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Survey finds the world's lowest, highest travel costs

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High-speed trains zip passengers around Spain. Photo by Bob Schulman.

We’ve all heard how cheap it is to travel by train, bus and air in other countries – but just how cheap is it? Which countries have the lowest transportation costs? And which ones are for big spenders only?

The answers come from a survey of 51 countries across the globe by the travel experts at GoEuro, a Berlin-based travel search website.

Called the Global Transportation Price Index, the survey compiled data on things like distance of travel between key cities within a country, schedules, taxes and fares. Countries were then rated according to average price (in U.S. dollars) per 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) for each transportation type.

Despite all that’s said about cheaper labor and more efficient travel systems overseas, the cost of travel in the U.S. came in roughly mid-way on the list of 51 countries. On average, our bus journeys cost $7.92 per 100 km, train rides cost $18.61/100 km; and flights carry an average tab of $10.36/100 km.

Our prices look like a real bargain when you look at travel costs in Switzerland (the most expensive place to travel in the survey), where bus journeys per 100 km cost $18.67, train trips will set you back $38.28 and flights cost a whopping $125.07.

But it’s a lot easier on your wallet to travel in South Africa (the study’s least expensive country), where an average bus ride per 100 km costs $3.67, train journeys cost a measly $1.88 and flights cost $11.63.

The survey also came up with these numbers for individual travel modes:

- For train travel (per 100 km), the cheapest countries are South Africa ($1.88), Georgia ($2.39) and Egypt ($2.49), while the most expensive are Denmark ($39.84), Switzerland ($38.28) and Austria ($32.16).

- For bus travel (per 100 km), you’ll find the best bargains in Egypt ($1.88), Ukraine ($3.07) and Thailand ($3.11). At the top end are The Netherlands ($28.58), Austria ($23.45) and Norway ($21.61).

- The cheapest countries for air travel per 100 km are India ($10.36), Malaysia ($11.43) and South Africa ($11.63). But be prepared to shell out a bundle in Finland – the top dog in the survey at (drum roll) $138.90 per 100/km. Runners up at the high end are Switzerland ($125.07) and Lithuania ($116.72).

For more details on GoEuro’s survey check out the full report on their website.