lots of Indonesian

If any of these locations, expensive or cheap, have inspired you to get travelling, make sure you check out our Travel Money Guides for the holiday of your choice. You can also visit your nearest store or online to get travel tips and foreign currency from our currency experts.


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