Survey Refutes Travel Costs Myths

Study reveals the cheapest destinations are not where travelers expect

India is not the cheapest travel destination.

There is a misconception among British travelers about the perceived cost of vacations and the actual cost of journeying to popular destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America, reveals a study by Skyscanner, a European travel search site.

The annual study of 30 popular holiday destinations revealed that India is perceived by residents of the U.K. to be the cheapest country to travel to, but in reality, the country is only the fifth cheapest. Morocco is the cheapest country, but once the cost of airfare is factored in, Poland becomes the cheapest vacation spot.

Brazil, thought to be the ninth cheapest country, is actually the second most expensive and becomes the number one most expensive destination when the costs of flights and hotels are factored in. Mexico, the U.S., and Canada were also found to be more expensive than travelers believed.

When the cost of airfare is factored in, long-haul destinations from England to Brazil, New Zealand, and Mexico take the top three spots in the overall cost ranking for British travelers, while expensive destinations such as Sweden and Denmark actually become more affordable options, benefiting from low-cost carrier routes.

"This study highlights the huge disparity between the perception and the reality of holiday costs. It is essential that travelers should consider the proportion of the total cost that the flight makes up before deciding upon a destination," said Skyscanner’s representative Sam Poullain.

Respondents were asked to rate the countries according to costs within the country, not including the cost of flights. Actual costs were calculated using the average in-resort costs per day based on a cup of coffee and a bottle of beer purchased at a mid-range restaurant, a three-course meal including a half bottle of wine per person, and one night’s accommodation. The flight prices used were the cheapest direct flights originating in England.

The top five countries perceived to be the least expensive are India, Thailand, Poland, Morocco, and Egypt, while in actuality the least expensive are Morocco, Thailand, Poland, Portugal, and India. When airfare is factored in, the least expensive destinations are Poland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and the U.K.

The top five countries perceived to be the most expensive are Iceland, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, while in actuality the most expensive are Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, and Switzerland. When airfare is factored in, the most expensive destinations are Dominican Republic, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Brazil.