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What You'll Get for 65 Aussie Dollars

Posted by Training Magazine on November 13, 2008

By Margery Weinstein

Little did I know when I drew the winning horse in the five-dollar category of a random Melbourne Cup horse race sweeps I would get a glimpse of what a great buy Australia is. Sure, the plane ride (especially if your incentive winners are lucky enough to fly business or first class) will cost you, but once you get Down Under, there are savings to be had on nearly everything else.

During my trip to Australia, from Oct. 29 through Nov. 5, 2008, the American dollar was nearly twice as strong as the Aussie dollar. I’m no international financier, and as a journalist, my personal budget is generally too small (even with a favorable exchange rate) to count on shopping. That’s where my beginner’s luck Melbourne Cup winnings of $65 dollars came in handy. I wouldn’t get as much for my money back home (especially given that I live in New York City), so why not spend it all in Australia? So I fought my frugal impulses and spent all of it in the Brisbane Airport.

Based on my experience back home, I was thinking maybe it would buy me a nice scarf, or perhaps a not-so-precious piece of costume jewelry. Happily, it went a little further than that—to include a large bag and separate pouch featuring an Aborigine design along with a leather wallet the tag said was actually made by an Aborigine designer. The final tally at checkout revealed that I only needed to contribute $10 Aussie dollars beyond my Melbourne Cup winnings—not bad considering how much I would have paid at home---$150, $200…who knows.

Given that you don’t typically see Australian Aborigine designed wears at the local American shopping mall, it’s hard to do a scientific, apples-to-apples (or should I say handbag-to-handbag) comparison, but I believe I rest my case.


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