Best New Travel Budget Planning Tool – Eardex

If you’ve ever sat down and tried to hammer out a travel budget for countries you’ve never been to, you’ll know just how challenging this process can be.

Eardex, or more evocatively, the Earth Index, to the rescue. Eardex is a tool that provides a comparative overview of costs for traveling essentials in cities, regions and countries all over the world, allowing an objective perspective on how much to expect to pay for things when you’re there, ultimately providing an intuitive understanding of day-to-day expenses.

Eardex takes the simplest of questions, “how much is a Coke in Thailand” for example, and expands on it by finding out how that item (or activity, or necessity) compares in price to that same thing where you live, giving you a relative set of numbers to calculate your budget.

Travel budget items

The application is savvy, allowing you to select various currencies, calculate costs in different units such as 16 oz soda, pint of beer, or cup of coffee, even break down your search by region and city, letting you compare a place with other places if you’re trying to get an overview of a trip with several countries in it.

According to their about page:

All products and services in their entirety should allow to draw conclusions – beyond aspects with relevance for travelers only – about the overall price level and, therefore, the cost of living in a certain city, region, or country.

Budget plannerFinally, and very handily, Eardex does something I haven’t seen other budget calculators do very well: tally up a per day cost analysis from a “backpacker” or “tourist” perspective, which can make a big difference in the budget over a longer period of time.

To keep the information relevant, current and extensive, the data on Eardex is supplied by users – travelers who know first hand how much the items cost, and the prices are linked to currency exchanges to keep the figures accurate down to the penny.

The service is free, but if you register (a small means of entering your name and home country) a number of other features become available, such as setting your preferred units of measurement and currency for future visits.

Overall Eardex works very well, in my opinion one of the more user-friendly travel budget planning sites out there, with information that goes farther than a simple dubious “daily budget” number provided by some unknown algorithm. If you’re deep in the mire of the travel planning process, go over to Eardex and see if it works to help you out.

If you don’t know where in the planning process you are, you may want to look at the Great AirTreks Planning Timeline for help in managing your time all the way through T-minus zero.

7 responses to “Best New Travel Budget Planning Tool – Eardex

  1. It’s a good looking interface and I wish them luck. It would be great if they succeed where many others have failed in crowd-sourcing price information. There are many other sites who’ve tried this exact same thing, and none have gotten any meaningful participation so their price data is either missing or very skewed. If they can somehow convince a couple hundred thousand people to register and do the work for no apparent benefit, this could be a good tool.

    As someone else working in this space, and who decided to go with an editorial approach on my site – priceoftravel.com – I can tell them that this will be challenging. Except for perhaps Big Macs, you can ask 10 people how much they paid for something (a hotel room, a beer, a meal etc.) and you’ll get 10 different answers, the average of which means very little.

    It will all be about getting huge numbers of people willing to do the research and data entry for them, which won’t be easy.

    • Dear Roger,

      Thanks for your opinion and that you wish us luck. And, of course, you are right, that in the end, success will be dependent on whether there will be enough users willing to contribute and share their price knowledge, i.e. to enter prices on Eardex.com. However, I do not agree with you on some points:

      1) Users can do research to help even more, if they like, but this is definitely not necessary, as you write. I also don’t see that users will have “to do the work“ for us… We mainly want users to enter prices they just already know, e.g. prices in their home town or a travel destination they already visited. So very little effort, and no research necessary.

      2) I don’t quite understand the problem with your statement, that you ask 10 people and get 10 different answers. Of course this is sometimes true, but why? Because usually there just are different prices, even for the same product in the same city. Take the hotel, for example: Of course prices differ, this is reality. So why shouldn’t this be useful information? Sure the average price tells you something, in particular when comparing with other locations. In addition, we also show the price range, just like you do on your own “editorial” site :-) So in my opinion, this is the best information you can get, and it also just reflects reality: You will know that prices differ, you see the price range, and you see the average price. What more could you ask for?

      And one last thing: we also show the number of entries and how many different users entered them. This enables any user to asses by himself if the price information can be trusted.

      Best regards,
      Steffen from Eardex.com

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  3. Thanks a lot to Nico Crisafulli for this great review about Eardex.com. Up to now, this is definitely one of the best written and researched articles about us. We appreciate it a lot!

    Only one little remark: Nico wrote that prices can be entered by travelers, which is absolutely true. But of course, it is not limited to travelers. A lot of users told us, they would like to contribute, but were not traveling a lot. To all these users: There is no need for you to be a real globetrotter – just enter prices for your home town, no matter where you live. Because, after all, in any place around the word there will live someone, so if all users enter prices for their place of residence, our site will still cover the whole world at some time… And always bear in mind: Your home tome will sure be the desired travel destination of someone else.

    Thanks again, Nico, for your great article!

    Best regards,
    Steffen (one of the Eardex founders)

    • It’s my pleasure, Steffen. And thanks for the correction.

      I feel like there are lots of ways to tackle the problem of quantifying how much money an international trip will cost once you’re on the road, but I think your model provides good, reliable numbers. We appreciate the effort, I’m sure our readers feel the same.

  4. There’s another website in the crowdsourcing for prices space – “HuMuch?”. It may be quite useful to readers of AirTrek’s. As your reader, Roger, pointed out, though getting momentum to refresh prices is a big challenge. You can check out our plans (more to come) at humuch.com

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