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Saturday, October 19th 2019

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If you could visit any city in the world for 1 week, where would it be? Vancouver says...

Recently, someone in the YVR Deals Facebook Group posted the following question:

With over 300 replies so far, it's obvious that it's a fun question to think about. There's also a large variety of opinions - over 100 different cities were mentioned in those replies.

In some ways, a one week trip is kind of an awkward length. We all know the cities that make for a great weekend getaway, or even for up to 5 days. They are usually relatively short flights, almost always in North America, and they give us enough time to enjoy the destination.

However, a one week trip can sometimes feel a bit long for certain cities. Or we would rather use that one week to go somewhere a bit further, a bit more exotic. Somewhere outside of North America.

But one week can also feel too short for visiting cities that require a long travel duration to get there.

I was curious about which cities were mentioned the most often by Vancouver travellers as the one city they either a) loved visiting - or b) would love to visit, and entered the cities into a spreadsheet.

And then I added a bit more data to help analyze the results. This data included...

Travel Time

How long it would typically take you to get from Vancouver to the city in question. There is obviously a strong relationship between the distance of the city geographically, and how long it takes you to get there.

But since you can't get to every city with a non-stop flight, sometimes places that are relatively close to Vancouver geographically, can take as long to get to as a place that is much further away.

For example, Savannah, Georgia (SAV) in the United States typically takes nearly as long to get to as Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS), which is over twice as far away from Vancouver.

This is because to get to Savannah, you need to connect somewhere in the U.S. (or Toronto) - while to Amsterdam you can take a non-stop flight from YVR. For every hour you sit in a connecting airport, you could have been flying somewhere 1,000 km further away.

Typical Flight Price

I factored in the relative flight prices of a typical roundtrip flight.


I factored in the relative jetlag a person would get, based on the time zone difference. Obviously there's usually a relationship between jetlag and places that are a long ways away, but not always.

When you're flying south, such as to South America, you could be flying to Santiago, Chile - a place that is 1.5X further away than London, England - yet with only a 3 hour time difference from Vancouver.

The Results

The 10 cities that received the highest number of votes

1. Paris, France (CDG) - 26
2. Barcelona, Spain (BCN) - 26
3. Rome, Italy (FCO) - 25
4. Prague, Czech Republic (PRG) - 23
5. Florence / Tuscany, Italy (FLR) - 18
6. London, England (LHR or LGW) -16
7. Istanbul, Turkey (IST) - 14
8. Venice, Italy (VCE) - 13
9. Budapest, Hungary (BUD) - 11
10. New York City, United States (JFK or LGA or EWR) - 9

Not too many surprises here, they are all amazing cities.

Of these cities, Paris, London, and New York City have the fastest travel times, thanks to their non-stop flights.

Westjet and Air Canada (/ Air Transat?), if you're reading this, you may want to consider Barcelona, Rome, or Prague as your next non-stop destination from YVR.

From this point on I'll use the term 'Very Popular' to describe the cities that received the most votes (top 25%). 'Pretty Popular' is the next level below that.

10 popular cities with relatively short travel times

1. Paris, France (CDG) - very popular
2. London, England (LGW or LHR) - very popular
3. New York City, United States (JFK or EWR) - very popular
4. New Orleans, United States (MSY) - very popular
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) - very popular
6. Tokyo, Japan (HND or NRT) - very popular
7. Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) - pretty popular
8. Dublin, Ireland (DUB) - pretty popular
9. Montreal, Canada (YUL) - pretty popular
10. Beijing, China (PEK) - pretty popular

With the exception of New Orleans - all of these destinations have non-stop flights from YVR, and the assumption is that you would be flying on a non-stop flight to consider it a relatively short travel time.

7 popular cities with relatively little jetlag

1. New York City, United States (JFK or LGA or EWR) - very popular
2. New Orleans, United States (MSY) - very popular
3. Cartagena, Colombia (CTG) - very popular
4. Havana, Cuba (HAV) - very popular
5. Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) - very popular
6. Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) - pretty popular
7. Montreal, Canada (YUL) - pretty popular

Cartagena, Colombia is the one that stands out here for me. The one drawback of Cartagena though, is it takes a relatively long time to get to due to poor connections from YVR.

10 overall 'best' cities for a week long trip, after factoring in popularity, typical travel time, flight prices, and jetlag

1. New York City, United States (JFK or EWR)
2. New Orleans, United States (MSY)
3. Havana, Cuba (HAV)
4. Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
5. Montreal, Canada (YUL)
6. Paris, France (CDG) - bit of jetlag
7. London, England (LHR or LGW) - bit of jetlag
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) - bit of jetlag
9. Cartagena, Colombia (CTG) - long travel time
10. Barcelona, Spain (BCN)

We've seen all of the above cities mentioned already in individual categories, since that's what factors into our definition of the 'best city' overall.

This list might be more interesting...

10 next 'best' overall cities that weren't mentioned in any category yet

1. Bruges, Belgium (BRU)
2. Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI)
3. Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH)
4. Seoul, South Korea (ICN) - heavy jetlag
5. Berlin, Germany (TXL)
6. Vienna, Austria (VIE)
7. Bangkok, Thailand - heavy jetlag, long travel time
8. Lisbon, Portugal (LIS)
9. Taipei, Taiwan (TPE)
10. Kyoto, Japan (KIX)

Highest number of total votes, by country

Italy - 70
Spain - 36
France - 31
Czech Republic - 24
United States - 24
Japan - 21
England - 17
Turkey - 16
Portugal - 14
Croatia - 10
Ireland - 9
Hungary - 11
Netherlands - 9
Israel - 9
Greece - 8
Scotland - 8
Belgium - 7
Mexico - 7
Austria - 6
Colombia - 6
Germany - 6
Malta - 6
South Africa - 6

Italy dominates this list, which is no surprise, with 3 cities that people love (Rome, Florence/Tuscany, Venice).

Most countries can attribute their high ranking primarily to a single city. The exceptions...

United States: (New York City, New Orleans)
Japan: (Kyoto, Tokyo)
Croatia: (Dubrovnik, Split)
Ireland: (Dublin, Belfast)
Mexico: (Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, Oaxaca)

Malta doesn't have a specific city that people mentioned, but it's such a small country, I made an exception.

The spreadsheet - data for all cities

If you would like to download the spreadsheet and play around with the data for all cities, you can find an Excel spreadsheet here. Or here is an online version using Google Sheets.

To begin with, the spreadsheet is sorted by the '# of Votes' column.

Use the 4 columns at the end to sort the data in the way that you want.

Flight Price - points
(sort by this column to see the cities with the lowest typical flight prices)

Travel Time - points
(sort by this column to see the cities with the lowest typical travel time)

etc, etc.

Things are color coded like this:

If there are any other cities you feel deserve consideration, you can comment below or give me a shout.

Join us in the YVR Deals Facebook Group

For live discussion of this article, or to get some amazing travel advice (about anywhere) from your 98,400 fellow passengers in Vancouver, join us in the
YVR Deals Facebook Group.
^^^ click the 'Join Group' button when you arrive.

Hit Like if you like this deal! Click Share or Send to show your friends on Facebook.

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