[[category:travel]]

Travel

Accommodation

Hotels

Price Comparison Sites

  • hotelscombined.com – Search & compare over 900,000 global hotel deals from over 30 merchants on one site.
  • ihotelsdiscounts.com – Search and Compare hotel deals worldwide all at once.
  • Kayak – Hotel and flight search engine based out of the US. Sometimes different sites offer different prices for the same hotel.
  • MyHotelPower.com – Search & compare global hotel deals all around the world.
  • Trivago.com.au – The world’s largest hotel search, with over 700 000 hotels around the world.

Booking Sites

  • Agoda – Hotel deals (especially Asia). Every booking and review earns credit for next booking.
  • Expedia Australia But best to go via starthere/buckscoop. You can get special rates that are 6% cashback, and you can prepay in AUD when traveling OS. BUT warning Expedia while quoted in Australian Dollars and charged what you are quoted, will incur international transaction fees. Use the wizard card here if you have one.
  • Hotelclub – Hotel deals and every booking earns credit for next booking.
  • Hotels.com – Hotel deals. There are often coupons that make them cheaper than other booking sites.
  • Priceline Bid for hotels using inside knowledge from Better Bidding. Often considerably cheaper than booking sites.
  • Wotif.com – Find 'last-minute' accommodation deals.
  • Hotel Travel – Sometimes this website has some good deals.

Private Accommodation

  • Airbnb – Rent apartments, rooms, or houses from people. Airbnb takes care of payment.
  • Wimdu – Rent apartments, rooms, or houses from people. Wimdu takes care of payment.
  • realholidays.com.au – Holiday rental properties Australia wide.
  • Not 1 night – ”The longer you stay, the cheaper the rate
  • vacation rental by owner – “US based but now many worldwide, have apartments for daily weekly rental in many locations, eg got a nice 3 bedroom unit in Breckenridge for $US100 a night shared with 2 other couples = $US34 a night”

Public Transport

Australia

  • Sydney
    • Free city loop bus 555: The service operates every 10 minutes in both directions on a loop from Central Station to Circular Quay via Elizabeth and George Streets. It runs between 9:30am and 3:30pm on weekdays (extended to 9pm on Thursdays) and between 9:30am-6pm weekends. More details here:

Car Rental

Car Rental Insurance

Some credit cards offer this plus your travel insurance offers something, but these only cover the excess you have to pay. In places like the US the insurances offered by the companies by default, are the minimum required.

The following lifted from a number of overseas sites may give you some insight, but its not legal advice. Hopefully it just helps you get a better understanding into what is a confusing and complicated area and you do need to rely on your own research and assessment.

In Australia many times third party insurance is mandatory for registration, and covers third party injury claims. In the US its not always the case and liability is not capped as it is here. Different states have varying minimum requirements.

Cars can be rented without this insurance but this would be risky and is not something to be undertaken lightly, particularly in the USA where court awards of damages can be staggeringly high.

You don't have to take out excess insurance – it is completely voluntary but it may make good sense. You can buy it from the car rental company or you can purchase it in advance from an independent insurance company.

If you know you are going to take out an excess insurance policy it might be worth comparing the offerings of the independent brokers and the car rental companies. There may be fairly significant price differences. As with all types of insurance, always read the policy details as the excess insurance of some insurers/car rental agencies, may still exclude the most commonly damaged parts of the vehicle – windscreen, tyres, roof and undercarriage.

Rental companies in the US are required by law to have insurance. The limits are often expressed separated by slashes in the following form: “bodily injury per person”/“bodily injury per accident”/“property damage”. For example, California requires this minimum coverage:

  $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  $5,000 for damage to property

This would be expressed as “$15,000/$30,000/$5,000”.

Now Car rental agencies, Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) – provides coverage in the event of an accident causing bodily injury or property damage to someone other than the renter and passengers, which increases the minimum that by law they are required to cover. As you can see in the Californian case, the minimum is woefully inadequate.

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) – sometimes also referred to as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - covers the costs of damage to the rental vehicle in the event of an accident. Note the words waiver as the car rental companies are only waiving the excess they charge for an accident. In essence since they are not insuring you, they are saying they wont charge you for damages to their car, waiving their right to claim.

