I recently came across the “Big Mac Index”, which was created by The Economist in 1986. Even though I’ve stumbled across these annual reports multiple times during my 30+ years in the financial services industry, I never really paid attention to it until now.
This year while all of you were learning and socializing at the Frequent Flyer University in the Washington D.C. area, I was home studying this year’s 2013 Big Mac Index to plan next year’s big “Dad Trip”.
The Big Mac Index is an interactive map used to measure the purchasing power between two currencies by evaluating the prices of McDonald’s famous Big Mac sandwich in its restaurants across the world. The data is published every spring by The Economist. According to the 2013 ‘index”, South Africa and India’s currencies are undervalued by more than 50%, simply meaning you’re most likely able to get the “most bang for your buck” in those areas this year.
Take a look at the 2013 Big Mac Index visual map below:
The map you see above depicts 2013’s results. For those interested in comparing this year’s data to last year’s data, you may find the 2012 Big Mac Index here.
Since I naturally like to travel on a budget, I’m using the 2013 index as a tool to help me plan my next trip:
Here are some of my vacation possibilities based on the data presented above:
- South Africa
- Hong kong (visited)
- Sri Lanka
- Indonesia (visited)
- Saudi Arabia (not interested at this time)
- Pakistan (not interested at this time)
- UAE (not interested at this time)
- South Korea (visited)
- Japan (visited)
- Singapore (visited)
- Czech Republic (visited)
- Hungary (visited)
- Argentina (visited)
- Peru (visited)
Now I’m narrowing it down to these 5 countries based on my own personal interest:
- South Africa
Narrowing it down even more, I’m leaning towards Thailand, South Africa, and Russia.
What are your suggestions and why? Have you used the Big Mac Index or something similar to plan your trips in the past?