Traveling to Sydney is expensive. The flights run anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 for coach seats. Sticker shock here is a very real thing for anyone visiting. The first time you sit down to eat lunch and find that common items are $20-30, it can be tough to stomach. After being here almost a month, here are a few realities that make travel to Sydney more palatable.
1: Flights are expensive, but not $2,000 or more as I’d been warned of. Flights are long, but not the 20 hours I was promised. Comfortable flights from LAX can be had for as little as $1,200, and about 15 hours.
2: Food appears VERY expensive as you’re ordering. The trick, coming from the US, is to convert the price according to exchange rates and customs differences. Converting USD to AUD nets an additional 20% right now. Tax is already included in the price, and in general you don’t tip, reducing the visible price another 22ish%. This means that a $20 item in Australia is equal to a $12.50 choice in The States.
3: Sure, if you want to stay in a hotel in Circular Quay your stay will be pricy. If you’re flexible, Airbnb offers very affordable options, that easily trump hotel rooms in size (and Rema would add, personality). Greater Sydney is connected via a highly reliable ferry, rail, and bus system. Willingness to stay outside the tourist areas can cut cost by 75% or more and only cost minutes in transit. For a bonus you’ll get to see actual Sydneysiders living life in their city.
4: Speaking of public transit, its proliferation here means that you’ll be able to catch some form of mass transit to get anywhere you want, cheaply. Again, as a bonus, take off 20% for the exchange rate.
Travelling to Sydney will never be in the same cost ballpark as domestic options. 2nd/3rd world options will always be less expensive than travel here, but with a little consideration and planning, it can and should be done.