The Cost Of Living And How Australia Stacks Up

Have you thought about chucking things in and moving overseas? Or are you longing to escape your life for a while and go on the trip of a lifetime? Most of us have these dreams – but money usually holds us back.

RELATED: 3 Reasons to Slow Down While Travelling

Luckily, we’ve put together a handy list that spells out where’s cheap and where is not to help you choose your next destination. So if you’ve ever wondered about the cost of living and how Australia stacks up, we’ve got the answers for you.

If you’re looking for a real bargain

For a budget-friendly holiday or a whirlwind adventure across the globe, these 15 countries have the lowest cost of living and will set you back the least amount of dollars along the way.

  1. India
  2. Nepal
  3. Pakistan
  4. Tunisia
  5. Algeria
  6. Moldova
  7. Egypt
  8. Macedonia
  9. Syria
  10. Colombia
  11. Bangladesh
  12. Indonesia
  13. Georgia
  14. Morocco
  15. Philippines

If you’ve got some extra cash to splash

On the other side of the spectrum, these 15 countries are a lot more pricey. Heads up: apparently us Aussies have been blowing a lot more cash than the rest of the world.

  1. Switzerland
  2. Norway
  3. Venezuala
  4. Iceland
  5. Denmark
  6. Australia
  7. New Zealand
  8. Singapore
  9. Kuwait
  10. UK
  11. Ireland
  12. Luxembourg
  13. Finland
  14. France
  15. Belgium

You’ve probably noticed a pattern; it seems some of the most developed countries in the world with excellent health care systems are more expensive and the places exposed to poorer living standards are cheaper. Does this effect your decision?

Personally, as much as I love a fancy hotel and clean streets, what’s the point in travelling if you’re not going to experience a different way of life?

Image via philstar.com

Fall Down The Rabbit Hole At Luxury Brisbane Hotspot

Do you have a favourite bar? A No.1 fall-back place you know and love with a passion, at which you always choose to meet loved ones and celebrate all of life’s many ups and downs?

RELATED: New Travel Booking App Is Bringing Sexy Back

For me, that place is Brisbane’s multi-award winning Emporium Hotel Cocktail Bar at the upmarket Fortitude Valley precinct. I adore its cosy, luxurious red velvet chairs; scrumptious food and to-die-for cocktails; and its sumptuous, enticing interior, including a grand onyx bar overlit by an amazingly opulent, antique crystal German chandelier, originally from a castle in Europe, home to elegant debutante balls. Then there’s the bar’s exquisite stained-glass wall which was originally a Parisian shopfront crafted more than 100 years ago. What’s not to love?

visit Brisbane, Emporium hotel, Brisbane bars

NB: This is an unsponsored story – I recently stayed at Emporium Hotel and revisited my fave bar as part of a birthday present from my husband, but such is my love for the place, I thought I’d act as a kind of tour guide here. So, if you’re fortunate enough to visit the sunshine state during winter – when the weather is still very mild and warm – as a long-time local, this is definitely where I reckon you should go.

In fact, I’ve consumed so many celebratory cocktails with my friends at Emporium, I’m left wondering why there isn’t, in fact, one named after me? Just joking; I’ve marked engagements, marriages and babies; new love; lost loves and loved one’s deaths, all with a cocktail in hand there.

And, speaking of cocktails, the Emporium Hotel has just released its Winter Wonderland cocktail menu with which to warm the cockles, celebrate shorter days and brave the cooler nights. The menu plays homage to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – now, there’s a white rabbit hole I’d gladly fall down! Each section of the menu is inspired by a chapter from the much loved book-turned-movie – some that reference back directly to the title and others the subject within.

visit Brisbane, Emporium hotel, Brisbane bars

I tried an aptly titled cocktail for my big birthday night out called Mother’s Ruin (pictured) from the enigmatic Chapter Two: The Pool of Tears chapter. It was an amazing blend of Beefeater Gin, lime juice, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters. And no, I’m happy to say there were no tears afterwards; just many happy feel-good quaffing moments.

