Comparison Shopping for Travel in Australia

When traveling domestically, it’s easy enough to understand the usual suspects and shop accordingly. Things get a little more complicated when you consider international travel, particularly when going overseas to places far away from home. In my case, that includes going to Australia.

I’ve always said that travel is one of the best ways to spend your money, but that doesn’t mean you should just start throwing your cash around to anyone who will take it. International websites can help, but the more localized sites can be even better. Here are some of the best for your travels down under, mate.

Shopping for Domestic Flights

Travelocity and Expedia are two of the biggest names when it comes to flights, since they can help you compare multiple airlines at once. You may still want to visit the websites of the individual airlines to check for deals, but those are a good starting point.

Specific to Australia, though, is a site called I Want That Flight. This compares domestic flights in Oz, giving you a calendar with multiple times, dates, and airlines. This is great if your dates of travel are flexible. Qantas is the biggest airline, but they may not be the cheapest. Virgin Australia is a notable alternative, for instance.

Shopping for Hotels

Whether you’re looking for the cheapest hostel in town or something more upscale like the Agora Garden Hotel, you want to get the best price you can find. Major sites like Expedia and Priceline are good, but again, localized sites can be better.

Last Minute is one such example. Despite its name, you can book hotels several months in advance using this site. It lists a huge range of hotels, including “secret hotels.” The names and specific locations of these hotels are only provided after you’ve booked, because they are being offered at a significantly reduced rate. It’s a gamble, but sometimes it’s worth it.

Shopping for Car Rentals

When renting a car (or “hiring a car,” if you want to use the Australian vernacular), you can go to the sites of major companies like Avis and Budget. It’s through here that you can customize options like excess reduction (reducing the deductible on the included insurance) and child seats.

I haven’t used them myself, but Drive Now is a comparison site for car hires in Australia. Again, it allows you to compare multiple companies, vehicle classes, and rental periods. The price you see on the site is the price you pay and this is good for everything from an economy hatchback to a large camper van.

Do Your Research

Finding the best deal for travel in Australia, just like traveling anywhere else in the world, means that you need to do your homework. Shop around. Using the comparison sites listed above could save you some cash that you could then spend on, say, some kangaroo steak or ostrich burger.