This Vacation Destination Is the Most Expensive Place in the World

Jul 10, 2018

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The next time you complain about the bill the next time you eat out, how much you pay in rent or how much the tourists have ruined your hometown for the locals, cast an eye toward the North Atlantic, because the people of Hamilton, Bermuda, have it worse.

The tiny capital of the island nation — population 1,000 — is the most expensive place in the world for the fourth year in a row, according to the midyear Numbeo Cost of Living Index.

Factoring in the price of the essentials of life (transportation, rent, groceries) with the price of things that make every week more bearable (restaurants, purchasing power), Hamilton was overall the hardest place on Earth to stretch a dollar. Zurich, Switzerland, came in second, followed by six more cities in Switzerland, two in Norway and Reykjavik, Iceland. If you take into account the cost of rent, Hamilton was still the most expensive place in the world, followed by San Francisco, New York City, Zurich and Geneva.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 14 cheapest places in the world were in India, with Ukraine coming in at No. 15.

Hamilton did especially badly when it came to eating out, with restaurant prices far worse than the runner up in that category, the oil town of Stavanger, Norway. (By the index’s measure, it costs about 50% more to dine out in Hamilton than a comparable meal in New York City.) Groceries were slightly more expensive in Zurich than in Hamilton (still No. 2 at the supermarket, or about 25% more than what it would cost in New York), and rent was the worst in San Francisco, with Hamilton trailing behind but still ahead of New York City.

How did a tiny seaside town best heavyweight metropolises like San Francisco, Zurich and New York when it comes to bragging — or complaining — rights? Tourists and foreigners and expats using Bermuda as a tax haven have exploded the cost of living. But don’t let that dissuade from visiting — the place is gorgeous, with relatively cheap flights from the US. And you could run into TPG editor-at-large Zach Honig there.

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