When on the road, a consideration often at the back of my mind is how best to look after my money – both in terms of sticking to my highly efficient travel budget, but also making sure what money I do have is not stolen!

Therefore when I stumbled across Numbeo’s funky little cost and crime comparison tool, I couldn’t help but browse data on the places I have recently been to and the places that I’m going to soon, to see how I might fare. Numbeo, which of course is only as accurate as the opinions of its many contributors, allows you to compare cost and crime indexes both generically and in detail. For example you can look at the overall ‘crime index’ for a country, or look at data on particular crimes. Or you can look at the ‘consumer price index’ for a country, or if you prefer look at the cost of a pint of beer – the rule of thumb Chris always swears by!

Of course being German and English the first thing we wanted to do was compare our home countries. But we were also curious about where we’ve recently been and where we’re going next so we have some idea of what to expect. And to also give a slightly more global comparison, we looked at Japan and also the US, a little nervously as Chris works for an American organisation.

Below is a table of the results we found (as at 15 Jan)


*lower scores indicate perceived safety
**(excluding rent). Lower scores indicate perceived value for money (ie. cheap beer)

Some random observations – albeit by someone who is far from being a social researcher:

• According to the available data, and as I have always maintained, Germans are lovely people – or at least people feel very safe when visiting my homeland 😉

• England isn’t cheap – how shocking – but it’s also viewed as very slightly more dangerous than Cambodia. It seems Numbeo’s contributors must have experienced the joys of kicking-out time when English pubs close :-/

• Brazil is considered relatively unsafe – also hardly breaking news – but will that stop our world cup plans…err no!

• If you want to keep you wallet full of cash, without it getting stolen, Cambodia might be your best bet based upon a combination of both indices.

• Whilst you are extremely unlikely to get your wallet stolen in uber-safe Japan, it won’t matter much because the high prices will have stripped you of cash anyway!

things to do in Rio poor 2

Rio’s favelas – what affect will the World Cup have on prices and crime levels in Brazil?

So this was my highly unscientific look at costs and crime in places whose paths we have crossed in the last few months, or will do in the next few. I’d be interested to hear if numbeo’s data matches your personal travel experiences, or whether you consider this type of information useful when you make your travel plans? Or do you just launch into somewhere and see what happens 🙂

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

14 Thoughts on “Looking after your travel money – comparing costs and crime in a selection of countries

  1. Interesting when you realise your home country is statistically more dangerous than the types of places people stereotype as being dangerous.

    Becki | Backpacker Becki recently posted…Adventure in Southern Israel – The Natural Wonders of Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead SeaMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm said:

      Exactly, I find these comparative sites really useful attempts at putting things into perspective. For example everyone knows Japan isn’t cheap, but without knowing how it compares to places you know (eg the UK or the US), it doesn’t really help you budget. Similarly on crime, and actually we found this crowd-sourced data pretty closely aligned with our own experiences – that some countries are for the most part very safe (like my lovely homeland :-)), some are a bit edgy (from our experience this includes some big cities Brazil and Ecuador, for example), but that the majority of places are broadly fine so long as you know which areas/situations to avoid – which for me includes the night buses in London :-/

  2. I didn’t think the UK would have been more expensive to live in than Japan, interesting!
    Franca recently posted…Peace, Quiet And The Oldest Road Outta RomeMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2014 at 1:31 am said:

      I agree Franca, one of many interesting things the information suggests! Although perhaps with Japan it still has a reputation for being crazily expensive from a while ago but in the last decade or so economic stagnation has meant other countries have caught up cost-wise. From my experience, London certainly has 🙂

  3. Mladen here from Numbeo. Thank you for the review and always send me information if you have an idea how we can improve our services.

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm said:

      Hi Mladen, you’re very observant 🙂

      Three comments if I may, as we have your attention :-):
      1) to thank you/numbeo for your efforts in putting quantitative data to some really important travel issues (public health, crime, cost of living etc.) to save us from the mercy of the travellers’ grapevine and out of date travel guides as sources of travel information :-/
      2) it would be awesome if it was possible to display more detail about the number of contributors to each category (for example as you do for prices, saying there have been over 130k users!). Just to give an indication of how statistically relevant the data is for each section (sorry, my boring ex-policy analyst of a husband mentioned this…yawn)
      3) Just to say that in future, rather than free-riding off your lovely data, we promise to contribute rather than relying on others to do so for us!!!
      all the best…

  4. This is so interesting – and an excellent way to put things into perspective, both for myself and concerned relatives, haha. I’m surprised Cambodia is supposed to be so safe, as I know a couple of people who’ve been mugged there. Then again, that was limited to one city, not the whole country.
    Silvia recently posted…Postcards from LondonMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm said:

      Though the doubled-edged sword with concerned relatives is when you tell them you’re travelling to Bolivia, which is where we happen to be now, they start quoting the respective crime index numbers back at you 🙂

      I wasn’t that surprised about Cambodia though. I spent two years there and safety-wise found it to be roughly on par with the UK (especially London, where I commuted to for seven years, including returning home on a number of dodgy late night buses and trains :-/).

      Although neither felt quite as safe as my lovely homeland of course. Having said that, I never had anything stolen from me in either the UK or Cambodia, whereas I did have my wallet stolen in Germany :-(, which goes to show how perception and reality don’t always align.

      p.s. I see you’re in Norway now. I imagine that is pretty safe!

  5. Wow! what an excellent way of putting things into perspective. US is slightly dangerous than UK.
    Jeff recently posted…Is Air Travel Really the Safest Way to Get to Your Destination?My Profile

  6. Each city page shows the number of contributors, i.e.
    These data are based on 195 entries in the past 18 months from 26 different contributors.

    Search for a text like this to see contributions. I know that there is a little number of contributions for many cities, we’ll be working to improve it. Thank you :-).

  7. Wow great post. Its always good to put things into perspective. Our friends always ask us about the dangers of travel – I never felt unsafe on the road but I have in my home country, go figure!
    Nicole @ Caribbean Travel Blog recently posted…Where the Rich and Famous Go in the CaribbeanMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm said:

      Thanks Nicole. That’s exactly what I think. So many people hear one bad story about a particular country, but then ignore what’s going on at hone.

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