Visiting the World's Most Expensive Cities

  • 01 of 12

    Paris

    ••• kiszon pasca/Getty Images

    Paris has a somewhat deserved reputation among the most expensive cities for food costs. But that food is often of such high quality that the relative costs are not really that outrageous. It is necessary to adopt some dining strategies here, but you will soon see that great food is part of the Paris experience.

    So in what area should we economize? Start with 10 quick money saving tips for Paris. Then find affordable three-star hotels and other moderately priced accommodations, an area where many tourists fail. A little bit of homework will save money on hotel rates, which at first glance are quite high.

    More tips: The view you see here is probably the best in all of Paris, and it's free. Just take a short ride up to Sacre Coeur and avoid the expense (and long lines) at the Eiffel Tower. With a little research, you can find cheap ground transportation, discounts on attractions and a host of miscellaneous money-saving tips.

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  • 02 of 12

    London

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Although the changing value of the British Pound has made London more affordable for many visitors, London still lands among the most expensive world cities, in part due to notoriously high hotel costs. Don't despair. These prices are offset somewhat by the huge selection of airfares that come from one of the world's largest airport complexes. There are no less than six major airports serving London, and many travelers are able to piece together a strategy that allows them to take advantage of the special offers and budget airlines that abound here.

    What's the cheapest way to get around London? The answer depends upon your plans. If you're planning to spend most of your time in Central London, there's little doubt The Tube is your most efficient and economical option. The network of public transportation here is virtually unmatched elsewhere, and that will save you money as a budget traveler. Savings on London attractions and dining are also available for those who...MORE refuse to be intimidated by an expensive reputation.

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  • 03 of 12

    Seoul

    Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
    ••• Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    What's the best time to find a deal on Seoul hotels? Is there an area of the city that budget travelers should avoid? Find the answers to these questions and you are on the way to planning a budget visit to Seoul, which also ranks among the most expensive cities in the world.

    Seoul offers great dining at affordable prices and world-class museums and exhibits. More good news: tipping is generally not expected here -- at least not at the level found in the West. Another surprise for an expensive city: taxi rides here are relatively inexpensive.

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  • 04 of 12

    Beijing

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Beijing is a place for seeing ancient wonders and modern marvels. The Forbidden City and the nearby Great Wall of China are unique treasures that you should savor. Unfortunately, many people pass through Beijing in a hurry, either switching flights or conducting business.

    Travel costs in Beijing have risen steadily in recent years, as a building boom adds more western-style lodgings with prices to match. But one benefit of the Beijing Olympics for budget travelers was a new selection of mid-range hotel options. Find out how to visit Beijing on a budget and build some magnificent travel memories.

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  • 05 of 12

    Sydney

    Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
    ••• Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

    For those who like the bad news first: the costs of getting to Sydney can be quite steep, and the city ranks among the 50 most expensive for visitors.

    Now the good news: Sydney also ranks among the world's most livable cities and there are rewards for budget travelers. From its iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge to the delicious multi-national cuisine, Sydney is a place that exudes with world-class sophistication without some of the high prices found in other such cities. For example, ferries and mass transit can be quite cheap here. Dining costs are generally less than what one would find in New York or Paris. Sydney budget travel tips can save you quite a bit. So start watching for those airfare sales for Australia and make your plans for a visit.

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  • 06 of 12

    Shanghai

    Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images
    ••• Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images

    China's best shopping and biggest port can be found in Shanghai, one of Asia's most visited cities. Like other destinations in China, the costs for travel to this city have risen steadily as western-style hotels and dining options have proliferated.

    From the food markets to the extensive transportation system, Shanghai greets visitors with a unique blend of ancient culture and futuristic style. Bargains can be found in university lodgings and sometimes on Nanjing Road, Shanghai's famous shopping street. Find ways to visit Shanghai on a budget.

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  • 07 of 12

    Rome

    Rome is a center for fashion and tourism, and it takes an extended stay to see and do the basics. Unfortunately, prices here tend to be steep. But opportunities for rich travel rewards abound, and Rome is not a city to be skipped because of cost.

