The corporate lifestyle isn’t easy, especially if you wake up one day and you’re told you need to move to a different country to take over a position. While you love traveling, just like anybody else, moving means a lot more than seeing new places and meeting new people, it’s a constant source of worrying about money and quality of life. From buying food to moving around the city, from paying bills to afford an evening out with the new colleagues, everything has to be put on paper and thoroughly calculated. Of course, the company will pay for most of your expenses, but that doesn’t mean life will be easy, especially if you end up in one of the cities on our list today, which happen to be the most expensive cities in the world to be an expat in (according to Mercer’s cost of living survey.)
We will take a look inside some of the most expensive cities to be an expat in which you will both love and hate as an expat and see how much money this adventure will cost you.
1. Luanda, Angola
The capital city of this South-African country has recently been named the most expensive city in the world for the second time in three years. The roads are a mess, the city is surrounded by slums, but luxury cars abound and a meal at a restaurant will easily top $100 per person, and even a hamburger costs over $2o, making it probably one of the most expensive cities to be an expat in.
2. Moscow, Russia
Living and working in the capital of the former Soviet Union might seem like a thrill, but it will drain your wallet faster than you can imagine. Of course, it is a wonderful city, full of monuments of the past and majestic boulevards, but if you want to eat out, be prepared to spend anywhere between $70 and $100. Should you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city center, you’ll need to set aside at least $1500 for it.
3. Tokyo, Japan
It looks like a high-tech dreamland. It’s swarming with people day and night. It’s one of the most fascinating cities in the world, but fascination comes at a price. Public transportation is highly efficient, yet expensive, and rent prices can go as high as $1200 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
4. N’Djamena, Chad
Why are cities in Africa so expensive? We don’t know about the rest, but Chad (as well as Angola) have become major oil exporters over the past years, and are developing into powerhouses of the extraction industry. And this why the cost of living in cities such as N’Djamena keeps growing, despite the contrasting poverty surrounding them.
5. Singapore, Singapore
This Asian city-state is one of the world’s fastest growing emerging market economies, and has recently seen its’ local currency strengthen, alongside a rise in housing costs. While you needn’t worry about that if you’re an expat, you might be surprised at how expensive things are in this part of the world. This is one of those places to see at least once in a life time, but if you’re sent there, count your blessings, as it is one of the most expensive cities to be an expat in.
6. Hong-Kong SAR, Hong-Kong
While widely considered the world’s fifth most important city, it has flourished since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1995. Since its’ time under Chinese administration, the city has become a symbol for new technology, and a flourishing economy. And these are only a few of the reasons why it is so expensive.
7. Geneva, Switzerland
If you’re lucky enough to be an expat in Switzerland, you should know that the chocolate, the scenery, and the wonderfully efficient administration come at a cost. Geneva is ranked #7 both in our list and in the official Mercer top of most expensive cities to live in as an expat.
8. Zurich, Switzerland
It’s no surprise that the next city on the list is also from Switzerland. In 2012, Zurich had topped Tokyo in some statistics as the world’s absolute most expensive city. In the Mercer top for 2013, it’s only number 8, but that doesn’t mean you can rejoice – you won’t afford the cost of living there easily.
9. Bern, Switzerland
It’s not us; it’s simply the numbers that make Bern the third city in Switzerland on this list. The Swiss capital is also a renowned watch-making center, with companies such as Swatch and Rolex operating here, but if you want to see a movie, be prepared to pay $16 for the ticket, and another $25 for the dinner afterwards, at a non-fancy restaurant.
10. Sydney, Australia
The state capital of New South Wales, and the most populous city in Australia has exceptional standards of living, but is expensive due to the rising Australian dollar and the increasing cost of housing. Paradoxically, movie tickets are more expensive here than in Bern, and a hamburger costs triple than it does in Hong Kong.
Now you know which are some of the most expensive cities to be an expat in. So pack your bags and count your money cause where you’re going it gonna be fun and… challenging.