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The 10 Most Expensive Destinations in the World

These are the top 10 expensive cities of 2022.

In the U.S., inflation was 8.6% last month and one of the highest in the world. But it’s not the only nation to feel the brunt of high costs. Data and mobility company ECA International has released a list of the world’s most expensive cities in 2022 and New York features in the prominent second position. However, Asian cities dominate the list with Hong Kong again taking the crown.

ECA has researched the cost of food, clothing, electric goods, utility costs, transport, household goods, meals out, and alcohol, among others, to calculate the cost of living that expats are paying across 207 cities in 120 countries. The report explains, “This comparison of cost of living is calculated on a base composed of various developed countries and is used to reflect an international lifestyle. Other indices available from ECA reflect specific city-to-city comparisons and different levels of shopping efficiency.”

1 OF 10

Hong Kong

WHERE: Special Administrative Region of China

For another year, Hong Kong has been highlighted as the world’s most expensive city. The cost of tomatoes in the city is $11.51 as compared to New York’s $6.55 and Sydney’s $5.67. Petrol is also an expensive resource at $3.04 per liter to New York’s $1.24.

Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International, said, “Year on year price rises of 3%, as measured by our basket of goods and services, are higher than we typically see in Hong Kong, but are lower than rates in similar cities both within the region and globally. Rather, it has been the strength of the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, in the past year which has enabled it to maintain its position as the most expensive location worldwide as other currencies have weakened.”

2 OF 10

New York City

WHERE: New York

New York, which held the number four spot in 2021, has become the second most expensive city in the world. It is the only American city to be featured on this list and competes with Hong Kong on cooking oil prices ($5.83 in HK and $5.68 in NY) and coffee prices at cafes ($5.21 in Hong Kong and $5.08 in New York). 

Related: The Best Things to Do in New York City

3 OF 10


WHERE: Switzerland

The first European city to make the cut is the financial city of Geneva in Switzerland. The international city—the headquarters of the U.N. and the Red Cross are both here—has retained its third position from last year.

European cities are dropping in rankings due to the euro’s weakness. Paris doesn’t even make it into the top 30. “Nearly every major Eurozone city saw a drop in the rankings this year as the euro performed worse in the last 12 months than the U.S. dollar and British pound. The euro’s weakness was mainly caused by market expectations of the ECB raising interest rates more slowly than its peers,” the report said.

4 OF 10


WHERE: England

London has climbed up one position from last year. The city of royals is an iconic destination and a summer favorite. It can dig a hole through your pocket though, whether you’re living there or visiting. In April, inflation climbed to 9% in the U.K.—the highest in more than 40 years.

Related: The Best Things to Do in London

5 OF 10


WHERE: Japan

Japan’s capital was the second-most expensive city for expats in 2021, but it has plunged to number five. Other Japanese cities have also dropped in rankings due to a weakened yen. 

Lee Quane explained, “Although prices have risen in Japan at rates which are high in comparison to recent norms for the country, Japanese cities are cheaper relative to many other locations worldwide. This is because the yen has weakened over the course of the past year as the U.S. and other countries have raised interest rates to combat inflation while rates in Japan remain negative. The weaker yen makes goods relatively cheaper for visitors and expatriate workers paid in other currencies as their money will now go further.”

Related: You Can Go to Japan Now (Sort of)

6 OF 10

Tel Aviv

WHERE: Israel

In December 2021, Tel Aviv was named the world’s most expensive city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit Survey. It was the second most expensive city in the world for alcohol and had the fastest inflation rate recorded in the last five years.

It’s definitely a top contender when it comes to high costs, but the ECA report ranks it at number six in 2022, one level up from 2021.

7 OF 10


WHERE: Switzerland

Another Swiss city on the list. Although Zurich has dropped in ranking—it held the sixth position last year—it is still one of the most expensive cities for overseas workers. It’s a global city with international organizations and banks, and it’s definitely known for the luxuries of high-end boutiques and fancy restaurants. 

8 OF 10


WHERE: China

Shanghai is the third most expensive Asian city on this list; globally, it takes the eighth spot. 

“The majority of the mainland Chinese cities in our rankings have higher rates of inflation than we are used to seeing, but they are still typically lower than elsewhere in Asia. Therefore, the main reason for their rise in the rankings has been the continued strength of the Chinese yuan against other major currencies, due to China’s relatively strong economic performance during the survey period which makes these cities more expensive relative to other locations.”

Asian cities have caused a stir this year—Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has jumped 23 places in the listings to take the 149th spot globally. It has seen the fastest rise in price over the past year due to a shortage of supplies and lack of foreign currency reserves.

9 OF 10


WHERE: China

Another Chinese city that has taken a leap is Guangzhou, which was number 10 in 2021. It is an important port city for the country with a colorful history. It is also the fourth most expensive Asian city for overseas workers. 

10 OF 10


WHERE: South Korea

Seoul closely follows Shanghai and Guangzhou—it is the 10th most expensive city in the world and the fifth most expensive city in Asia.

South Korea has been attracting vacationers with its thriving nightlife, world-class cuisine, bustling markets, and fun pop culture. If you’re planning a visit, we recommend these unique hotels to elevate your experience.

Related: The Selfie Has Replaced One of Seoul’s Best Souvenirs