With international travel becoming more and more common – among the older generations as well as the younger ones – it's become increasingly important to budget while travelling, in order to ensure your money is going as far as it possibly can. And while experts are predicting that the price of travelling is going to rise by up to 3.7%, it is still possible to get around the world on a budget – you just have to know where to go.
That's why we at Cuba Holidays have put together a list of all the cheapest capital cities, based on a variety of factors that all come into play when considering how pricey a holiday is going to be. We then identified which capital cities around the world offered the best rates for these factors. These included hotel prices, how much it would cost to get around the city, and the price of a meal for two.
Read on below to find out the full results of our Capital Economy Index.
Coming out in the top spot as the cheapest capital city in the world for travellers, is Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jakarta topped the cheapest cities list for providing great value rates across all areas, but particularly offering the cheapest rate for hotels.
At the other end of the scale, the most expensive capital city for travellers is Abu Dhabi, which presents staggeringly high prices for attraction entry. Another of the most expensive cities is Reykjavik in Iceland, where prices are high across hotels, attractions and food.
Following, Jakarta the 10 cheapest capital cities are:
- Skopje, Macedonia
- Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- Bogota, Colombia
- Pristina, Kosovo
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Havana, Cuba
- Manila, Philippines
It was fantastic to see our destination of Havana, Cuba rank at number 9, offering a great value unforgettable break for travellers. The city of Havana is celebrating its 500th anniversary in 2019, and ever since the number one Camila Cabello song, Havana, the city has been increasingly in the limelight.
Havana has become one of the most popular travel destinations around the world, with an increase of 23% of international travellers last year alone. And it's no wonder that travellers are loving the city, with an average hotel night costing just £14.25, and transport just 14p. Plus, the price of an average meal for two, in a mid-range restaurant, is just £7.78.
The results by continent are as below:
The cheapest capital city in Africa is: Tunis, Tunisia.
The cheapest capital city in Europe is: Skopje, Macedonia.
The cheapest capital city in Asia is: Jakarta, Indonesia.
The cheapest capital city in North America is: Mexico City, Mexico.
The cheapest capital city in South America is: Bogota, Colombia.
The cheapest capital city in Oceania is: Wellington, New Zealand.
The cheapest and most expensive hotels
Coming out top for the best place to lay your head for the night without breaking the bank is Jakarta in Indonesia, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and New Delhi in India, which cost £5.25, £5.33, and £5.33 respectively.
Contrastingly, the most expensive places to spend the night are Chisinau in Moldova, Luxembourg City in Luxembourg, and Reykjavik in Iceland, which cost £87.91, £70.67, and £66.58 respectively. It might the most expensive place to stay, but the centre of Chisinau is defined by the best museums, hotels, restaurants and cafes all within a 15-minute walk away, so maybe it's worth the hefty pay cheque.
The cheapest and most expensive attractions
Of course, spending money when visiting a city is as much of a cost consideration as the cost of staying there, and one of the biggest uses for spending money is visiting the city's top attractions.
We analysed the cost of visiting each city's top 10 attractions, to find which cities are cheapest for sightseeing.
In the cheapest spot for attractions, it was a draw between Pristina, Podgorica and Doha – all of which are entirely free to take in the top sights.
At the expensive end of the scale was Abu Dhabi, where the pricey popular attractions total up to £229.49.
The Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities for Transport
Getting around the city is so important, especially when it's not exactly a small city. That's why Caracas in Venezuela, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Chisinau in Moldova have got it so right: the average price of a single ticket on public transport here will cost you less than 10p.
The same cannot be said, however, for the likes of Oslo in Norway, Stockholm in Sweden, and Reykjavik in Iceland, which will set you back between £2.91 and £3.19 for a single ticket. Maybe it's best to stick to walking.
The cheapest and most expensive restaurants
Food is the cornerstone to any travelling experience, which is why it's crucial to find somewhere affordable, but still delicious. Why not try Dhaka in Bangladesh, which has the cheapest average price for a meal, for two people, at a mid-range, not terrible restaurant, and will only set you back £7.32? Or try Havana in Cuba, which will cost £7.78, or Islamabad in Pakistan, costing £8.74.
Reykjavik in Iceland, on the other hand, will cost you a pretty hefty £78.01, for one meal. At least there's more to Iceland than the food, right? Maybe take a dip in the blue lagoon and treat yourself to a McDonalds or two instead of a fancy meal out.
The cheapest and most expensive coffee
How do you expect to get around the city, explore everything you want to see, take hikes up mountains, and navigate the public transport system in a country you don't know, in a language you likely don't know, if you haven't at least had a cup of coffee first? Head to Tunis in Tunisia, or Caracas in Venezuela if you want to enjoy your coffee, but also still be able to afford your flight home – it'll only cost you about 50p.
Copenhagen in Denmark will cost you nearly ten times that much, at an average price of £4.33 a cup. But with some of the best coffee in Europe, maybe it's worth it?
The cheapest and most expensive beer
A holiday is never complete without a pint of beer. Sounds like something an alcoholic would say, but it's true. The cheapest cities to drink beer around the world are Kiev in Ukraine, Hanoi in Vietnam, and Belgrade in Serbia, all costing between 51p and 47p.
Alternatively, Amman in Jordan will cost you £4.05 for a pint, although this is probably due to the lack of demand for beer across the country, which would increase the price. Doha in Qatar is similarly expensive, at £3.98 a pint.
To put together our Capital Economy Index, we used the following methodology. We analysed a variety of studies and surveys of travellers of all ages, in order to find out what aspects of a holiday were considered when pricing up a trip, and what would be cut in order to make it more affordable. The elements we found to be important were:
- Hotel Prices
- Cost of a Meal at a Restaurant
- Coffee Prices
- Cost of a Pint of Beer
- Public Transport Costs
- Average Cost of Attraction
To identify exactly what each destination offered in terms of price for each of these categories, we searched through a variety of sources – including the average cheapest cost of a hotel room over the entire year, and how much the top 10 attractions would cost to visit, as well as the average price of a cup of coffee and a pint of beer. Another thing we looked at was the average price of a meal for two people at medium-range restaurant, which is important as not every traveller wants to travel on an extreme budget, eating from food trucks for every meal.
For each of the above categories, we added up the cost for each city, and totalled it at the end, giving the overall price for a two-day trip to that destination. We then ranked the cities based on these final prices.