Last year I wrote about Why You Should Avoid Traveling to Western European Countries. It was one of my most controversial posts of the year. A lot of commenters said that the price of goods in Australia is even worse than Western Europe and it’s probably true. With that said, I can safely say that Australia is not on the top of my list of destinations to visit.
Prior to writing “Why You Should Avoid Traveling to Western European Countries”, I had booked one last trip in fall of last year to Geneva, Helsinki, Nice, and Monaco as a Western European mileage run for Executive Platinum status. I knew what I was getting into, but some of the prices were beyond expensive for mediocre food and drink.
Geneva was shell shocking as my Iced Venti Caffe Mocha at Starbucks came close to $10. The price I pay for the same drink in Los Angeles is about $4.50. Helsinki was out of control as a chicken burrito was 12.4 euros ~ $16.28 USD.
The prices in Monaco were equally out of control as it’s a billionaire’s tax free haven playground. It costs 16 euros ~ $21.00 USD for a double espresso. That is ridiculous and even Ben from One Mile at a Time thought so too.
Two weeks ago, I had a 20 hour layover in Frankfurt when I was returning from my 10 day trip to the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Oman, and Istanbul. I had never been to Frankfurt before and I booked the Le Meridien Parkhotel in the city center. Since I got in late to the hotel, I didn’t have time to sightsee until the next morning.
I was roaming around the Frankfurt main train station area and found a lot of Turkish cuisine nearby. It was shocking to see that a small Doner kebab sandwich was priced at 4.50 euros ~ $5.91 USD.
I had the same exact sandwich the day before during an 8 hour layover in Istanbul and the price was 2 Turkish Lira ~ $0.92 USD. As you can see, there is a huge disparity in prices between Western Europe and Eastern Europe for the same exact thing.
What was the most shocking was purchasing a 16oz carbonated soft drink in Frankfurt. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Dr. Pepper was priced at 3.60 euros ~ $4.72 USD.
I was so used to UAE prices where you can pick up a 16oz soft drink for 2 Dirhams ~ $0.27 USD.
I understand why these prices are so inflated in Western Europe. First of all, the prices are all-in (VAT included, no taxes), so the price of what you see is what you get. In Europe, a job at a restaurant (considered a profession) is $15 an hour with full benefits like healthcare and a mandatory four week annual vacation. In addition, it doesn’t help at all when the US Dollar is vastly weak against the mighty Euro.
I am just sick and tired of seeing these expensive prices and I understand that I don’t have to pay them, but sometimes it’s tough to avoid it when you’re in Western Europe. I don’t make my way to book a trip to Western Europe as a destination anymore, but I will gladly build in less than 24 hour layovers as part of a larger trip.
How do you cope with these outrageous prices in Western Europe or am I just being cheap?