Should you visit Australia or Japan?Australia and Japan are both relatively expensive countries to visit, but Australia is more expensive.
Australia is a large and diverse country both in its landscapes and cultures. On the coasts you'll find great beautiful beaches and big cities. In the north are tropical areas known for wildlife. And in the center is deserts, forests, and geological wonders like no place else on Earth. The Outback, the Great Barrier Reef, the Blue Mountains, Ayers Rock, Surfer's Paradise, and the Sydney Opera House are just a few of the world famous locations to see in Australia.
Japan is a nation of deep history and culture wrapped in a modern technological wonderland. Here you can visit ancient temples and castles and then participate in a sci-fi anime film festival on the same day. Outside of the larger cities, a calm agricultural countryside awaits you. Here you can go biking, hiking, boating, or even relax on a beach.
When is the best time to visit Australia and Japan?
Much of northern Australia can be visited year-round due to the warm tropical climate and mild winters. However, the best time to visit Australia's beaches and big cities of the southeast is in the Spring, Summer, and Fall (avoiding June, July, and August as they are the coldest months). Traveling to Australia in the shoulder seasons can often lead to cheaper prices.
Japan experiences four full seasons, much like Europe and North America. Winters in northern Japan can be quite cold and snowy. The south is generally mild and warmer in the winter, however. Summers are the peak travel time, especially in the larger cities in the central and northern regions of Japan. Visit during the shoulder seasons for mild weather and lower prices.
Why is Australia more expensive than Japan?Australia is a modern, first world nation with a high cost of living, modern technological and industrial economy, and thriving middle class. All of these factors raise the overall prices for travel in Australia compared to much of the world, especially some of its Pacific and Asian neighbors.
Modern hotels and restaurants can be found everywhere, providing the level of luxury and modern conveniences that western tourists from the U.S. and Europe expect. However, this level of luxury comes at a higher price.
Japan tends to be a little cheaper, not nessasarily because of its cost of living (which is high), but because of its abundance of inexpensive hotels for business travelers and budget tourists. Furthermore, the Japanese islands are easier to traverse than the larger continent of Australia, leading to generally cheaper transportation prices between destinations.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Australia and Japan?
The larger cities of Australia, especially those in the southeast, can get expensive as well. While budget options are available, expect prices to be generally higher for most services.
Tours and excursions into the Outback and central areas of Australia can sometimes be expensive due to the great distances that must be traveled as well as the prices for activities such as visiting national parks, hiking and trekking, etc.
The cities in Japan are usually more expensive than the countryside. In larger cities, and tourist destinations, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo, hotels and restaurants have higher prices due to more demand for services. While the countryside is not necessarily cheap, better bargains can be found, especially in rural areas away from heavily touristed areas. Beach and resort destinations are also pricey.
How you can save money when visiting Australia and Japan?In Australia, booking ahead for hotels and hostels can often save you money and provide the ability to shop around. Also look for budget accommodation in Japan online. This will help with your overall budget, as hotels and hostels tend to be expensive.
Use public transportation in Japan whenever possible. Taxis can be very expensive, and trains and buses go everywhere. Public transportation in Australian cities is cheap and efficient, and sometimes even free. Use it whenever possible. Look for long distance bus routes between major cities if renting a car is too expensive. Also, the train can be an affordable and relaxing option.
Instead of staying at a hotel or hostel, consider alternatives such as camping, couch surfing, or a home stay.
To eat cheaply in Japan, look for one of the many small restaurants that serves up traditional Japanese noodles and soup. Often, these restaurants will have a payment machine that looks like a vending machine. Buy a cheap ticket from the machine, and the cook then prepares your bowl of noodles.