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Bespoke travel advice

(20 Posts)
dragonfly46 Tue 10-May-22 22:15:01

We are planning a four week holiday to Australia with DD and SiL who is Australian. My SiL has drawn up an itinerary travelling around.p the country flying and driving.
What companies would you recommend to book everything for us if any and which companies should we avoid?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jane43 Tue 10-May-22 22:21:52

We have done many touring holidays in the USA and always used Expedia to book our flights, accommodation and car hire. We were always happy with them. If you want somebody to do the booking for you as your post suggests perhaps an independent travel agent would do it for you, if there are any left. I believe Trailfinders are also very good.

Jane43 Tue 10-May-22 22:23:22

I forgot to say, have a wonderful holiday, it’s somewhere we always wanted to visit but never managed it.

Nannagarra Tue 10-May-22 23:18:31

Many years ago we used Kirker for holidays in Europe. We had luxury travel, stayed in the most wonderful hotels, and had fabulous trips. Sadly they don't seem to meet your needs but they might be able to recommend a similar company and might be worth remembering for another holiday dragonfly.

jeanie99 Tue 10-May-22 23:39:44

We've been to Australia a couple of times traveling in different areas.
We book our own flights and accommodation. We also hired a camper-van which was great fun.
You don't say the months you are traveling or the areas, Australia is a huge country where you will need to carry water and fuel in certain areas where facilities are few and far between.

biglouis Tue 10-May-22 23:53:19

Ive used Expedia in Europe and UAE to book flights and hotels. In India I used Kuoni to tailer make me a trip with my own car and driver and a side trip to Kathmandu one Christmas. I dont know if the company is still going. Then I also used a local travel agent in Nepal to arrange a car and driver and hotels in different parts of the country. You might be best to use a local agent once you arrive as they will know the country and the pitfalls if you wanted to travel in a camper van.

JackyB Wed 11-May-22 04:17:26

I would shop around your area and ask if there are any local travel agents that specialise in Australia.

You son-in-law is on board so your itinerary will be suited to you, but do try and read up as much as you can in advance - maybe you can surprise him with some interesting tidbits along the way.

Oh, and double check everything. I once took my itinerary for a California trip to the travel agency and only discovered once everything was fixed that I had got one date wrong, leaving us without accommodation one night and, worse still, the travel agent had put us in a hotel in Monterrey (Mexico) instead of Monterey (California) for another night! Got it all sorted before we left, though, and I was pleased we had been able to work out our own route and do it at our own pace.

Juliet27 Wed 11-May-22 05:58:17

As jeannie99 does, I book our own flights and accommodation but one year we used AatKings who do various trips within Australia.

Visgir1 Wed 11-May-22 07:03:50

Check out info on TripAdvisor.
We were in Australia when the Covid pandemic stuck so had to abandon trip and get home. Our whole itinerary had to be abandoned, but we got full refund on all our preplanned Trips across areas of Australia.
All booked via advice from TripAdvisor.
Used several times now never let us down.

Saxifrage Wed 11-May-22 07:08:02

We have used Travel Counsellors many times. They have independent counsellors all over the country.
We have used them for complicated trips around iIndia including flights, many train journeys and guides in all places. We have also used them for simpler holidays of flights and hotels or self catering. It means you get suitable cover on flights a booking conditions. They have always worked well for us.

dragonfly46 Wed 11-May-22 07:35:13

Thank you for all your replies. My SiL is Australian and is widely travelled so has planned the itinerary we just need to sort out flights etc now.

kittylester Wed 11-May-22 07:50:48

I have never used this company but have heard good things (and I know her MiL)

dolphindaisy Wed 11-May-22 09:05:53

DD lives in Australia and we usually book direct with Emirates as they fly from our local airport. If you want a few options I suggest trying the Netflights website, type in your requirements and you'll get a list of airlines, prices, journey times and luggage allowance, very good to compare. If you prefer to speak to a travel agent I would recommend Trailfinders if you have one near you.

Pepper59 Wed 11-May-22 10:01:34

I have never been to Australia, but know someone who uses Trailfinders. They say they are a good company. I have never used them.

B9exchange Wed 11-May-22 17:56:07

Freedom Australia are abolutely amazing, we had designed our own tour of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, and they did the lot for us, all the flights, all the transfers, suggested all the hotels, but very happy for us to suggest others we preferred to stay at. We were including a stay with my cousin in South Island, New Zealand, and they built that in as well. They are just so flexible, and really good value, found cheaper flights than we could.

Davida1968 Wed 11-May-22 19:02:52

I can recommend Trailfinders. Very knowledgeable and helpful but no pressure. Can help with just flights. Or a lot more; whatever travel needs you have. We've used them for years.

Rosiebee Sat 21-May-22 18:32:56

Trailfinders for me, every time. We've been lucky enough to do several trips through the Manchester branch of TF since retiring. Our first involved a stay in San Francisco, flight to Hawaii and cruise around the islands, a week in Honolulu, a flight to Las Vegas, 4 nights there inc a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon. We'd never done anything like this before. We went in with the bare bones of the trip and they made suggestions and organised everything. It was amazing and all the aspects worked like clockwork. In fact we're going in this week to pay the balance on a Canadian trip. Lots of different activities and places to go and I have every confidence they will dovetail together as on all previous holidays.

CotswoldGrannie Sat 21-May-22 18:56:41

Trailfinders every time for a trip like this.
Please do not rely on TripAdvisor but invest in a decent guidebook to make sure you don’t miss anything you are particularly interested in, be it place, attraction, activity, scenic route, etc.
Then, once you know your routes, call Trailfinders and they will put together a package after establishing stopovers, etc. Another advantage is their ‘buying power’ can sometimes result in other advantages such as room upgrades in large cities, allocated seats on flights, etc.
The agents are well trained and thorough, usually with expert knowledge of the destinations they specialise in.
Another advantage is you have a certain additional protection if there is a delay or problem with your travel plans than if you were booking things separately via Expedia or similar booking sites.

Rosiebee Sun 22-May-22 13:30:37

One more good point about Trailfinders - honestly I don't work for them - two years ago our Canada jaunt had to be cancelled as the pandemic hit. Our money was promptly refunded. For bespoke travel plans, they are brilliant. Oh, and our flight home from Calgary has been upgraded from Premium Economy to Business. I shall feel like the bees knees.

tidyskatemum Sun 22-May-22 15:56:41

Agree with previous posters about booking everything through one travel agent. We’ve done our own thing several times and booked every part of the trip ourselves, which can work out a lot cheaper if you are prepared to do the legwork. However, if you book everything through one operator - I’d suggest Trailfinders, Audley Travel or Kuoni - if there are any problems eg Covid rearing its ugly head again they can be trusted to rebook or arrange refunds without any hassle. We’ll be doing that for our next long haul tour.