Emporium Hotel Food & Beverage Operations Manager Katrina York says the menu is unique in Brisbane. “The Emporium Hotel’s new Winter Wonderland features a range of uniquely crafted beverages and winter warmers, to spiced varieties and fruity blends with a twist, and is sure to lure locals out from under their covers this winter,” Katrina says.

“The Emporium Hotel menu has unique traits no-one knows about. We grow our own herbs, which creates the garnish on each cocktail, and we have our own beehive on the roof of the hotel, with which we source our honey from for the food and beverage menus – adding an extra Emporium signature to the Winter Wonderland range.”

visit Brisbane, Emporium hotel, Brisbane bars

And the luxury hotel can also lay claim to an impressive array of accolades including recently being inducted into the Queensland Tourism Awards Hall of Fame and Winner: Best Luxury Accommodation, Queensland Tourism Awards 2014, 2013, 2012.

You can also enjoy a new Emporium Suite & Cosy Winter Package until August 31. It includes overnight accommodation in a room type of your choice; a bottle of red wine and a warming lavender wheat bag and Molton Brown massage oil on arrival; continental breakfast for two, served in-suite and late check-out at noon. Rates start from $249 per night. Check it out! Many happy cocktails to you, too.

visit Brisbane, Emporium hotel, Brisbane bars

Top 5 Luxury Travel Destinations For Less

Love the idea of a luxury holiday, but can’t seem to convince your significant other to spend your life savings on a two-week trip? SHESAID has got you covered here, with top luxury travel tips from the team at Escape Travel.

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Here, Escape Travel customer experience executive Tijana Jaksic (pictured) gives us the inside scoop on how to have a luxury vacay without the hefty price tag.

luxury travel, luxury travel for less, travel

“Holidays are an escape from the everyday grind so it makes sense people want to do them in style!” Tijana says. “The best way to get luxe for less is to go for a package deal with lots of bonus inclusions. This means you’ll get access to special activities you wouldn’t normally without breaking the bank.”

And Brisbane travel enthusiast, journalist Luke Royes concurs. Luke, who’s a seasoned, big-tripper who’s undertaken recent adventures everywhere from Southern Africa to Europe, Central America, SE Asia and more, says luxury travel isn’t always synonymous with big expenses. For him, it’s all about special, money-can’t buy moments and memories.

“In my experience, things that make a place desirable – like atmosphere, natural beauty, architecture, history and security – are not things that come with a price tag,” Luke says.

“While the tyranny of distance means flights from Australia tend to be long-haul and costly once you get to places like Europe – the UK, Portugal and Spain spring to mind – there are often times when museums and other attractions have free entry. The great thing about these places is that they are built to accommodate tourists and easy to get around.

“For those wanting to travel closer to home, places in Asia are easier to navigate than it may sound and luxury comes at a cheaper price.

“While I love being able to explore new places and see cool stuff, what I love most about travel is seeing how other people live their lives and sometimes just going for a wander and people-watching can produce an unexpected holiday highlight.”

So, with Luke’s top travel tips in mind, without further ado, here are Tijana’s pick of top 5 luxury travel destinations for less. Happy travels!

The seriously swoon-worthy island nation of the Maldives is a hot tourist destination for loved-up honeymooners and luxe vacation-makers the globe over thanks to its sun-baked, white sands and sparkling, blue water. To get the destination experience without the high resort fee, opt for one of the lesser travelled of the 200 local islands rather than the more popular tourist spots.

There are also local ferries to get you around for less, as opposed to the more expensive speed boats or sea planes. And you can also opt for more complete holiday packages which throw in extra activities to save your pennies while you’re kicking back in your bungalow.

luxury travel, luxury travel for less, travel

French Riviera
Charming and historic, the sleepy villages along the French Riviera are a must-see destination for travel lovers. While popular destinations like Cannes, St Tropez and Monte Carlo draw huge crowds yearly, step a little off the beaten track at the lesser known spots like Saint Paul de Vence to save some dosh. Don’t worry, there are plenty of affordable transport options to get you into the happening zones when you’re feeling like hitting the town!

