Going places: Consumer travel news and deals

TOUR

MOROCCO

Two travel for the price of one on this 12-day Morocco coach tour. Round trip Casablanca, it includes Fez, Marrakech and special experiences such as a home-hosted dinner.  The price also covers transfers, 16 meals and 11 nights' accommodation.

$1999 for two people twin share. Weekly departures throughout 2016. Deal valid until December 18.  See ditravel.com.au.

POLAND

Save $500 per person on the April 15 departure of Collette's 10-night Discovering Poland tour. Tour Warsaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, Torun, Wroclaw and Gdansk. Included: 15 meals, four-star-plus hotels, entrance fees and more. 

From $1929 a person. Phone 1300 792 195. See gocollette.com.

ISLAND

FIJI

This family package includes five nights at Sofitel Fiji Resort including champagne breakfast for two adults plus two kids stay and eat  free. There are also great activities and transfers.

From $850 an adult twin share. On sale until December 15  for travel until December 24, 2015 then January 6 – March 22.

Phone 1300 883 887. See travelonline.com

BALI

Families stay seven nights and pay for only five at the five-star Grand Nikko Bali in Nusa Dua, a property with lots going on for kids. The offer includes breakfast, in room PlayStation, free entry to Jungle Camp, and return transfers.

From $3139 a family of four.  On sale until February 29 for travel April 1-July 14, 2016. Phone 1800 044 066. See travel-associates.com.au.

FAMILY

GLOBAL

Take advantage of Malaysia Airlines' Year-End Super Specials sale and book the family holiday.

Examples of reduced return economy fares are ex Sydney to: Kuala Lumpur from $851, Ho Chi Minh City from $911and London from $1712. Ex Melbourne, fly return to Bangkok from $896 and London from $1696. 

Flights available on select dates. Phone 132 627.  See malaysiaairlines.com.

BRITAIN

Save 20 per cent discount on Britrail Passes and Britrail England Only Passes among other bargains. International Rail, has, for instance, special prices for children under 15 and a deal for families which allows one child to travel free with parents. On sale until February 26 for travel until February 29. 

Phone 1300 387 245. See internationalrail.com.au.

CRUISE

NEW ZEALAND

AAT Kings and Creative Cruising's 26-night Cruise NZ & Tour package comes with $220 onboard credit per stateroom when booked by December 15. It includes a 15-night cruise onboard Diamond Princess from Sydney to Auckland, two nights post-cruise at the Langham Auckland Hotel including breakfast, a nine-night tour with AAT Kings from Auckland to Christchurch, and airfare. 

Departs Sydney February 16. Costs $6049 a person. Phone 1300 362 599. See creativecruising.com.au.  

NETHERLANDS

Save up to $500 a person on Uniworld's 10-day Tulips & Windmills river cruise when booking before January 15. Highlights include seeing the 19 UNESCO-designated windmills of Kinderdijk. There are lots of meals and special inclusions. 

Priced from $4829 a person, twin share. Travel March 26 to April 25. Phone 1300 780 231. See uniworld.com.

HOTEL

AUSTRALIA-WIDE 

AccorHotels is including free breakfast with, or 20 per cent off, bookings of two nights or more. The deal applies to 120  AccorHotels nationally in many different kinds of locations, from CBD to beachside, including the popular Reef House, Palm Cove. 

The deal is valid for sale until January 31 for travel December 1 to February 14.  See accorhotels.com/summer.

ULURU

Ayers Rock Resort is offering festivities including bush tucker-inspired Christmas buffet dinner under the stars and carols over Christmas.

Stay at Outback Pioneer Motel for $198 a room, a night twin share for a minimum of three nights. Breakfast, transfers, Wi-Fi included and children under 15 stay free. Valid for sale until February 28 and for travel until March 31. 

Phone 1300 134 044. See ayersrockresort.com.au/discover

THE BIG ISSUE

At a time when the declining dollar might have people thinking twice about travel, package holidays can represent great value.

For example, Jetways is a new purveyor of luxury package holidays in Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Hawaii in partnership with Jetstar that can save travellers on average 40 per cent on the cost of a comparable holiday at the same resorts in the same popular holiday destinations.

Jetaway's product director, Rod Carrington, says contrary to the belief that holidays may get more unaffordable, "international destinations don't want to lose Australian customers just because of economic circumstances so they will extend great rates to keep people coming back".

"A packaged holiday abroad, or even within Australia, is the best way to reap the negotiated deals that an airline or travel company is offering. Jetaways, in partnership with Jetstar, has created the market's most affordable holidays."

Key to making the most of these deals is to be quick to book and also be flexible; while having an idea of what kind of holiday you want, be open to where you want to go, and perhaps also when, which can mean snaring a great bargain.

Says Carrington, "You must be flexible when you're buying the hottest deals because they are offered to the market on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the rooms and airline seats have been sold out on your preferred dates, you have to look for alternative dates that are available – maybe even an alternative destination."

Each Jetaways promotion is offered for a limited time, and has a strict booking deadline. But there's a flexible voucher booking period to secure the holiday with the property. Says Carrington, "Jetways offers a long travel period for its packages – they're perfect for people who have money in their pocket and want to go." 

Phone 1300 538 292. See jetaways.com.au.

EXPERT OPINION

Dennis Bunnik, managing director, Bunnik Tours

Q. When travelling in countries off the beaten track, what are the benefits of small group travel? 

A. In countries considered to be a little more exotic, foreigners can often stick out. Travelling in a small group of 20 or less means you're less conspicuous than a big group, but there's still safety in numbers.

Your holiday time is precious and in countries that can be a little chaotic such as India or Egypt, an organised tour means you can see the best a country has to offer without frustrating or risky hitches. The logistics of transport and accommodation are sorted for you. Authentic, local experiences can still be included in your itinerary but you can rest assured you're as safe as possible, not going to get ripped off and also you have the knowledge that the experience is authentic. Operators such as Bunnik do a lot of leg work to make sure we provide quality connection, not tricked-up theatre.  

Then there's the added bonus of less time waiting to get on and off the coach, at hotel check-ins and comfort stops; more time with your guide with a-low guest-to-guide ratio; more space on the coach; and, more hotel choice – you aren't limited to the big hotel chains like the large groups. You stay in accommodation that has been selected based on factors such as character, service and location.

See bunniktours.com.au.

GEBICKI TIP

Swap your home for a villa on the French Riviera, or a condo in Buenos Aires without paying a cent in rent. House Swap Holidays is Australia's largest house exchange holiday club with houses around the globe, and membership is cheap. houseswapholidays.com.au

Comments