Travellers on a budget who don’t mind going off the beaten path and taking some risks can find plenty of bargains, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.
In its 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report, the group ranked 141 nations from cheapest to most expensive based on the cost of travelling to that country and being a tourist there.
Among the items considered in its tally: the average cost of roundtrip flights, hotel accommodations, cost of living, fuel prices, and purchasing power parity (PPP).*
One major drawback: some of these countries are mired in poverty, war, or harbour anti-American views. However, each also offers a unique tourism experience that is sure to fascinate.
Note: Hotel and gas conversions are based on the US dollar and information from the World Bank and are subject to change. PPP is relative to the country’s home currency. Airfares are averages for 2014, room rates are based on averages determined from 2013-2014, PPP is the most recent available as of November 2014, and some gas prices are more current than others. Travel suggestions are based on tourism website The Lonely Planet.
*An example of PPP: If the PPP in the United States is 1 and the PPP in Poland is .6, then a cup of coffee in Poland is 40% cheaper than it is in the US, relative to the Polish zloty. PPP is based on the GDP of each economy.
The north African country of Algeria features the 44th cheapest airfare in the world of 141 countries surveyed. However, the average cost per day of staying in a first-class hotel is $US185.70, which ranks 81st of 102 countries.
PPP in Algeria is .4, which means that the average cost of goods and services is about 60 per cent less than that of the United States (i.e. the same cup of coffee would be much cheaper in Algeria than in the United States). Plus, gas is a meager $US1.09 per gallon on average, equivalent to the 6th cheapest gas price in the world.
This Mideast country features the 36th cheapest airfares in the world. A first-class hotel in Pakistan will run you an average of $US94.30 per night, which is the 18th cheapest in the world.
Even better, the PPP in Pakistan is .3, which is tied with several other nations for the lowest PPP in the world, meaning that goods and services in Pakistan are 70 per cent cheaper than they are in America. Pakistan also ranks 38th in the world for the cheapest gas at a rate of $US4.30 per gallon on average.
Sandwiched between Algeria and Libya and jutting out into the Mediterranean coast is Tunisia. Flights in and out of the North African nation are the 50th cheapest in the world. A first-class hotel room is very reasonable at $US91.10 per night on average, good for 11th cheapest in the world.
Tunisia's PPP is .4, the 20th lowest in the world and reflecting a 60 per cent reduction in prices for comparable goods and services in the US. Gas costs $US3.51 per gallon on average, which is 25th cheapest in the world.
What to do while you're there: Visit the city of Tunis, go to the Bardo Museum, check out ancient Roman ruins near Mediterranean beaches, and visit Tataouine in the south, the real-life inspiration for the hometown of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars movies.
Occupying two different landmasses in the South China Sea, Malaysia has the 20th cheapest airfare in the world and hotel accommodations that average $US109.60 a night, good for 27th cheapest in the world.
The PPP of Malaysia currently sits at .5 (42nd cheapest), meaning Americans can enjoy goods that will be 50 per cent cheaper than what they are used to paying. Gas costs just $US2.34 cents per gallon on average, good for 14th cheapest in the world.
What to do while you're there: Go to both the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo, go to Kuala Lumpur and see the Petronas Towers, visit the orangutan sanctuary in Sepolik, one of only four orangutan sanctuaries in the world, and wander through the Batu Caves.
Gambia is a tiny sliver of a country wedged next to Senegal in the northeast of Africa. Airfare to the continent's smallest nation is 46th cheapest in the world.
Gambia boasts the lowest PPP in the world, tied with several other nations at .3, which means Americans can enjoy prices that are 70 per cent less than what they pay for similar goods. Gas is cheaper than in the U.S. as well at $US2.98 per gallon on average, which is 20th cheapest in the world.
Data on hotel prices in Gambia could not be determined.
Currently, the war-torn country on the Gulf of Aden is not a recommended travel destination. At present, you cannot fly directly from the US to Yemen (flights from other countries to the Middle Eastern nation are the 48th cheapest in the world).
The PPP of Yemen is .4 (19th cheapest), meaning goods in Yemen are 60 per cent cheaper than in the United States. Gas currently stands at $US2.19 per gallon on average, which is the 13th cheapest in the world.
Not enough data could be provided to determine hotel prices in Yemen.
What to do while you're there: Go to the city of Sana'a, hike the Haraz Mountains, visit the island of Socotra (knows as the 'Galapagos Islands of the Indian Ocean'), and travel to the isolated desert town of Shibam.
Flights to the cluster of islands known as Indonesia in the Java and Banda Sea are the 11th cheapest in the world. A first-class hotel room on average will cost you $US93.90 a night, which is 17th cheapest in the world.
In terms of PPP, goods and services in Indonesia are about 60 per cent less than that of the U.S. (.4), which is good for the 17th lowest in the world. Gas costs a minuscule $US1.77 per gallon on average, which is the 11th cheapest in the world.
What to do while you're there: Island hop across Indonesia's roughly 17,000 islands, see
Mount Bromo in Java, visit Palau Komodo, home to the worlds largest lizards, visit the beach resorts on the Gili Islands, see orangutans roam wild in the Bukit lawang rainforest, and see
Borobudur temple, the largest and most revered Buddhist temple in the world.
Airfares to the north African country of Egypt rank the 43rd cheapest in the world and a hotel room costs an average of $US73.20 a night, which is the 2nd cheapest in the world.
Egypt's PPP sits at .3, making goods and services 70 per cent cheaper for Americans. Egypt also ranks 10th cheapest in the world in gas prices, at an average of $US1.70 per gallon.
Currently, Iran is not a recommended travel destination for Americans and the U.S. State Department strongly warns people to consider the risks of a country still considered a state sponsor of terrorism. But, at present, Iran is the cheapest place to travel in the world. Although you cannot fly directly from the US to Iran, flights to the Middle Eastern country are the 3rd cheapest in the world (current as of 2012).
The PPP in Iran is .3, tied with several other nations for the lowest PPP in the world. Gas on average costs $US1.24 per gallon, good for 8th cheapest in the world.
Information on hotel accommodations could not be determined.
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