The most expensive holiday destinations

Which are the most expensive countries to visit - and which are the cheapest?

It’s more expensive to take a holiday in France than it is to stay in Dubai, Switzerland, Sweden and other Nordic countries.

A survey of 1,500 people by Skyscanner shows that even though most people think Sweden is the most expensive country to go to on holiday, France is actually more expensive – before flights are taken into account. Even if you do include flights, France is still the third most expensive country to visit, higher than Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.

The most expensive country to visit overall, including flights, is Japan – most people believed it was cheaper, wrongly placing it behind Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Dubai and Iceland. By contrast, Cyprus is the least expensive place to visit, before and after flights are taken into consideration. Despite this, most people perceive it as quite expensive, ranking it 14th most expensive out of the 30 countries surveyed.

The research looked at the cost of various items including a coffee, a beer, a meal, accommodation and car hire in 30 different destinations.

Most expensive countries to visit vs. perceived costs

Perceived Country Cost Ranking

Actual Country Cost Ranking

Actual Country Cost Ranking Including Flights

1.        Sweden

1.        France

1.        Japan

2.        Norway

2.        Switzerland

2.        Brazil

3.        Switzerland

3.        Denmark

3.        France

4.        Denmark

4.        Brazil

4.        Switzerland~

5.        Dubai

5.        Russia

5.        Denmark

6.        Iceland

6.        Japan#

6.        Australia

7.        Japan

7.        Italy

7.        Mexico

8.        Italy

8.        Spain

8.        New Zealand

9.        France

9.        Iceland

9.        Russia

10.     Germany

10.     Mexico

10.     Canada

11.     Australia

11.     Canada

11.     Italy

12.     New Zealand

12.     Dubai

12.     Iceland

13.     Canada

13.     Sweden+

13.     USA

14.     Cyprus

14.     Germany

14.     Dubai

15.     South Africa

15.     Croatia

15.     Spain

16.     Russia

16.     Australia

16.     South Africa

17.     Greece

17.     USA

17.     Thailand

18.     Portugal

18.     Norway

18.     India

19.     Spain

19.     Portugal

19.     Dominican Republic

20.     USA

20.     Turkey

20.     Croatia

21.     Brazil

21.     Poland

21.     Sweden+

22.     Dominican Republic

22.     New Zealand

22.     Germany

23.     Croatia

23.     India

23.     Turkey

24.     Egypt

24.     Egypt

24.     Egypt

25.     Poland

25.     Thailand

25.     Norway**

26.     Turkey

26.     Morocco

26.     Portugal

27.     Mexico

27.     Dominican Republic

27.     Poland

28.     Morocco

28.     South Africa

28.     Morocco

29.     Thailand

29.     Greece

29.     Greece

30.     India

30.     Cyprus

30.     Cyprus

Avoid holiday rip-offs!

If you’re going on holiday to one of the more expensive destinations listed above, the last thing you’ll want is to get ripped off as well as paying through the nose for food and accommodation.

Here are three of the biggest holiday rip-offs and how to avoid them:

1. Airport parking charges

A trip to the airport by car can quickly become an expensive affair, with parking fees costing more than the flight, in some cases.

John Fitzsimons looks at some common mistakes we make with our travel insurance that hit us in the pocket

Express train services aren't much better, and if you're using an airline like Ryanair or easyJet, can put a dent in what was meant to be a budget holiday.

The solution

If you're determined to take your car to the airport, there is really only one rule: Book as early as you can.

Use a search engine such as, which will find you the best deal on your chosen dates. It also guarantees if you find a cheaper price within 24 hours of booking, it will give you the parking spot free of charge.

For rail travellers, instead of using express services, why not take a slower train which stops at a few extra stations? Ok, it may not get you to the airport in record time, but it will save you a packet on your train fare.

Or take a bus. For example, easyBus offers single fares to Luton, Gatwick and Stansted from just £2.

2. Exchanging money

Two of the worst places you can change your money are at the airport, and your hotel.

Related how-to guide

Have a cheap holiday

Find out how to cut the cost of your flights, get discounts, tip correctly, spend wisely, get cashback and most importantly, cut the cost of your holiday.

Though they may be convenient, the rates you'll get are a real rip-off.

The solution?

Plan ahead! If you're determined to leave your travel money until the last minute, Travelex lets you to order your currency online and pick it up at selected airports.

That way, you'll get a better rate, and have the convenience of being able to pick up your currency at the airport. You can even order it on the day of departure (just leave at least four hours for collection).

3. Dynamic currency conversion

Dynamic currency conversion is a practice most commonly used in Europe, especially in smaller stores, and at ATMs.

When paying for something in a shop, or withdraw cash at an ATM, some stores will give you the option to pay in pounds.

If you've never seen this before, it may seem logical to do this, as it shows you how much you'll be paying straight away.

One word: don't. The retailer earns a commission from the transaction, therefore the rate you'll be offered will be much less competitive than the one you'll get from your bank.

The solution

Simple: always opt to pay in the local currency.

More: The seven top websites for holiday bargains! | Six ways to slash your airfare


Be the first to comment

Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature

Copyright © All rights reserved.