Good countries that are top value

WHICH COUNTRIES ARE good to travel in and also offer value for money? We all like a bargain. The Top 100 Countries index gives us a good guide.

One of the key criteria in the index is value for money. This is based on the Purchasing Price Parity index from the World Bank, which measures how much you can buy for your money in each country.

The PPP index uses the USA as a base, equal to 1.00. Above that level, things cost more than they do in the USA and below that level they cost less. By using our standard ‘stretching’ method, we have converted all these PPP numbers into a rating from 0 to 100, so all components of the index use the same scale.

Unfortunately, the countries that rate highest on the Top 100 Countries index tend to be the most expensive. All but one of the countries in the Top 20 overall are outside the top 100 when it comes to value for money. The sole exception is the Czech Republic, which is 20th overall and comes in 98th for value for money.

We all like value when we travel, so I thought I’d do some analysis by comparing every country’s overall rating with their value for money rating. I did this by simply adding the two indexes together. The higher the number the better, as a combination of overall desirability and value for money.

The results were very interesting, and show how useful the Top 100 Countries index can be. Using this analysis the country with the most reasons for visiting combined with the best value for money is Turkey. This makes perfect sense - just about anybody who has ever been there loves the place and says how cheap it is. It is the 51st best country overall and the 17th cheapest.

Some of the other countries are less obvious. Second is Turkey’s neighbour Bulgaria, with nearby Romania coming 6th. These two countries have become quite popular since they joined the European Union, especially with Russians and Germans. More people from the Anglosphere should go there.

Use the interactive table at the bottom of this blog to see where each countries ranks.

Other Eastern Europe countries that do well are Belarus (4th) and Poland (11th). It’s just six hours by train from Minsk to Warsaw, and your zloty and ruble will go a long way.

I was pleased to see Malaysia (3rd) and Thailand (9th) in the Top Ten. These are great countries to visit and really good value for money. They are two of my favourites. I’m less sure about Tunisia (5th) and Mongolia (8th), which are cheap without being great destinations.

The other country in the Top Ten is Kazakhstan, which Borat put on the map for most people. I haven’t been there but I’ve spoken to people who have and they loved it. Very big country with lots to see – the great outdoors and some fabulous architecture. And cheap.

Many of us like to go to Europe. The further east and further south you get the cheaper things are, but what of the major destinations? The number one country in the entire Top 100 is Spain. One of the reasons it is in that position is because it is the cheapest of the major European destinations. It comes in at 28th on our comparison, way ahead of the other countries that make up the ‘Big Five’ of Western Europe: Italy (75th), Germany (89th), France (93rd) and the UK (106th).

Okay, so this is not a perfect analysis. But it does give us some insight. You can do a similar thing with any of the indexes in the Top 100 Countries, comparing things like Safety and Health, or Environment and Happiness.

I’m working on a system that enables anybody to enter a different weighting for each of the ten factors in the index so you can do any sort of analysis based on what is important to you. That will make the index much more useful. If Safety is important to you, you can weight it so it’s more important than, say, Popularity.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions?

The table below shows all 140 rated countries. The final column shows their ranking on the combination of overall Top 100 Countries score and the value for money component. Use the arrows to sort any column.

