Traveling to a nearby town or into the mountains is always fun, but it doesn't always quell the wanderlust you feel when perusing more exotic destinations. Most travelers scrimp and save for several months before they have enough cash to take a fun vacation.
Unfortunately, after you've invested a lot of time and money into saving, you often find that your travel destination of choice is a lot more expensive than you first imagined. You have enough to cover the flight and a rental car, but the hotels are astronomically priced, not to mention the food and amenities.
Some popular tourist destinations are simply too popular and expensive for your own good. It's no fun spending all of your money on overpriced transportation and accommodations and having nothing with which to explore the place. Oftentimes, the high price means you have to eliminate a few items from your bucket list because you know you'll never be able to afford to go there.
But don't despair! If you're a savvy traveler, you can always find ways to save, even in the most expensive places. When you're looking for your next travel destination, watch out for these 21 overpriced destinations. If you do find yourself traveling there, keep in mind a few cost-saving tips.
21 Zurich, Switzerland - Pure Mountain Air and Prices in the Clouds
Zurich is a gorgeous city in the mountains of Switzerland. The air is clean and fresh in this high-elevation town and the breathtaking surroundings attract tourists from all over the world.
But not everyone can afford the cost of this destination. You can easily spend $200 per day on transportation and food for two people. The city boasts some of the highest public transportation costs in the world. If you want nice accommodations, the costs are even higher.
How to Save: Go during the summer. You can walk or bike through the closely built neighborhoods for free.
20 Miami Beach, Florida - White Sand at a High Price
The beaches in Miami are some of the most coveted in the world. People will travel from all over the United States to squish their toes into the white sand and surf in the restless waves of the Atlantic.
And if you want to stay anywhere near the beach, you're looking at an average hotel room cost of $300 a night. Restaurants and shops near the beach also think very highly of themselves and inflate their prices for tourists. You can easily spend double what you would if you traveled 30 miles west.
How to Save: Consider staying in a beachfront hostel instead. A shared room through Airbnb is also a good option.
19 New York City, New York - The Symbol of Freedom, But Not in Terms of Cash
The Statue of Liberty might ask for the poor and huddled masses, but the cost of living and visiting there suggest otherwise. New York City is one of the largest cities in the world, so it attracts a lot of visitors for both recreational and business purposes. This seems to have naturally inflated the prices of pretty much everything.
Taxi rides, hotel stays, Broadway shows, Hudson River cruises, bus tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, trips to the top of the Empire State Building, and long shopping sprees in Macy's are all overpriced and hard on the budget.
How to Save: Take the subway. A taxi ride from JFK to Manhattan will run you almost $50, but you can ride the subway all day long for just $7.00.
18 Tokyo, Japan - The Largest City in the World at a Larger-Than-Life Cost
Tokyo is the largest city in the world with an incredible population of more than 37 million people. Considering the geographic size of the city, it's pretty impressive that so many people live there.
Expect to pay about 50 percent more for pretty much everything in Tokyo when compared with the typical costs in other Asian cities. High-priced food and shopping earn it the title of third most expensive city in the world. The hotel prices, luxury or not, will also make your jaw drop.
How to Save: Eat at the many street vendors lining Tokyo streets. The food is delicious and a fraction of the cost of a sit-down restaurant.
17 Dubai, United Arab Emirates - The World's Tallest Building and the Tallest Stack of Bills
Dubai is overpriced in and of itself, but if you're planning a trip to the top of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, you're in for a shock. It costs a minimum of $30 USD to go to the top, just for a quick look at the city below (increase that if you're going in peak time or want the full experience, as opposed to just one of the decks). It's certainly worthwhile, but you'll certainly squirm a little at dropping so much cash on the experience.
If you wanted to stay at the hotel in Burj Khalifa, but you're on a budget, dream on. The prices of hotel rooms in the famous building range a few hundred and into the thousands. Per night.
How to Save: Book your trip to the top in advance for discounted pricing. Stay somewhere besides Burj Khalifa - it's for rich people anyway.
16 Honolulu, Hawaii - $9 for a Gallon of Milk
If you're visiting Hawaii on vacation, you're not likely to be shopping for a gallon of milk while you're there. However, the inconceivable cost of this everyday grocery item clues you into the costs of visiting or living there.
Staying in a hotel near the beach will run you between $200 and $300 per night, and the cost of meals can easily go over $100 a day. The airfare is also no picnic. The island is so far away from mainland North America that you'll be spending hundreds on a round-trip ticket.
How to Save: Eat at the many food trucks or "lunch wagons" that line the beaches. It's delicious fare and much easier on your budget.
