How can I quickly compare prices of common items here in the states vs. in various foreign countries?
November 26, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I quickly compare prices of common items here in the states vs. in various foreign countries?

I've looked at cost of living sites and read numerous euro vs dollar articles but nothing fits what I was hoping to find.

I know that in Portland Oregon a pint of beer will cost somewhere between $2-$8. $2 being a great happy hour and $8 being full price at a more expensive restaurant. What I want to know is what is the price range for the same item in Frankfurt or Toyko or London? It would be great if the same site would give me the comparison: The Euro is currently worth about $1.50 so a $5 beer in Portland would cost $13 in Munich (or whatever/wherever).

Does that site exist?
posted by J-Garr to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's a little bit of what you're talking about: the Big Mac Index. Discussed on the blue here. And more recently: the ipod index. Though comments in those threads suggest these indexes don't really measure costs of living.
posted by tiny crocodile at 11:17 AM on November 26, 2007

Yes, such an index exists. Comes out every year, and lists the cost of "common" items. But can't remember who comes up with the list. Here's one, but gives you an overall figure, though haven't seen the entire pdf that's on the site. But ultimately, these lists totally make no sense, because it assumes a specific point of origin, and assumes that you would want to replicate that exact list of items in a given foreign city. For example, you might discover that a glass of orange juice costs $10, and beer $20 in Tokyo, let's say. But if those aren't the "common" items in that given locale, does it provide you with any information beyond the fact that it costs you $20 to buy a bottle of beer? A better indicater might perhaps be, how much does a glass of breakfast beverage cost? A serving of a common social drink? Etc.
posted by peachy at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: I had not seen the Big Mac Index before so that is definitely helpful.

Perhaps I should post another question sometime along the lines of, "Primarily for those living outside of the United States, how much do you typically pay for a regular dinner without drinks or dessert, a pint at a bar, and a box of cereal?" or something like that.

My goal of course is to try and budget for traveling to various parts of the world.
posted by J-Garr at 12:17 PM on November 26, 2007

Are you planning to work while you travel? Or just planning to travel based on savings in the US?

Local wages are important in the former case (how much of the 'Holy shit that's an expensive hamburger!' can you make up by the fact that local working wages are higher than in the US) but not in the latter case (where all the really matters is what your currently crappy US dollar will buy based on the exchange rates).
posted by jacquilynne at 2:11 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: Definitely not planning to work while I travel.

I've been watching flights to random places in the world and want to be prepared to jump on a good deal whenever one comes along. I'm seeing flights to Frankfurt for well under $500, which to me is a great excuse to see part of Germany.
posted by J-Garr at 3:04 PM on November 26, 2007

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