Flying to New York to buy the iPhone X 64GB will cost roughly the same as buying the same phone in South Africa. Traveling to buy the top end model, the iPhone X 256GB, would actually save you money.
As long as you don't stay overnight.
A quick search on Cheapflights.com reveals that a return flight to New York city from Johannesburg will cost you R8,568 when you fly in the month of June.
Add R11,587.87 for the iPhone X 64GB to the R8,568 for the flight ticket and you'll get R20,155.87 — just R1,156.87 more than buying the phone South Africa.
When you buy the 256GB iPhone X variant in the US you'd save R1,083.12 compared to buying it in South Africa.
That is just about enough to pay R1,861.60 ($160) for a US VISA.
Although, to break even you will have to come back on the next flight and not stay overnight; an average AirBnB apartment goes for R800 per night in Manhattan.
Update: this story was corrected for the saving on the 256GB variant phone, which was previously misstated – and updated to reflect that staying overnight in Manhattan would spoil this theoretical calculation.
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