BUT note that although frequently not explicitly stated, US car rental companies are required by respective state law to provide minimal liability coverage as per the California example. This covers costs to a third party in the event of an accident. In most states it is illegal to drive a car without liability coverage therefore this must be included in the cost of rental.

Hence its good to take out the supplemental CDW/SLI from the car rental company OR buy a policy from a car rental insurance company. It depends on the length of the rental. You can buy 1 year policies for around $160, which gives you far greater coverage vs $20 a day from the car rental companies. Plus the annual policies are multiple use and the ones that cover the USA will often cover other areas of the world,

You might say that you have Credit card coverage/ Travel insurance policies that cover any excess.

BUT this is excess that the car rental company will charge you for damage to their vehicle, not to others, and often this will only cover the excess upto $5000.

So you crash the Rental car into someone else. The Travel Insurance covers the car rental company's excess charge of $4000, but where are you with the liability for the repairs on the other car plus injury to the occupants and with the basic coverage covered above $5000 to cover the other persons vehicle is pretty low.

SLI as offered by most companies increases this to more acceptable rates, you do need to scope out what this covers as it can vary according to the company. But this SLI does cost and thats where looking at third party coverage helps, as this may be far cheaper.

US customers can tap into their domestic car insurance policies for this “third party” liability. Australians can't. It can be a big money trap.

Where as independent insurance from a third party broker gives you much higher coverage in all aspects. This limit isnt discussed here as it depends on which one you go to. It can be as high as a million dollars coverage.

See http://www.insurance4carhire.com/index.asp?subRefID=0&curID=1&langID=1&refID=1351 for some good info. Although they now do not sell to anyone outside the EEU

also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damage_waiver

One company that does is https://www.questor-insurance.co.uk/vehicle-hire-excess-insurance.aspx However going thru this company can give you a discount on the insurance http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=3&sec=2 and also other companies to compare rates with.

They have a blog which discusses this issue as well.

http://www.autoslash.com/blog-and-tips/posts/a-quick-primer-on-car-rental-insurance

see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_auto_insurance

Campervan Hire

Flights

Tips for booking flights:
  • Airlines sometimes offer to beat a lower price fare (e.g. Jetstar's Price Beat Guarantee).
  • Booking flights by using the airline's own website is usually cheaper than a travel agent or other third-party website. (e.g. after using Webjet, find the same flight on the airline's website).
  • Some airlines will allow you to avoid the credit card fee if you pay by bank deposit. (e.g. Virgin Blue has a 'POLi' - Internet Banking option)
  • Some airlines will allow you to avoid the credit card fee if you pay by mastercard debit (eg qantas). If you are an existing Westpac customer you can get one of these for free.
  • Some third-party websites (e.g. Zuji Australia) will allow you to book airfares at the same price as Airlines and pay by credit card without being charged the credit card surcharge or booking fees, which ends up cheaper than booking from the Airline directly.
  • Organise your travel via trip it
Booking Fees
  • Virgin Australia (international) – $25 per person/per booking.
  • Virgin Australia (domestic) – $4.50 per person/per flight. Same as their PayPal fee.
  • Qantas (international) – $30 per person/per booking.
  • Qantas (domestic) – $7.70 per person/per booking.
  • Qantas (master card debit and Bpay) – $0.00 per person/per booking.
  • Jetstar (international) – $12.50 per person/per flight.
  • Jetstar (domestic) – $8.50 per person/per flight.
  • Jetstar (JQ mastercard, Poli, direct deposit) – $0.00 per person/per flight.
  • Tiger (domestic) – $7.50 per person/per flight.
  • Tiger (Mastercard debt) – $0.00 per person/per flight.

Credit: -Someone-

Traveling to the Airport

Australia

Lifehacker’s 2011 Australian Airport Public Transport Guide - A guide that compiles all the cheaper methods of getting to airports in your major city. OzBargain Discussion

Melbourne

Insurance

  • Many “gold” or “platinum” credit cards offer free travel insurance. Check the fine print carefully including eligibility, they may require the entire return flight to be booked on the credit card or some part thereof.
  • Example: Citibank Visa Platinum is underwritten by Zurich and requires full payment of your airfare to get complimentary international travel insurance, no matter how long the travel. Zurich also underwrites CBA and ANZ but if the travel period is <31 days, you only need to pay at least $950 or at least $250, respectively, with your credit card from those institutions. Given travel agents usually pass along the credit card fee of 1-3%, it can be cheaper to make a partial payment with credit card and get insurance included through the transaction rather than needing to buy it as well. [NB: Call your credit card insurance underwriter to confirm - this information is valid as of 30 Apr 2010].

