Travel Gage.
By Vijay Dandapani.
Thursday, 13th November 2008
Cheapflights.com, a search-engine devoted to looking up the lowest costs on airfares is probably one of many available via the web but what sets it apart is a nifty tool that tells users how expensive is it to fly from one's hometown.

Cheapflights.com averaged what it costs a family of four to fly from one's home city and came up with a number for some of the most popular cities in the US.

"That number was compared with the average cost-of-living in that city based on the U.S. Department of Labor statistics. An index rating below 1.00 for a city indicates the Travel Price Index is lower than the cost-of-living there; a rating above 1.00 shows the Index is higher than the cost-of-living".

The index called travelnomics labels cities that come in at less than 1.0 as "very affordable" and from 1.12 and above as expensive.

Interstingly, New York City was one of the lowest in the list with an index number of 0.57 and Los Angeles came in at 0.80 and San Francisco at 0.71. Many major (but smaller relative to NYC) cities exceeded the national average with Houston leading the pack at 1.30 and Salt Lake City at 1.24.

A probable explanation for the anomaly, fewer flights out of cities like Salt Lake and Houston as compared to LA and NYC ensuring less competition. In today's adverse economic climate, the gage likely is a useful tool for individuals and corporations planning air travel.

Vijay is Chief Operating Officer and part-founder of Apple Core Hotels- a chain of 5 midtown Manhattan hotels offering value and comfort in the heart of the city.Member of the board of Directors - Hotel Association of New York.www.vijaydandapani.com
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