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Outrage as young Aussie spends $50,000 'house deposit' on Europe trip: 'No regrets'

Brianna Smith wanted to life her life to the fullest rather than save every cent for a future property.

Brianna Smith in Italy and another shot of her in Greece
Brianna Smith wanted to live a little after dropping out of university rather than save every cent for a future property. (Source: Supplied)

A young Aussie has revealed how she spent the equivalent of a small mortgage deposit on the trip of a lifetime. With home prices rising in nearly every capital city in the country, many Aussies are jumping on the property bandwagon before it becomes drastically unaffordable.

But when Brianna Smith dropped out of university after realising teaching was not for her, she knew she would rather live life to the fullest rather than scrimp and save every cent she had for a future property. So, she embarked on an eight-month working holiday to Europe.

"It was just incredible," she told Yahoo Finance. "Just getting to learn from different people from different backgrounds and different cultures...it was something I'll never forget."

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The then-20-year-old visited 17 countries when she had time off from her summer camp job. She spent upwards of $50,000 on the experience, and while some might baulk at a price tag that high, Smith said she "would do it again in a heartbeat".

When she shared the amount she forked out online, many were shocked.

"What a waste of money...and what have you got to show for it??" wrote one user.

"Irresponsible," said another.

A third added: "Then complain that it’s impossible for young people to get into the housing market."

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

Smith wasn't surprised at the backlash and knew some people would think spending tens of thousands of dollars on a holiday was stupid. But she still stands by her choice.

"You don't know what's going to happen in the future, like, you could die tomorrow. And I'd rather see the Northern Lights than, you know, see nothing," she said.

"I feel like I learned so much and gained a lot of skills as well, just through being independent and things like that overseas, which has definitely helped me, since coming back home as well.

"So I wouldn't trade it for the world."

A study from InsureandGo found young Aussies like Smith found the property market completely out of reach. The data revealed 71 per cent of Aussies under 30 would rather travel than buy a house in the next 12 months.

That dropped to 65 per cent for people aged 31-50 and only 51 per cent for Aussies aged over 50.

“When forced to choose between an eye-watering mortgage and a travel experience, Millennials and Gen Z Australians are opting for the latter, and this is largely in response to the housing crisis,” InsureandGo chief commercial officer Jonathan Etkind said.

“This trend is fuelled by the ‘experience culture’ that erupted over the past decade and saw young Aussies eschew spending money on ‘stuff’ to making memories instead,” he said.

Dale Gillham, chief analyst at financial services company Wealth Within, told Yahoo Finance many young people are turning their back on the dream of the Aussie white-picket fence.

“Ten to 15 years ago, you just had to get your first home but, nowadays, especially with these interest rate rises, we are seeing a lot more under-35s saying that they don’t want to own a home and instead want to keep renting and travelling and having that lifestyle," Gillham said.

He called it “living for today”, and said he was seeing a lot of younger people who’d “almost given up on the whole idea of buying a home”.

Travel can give people the space and experience to work out what they want to do in life.

Smith's massive trip helped her find a passion that she wants to pursue professionally.

She's now studying tourism and hopes to combine her love of travelling with a full-time job.

This also happened to Alana Avallone, who jumped headfirst into university after high school because she felt pressure from her family and friends.

“I clearly remember my family telling me that if I take a gap year, I’ll come back and not want to study again. [They said] it was better to continue to study while I was still in that mindset after high school," she told Yahoo Finance.

But following her three-year degree, she made a startling realisation after going on a post-graduation holiday.

“After I did my trip and I came back and spent some time thinking about it, I decided that I really wanted to pursue writing," she told Yahoo Finance.

"So I’ve gone on to do a certificate as an add-on to my bachelor’s degree."

Alana Avallone said she no longer believes university is the only way to score a high paying job. (Source: Supplied)
Alana Avallone said she no longer believes university is the only way to score a high paying job. (Source: Supplied)

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