The most expensive cities to live in the world vs the cheapest

Anna Allgaier

“The sky’s the limit.” My wallet would disagree, strongly actually.

Thanks to the joys of the weird health thing that happened that we won’t go into detail about, a lot of people have reconsidered their priorities and decided to set up base somewhere else in the world.

So to cater to our new-found “livin la vida loca” vibes, I’ve put together a smashing list of the most expensive cities to live in across the world as well as the cheapest, so you can full on eat,pray,love the heck out of your life baby.

Spoiler alert: They’re all lovely places to live.

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The most expensive cities to live in the world

Hong Kong

For the third year in a row, Hong Kong steals the prize of most expensive city to live in across the globe. Especially for foreign workers and expats. But it makes up for it with banging food though.

New York

The city that never sleeps. Maybe because everyone’s thinking about their incoming bills. But, it’s a wonderful city to live in nonetheless, and you are guaranteed to never get bored, ever. Why’s it so pricey? That’s down to its flourishing economy, mahoosive job market and the fact that everyone wants to live there.


Geneva is freaking gorgeous, and if you’re looking for Swiss chocolate, Alpine surroundings and really, really, worryingly clean streets, then this may be the city for you. But, you may want to bear in mind that the taxes are just as high as the quality of life.


I live in London, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, that yes, it truly is expensive. Sure, a lot of the things you’ll spend money on will be down to you making poor purchasing choices. Do I need a Pret A Manger sandwich everyday? Probably not. But here we are. Skint.


Ever since I watched “Lost in Translation” I wanted to get up and leave for Tokyo. The fact I got obsessed with the Japanese reality show “Terrace House” probably also had a pretty big part to play in this. Yes I watch a lot of Netflix. Anyway, Tokyo has a lot to offer but as the country's biggest business hub it will cost you a pretty penny. BUT YAKITORI. Come on.

The cheapest cities to live in the world

Hanoi, Vietnam

Southeast Asia is a little kinder financially, and it’s a beautiful place to live. The capital of Vietnam is famous for its food, architecture, night life and nature. It’s also incredibly culturally diverse and a great place to move as an expat.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito is a great place to live if you want to live in a city but pop off on some adventures. It’s a hustling, bustling place but you’re a stone’s throw away from the highlands, beaches, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. What a treat.

Bangkok, Thailand

Markets, nightlife, incredible food, temples. Bangkok is second to none when it comes to experiences. It’s a cultural melting pot and it also helps that you can go out to eat for less than £1. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of every Londoner, weeping.

Sofia, Bulgaria

The Eastern European city of Sofia is a perfect location for you if you’re looking to live somewhere where you can affordably explore Europe. As a city, it’s full of history, architecture worth a double take, welcoming locals and lots of fun things to do.

La Paz, Bolivia

Living in South America doesn’t require much selling at all. But if you still need convincing… The rent ranges from 400 to 500 pounds a month. My god. Fun fact: La Paz is the highest capital city in the world, sitting at 3,650m above sea level. The city is also renowned for its nightlife, landmarks and markets. Final sell: Bolivia has a lot of Llamas. Like a lot. What more do you need?

If this has inspired you to move somewhere different, we may be able to help. Yes, yes we have low conversion fees and easy-to-set up global cards and accounts, but we’ve also got offices across the world. Shoutout to our Tokyo, Bangkok, London and Hong Kong offices.

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