Travel spending diaries are back! If you’re new around here, basically every time I take a trip, I publish a spending diary of every dollar I parted with, to showcase how much things cost, where I stayed, and how much value I placed on different aspects of the trip.
You can read my other travel spending diaries here:
Byron Bay Spending Diary (+ Elements of Byron Review)
Where I stayed: I stayed at Elements of Byron. I’ve wanted to go to this resort for YEARS, but it’s pretty pricey. I decided to take a risk on what was some pretty lousy weather and just splurge on myself – and it totally paid off. The weather turned right around for my 3 day stay, and I spent my days on a poolside cabana reading and blogging with a beer in hand. Bliss.
What I paid: I paid $889.98 for a studio villa for two nights. I booked through Expedia which was having a 9 points per $1 spent Velocity promotion, so I pocketed almost 10,000 air miles at the same time.
Was it worth it? Hell yes. The Elements of Byron resort is incredible. The lagoon pool is bliss, and they actually have enough cabana beds and loungers for it to be a pleasant experience. There is a lagoon pool with the iconic floating chairs, and then an adults only pool with a swim-up bar and more Instagrammable backdrops than you can imagine. Bar staff will serve you direct from your cabana, too, which adds an extra element of luxury.
The resort also has private beach access, daily free yoga overlooking the ocean, a little sandy beach club, rainforest walking trails, a train into Byron town, a gym, spa and even lawn games like bowls and giant chess. It’s honestly a dream and I cannot wait to go back. Yes it’s pricey, but I really say it’s worth it.
I landed at Gold Coast airport and collected my hire car. I’d hired a medium sized car from Europcar (more Velocity points for me!), and the friendly fella at the desk upgraded me to an SUV, so I got to spend 3 days living my best soccer mom life in a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. I have rental vehicle excess insurance with my ANZ Travel Adventures credit card, so I just paid $112 for the 3 days.
I hopped on the highway and cruised down to Byron, wailing One Direction at the top of my lungs as I went, with my phone connected to Apple Car Play. Goals.
When I got to the resort, I plonked myself on a cabana, ordered an Aperol spritz and a 1litre sparkling water, which set me back $24.
Then my gal Rach from Girl Gone Retro arrived, and we headed to the adults only pool at Elements of Byron. I had a glass of prosecco and she a cider, and we chatted at the swim up bar like the boss babes we are. Both drinks together cost $22.
Then we headed into town to find some food, and while we might be boss babes, we’re also basic bitches. So we got Betty’s Burgers…so cultured. I spent $27 on a burger, fries and a Coke Zero.
Back to the hotel we went, where I wanted to order a hot chocolate but I’d missed the room service cut off time. Gahhh.
We slept AMAZINGLY at the resort, and after a Nespresso coffee from the in-room machine, headed out to The Farm for breakfast. The cutest, most rustic and IG-worthy spot you’ll find – well worth a visit. I had a chicken rye sandwich, a mandarin sparking soda and a large Capi sparkling water, which cost $24. The sandwich was to die for, by the way.
After that we headed to Ballina for some op shopping therapy. I spent $30 on 6 items, which included a Cos top, a brand new Nasty Gal blazer, an Aspinal of London pouch as a gift, a vintage two-piece set, and some plaid shorts.
I’ll do a separate post on the op shops we visited in Byron/Ballina, fear not!
Post op-shopping, we needed a refuel. If you follow Rach or I on Instagram, it won’t surprise you that we went to McDonald’s for a frozen coke and a chicken ‘n’ cheese. $9 later, we were both fed and sugared up.
Then we headed back to the hotel to shoot some content – we could hardly let all the Elements of Byron backdrops go to waste. I of course needed another Aperol by this point, which was $16 from the adults only pool bar.
Turns out posing is tiring, so we retreated to the villa, ordered room service of pizza, pasta and fries – $51 – and called it a night. 1 larger at $9 and 1 more sparkling water at $4.50 from the mini bar later, and that was it for spending for the day.
Rach had to leave about 8.30 to go and yknow, actually do some work, so I stayed at the resort for breakfast on my own. I know some people get weird about dining alone, but I really think it’s one of the best things you can teach yourself to enjoy. It’s almost meditative. And trust me, literally nobody cares what the hell you’re doing, so if you’re worried about being judged, let that shit go.
I had the Elements of Byron breakfast buffet, which was $33 of pure DELICIOUSNESS. It’s so interesting comparing high-end breakfast buffets with lower quality ones. The food is so much better prepared, and so much fresher. It was well worth the $33.
I had a few hours before my flight, so I checked out, got a pool pass that allowed me to access the resort facilities for the rest of the day, and settled back into a poolside cabana to write some more, and read more of Emma Isaacs’ book, Winging It. Enjoyable read, by the way. And the double spacing makes you feel like a really fast reader. Bonus.
Aside from $20 of petrol to fill the hire car back up to full, that was it for my Byron spending.
Total spending: $1257 incl. hotel and car hire.
My flight was free because I paid with Velocity points. More on that here.
I want to mention that this wasn’t a sightseeing trip or really even anything about seeing Byron. It was really just to hang out with Rachel and get some biz bits done, while celebrating an epic start to 2020 and show up for myself a bit. This type of resort-style trip isn’t everyone’s vibe, but it’s what I wanted so please respect my choices and the things I value.