Do you know how far your money will go on holiday? It’s not just the exchange rate that can scupper your plans – some destinations are just cheaper than others as well. So is there an easy way to compare? Check out the Big Mac Index.
This unlikely list was invented by the well-known financial magazine, The Economist, in 1986 as a light-hearted way to see the value of different currencies. As its name implies, it compares the price of a McDonalds Big Mac in 48 countries around the world. But it’s since become a global standard and is amazingly accurate at predicting the cost of living in those different countries.
If you change the base currency to ‘Sterling’ you’ll be able to see all the countries where a Big Mac costs more, in pounds, than here in the UK. Not surprisingly, Switzerland and Norway are the costliest, coming in at £5.26 and £4.70, respectively, compared to £3.09 here. If you want a cheap fix of burger and fries, then head to Egypt, were a Big Mac will set you back just £1.21.
Of course, different goods will have different prices around the world, and you can only get a true comparison of the cost of living by comparing a basket of typical products. And tourist resorts often have higher prices than mainstream shops, so this is only for guidance. Nonetheless, lots of studies have shown the Big Mac Index to be remarkably accurate.
If you want to become an expert on burger prices around the world, then check out The Economist’s Big Mac Index.