Expatistan is a collaborative site created by and for expats. It’s a database of ‘living costs’ in many different places which not only shows the information but compares it in a very clear way.
The creator of the site Gerardo Robledillo comes from Madrid, but used to move around quite a bit. Each time he got a job offer in a different country, he had to calculate whether the new salary will allow him to live comfortably. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find that sort of information, so he came up with the idea for the site to make the lives of expats a bit easier.
The content for the site is provided by people who want to share information and help creating a realistic image of the prices, salaries and living cost in different countries. We usually are aware which places are cheaper or more expensive to live in, but we don’t know how much, or what the relationship between prices and salaries really is. A person might get a job offer with a salary 40% higher than what he earns at the moment, but what good is that if the living costs are 176% bigger?
Expatistan shows the differences very clearly and might be a valuable tool in planning the potential relocation, or even a holiday trip. A visitor who is looking for information must choose the name of place he wants to visit (the place he’s in is already detected by the system), click GO and see the results. The site shows the overall difference in prices (e.g. Cost of living in Moscow (Russia) is 52% more expensive than in Warsaw (Poland)) and the difference in several important fields, for example ‘housing, ‘entertainment’ and of course, ‘food’. Apart from the statistics box, there’s also a graphic representation, consisting of just two different colored columns, but it clearly shows which place is indeed more expensive and how dramatic is the difference.
The site thrives on new information, so we also get a submission box with a detailed question to answer e.g. ‘What’s the price of a Taxi fare per hour of waiting time, weekday at noon in Warsaw’.
Once the visitor starts exploring the site, he might wonder what the most expensive and cheaper places might be, and this is also easy to find, with the ‘Expatistan's Cost of Living Index
The site’s design is simple, based on large, clear boxes, with some intuitive use of color (green for cheaper, red for more expensive). There is nothing that would draw the visitors attention away from the content, but it’s colourful and clear enough to be nice to look at.
Expatistan is definitely useful for people who are looking for jobs abroad or planning a trip or just curious about the living cost in different cities. It’s based on a very simple, yet brilliant idea, and might evolve into a more elaborate site with job finding help, if the creator’s plans come to life.
There is just one small problem with the credibility of the content – if everyone can provide information, it’s possible that some users submit inaccurate or even wrong information. However, if most users are honest, this site is a very valuable source of information.