It Was An Expensive Week Down Under

Who knew a speeding ticket could cost this much?

Nice picture of the world's ugliest rental van. 

Oh, and if a $759 speeding ticket in Australia wasn’t bad enough, we opened another email to find a second one for $1,138! 

Yes! You read correctly – that’s $2000 for two speeding tickets! That was practically our travel budget for the month.

You’d think we were doing 80 kilometers over the speed limit. Nope – a 9 and 13 kilometer offence. 

We’ve been renting vehicles for 3 months to tour New Zealand and Australia.  We were careful about speeding. In fact, people were mostly passing us because, really, when you’re traveling for a year, you’re just not in that big of a hurry. (When I say we I should mention that in the 15,000 kilometers we drove – I probably only took the wheel for about three hours—total.)

And our cheap rental was so loaded down with crap it could barely make it up a hill anyway. And, to top it all off— with me in the car, we were stopping at every single pull-out and look-out so I could snap my 75th pic of the hour. Australia’s a big country and there’s a lot of stuff to photograph! We’d hardly even get near the speed limit before I was piping up, Pull over- Kangaroo! Slow down- ocean! Hold up – big tree! So, we just weren’t going that fast.

I remember exactly when I saw the radar flash go off.

The kids were losing their shit in the backseat about something or other— they needed food, or naps or weapons. I needed wine. It felt like the car was going to implode – and quite frankly, by that point, who cares if it did? (It'd have been cheaper than these tickets.) If you have kids, and you’ve been on a road trip, trapped in that car for 14 kazillion hours, this scenario is familiar. If you don’t have kids – use protection.

Anyway, with all the chaos in the back of the rental van, we missed the sign indicating the reduced speed limit as we were entering into a town.

In our defense –  a kangaroo and a piece of tumbleweed at the side of the road constitutes a town in Australia. Even though there wasn’t a soul in sight and there was far more action in the back of our car than this “town” – we needed to drop our speed. And we didn’t. We got one ticket going into town and another in the town a few minutes later. Double radar. Zing. Zang. Zoing. Thank you, Canadians, for funding the resurfacing of the new road we’re building. Please come again.

The week didn’t get a whole lot better. A few days later we got an email alert that someone had used our credit card to purchase a $2000 Luftunsa Airline ticket.

Somehow we’d spent four grand in four days.

Thankfully, it all mostly worked out in the end.

"Working out" , of course, means my happy-hour needs were met .

Rob called Australia and got the speeding infractions reduced to a few hundred dollars. (The tickets in no way diminish my love for Australia. I might try a train next time round.) And our credit card was cancelled and VISA is picking up the tab for the airline ticket.

Ironically, we’d moved onto Bali where there's not a traffic light or stop sign to be found. We see un-helmuted families of four--including young children- along with the three-legged dog and some recently slaughtered chickens, all packed onto one scooter, cruising along at 70 km/hr.  But we got a $1000 speeding ticket in Australia for going 9 km over the limit- in a van where we were all wearing seatbelts.

I'm pretty sure cruising through dense traffic on a motor bike with my five year old seated behind me would get me tossed in jail back in Canada.

I'm not being sarcastic when I say-- God, I love travel. 

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller

Daria Salamon1 Comment