The smart Indian globetrotter
If you like to travel but are cost-conscious, the Mint Globetrotter Index is just what you need. We sifted through data from 50 cities to find out how they stack up against Delhi in terms of cost
Summer’s here, holidays are here, and it’s time to roll out the map. But where to drop that pin? If you are a cost-conscious traveler, and tangled in choices, these two pages are for you.
How would you like to know about a European city that lies on the edge of the continent, but where the cost of essential spends is about one-third that of Amsterdam, or roughly the same as Delhi? Or, the one city in Central America where a bus ticket and a movie ticket costs less than Delhi, and where the cost of basic spends is roughly the same as Delhi? Or, the cheapest North American city that is not in the US? Or, which is cheaper: Madrid or Barcelona? Melbourne or Vienna?
The Mint Globetrotter Index takes the cost of a bunch of essential spends—25 in all, across a cross-section of categories—and distills it to a single number to help you balance costs with the travel experience you seek.
Keeping aside what a city offers, the one big takeaway from this data collating and crunching is this: in every region, there’s a city—or two or three, or more—where the cost of essential spends is significantly lower than the others that make up this grouping. This package aims to direct you to five such foreign cities, while contextualizing another 45 foreign cities so that you can make an informed decision from a cost perspective.
How we did it?
We applied a bunch of quantitative and qualitative filters to arrive at this list of 50 cities. First, we looked at data from the Indian aviation regulator to identify the busiest foreign routes from India. From these, we eliminated the routes where Indians were travelling significantly for work reasons or because these were aviation transit hubs—for example, Doha. Thus, we arrived at a long list of 75 cities.
In order to trim this to 50, we considered only those cities listed on numbeo.com, a website that uses technology and crowd-sourcing to collect cost of living data on cities. Further, in case a country had more than one city with a similar cost profile, we chose only one. For example, for Germany, we dropped Frankfurt and Munich, while retaining Berlin; however, for Italy, we retained Rome and Venice for their different cost and travel profiles. Lastly, we tested our set for diversity, and added cities like Auckland to widen the choices for a traveler.
Next, we collated data for these 50 cities on 25 metrics that are essential considerations in an overseas travel experience. In order to enable comparison, we left out flight tickets, as distance is a variable component. Our basket of 25 items covered costs related to accommodation, eating out, eating in, moving about, shopping and entertainment. The cost data was in local currencies, which we converted into dollars, and then rupees.
Each city was assigned an index value in rupees. Since the purpose was to enable comparison, both across cities and items, these indices were benchmarked to a value of 100 for Delhi and rebased. Thus, Amsterdam has an index value of 285, which means the cost of the 25 items in our basket in this European city is 185% of what it is Delhi. Or, Bali has an index value of 92, which means the same 25 items cost 8% less than in Delhi.
The graphic on the right shows how these 50 cities stack up against Delhi. The facing page captures the story of the cheapest city from five regions—what makes it the cheapest—and cost insights related to travelling in each region. Then, there are data capsules outlining the package that give you a glimpse of the cost extremes that characterize basic spends.
Hope you save some. Bon voyage.
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