    Lodging is not always expensive, but you'll need to do some research on affordable Rome hotels to find a budget room. Food is reasonable if you stay away from touristy areas and seek out neighborhood trattorias that offer hospitality and huge portions at reasonable prices.

    Take a budget trip to Rome and experience some of the best that Italy (and Europe) has to offer.

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  • 08 of 12

    New York

    Mario Tama/Getty Images
    ••• Mario Tama/Getty Images

    New York usually ranks as the most expensive cities in America, and much of that expense has to do with pricey real estate that drives up the cost of hotel rooms and parking spaces. But as with any large city, New York caters to a variety of income levels. You only need to know where to find cheap hotels.

    Dining in New York, for example, need not wreck your travel budget. Look for smaller establishments where you can eat for under $10. Finding affordable airfares for New York is not all that difficult, since there are three major airports and several other small options in the region.

    Getting around New York is inexpensive because of an extensive subway and bus system. Many of the best New York attractions can be seen at a discount -- some are actually free.

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  • 09 of 12

    Vienna

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    One of the great budget travel experiences in expensive Vienna, according to writer Alexis Lipsitz Flippin, is visiting some of the 26 open-air markets in the city. You can skip the boutique restaurants that ring the markets and assemble a fresh picnic lunch from the produce and cheeses available in the markets.

    An extensive subway system and cheap bike rentals make for affordable transportation, but Vienna is a fairly compact city that budget travelers often explore on foot. There is a nice selection of mid-range hotels and hostels to offset some of the luxury lodgings within the Ring Road that tend to drive up the average prices for a stay to artificially high levels.

    Some of the best budget travel experiences in Vienna involve taking in the architecture and art of this picturesque world capital--experiences that won't cost you a dime.

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  • 10 of 12

    Rio de Janeiro

    Photo by Andrew Holt/Getty Images
    ••• Photo by Andrew Holt/Getty Images

    A festive, fun-loving city awaits you in Rio de Janeiro. Bathed in the warmth of a tropical climate, Rio offers some excellent bargains for the budget traveler. But as with all the cities on this list, absent careful planning it can also be quite expensive.

    In restaurants, large portions are the norm for most entrees, so budget travelers sometimes order just one and split it. If you plan your trip around the busiest times (Carnival, for example) there is a nice selection of budget hotels and mid-range prices for accommodations.

    Take a look at some budget tips for visiting Rio de Janeiro that will make you forget this city is on the "most expensive" list.

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  • 11 of 12

    Amsterdam

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    Although on a world level Amsterdam is an expensive city, it is also more affordable than many of its Western European neighbors. Students touring Europe have contributed to the local tourism industry for generations. They find a selection of budget hotels, affordable attractions and filling meals on a budget.

    Read more about affording an Amsterdam getaway.

    One of the great budget resources in this city is the VVV, which is an abbreviation for the local tourist bureau. It's pronounced Vay-Vay-Vay, and you'll find about 450 branches scattered throughout the area. Here you can get updated information on available budget hotel rooms and great places to eat. This is not just an option for novice visitors. Many who have been coming here for years wouldn't think about taking to the streets without first consulting the VVV.

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  • 12 of 12

    Athens

    ••• Mark Kahler, licensed to About.com

    From the antiquities to the modern subway system, Athens bridges thousands of years of history and attracts visitors from around the world. This is not a city budget travelers should miss.

    Some have been discouraged from visiting in recent years because of economic problems in Greece and occasional labor strikes. Those willing to take a chance on Athens often find innkeepers and tour operators who are glad to see you and price their products accordingly.

    You can eat cheap, healthy, delicious food in Athens, and consider ancient wonders before branching out to other parts of the Greek isles. A visit to the Parthenon is free on Sundays, but worthwhile any day of the week. Visiting Athens on a budget is made easier by the fact that this city affords quite a few attractions into its streets and parks. There's even a museum built into the Athens subway.

    More Step-by-Step Budget Travel Tips