Where to book TRAVEL online

Booking online will save most travellers a minimum of 10% and many more thousands of dollars if they search around and find the best deals.

Where to book

Melbourne Tour Company

Australia and South Pacific Tour Company

TourOz

Virgin Blue

Once you get past the rather garish red-and-blue livery of this site, you'll find an extremely efficient, functional flight-booking tool. Once again, everything you need to reserve a seat is there on the opening page and clicking through to the final payment section is a breeze. Sign of things to come, if you book over the phone, you'll pay an extra $A10 for the privilege.

Regional Express

Regional Express, Australia's largest regional carrier, is the result of a marriage between the old Kendall and Hazelton airlines. It flies to some pretty out-of-the-way places, such as Mildura and Olympic Dam, as well as more mainstream destinations, including Dubbo and Canberra. Online booking is trouble-free and there are some pretty sharp net-only fares available.

Where To Stay

booking.com is the best accommodation-booking specialist. It is certainly one of the best-known groups providing this sort of service.

Travel.com.au

This bright and breezy hub offers holiday packages, airfares, hotel rooms (from Lastminute.com), ski packages and cruises, plus a host of other travel products. It's hard to beat for browsing availability and prices purely because of its speed. For the mums and dads there is also a great section featuring travelling tips and family-focused holiday packages.

Travelmate

This portal restricts itself to travel in Australia - and does it very well indeed. It has a slightly "down-home" feel to it but can also serve up some excellent specials in accommodation and packages. Don't miss the SmartTrip feature, which will produce a detailed journey planner for driving to just about anywhere in Australia.

Iexplore

This site is dedicated to meeting the needs of every adventure traveller and simply logging on is enough to give you itchy feet. It's a world-class information site that has all the hallmarks of being put together by people who have actually been there. Naturally, they also want you to book through them.

Before you go

Airlinemeals.net

Want to know just what you'll be getting to eat on that Air Moldova flight? Go to Airlinemeals.net to see a picture of what's on offer before it's too late. There are thousands of pictures and descriptions of airline meals here, so if, say, "chicken in a tasteless orange-coloured sauce" doesn't appeal, you can avoid Air Moldova.

Consumer Guide to Air Travel

As part of your preparation for a flight it might be a good idea to know what to do if things go wrong. This is a comprehensive guide to your rights as an airline passenger.

It is a little US-centric, but the information is very useful nonetheless.

Skytrax

Skytrax operates a very comprehensive rating system for all airlines in the world. The level of detail on this site is amazing - from the amount of leg room you can expect on each airline to ratings on which carrier is best with kids.

Universal Packing List

Not sure how many pairs of undies to pack for that trip down the Amazon? Worried you might not have enough socks to get you through a week in London? This great little site will generate a packing list based on your particular destination and requirements. Sometimes it goes a little over the top but at least you won't forget anything.

Alltraveltips.com

This is an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of tips covering just about every aspect of travel. Some of them are laughably obvious and others are downright silly but there are gems in here that could make all the difference to your next trip.

Travel Health

The general problem with researching health issues online is that the information can be dubious at best and dangerously wrong at worst. Health Insite is the Federal Government's health advice portal. All the information has been reviewed by an expert committee and can therefore be trusted. The travel section is comprehensive.

Smarttraveller

Sadly, these days, government travel advisories are a mandatory part of any holiday planning. Terrorism hotspots can erupt almost overnight and it's important to know any possible dangers of where you intend to travel. This is the Federal Government's official site and allows you to assess any risks you may be taking.

Infofile

The Australian Consumers Association has produced an useful list of dos and don'ts when booking travel on the internet. Of course, all the usual tips about online shopping also apply, such a printing receipts and only dealing through sites you know are reputable.




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