Accommodation

23 Resorts So Secluded, You’ll Forget Earth Exists

Need to get away? Like really, really far away?

March 10, 2016

Hotel Porn: 7 Hotels So Luxurious, It’s Criminal

Say hello to your next vacay…

January 15, 2016

Easy Ways To Travel On A Budget

Planning your next trip but don’t exactly want to break the bank on just the airfare alone? There are many different ways to travel around the world without using up all your hard-earned cash. From booking hotels, or even eating out, below are just a few suggestions to have the best trip at a great price.

Do your research

One major way to save some money is to avoid staying or eating at tourist-targeted facilities. Most of these places are not only a rip-off, but take advantage of travellers since they are new to the city or country. Make sure to do your homework before booking that trip, and write an extensive list of places to go and also to avoid before you jet off.

Travel off-season

If you can easily get the time off work, it is cheaper to travel in the off-season since prices are often more affordable. If you’re travelling to Europe, this means that it’s best to make the visit during the months between October and April. These seasons see a lot less travellers which is also better for those who wish to still see the world without a large price-tag attached.

Travel deals

Many countries in Europe offer cheap tickets if you choose to pass-through via train, instead of flying. Interrailing is a popular way to visit almost every inch of Europe without spending too much money. Tickets are extremely affordable and passes can range anywhere from $56-$390 for a global 10 day trip.

Accommodation

Youth hostels are very popular alternatives to hotels since they are cheaper and more affordable if you choose to stay in one place for a limited amount of time. Accommodations don’t necessarily have to be considered first-class to make your stay worthwhile, so find somewhere safe and cost efficient to leave your luggage and also stay the night.

Use guidebooks

Pre-plan your trip with a guidebook which will not only help you around the city, but also give a rough idea of how much things cost. Most are usually equipped with useful local lingo which is important if you’re travelling through numerous cities in a short amount of time.

Use phonecards

Rather than wasting your money with international calls to loved-ones back at home, simply purchase a local phonecard for each city you visit. This will not only be cheaper in the long-run, but also won’t allow you to be carried away during a phone call since they are capped at a certain price. Easy to find since they are sold at almost every news stand.

Pay in cash

Although using a credit card can usually offer a good exchange rate, pay with cash since most local shops or stalls only accept money as a payment method. Always carry some type of cash on you, just in case of emergencies or if you can’t access your cards.

Travel in groups

Even if you’re travelling with a partner or in a large group, it is best to stick together. Not only will this be safe, but will save you all a lot of money on food, accommodation, and transport costs. Many tours still charge people travelling on their own a small fee anyway.

Ask for a discount

It depends where exactly you are shopping or staying, but many times asking for a deal or cheaper price will often save you some money. This works well especially if you’re buying from a small shop or stall, or staying at a countryside hotel with a group of people.

Image via Travel Blat

July 10, 2014

Expert Tips On How To Get The Cheapest Holiday

We’re all looking for the best deals when it comes to travel, so rather than scouring the interwebs, daily deal emails and social media for the right advice, we have tapped into the expert knowledge of those in the know. A panel of high-flyers, consisting of Mark Hodgson, general manager of Escape Travel; Tom Walley, executive general manager of Flight Centre; and Monique Van Gelder, national marketing manager of Cruiseabout, have shared some of their insider expertise:

Flights and accommodation:

Choose a holiday package that combines flights with your accommodation.  Not only are these more convenient, but the price is based on wholesale rates which work out to be a better value option, plus they often have a specially negotiated saving or added value attached.  

Earlybird offers. It is standard practice in the travel industry for airlines to release ‘earlybird’ fares in September for travel to Europe, so keep an eye out for these by signing up to travel agent newsletters to get the jump on the best deals.  

Visit a Travel Expo prepared to purchase. With the help of a travel expert onsite, you’ll get the best deal possible and a wealth of advice in the process.  Flight Centre holds expos for key destinations such as Europe and USA/Canada/Alaska every year to coincide with earlybird season, and if you book on the spot, you’ll get the best price of the year.

Choose alternative stopover airports when travelling long haul to avoid hefty airport taxes.  Bangkok Airport is a cheaper stopover option than Singapore or Hong Kong when travelling on to Europe.   

When flying in and out of Europe, consider using alternative departure airports to save money on your return flight.  Most return airfares include a multi-city option and your travel agent can help you choose the best route option to avoid paying excessive airport taxes.  Airport taxes vary from city to city and London has one of the highest, so for the return journey consider flying out of Paris where the airport tax is far less and the overall price of your ticket, even with the inclusion of a cheap one-way Eurostar journey from London to Paris, will be less that a return flight departing from London.