15 Monte Carlo, Monaco - Fit for Royalty and Their Money Bags
When you hear the name Monte Carlo, you probably picture famous people and royalty enjoying a luxury trip to the beach. You're not far off. It's a very popular tourist destination for celebrities who can afford the overpriced luxuries found there.
While visiting a beach is usually free, Monte Carlo features a number of exclusive beaches that cost to enter. You could pay as much as $100 for a day near the water.
Monte Carlo also has some of the highest hotel prices in the world with an average of $308 per night. That average factors in the poor-quality hotels that you don't want to stay in.
How to Save: Stay in the city of Nice instead. It's a 20-minute train ride away, so you can enjoy the beauty of Monte Carlo while staying in the more affordable neighboring city.
14 Paris, France - Fun for You, But Not for Your Pocketbook
This romantic city is on many travelers' bucket lists. What you wouldn't give to see the Eiffel Tower or walk through the historic halls of the Louvre. You can make this dream a reality, but you'll have to save for quite some time to afford it.
If you're looking for typical hotel accommodations in a great location, the price will be high. When you eat your meals at restaurants, you're often paying for the ambiance as well. You might be surprised how much you can spend on a single day in this remarkable city.
How to Save: Look into hostels and shared rental arrangements rather than a hotel. Buy your food from food stands or go grocery shopping, and take the metro rather than the bus.
13 San Diego, California - Home of the Overpriced Attractions
San Diego is absolutely beautiful. It has some of the finest beaches in California, and it's a favorite of surfers and swimmers. The city is also a lot of fun to visit, filled with shopping and attractions.
Those attractions are pretty high priced, however. The San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Balboa Park, The U.S.S. Midway and Belmont Park are big-ticket attractions in the city that will cost you a pretty penny.
Unfortunately, the cost of hotels, transportation, and food is high as well. You can easily drop a few hundred dollars per day on a family vacation there.
How to Save: If you're going to San Diego for the attractions, get a CityPASS, which gives you free admission to tons of parks in the city.
12 Amsterdam, The Netherlands - High-Priced Hotels Wherever You Go
Amsterdam is best known for its rich history, artwork, and natural beauty. You can tour the Van Gogh Museum, the largest collection of Van Gogh works, see a play performed in Vondelpark, take a gondola ride, walk through Bloemenmarkt, or tour the Anne Frank House.
Each of these attractions is costly in its own right, but the most expensive part of visiting Amsterdam is the hotels. You're looking at about $200 per night, which is significantly higher than its neighboring cities.
How to Save: Stay outside of Amsterdam and commute to the city every day. Train rides are cheap here, and you can save big on hotels on the outskirts of town.
11 Singapore - Wealthy Residents Driving Up the Price
Singapore wasn't always an overpriced tourist destination, but over the last few years, there's been a huge conglomeration of expats taking up residence in the city. With their influence, the local currency has become significantly stronger, and it's quickly become one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Hotel accommodations, food, and transportation will be pricey, as will the attractions you'll likely want to visit. Whether you go to the gorgeous island resort of Sentosa or explore the rides at Universal Studios Singapore, you'll easily overspend your budget.
How to Save: Find free things to do. Explore Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay, and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, without spending a dime.
10 Breckenridge, Colorado - Untold Beauty with an Ugly Price Tag
It might surprise you to learn that a small town in the middle of the mountains of Colorado is one of the most expensive destinations in the state. Breckenridge is a popular spot for skiing and snowboarding in the winter as well as hiking and outdoor recreation in the summer.
Whether you rent a hotel room or a luxury cabin, you'll easily spend $400 plus on the booking. The cost of drinks and meals is astronomical as well, and this is all added on top of your highly-priced ski tickets.
How to Save: Buy tickets to the ski slopes in advance on sites like Groupon or Liftopia.
9 Las Vegas, Nevada - Surprisingly Cheap or Utterly Expensive
Las Vegas is a travel destination that could be listed among the most affordable places to visit or the most expensive. It all depends on where you stay and what you plan to do there.
It's not uncommon to find a hotel room in Vegas worth thousands of dollars per night. They also have ridiculously priced food in the hundreds. Then there are the tickets to popular shows that will set you back even more. If you fancy the casinos, your risks of overspending increase rapidly.
How to Save: Look for affordable hotels and restaurants rather than luxury resorts. If you're hitting up the casinos, set a reasonable budget.
8 Venice, Italy - History at a Price
The history, architectural beauty, and artwork in Venice attract tourists all around the world, but at a price. The city is very expensive, especially when it comes to the main island. Accommodations are high and excursions are higher.
You'll probably want to take a gondola ride on the canals, but that will cost you well over $100 for a short ride. You can also spend a fortune on tours in museums and delectable local dishes.
