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New York the Most Expensive City for Business Travel, Least Affordable to Retire in, Studies Say

Published: March 21, 2023
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The sunrise is seen from the Edge observation deck at Hudson Yards on the first day of spring on March 20, 2021 in New York City. (Image: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images)

According to data by consulting firm ECA International, New York City is the most expensive city on the planet when visiting for business travel, and should one desire to retire anywhere in the state, a recent report by WalletHub, that compared all 50 states, says you should look somewhere else if you’re on a budget. 

Business travelers can expect to dish out upwards of $796 a day to do business in New York City, a figure largely attributed to rising inflation which increased travel costs by an estimated eight percent year-over-year.

New York has topped the list in recent years, the city was determined to be the most expensive for business travel in 2018 as well.

At the time, Simon Franklin, daily rates manager at ECA International told Association Meetings International (AMI) that “New York tops the rankings as the most expensive location for business travel due to high cost of hotels and travel, as well as mandatory 15-20 percent tipping policies during meals out,” adding that “a high demand for hotels especially means rates can be charged at a premium and this is reflected in the average cost of a stay at a four star hotel, which currently stands at a huge $509 per night.”

Little appears to have changed.

Currently, the second most expensive city on the planet to conduct business travel in is Geneva, Switzerland, where travelers can expect to dish out approximately $650 a day, with Washington D.C. coming in third and San Francisco fifth. 

Franklin told AMI, “Swiss cities have always been expensive locations for business travel … Switzerland has long been considered a major financial and banking hub and will remain so for the foreseeable future, meaning that business travel to Swiss locations will keep on being a necessity.”

In Asia, the most expensive city is Hong Kong, where a business traveler spends an average of $520 a day, and Singapore was determined to be the second most expensive city in Asia, costing a business traveler approximately $515 per day, an increase of $34 from the year prior. 

The study considered the cost to stay in a four-star hotel, meals, transportation, drinks and other incidentals.


Least affordable state to retire in

According to WalletHub, New York State is at the very bottom of the pack in terms of affordability, and 46th overall when factoring in quality of life and healthcare. Only Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Kentucky ranked lower. 

The most affordable states to retire in are Virginia, followed closely by Florida and Colorado.

The report concluded that even with $1 million in retirement savings in the bank, the average New Yorker would only be able to afford around 14 years of retirement expenses.

The figures were calculated using data from a number of agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Council for Community and Economic Research. 

Geographer Stephen Golat, a professor at the University of Florida, said in the report, “Retirees must evaluate the burden of state and local taxes when making their residential decisions.”

While affordability is top of mind for most at or near retirement age, Alan Castel, a professor at the University of California, warned that Americans need to fully evaluate all of their needs before making a big move.

“While the cost of living is often high on the list, people often consider being close to family, transportation, health care access, outdoor/creative activities, political aspects/government, and a place where someone will have a sense of community, in order to feel both comfortable and stimulated,” he told the NY Post, adding that, “It is important to consider access to community services that allow for accessibility to programs that cultivate interests.”