“Buy low, sell high” is a fundamental piece of investment advice, but foreign currencies are harder to assess than a lot of other investments. Economists judge a currency's value by choosing a set of goods and services, adding up their costs in the local currency, and pegging the price of the goods to a benchmark such as U.S. pricing and the U.S. dollar. The Economist gave that doctrine a whimsical spin in 1986 when it settled on a McDonald's Big Mac as its reference point, creating the so-called Big Mac Index as a way to compare currencies.
For travelers and expats, what's most interesting is the actual cost of fast food favorites when traveling abroad. We've taken the concept of the Big Mac Index and added a basic pizza from Domino's — cheese or a cheese-and-tomato “margherita” — and an 8-piece bucket of KFC to our comparison. In the United States, at the time of writing, the nationwide average cost of a Big Mac was $5.30, a large Domino's cheese pizza was $9.99, and an 8-piece bucket of KFC checked in at $14.99. See how those prices compare with what you can buy around the world.