Why We’d Still Travel to the Most Expensive City In the World

One of our favorite cities was just named the most expensive in the world. And no, it's not in America.

Photography by Ana Kamin

We already know the most livable (and happiest) cities on the planet, but what about the priciest? If you’re just starting to nail down your summer plans and know you’ll be traveling on a tight budget, you’ll want to take a peek at a new report that ranks the most costly destinations across the globe—and for the fifth year in a row, Singapore has been named the most costly city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. But that doesn't necessarily mean you should cross it off your travel list just yet.

According to Quartz Media, the city-state island—which also happens to be one of the world’s hottest travel destinations—has once again stolen the number one spot in the EIU’s biannual Worldwide Cost of Living index. Twice a year, the London-based forecasting group surveys 93 countries, 133 cities, and 400 individual prices across 150 products to calculate and rank locations by living expense, in the hope of determining cost of living allowances and compensation packages for companies with staff overseas.

In a nation where extravagant airports with super fancy pools and dedicated nap areas are practically the norm, it’s no surprise that Singapore has become a haven of sorts amongst billionaires. And if you’ve ever picked up Kevin Kwan’s breakout novel Crazy Rich Asians, then you already know that “rich people problems” is a real thing in the Lion City.

According to the report, Singapore is currently the most expensive city in the world to buy a car, and the third most expensive place to buy clothes. But to really put things in perspective, it might be helpful to measure the city’s cost of living in terms everyone can understand: wine. While Americans have certainly learned to love—nay, worship—boxed vino and Trader Joe’s two-buck chuck, an average (I repeat, average) bottle of wine in Singapore will typically set you back $24. For millennials with little cash to spare, that might as well be an arm and a leg.

Followed closely by other notoriously high-priced destinations like Paris, Zurich, and Hong Kong, the island nation is far from cost-effective. And while sky high rent prices seem to continue to plague popular US cities like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, not a single American city graces the top 10 list. Just take a peek at the heavy hitters below.

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities

  1. Singapore, Singapore
  2. Paris, France
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  5. Oslo, Norway
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark
  9. Tel Aviv, Israel
  10. Sydney, Australia 
Though loved for its layover-friendly airport, fancy movie theaters, and forward thinking tech industry, Singapore—much like the other costly hotspots listed above—is, of course, so much more than a bank breaking destination. Rich in culture, cuisine, and architecture, the island is an effortless blend of age old traditions, globally inspired flavors, and contemporary perspectives.

Yes, our Zara might be their Prada, but it’s one of the few cities where you'll still find charming antique buildings (peep the colorful coastal abodes of Katong above) hidden within the gaps of sophisticated high-rises, as well as discover high-end boutiques aside lush green parks. So, despite the expense, we still consider Singapore well-deserving of our bucket list—and you should, too.

Before you book your tickets, check out our complete guide to the area. Trust us: Bending your budget will be totally worth it.

See more summer travel inspiration:
The Under-the-Radar Seaside Towns Where the French Vacation
Everything You Need To Know Before Your First Trip To Cape Cod
11 Crazy Beautiful Glampgrounds to Add to Your Travel Bucket List


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Published on March 19, 2018 - 4:00pm EDT

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