Pay it off. Escape Travel offers a flexible payment plan with its nine-month interest-free finance option which lets travellers book a holiday well in advance to secure the best price, but pay off their holiday in a series of easy payment.

Work around the peak season by opting for the ‘shoulder’ period either side of peak travel times as these are generally cheaper, but still a desirable time of year to be travelling to your intended destination.  For example, peak season for a Greek Islands holiday is July and August, but the shoulder season in June is much more affordable and the weather is just as good. 

Midweek is a great time to travel if you can be flexible with your dates. Flights are generally cheaper at this time as they are less popular that at the start and end of the week, plus you can often pick up a cheaper hotel deal with many properties offering discounts for stays during the week.  

Take note of the seasons for your holiday destination, as there are bargains to be had when avoiding peak travel times.  For example, Thailand is a great year-round destination and travellers can pick up an excellent deal when travelling in the low season months from May to September when many resorts offer significant discounts and ‘stay-eight-nights-pay-four-nights’ type deals are standard.   

Book childcare upfront. For resort-bound families, make sure you consider what daycare facilities you will need on the ground before booking the cheapest upfront package price.  Avoid additional expenses such as fee-based kids clubs and baby-sitter rates by reviewing the different complimentary in-resort child minding facilities and factoring this saving into your total holiday cost before making a decision. 

Don’t assume you are restricted to the airfare options listed online. Your travel agent has access to a host of deals unavailable to the general public and can advise on the best value route network for getting from point A to point B based on your budget, or create a custom built round-the-world airfare that may represent better value for a multi-stop holiday. 

‘Double Dips’ are unique to Flight Centre and are a great way to double your holiday fun by visiting two places on one low fare. You can double up in Thailand with Phuket and Bangkok, double your beach time in Fiji and Hawaii or combine city stays in Los Angeles and New York or Hong Kong and Singapore.  Visit in-store and ask your Flight Centre expert about double dips for more information.

Cruises:

Steer clear of peak times. If you can, avoid school holidays and special event cruises, such as those over Christmas and New Years, as these cruises are priced at a premium. 

Take advantage of earlybird cruise offers for the season ahead as you can pick up discounted rates for travel in the following year, discounted or even free airfares or other bonus inclusions like extra onboard credit not offered outside these earlybird booking periods.  

Save money by asking your cruise consultant about special rates offered to seniors and military personnel.  P&O and Princess often offer military benefits such as extra onboard credit for local cruises, while RCI and Celebrity Cruises have seniors’ rates that can be quite a bit cheaper.

Sign up to agency newsletters and follow their activity on social media to see the latest deals the moment they are released.  

Try a one-way cruise. Travellers more interested in the cruise experience of life on the ship rather than sightseeing at different ports can pick up a cheaper cruise by opting for a repositioning cruise.  These are one-way cruises designed to take the ship from one destination to another at the change of the cruise season and feature fewer stops on the itinerary, meaning passengers also save money by staying onboard.  

The ‘guaranteed cabin’ option is often the cheapest way to go if you know the category of cabin that you’re after, i.e. inside, outside, balcony, but are open to being located anywhere on the ship. Passengers pay more for their cabin when selecting its exact location on the ship – like the specific deck or away from the lifts – but those that choose the guarantee option receive at least that cabin type and can sometimes score an upgrade.

May 12, 2014

The World’s Best Beach Hotels Revealed

Each year Conde Nast reveal the 33 best new hotels in the world. With Australia’s gorgeous coastline and booming tourism industry, it was sad to see that none of our fine resorts or hotels made the list. About 510 hotels were evaluated in the categories of Beach, Design, Food, Family, Bargain, Over-the-Top, and Way-Out-There hotels.

The best beach hotels were:

Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii

Mukul Resort, Nicaragua

Nizuc Resort & Spa, Cancun

Point Yamu by Como, Phuket

Salt House Inn, Provincetown

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Nizuc Resort & Spa, Cancun

Traveler magazine describes the lists criteria as:

“A sense of place: a hotel that celebrates where it is in the world. A sense of personality: a hotel where it feels like every decoration has been hand-chosen by a person, not by a committee. 

“A sense of intuition: a hotel where it feels like your needs are considered before you even know what they are.

“The result is a list that takes you around the world – from Kenya to Los Angeles, St. Petersburg to Phuket – and speaks to the passions and habits of the modern traveler.”

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Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
April 28, 2014