Toronto cheapest, 36% below most-expensive San Francisco

Hotels in Toronto are cheaper than US cities, homestays even more

Among the five North American cities in the Mint Globetrotter Index, Toronto is the cheapest. If Delhi is the benchmark, Toronto is the only North American city where our expense basket of 25 heads does not double.

Our expense basket in this Canadian city, half of whose population was born outside Canada, is 12% below that of Miami (the cheapest among US cities) and 36% below that of San Francisco (the most expensive among US cities). Not only that, Toronto is also cheaper than popular European cities like Barcelona, Rome, Paris and London.

Like everywhere else, it starts with where you stay. Hotels in Toronto are cheaper than US cities, homestays even more. Even the intra-city differential between hotels and homestays is the highest in Toronto: an Airbnb works out 44% cheaper, on average. By comparison, the price advantage of an Airbnb in Miami is only 18%, the lowest among our five North American cities.

Toronto’s cost advantage goes on. It is cheaper than other US cities in our index on 16 of the 25 heads in our expense basket. And these touch on just about every category: hotels, shopping, movie tickets, food and beverages, fruits, taxi.

For example, its cost advantage over the American city cheapest for the respective item is 23% for an inexpensive meal, 20% for coffee, 28% for white bread, 26% for apples and 23% for local beer. Interestingly, two heads in which Toronto is among the most expensive are the “sin" products: cigarettes and fuel.

But if America means US for you, and not its Northern cousin, it’s Miami that sits atop the cost count, followed by Los Angeles. Hotels give Miami the edge over LA, while it nearly matches Toronto in shopping. While LA is cheaper than Miami in restaurant and market expenses, and is comparable in shopping, the average hotel tariff in Miami is 30% below LA, and that bumps it above LA in our index. So, effectively, if you do a homestay instead of a hotel, LA is cheaper than Miami.

Ironically, in our US cities, the average Airbnb tariff is the highest in San Francisco, where it began and where it is headquartered: $143 per day (Rs9,338) against around $105 (around Rs6,800) for others. San Francisco is also the most expensive US city in our set: besides Airbnb, it is also the most expensive for taxi, coffee, cheese and bread, among other things.