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Planning a Cheapskate Vacation? Bulgaria Could Be the Place for You

Date: 10.08.2011

Here's a tip for world travelers this summer: Brush up on that Bulgarian and learn last-call etiquette for the meyhane, the traditional Balkans tavern. That's because Sofia, Bulgaria, has been rated as the top European bargain city for US vacationers.

So decrees TripAdvisor, the travel review website based in Newton. The firm has devised something it calls a TripIndex. Not only does the TripIndex take into account foreign currency exchange rates and hotel fees, it also factors in such things as the cost of a pizza, a dry martini, and a taxi ride. After crunching all that data, TripAdvisor says it's able to come up with a rough estimate of how much it would cost for an American to spend a day in a particular destination (assuming said American doesn't load up on too many tchotkchkes). Then TripAdvisor ranked destinations by value.

According to TripAdvisor, Asia emerged as the most affordable continent, claiming four of the top ten cheapest cities for American travelers. In first place is Bangkok. It has a TripIndex tally of USD 112.

With a TripIndex tally of USD 136, Sofia weighed in as the most affordable European city for US travelers.

In the United States, Las Vegas represented the best bargain on the TripIndex scale. Its TripIndex score is USD 164.

And forget about New York if you're not planning to bring along a suitcase full of twenty-dollar bills. New York City is the most expensive domestic destination for US travelers, with a total TripIndex cost of USD 367, TripAdvisor said. But the world title goes to Paris. Its TripIndex cost? USD 429.

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