Planning a trip abroad with your wallet in mind? If your destination is one of these 10 places*, prepare your itinerary carefully. No matter where you travel, though, you can find savings. To get tips on how you can make the most of your dollars, consult our budget tips page.
*City rankings were drawn from the 2009 Mercer Cost of Living Survey released in July. Currency value fluctuation for each country was calculated using exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar, with Aug. 11, 2008 to Aug. 11, 2009 as the period of comparison, unless otherwise noted. ()
Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a sprawling metropolis whose culture combines modern technology with the traditions of ancient Japan. The core of the world’s most populous metropolitan area, the city has a population of more than 12 million.
2008 rank: 2 Currency fluctuation since 2008: 12% increase
Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan, is known for its contrast to Tokyo. For instance, Osaka residents ride escalators standing on the right instead of Tokyo’s practice of standing on the left. Foodies would fit in well in Osaka. A popular Osakan maxim is kuidaore, meaning “eat yourself into ruin.”
2008 rank: 11 Currency fluctuation since 2008: 12% increase
* Dec. 1, 2008 to Aug. 11, 2009 was used as the period of comparison. (Mikhail Metzel / Associated Press)
Geneva is a global center for international diplomacy and peace, serving as the headquarters of many United Nations agencies and the Red Cross. The Geneva Conventions, which established standards for the treatment of noncombatants and prisoners of war, were signed here.
2008 rank: 8 Currency fluctuation since 2008: No change
In Cantonese, Hong Kong means “fragrant harbor.” This territory of the People’s Republic of China is one of the world’s leading financial centers and has remained largely independent from the mainland, with its own currency, legal system and political system.
2008 rank: 6 Currency fluctuation since 2008: 1% increase
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is known for the Little Mermaid statue in its harbor and for its bike-friendly culture. According to Forbes magazine, the city’s international schools and private medical facilities make it one of the 10 best places to live in Europe.
2008 rank: 7 Currency fluctuation since 2008: 5% decrease