How to Save: Go on the gondola ride (this is something that's worth the cash), but limit your time eating in restaurants. Look for budget hotels outside the city so you can put your money elsewhere.
7 Jackson, Wyoming - Expensive Accommodations in the Middle of Nowhere
People love to visit Jackson, Wyoming for the pristine mountain beauty. It's very near Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, and there's skiing, hiking, hunting, and other outdoor recreation.
Despite its humble surroundings, Jackson is surprisingly cultured. They have dozens of fine art galleries as well as specialty shops that make fur coats and handwoven rugs. You can also find a great selection of designer clothing and accessories.
Whether you're paying for a tour of Yellowstone or you're burning a hole in your wallet at the shops, you can easily overspend in Jackson.
How to Save: Consider going camping instead of staying in a hotel. In the winter, you'll want to stay in a hotel, but you can save by avoiding the shops as much as possible.
6 Auckland, New Zealand - Spend a Fortune in the Pacific
New Zealand is an often overlooked travel destination with a lot to offer. Not only is it perfectly positioned on the ocean, but it's also home to a bustling city with shops, entertainment, restaurants, bars, and attractions to keep visitors busy for weeks.
If you're on a budget, it's probably best to avoid Auckland, since it's one of the top 10 most expensive cities for overnight accommodations. Hotels cost more than $36 per night, even if it's not near the water. Expect to pay about 50 percent more for food as well.
How to Save: Explore Auckland through backpacking. You'll find cheaper accommodations and transportation this way while seeing it from a brand new perspective.
5 Seattle, Washington - Where You'll Always Overpay on Taxi Fare
Seattle is a beautiful city nestled up against the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. It's a popular destination for shopping, sightseeing, whale watching, yachting, and more.
You have to make your way up to the top of the Space Needle, where you can take in breathtaking views of the city. You should also eat in the restaurant, although you have to spend a minimum of $35 per table to do so.
Unfortunately, hotel accommodations are pricey and getting around the city won't be cheap. Taxi fare is high, especially if you take a water taxi.
How to Save: Take the Link light rail instead of a taxi. You can go all over Seattle, including to the airport.
4 Sydney, Australia - Gorgeous Sunsets That Don't Come Cheap
Australia is one of the more expensive places to visit in the Pacific, thanks to its miles of gorgeous beaches, beautiful architecture, outdoor recreation, entertainment, and surfing opportunities.
While you're there, you have to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, which arches over the water. Plan to see a show at the iconic Sydney Opera House as well. Unfortunately, both of these excursions will set you back several hundred dollars.
Flights to Australia will likely be the most expensive part of your trip. Hotels and transportation will also be pricey.
How to Save: Don't prioritize touristy areas on your trip. The experiences are often overpriced and not as good as what you can do for free by exploring the great outdoors or frequenting free museums.
3 Chicago, Illinois - Where Tolls and Parking Will Eat Your Budget
It's not just the frequent toll booths you have to pass and the $50 parking lots that make Chicago one of the most expensive cities in the world. Everything from the transportation to the hotel accommodations will be higher priced than pretty much anywhere else in the state.
It's a lot safer for you to stay near the Magnificent Mile, which is loaded with shopping centers, Millennial Park (where the famous artwork is), and tall buildings. However, hotels in this area cost about $300 per night.
How to Save: Find a safe suburb where hotels are cheaper, and commute into the city for your exploration.
2 London, England - Prices Fit For A Palace
London is one of the oldest and most established cities in the Western hemisphere. The museums, thriving culture, theater, architecture, history, and royalty have fascinated tourists for years.
London is fun to visit but has one of the highest costs of living on the planet, which drives up the price for tourists. If you want a 4-star hotel, you're looking at more than $400 per night.
Food and entertainment tend to be pricier too by about 60 percent more than what you're used to. Budget for even the little things when you go.
How to Save: Look for shared accommodations and plan your trip around free activities and attractions.
1 Oslo, Norway - The Most Expensive City in the World
Earnings reports show that Norway's capital, Oslo, is, in fact, the most expensive city in the world. Its economy has been driven up by oil money, and right now, goods and services are nearly 70 percent more expensive than the world average.
Oslo affords excellent opportunities to experience modern art and Scandinavian history, like Vikings. It's location near the famous Norwegian Fjords also makes it a highly sought-after tourist destination, which naturally drives up the costs of everything.
Hotels, food, transportation, souvenirs, and other goods will be much higher than what you'd normally expect in this part of the world, so prepare your pocketbook.
How to Save: Take public transportation including subways, trams, buses, and ferries. Explore the gorgeous countryside by foot for a free, memorable experience.
References: huffingtonpost, ustoday, lovexploring