Travelling off peak, just before or after the official summer season will also do wonders for your hip pocket, as will filling your days with the myriad of free museums and galleries in the area.

luxury travel, luxury travel for less, travel

Maui, Hawaii
The second largest Hawaiian Island has much to offer the holiday-maker. With stunning natural scenery, pristine and world-class beaches and always friendly locals, it’s no wonder this is a popular tourist destination for people from all walks of life.

To get the luxe without the price tag, try to book a holiday apartment or condo with a small kitchenette to prepare your own meals. By only eating out about half your time, you’ll save lots on food! Also try renting a car to get you around or just stick to the one island to save on transport and fill your days with free natural scenery and stunning beach visits.

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Lake Como, Italy
Just north of Milan lies the world-famous and celebrity hotspot Lake Como – a haven of natural beauty and luxurious villas which has been a popular tourist destination since the Roman Empire. George Clooney, eat your heart out! Top travel tip: staying and eating in the town of Como over the flashy resorts will prove much more cost effective, and still close enough to the lake to fully enjoy the location.

To really save serious dosh, do a day trip from Milan or aim to travel just off peak seasons of May and June (or try for August to still get the most of the sunny weather!). Soak up the beautiful views through walks or bike rides, exploring the lake with an unlimited day ticket (about €28) and perusing the gorgeous historical architecture which won’t break the bank!

luxury travel, luxury travel for less, travel

A fusion of culture, cuisine, shopping and architecture, Dubai is a happening hub! With over 200 different nationalities and dining from around the globe on offer, this desert destination is a bona fide tourist hotspot.

To enjoy the experience without the huge price tag, try foods from the local markets and only splurge a couple of times at a fine restaurant. Or, try getting around on the affordable metro system and haggle with the local markets to pick up a bargain. There are also plenty of free tourist attractions, like mosques, museums and parks to give you a dose of culture.

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What do you think? How do you stretch your luxury travel dollar?

Images via Superbwallpapers.com, Cotedazurcollection.co.uk, Hotel Room Search, Made-In-Italy, Gulf Holidays

5 Unique Places To Stay On Vacation

The best thing about websites like Airbnb is that they allow you to find unique accommodation all over the world. People offer travellers their homes, yurts and windmills to stay in, giving the adventurous souls an alternative experience of untouched locations. If you’re lucky, you might even find an entire island to call home (for a few nights at least).

RELATED: Top 5 Unique Trekking Holidays

The Castle – Brittany, France

Live like Marie Antoinette in this 17th century chateau in rural France (pictured above). Relax with a cup of tea in the library, or take a stroll through the surrounding forest and gardens.

5 unique places to stay on holiday

The Houseboat – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Live like a local on the canals of Amsterdam in a traditional houseboat! It may be a houseboat, but this inside looks like a renovated Manhattan loft. It will certainly be a cherished experience.

5 unique places to stay on holiday

The Bus – Belearic Islands, Spain

Uschi, the restored vintage bus, is located on the secluded Cala Comte beach on Ibiza. Enjoy a beautiful sunset with your significant other, dine at the nearby beachfront restaurants, then retire for a secluded night under the stars. A stay here will definitely make a holiday to remember.

5 unique places to stay on holiday
The Island – near Ottawa, Canada

Taking “lake house” to a new level, this cabin has its own island for you to explore. Take a group of friends this Halloween weekend and have the getaway of your life. What happens on the island, stays on the island, right?

5 unique places to stay on holiday

The Geo Dome – Woodridge, USA

This dome is on a 12-acre property in Woodridge, New York – far beyond the reach of civilization. Having said that, you’ll still get free high speed wifi! You’re welcome to bring a large group and crash all over the large floor (if you provide the mattresses). You can also buy eggs and veggies grown on the site!

5 unique places to stay on holiday

Images via Airbnb