As the Global Village has become more global than ever before, the number of expats has increased in recent years. Whether driven by overseas business assignments or an increasing number of retirees in search of a paradisiacal oasis, people are seeking to put down stakes in foreign lands. We recently wrote about the best health systems for expatriates. Now, comes a new study from the consulting firm Mercer that measures cost of living for expats and identifies the most expensive cities in which to settle. Mercer assessed 214 cities across five continents and ranked cities by the price of housing, transport, food, entertainment and clothing.
The most expensive city to settle in – no real surprise here – is Tokyo. The top ten most expensive cities for expats includes two other Japanese cities – Osaka and Nagoya, as well as popular Asian destinations Singapore and Hong Kong. In Europe, Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland were among the most expensive destinations. Which is not to say that these are bad places to live; quite the opposite. But if you decide this is where you’re going to move, be sure your bank account can handle it. And of course, a low cost of living isn’t everything – Karachi, Pakistan is the least expensive city for expats, but I don’t think we’re going to have a lot of folks suddenly flocking there to settle down.
We wrote about sustainable travel a couple months ago. It’s a still-emerging trend for travelers looking to see the world in an eco-friendly way. But as Michelle Higgins writes in the New York Times, what appears to be an eco-friendly trip may not be quite as environmentally responsible as it appears on the surface.
The specter of Bird Flu has been hanging over travelers for several years. This week comes word that scientists have discovered that a mutated version of the H5N1 flu could be transmitted by air – a scary proposition. However, this mutation doesn’t exist in nature at this point. But as with everything with Bird Flu, this bears watching.
Happier topics! With the Olympics just a little over a month away, Travel + Leisure has an insider’s guide to London. The New York Times has a great slide show on “why we travel” – some spectacular sites to visit.
Last year, Air New Zealand introduced “Skycouches” – seats that fold down into beds on long international flights. This is obviously an attractive way to fight the ravages of sleep deprivation while sleeping. Apparently, other airlines are impressed, because 12 airlines have reached out to Air New Zealand about the possibility of licensing the invention.
Some summer reading material for you – the Wall Street Journal has a batch of new travel books, including “Visit Sunny Chernobyl” – a look at the least visited places on Earth. And 55 years after Frommer’s came out with “Europe on $5 A Day,” Doug Mack has written “Europe on Five Wrong Turns A Day.” The Washington Post has the scoop.
And, finally, at CNNGO, Brent Butler writes about traveling alone, which he claims is way better than traveling with friends or in a larger group. But maybe he’s just really selfish….