No Worries, Australia is F@#%!n’ Expensive
How Expensive is Australia?
If there was any black cloud that was hanging over my Epic Trip To Australia, it was the cost of the country. Australia is expensive. F@#%!n’ expensive. I was unprepared for how much I would have to pay for even the smallest of items: Bottled Water, Ice Cream Cones, Hamburgers, even fruit was more than I could imagine.
I guess I’m spoiled. Having traveled to Africa and Asia, I’ve become accustomed to bartering at markets, finding cheap food and having a currency that works in your favor. None of that works in Australia. Take a look:
American readers will be familiar with Subway’s $5 footlong promotion. In Australia… $7
The tourist-mecca that is Orlando, sells 3 T-shirts for $10 on roadside shops (in addition to farting underwear). In Sydney… 2 T-Shirts for $50.
Seriously. I can go to Abercrombie & Fitch in New York and get a better deal! Bananas were as high as $4.54 lb. (I can buy them at my local grocery store for 99 cents/lb.
In a suburban liquor store out of the tourist-disctrict, 700ml of vodka cost $35.00. The same bottle in the United States… $18.99 (and you get 50ml more). I thought this would be cheaper than paying $7-10 per drink at the bars. I was right, but found no deal.
The exchange rate to the U.S. Dollar is almost on par with the Australian Dollar. So you don’t win in the currency conversion (our dollar is actually weaker by a few pennies). Australia wiped my bank account clean. You truly need to be Oprah to travel here long-term.
Surely, You Must Have Known About This in Advance…
Perhaps. I built my budget around hotels, entertainment and transportation. Before I left, I knew what I would spend in those categories (and came quite close). I was budgeting $4,000 for 3 weeks. With a food allowance of $40/day, I thought it would be possible (apparently my tastes in food are higher than many guidebooks). There was no corporate card on this trip!
As it turns out, I spent almost 6k.
“No Worries”, as the Australians would say (a common expression used in any apologetic situation). I had no choice. I wasn’t going home. So I swiped the credit card and got over it. There was nothing you could do at that point. Sure you could worry, but that wouldn’t get you anything. I decided to live this trip like I was a rockstar. After a week, you became numb to the fact that it costs over $50 to fill up your compact car with fuel.
Was it Worth It?
Absolutely. Sure I followed the usual traveler tips and cooked food at the hostel, split costs amongst friends and took public transport whenever possible, but it wasn’t enough to stay within my daily budget.
Make no mistake, I splurged a bit too; drank a lot and purchased some high-price tours. But I don’t think I’ll ever spend that much money again on a vacation, at least not for a while. It took 2 years of saving and a lot of discipline (which is why it’s important to have a strict household budget). For a brief moment in time, I lived like a king. Everyone should have that experience just once. Treat yourself.
I may never return to Australia again. So I’m glad I spent what I did. I have no regrets, and that’s how adventures should be.
How do you cope with having to pay high prices when you travel? Share by commenting.
I’ll see you out there…! At least you don’t have to tip in Oz