Introducing the tight Yorkshireman
Say hello to my dad! When I happened to mention to him that I had set up a travel blog and was writing about ways to save money travelling, he got all excited as he fancies himself an expert on the subject.
To be fair, he probably is, after all he is not renowned for being flash with his cash (unless you count the two sports cars he bought after retiring! No, not Ferraris, just MX5s and old ones at that but they have been his pride and joy!)
Anyway he was pretty keen to get involved and share his tips for getting more travel for less money so without any further ado, let’s hear it from my dad, Alan or as we secretly call him, a tight Yorkshireman! (Oops think the cat might be out of the bag!)
What is the main criteria for an enjoyable holiday? Is it shimmering sea, a pristine beach or marvellous scenery, 5 Star accommodation and service, or even a combination of all these?
How to Save Money Down Under
Err, well, in the case of one retired, and moderately grumpy Yorkshireman, it’s a reasonably priced cup of coffee! Any more than the equivalent of £2.50, and I can’t thoil it (Cartwright’s Yorkshire Dictionary defines ‘thoil’ as the dilemma of wanting something, but not being able to bear parting with the ‘brass’. It is always used in the negative.) If you can’t have a coffee, what’s the point of being on holiday?
Where To Go On A Budget
With such a yardstick, obviously Monaco, and Oslo, are ruled out, and Perth, Western Australia, where my elder son lives, is challenging. On my first visit in February, 2013 it was borderline, though now, with a rate of A$2 to the £, things are looking up.
Here’s a summary of the likely blows to your wallet, and some helpful tips to minimize the damage in this remote side of the continent where transport costs and a highly paying mining industry, contribute to a high cost of living.
In Supermarkets, and other food outlets, you can expect to pay at least half as much again as you would in the UK, with some items more than that. I went in search of dried peas in the hopes of starting a Real Mushy Peas movement in this part of the Commonwealth.
I found some eventually though don’t, as I did, ask where to find ‘pulses’. You will be met with blank looks, or possibly directed to the nearest A&E Dept.
Eating and Drinking Out
Pub meals are also subject to around a 50 per cent markup, as are most restaurants. I can, however, recommend Dôme restaurants, a Western Australia chain. It is true that the latte price somewhat exceeds my marker, but, since it comes in the kind of glass that should hold a ‘Knickerbocker Glory, and the accompanying slab of apple pie and cream would have fed two, I mustn’t grumble.
If you are a smoker (and I like a small cigar), oh dear! You cannot even smoke outside cafes, or pubs. The latter may have a small, uninviting section where unfortunates are crammed in so tightly that the smoke makes their eyes water even more than the price of the products they are consuming.
Even some streets in the city of Perth are so designated. I realise that many readers may approve of this policy, but it seems to me ironic that a nation that prides itself on sticking two fingers up to authority, should meekly submit to this ostracism.
Drinks (alcoholic) are still expensive even at the present exchange rate but, perhaps, not ruinously so. I cannot speak for shorts, or fancy concoctions, being, you will not be surprised to hear, a real ale drinker, but a pint will cost you about A$9. Still, after a few, and nowadays I mean a few, that begins to seem quite reasonable.
So, are there any bargains to help you save money down under? Well, actually, yes! A Day Rover (or whatever they call it) on the excellent Greater Perth transport system covers trains, buses, and even the Swan River Ferry. You wouldn’t want to go much beyond that or you’d be in the bush. It costs just A$11.
The concessionary rate for pensioners is a measly A$4. I was thrilled with this, as you can imagine, until it was forcefully pointed out to me by a uniformed conductor, who would have been at home on the set of ‘Prisoner, Cell Block H,’ that this benefit was only for W.A. senior citizens carrying a permit, and not for visiting poms, no matter how decrepit. After that, I paid full whack!
Car hire is not bad either, as long as you pick a small model. Watch out for the collision damage waiver though. It is A$500, and compulsory. Pay in cash, and have it refunded in cash if you can. If you do it on your credit card you’ll get stung by the exchange rates.
Perhaps only of interest to a minority, but horse racing at Ascot Park is only A$10 on Saturdays, and mid-week meetings are free! This would naturally appeal to me, even were I not already a racing fan. Fate conspired, as it does, that when I eventually won 150 dollars, it was on the day before I flew home. Well that certainly is one way to save money down under!
Of course the sun, pretty much guaranteed in summer, is free, and temperatures are between 30 and 40⁰C. If this is too hot for you, there is a stiff breeze every afternoon (the ‘Fremantle Doctor’) to make it bearable.
Oh, and the aforementioned shimmering sea, pristine beaches and marvelous scenery are all there too, if you can bear the twenty-hour flight; but that’s for another time!
What are your top tips for saving money down under?
Have you been to Australia recently? If so, what are your top tips for saving money down under? Feel free to share them in the comments below.