Global Mobility Spotlight: 6 Years of Learning from Cost of Living Surveys

    Oct 22, 2015 @ 10:00 AM / by Lauren Basler

    AIRINC cost of living surveyor, Lauren Basler

    75 Countries and Counting

    I’ve been an AIRINC cost of living surveyor for six years. Over that time, I’ve completed surveys in over seventy-five countries, including Australia, Turkmenistan, Madagascar, Brazil, and Vietnam to name a few. The process of surveying global cost of living can be both exciting and grueling, but there are a number of factors that have kept me motivated over the years, the top one being that I rarely have to sit at a desk! 

    Collecting cost of living data is an ongoing process of navigating one city after another in search of prices. Oftentimes, tracking down market basket prices for goods and services is so time consuming that there isn’t time for lunch, although I can typically reward myself on the last day with a relaxing dinner.

    The survey process requires meticulous organization. During a short period of time I must visit malls, grocery stores, car dealerships, and restaurants and hotels, as well as make a number of phone calls and secure meetings with real estate agents, and sometimes clients as well.

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    Time management is always a huge consideration, especially because there is a wide range of operating hours from business to business and country to country. Over the years my approach to surveying cost of living has not changed drastically, although I have found that I refine the process a little with each city – finding better routes with smarter planning and prioritizing, recognizing that a sixth price for corn flour is far less important than other market basket items like gasoline or a Big Mac.

    Above all, a love of traveling and exploration is still the key to excelling as a cost of living surveyor, even for a veteran like myself.


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    This post is taken from On-site Insight, AIRINC’s in-house global mobility blog. On-site Insight provides AIRLinc subscribers with an exclusive “behind-the-surveys” insight into new and existing expatriate locations based on commentary and photos from our global research team. Included is information on general living conditions as well as changing costs for both goods and services and housing and utilities, along with much, much more!

    Topics: On-site Insight, Cost of Living Surveys, Insights and Experience

    Lauren Basler

    Written by Lauren Basler

    Lauren joined AIRINC in 2008 working in accounting before shifting into her role as a fulltime surveyor a year later. She has spent the last six years traveling the globe to collect cost of living data for our clients. As a senior surveyor, she mentors our team with the on-site process and in-office analysis upon their return.