CountryTOP 100 SCORET100 RANKValue (PPP)Value ScoreValue RankT100 + ValueT100+V Rank
Turkey51.48510.3289.0717140.551
Bulgaria56.17400.3982.6151138.782
Malaysia52.25490.3586.1631138.403
Belarus48.36590.3289.8115138.174
Tunisia44.73740.2893.449138.175
Romania55.94410.4181.4056137.346
Kazakhstan48.80570.3487.9422136.757
Mongolia44.48750.3091.3313135.818
Thailand52.24500.3883.5744135.809
Albania49.01560.3586.5329135.5410
Poland60.42250.4874.8274135.2411
Egypt35.091050.2199.962135.0512
Azerbaijan40.23910.2694.735134.9613
India39.02950.2694.964133.9814
Indonesia42.53820.3091.3812133.9115
Sri Lanka42.41830.3190.7514133.1616
Iran38.93960.2794.207133.1317
Oman50.29520.4082.2952132.5718
Macedonia46.33680.3586.2030132.5319
Montenegro50.01530.4081.7453131.7520
Serbia48.03600.3883.5743131.6021
Georgia47.50640.3883.7641131.2622
Tajikistan34.191060.2496.783130.9723
Croatia59.14280.5171.8381130.9724
Mexico55.91420.4973.9977129.9025
Philippines42.82800.3586.8327129.6526
Czech Republic63.84200.5765.7698129.6027
Spain79.6510.7549.73114129.3928
Algeria35.541040.2793.648129.1829
Mauritius53.96480.4775.0773129.0330
Morocco44.95720.3884.0739129.0231
Lithuania56.65370.5172.1580128.8032
Vietnam41.44850.3487.0625128.5033
Saudi Arabia48.02610.4279.9761127.9934
Kyrgyzstan39.44930.3388.3919127.8435
Russia47.31650.4280.4760127.7836
Bosnia and Herzegovina44.30760.3982.6150126.9137
Nicaragua41.85840.3784.9733126.8238
Hungary54.72470.5171.3184126.0339
Singapore65.57160.6459.93104125.5040
Qatar56.86360.5568.4692125.3241
Laos38.101000.3587.0426125.1442
China55.46440.5469.2788124.7343
United Arab Emirates58.88290.5765.8197124.6944
Dominican Republic45.29710.4379.1762124.4645
Armenia42.86790.4181.2057124.0646
Cambodia37.041010.3586.8328123.8747
Pakistan29.441200.2794.406123.8448
Colombia45.39700.4477.9165123.3049
Latvia55.03460.5567.7493122.7750
Kuwait46.53670.4675.9470122.4851
Slovakia56.21390.5766.2296122.4352
Jordan45.42690.4576.8968122.3153
Tanzania33.451080.3388.8418122.2954
Peru47.79620.4874.2775122.0655
Sudan22.061370.21100.001122.0656
Ukraine34.011070.3487.9521121.9657
Malawi30.331160.3091.4411121.7858
Malta63.44210.6658.22106121.6659
Rwanda33.241090.3487.2324120.4760
Nepal32.401110.3387.9920120.3961
Paraguay40.73870.4378.9163119.6462
Bahrain47.79630.5171.7982119.5963
Madagascar26.671280.2892.8910119.5764
Uganda29.531190.3289.7016119.2465
Estonia59.63270.6459.54105119.1766
Botswana40.58880.4477.8266118.4067
Senegal36.661020.4081.6554118.3268
Taiwan60.07260.8357.88118117.9669
Moldova39.24940.4478.5264117.7670
Nigeria30.091170.3487.5923117.6871
Bolivia40.48890.4577.1667117.6472
Portugal61.34240.6856.01108117.3573
Chile56.61380.6360.62102117.2374
Italy73.5450.8243.38117116.9275
Zambia31.651120.3785.1732116.8176
El Salvador42.54810.4973.7878116.3177
South Africa40.04920.4676.0069116.0378
Brazil48.40580.5667.5494115.9479
Argentina49.24540.5766.4995115.7280
Burkina Faso30.811150.3784.7035115.5181
Trinidad and Tobago44.95730.5270.5685115.5182
Slovenia58.75300.6856.11107114.8783
Benin30.091180.3784.4838114.5684
Honduras40.32900.4874.1576114.4685
Ghana38.50980.4675.9371114.4286
Swaziland30.911140.3983.2346114.1487
Greece57.97340.6855.93109113.8988
Germany76.8130.8936.74119113.5589
Costa Rica57.42350.6855.81110113.2390
Mozambique28.281220.3784.8034113.0891
Namibia43.45780.5369.6386113.0892
France77.5420.9035.19120112.7393
Cote d'Ivoire31.531130.4181.1558112.6894
Ecuador43.87770.5468.7991112.6695
Jamaica46.94660.5865.6199112.5696
Panama49.17550.6162.40101111.5797
Togo27.891230.3883.6642111.5498
Cyprus58.39320.7152.94112111.3399
Ethiopia27.241250.3883.5545110.80100
Guatemala41.23860.5469.0989110.32101
Bangladesh26.861270.3982.9547109.80102
Mali26.901260.3982.8948109.79103
Lesotho28.711210.4180.9359109.64104
Congo, Republic24.431320.3883.7940108.23105
United Kingdom74.1340.9233.79124107.92106
Cameroon25.991290.4081.4855107.47107
Hong Kong58.51310.7648.96115107.47108
Niger24.791310.3982.6249107.41109
Guyana38.29990.5468.8790107.16110
Austria72.2870.9234.09122106.37111
Uruguay55.06450.7350.92113105.98112
Kenya32.531100.4973.2079105.74113
South Korea58.14330.7747.17116105.30114
Chad19.911380.3784.5737104.48115
Haiti27.811240.4775.8272103.63116
Burundi18.571390.3784.6536103.22117
Japan65.98150.9134.96121100.94118
Canada70.1590.9629.6512799.80119
Netherlands67.22120.9332.4712699.69120
Lebanon38.68970.6360.2910398.98121
USA72.4861.0026.2712898.75122
Ireland64.44190.9233.5712598.01123
Belgium63.10220.9233.9812397.07124
Comoros24.101350.5171.638395.73125
New Zealand67.13131.0125.6813292.81126
Angola22.781360.5369.618792.39127
Sweden66.96141.0224.5413391.50128
Finland65.49171.0323.7413589.24129
Denmark68.08101.0818.8713686.95130
Australia67.41111.1115.9013783.31131
Israel55.83431.0224.3913480.21132
Zimbabwe25.941300.7153.1911179.12133
Congo, Dem. Rep.15.761400.6063.0410078.79134
Switzerland70.5981.207.5713878.16135
Norway64.57181.280.0014064.57136
Iceland62.82231.271.1513963.97137
Cuba35.941031.0026.2712862.21138
Myanmar24.371331.0026.2712850.64139
Venezuela24.341341.0026.2712850.61140

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