Electronics Prices Vary Widely

Many long-term travelers set off assuming that cheap countries are going to have cheap goods across the board. Things produced locally will be a bargain, but imported goods can be shockingly expensive when you are used to the hyper-efficient, competitive, free-trade environment of the United States. Ask any New Yorker what most of the tourists in town are doing these days—shopping for electronics! With the dollar weak and the U.S. already one of the best spots for buying anything that plugs in or recharges, a lot of travelers are finding they can cover the cost of a plane ticket by making a shopping trip across the ocean.

Every week or two the Wall Street Journal runs an “Arbitrage” section where they compare the cost of a single item in a variety of countries where they have a bureau. Too many times it’s focused on prices in luxury hotels (a $7 glass of orange juice in Jakarta—are you kidding me?) But they recently ran one on a Sony DSC-T10 digital camera. You can pick one of these up for around $300 to $350 in New York City depending on where you shop. Here’s what their reporters say it will cost you in other places. Note that these prices have almost no correlation to how rich/poor a place is: it’s mainly a reflection of trade policies and retail/distribution practices.

Seoul – $312

Shanghai – $312

Tokyo – $332

Sydney – $390

Bangkok – $396

Jakarta – $403

London – $469

Paris – $475

Rome – $526

Manila – $600
[photo from PreviewGadgets]

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