Mobile Phone/Data Providers Overseas

Travel Insurance providers - sites to compare

Travel Insurance Advice

All the above sites offer competitive prices. It really pays to look at the policy for each company. For instance Zuji offers $5 Million personal liability while TID only offers $2.5 Million, their are differences between them all for hire car excess, travel delays, etc.

A further tip to consider. If 2 of you are going some times having separate policies can save money as a policy for 2 costs the same as 2 individual policies. Eg You want car rental insurance cover, buy for 1 the policy that has this included (the name you will use on the car rental contract)and buy a second policy for your partner that doesn't have this which is usually cheaper

Tips and Hints

NZ currency exchange.

Best place to get good rates on AUD to NZD is using KiwiBank found in post offices in NZ. Rates are much better than in the bigger banks and with the currency exchanges.

Rates received in May 2009 were 6c per Aussie dollar higher than with Banks (1.18 vs 1.24) Also no fees were attached to the conversion. Experience was based on dealings made in Auckland.

Some details can be found here. http://www.kiwibank.co.nz/personal-banking/international-services/foreign-exchange/fast-branches.asp

THAILAND currency exchange.

If you visit Bangkok, a shop, superrichthailand, near Central world shopping centre offers the best rate. You can check it online here: http://www.superrichthailand.com/editor/rate.html

Just be careful, there is another shop on the same street which has similar name, superrich: http://www.superrich.co.th/rate.php (actually has same AUD buy rate as at 18/03/2013)

OS Shopping tips List by country - USA

Century 21, for example, is a fantastic place to get 50% off designer labels (and the original price is generally less than the price here in Australia anyway!) but it’s NY-only, not across the country. See http://www.c21stores.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_21_(department_store) - they do not participate in the Black Friday sales because everything is already deep discounted.

Macy’s shoe department (http://www.macys.com)- OMG. Seriously. Two floors of shoes in a massive store and in the Black Friday sales, it is packed packed packed with women jostling each other to find the bargains. I let my wife go playing in there for 45 minutes to do some initial scouting and then went into the fray myself to assist. Don’t expect it to be a quick process. You need to find the shoe you like in the size you want and then ask an attendant to get you the matching shoe from the same pair out of the storeroom(unlike here where you find any size and then the attendant brings you both L+R shoes in a different size). We picked up a couple of pairs, one reduced from $120USD to $30USD.

Macy’s also has an international visitor discount card so if you’re not from the USA, you can use the card and get a further 10% off throughout the store. All you need to do is collect the card from the information desk on the 3rd (or 4th???) floor - even with the sales swelling customer numbers, this only took 1-2 minutes to queue and obtain (just show your Aussie drivers licence) and saved more $$$ on each transaction. See http://www.macys.com/store/about/visitor/index.jsp for details.

Old Navy (http://www.oldnavy.com/) are basically just a department store but I found these were the kings of the Black Friday sales in terms of discounts [eg: thick wool-lined jackets for $25-$45 each, down from $60-$130]. JC Penney (http://www.jcpenney.com) were where I found the better jeans to fit me (because they had a wider range of styles) and the two stores were very similar for denim prices. Base prices for denim jeans are, of course, lower in the US anyway but typically the lower AUD means they’re about the same net price. With the dollar much higher than usual, even base prices are serious discounts.

Ross Dress For Less (http://www.rossstores.com/) are an outlet store for a lot of designer labels. They mainly have clothes, shoes & accesssories (you pay similar prices for clothes as you would in Big W/Target here, sometimes even less), but at good prices are luggage (you can get a samsonite suitcase for around 80 bucks). They also have kitchenware homewares, toys, food and other miscellaneous departments as you would find in a department store. As long as you're not hung up on getting a particular line or item, they have a great range of clothes for all ages and sizes. Each store stocks different stuff, so shop around if you have time.

More discussions here