Planning your own dream holiday

Val has just retired and wants to embark on her bucket-list holiday, but she needs some advice on how to start planning. In today’s Travel SOS, Kay O’Sullivan offers Val her top tips.

Q Val
I’m just retired and finally have the time to plan the trip of a lifetime. But there’s so much information out there, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Should I just give up and go to travel agent with a bucket list?

A: No, definitely not. Don’t give up. Part of the joy of a holiday is the anticipation and there’s nothing like planning a trip for getting you excited about where you are going.

But the devil is in the detail, especially when it comes to travel. How do you make this go with that, and then that and that and that? It can be a nightmare, especially when you are planning a complicated trip involving difference continents, countries and cities.

Yes, you can use a travel professional – and I’m believer in them to help pull it all together or find deals for you – but even then you will get a better result if you know exactly what you want and where you want to go before you starting talking to one. That’s where the research and the planning comes in and, of course, if you are doing it all yourself you definitely need to heed what I am about to say.

My advice to you is that the first step on your journey of a lifetime is to head straight to

The most prosaic description of rome2rio that it is a transport search engine, my description is that it’s magic. The site’s tagline sums it up; discover how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry and automobile. And that’s exactly what it does, as well as telling you how much it will cost, how long it will take, and directing you to the sites where you can book what you want.

Say, for instance, I wanted to go from Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia to St Petersburg in Russia. According to if I decided to fly, the entire journey from the centre of UB to the centre of St Peterburg would take 10 hours and two minutes and cost between $354–$806. Then rome2rio breaks the journey down into sectors: i.e. A taxi from Ulaanbaatar to the airport 15 minutes, cost $2–$4; flight 9.15 hours, cost $330–$800. In St Petersburg the train to the city from airport (line 39) takes 20 minutes, cost $1, frequency every 15 minutes, while the line 2 bus takes 13 minutes, cost $2, frequency every 5 minutes.

But if I want to train it all the way, rome2rio tells me I’ll need to catch two trains and that journey will take six days and two hours and cost between $180–$220.

Then, of course, I could drive (as if) and it would take three days to cover the 6589.8 km between the two cities and cost me in the vicinity of $900–$1300 for fuel. Oh, yes, if I did go completely bonkers and decide to drive I could use Google maps which is integrated into the rome2rio app.

The site makes it super easy to book my choices via links to rental car companies, accommodation site, and platforms for trains, ferries and buses.

I’m also delighted to report that rome2rio comes to us via Melbourne. This amazing site and its simple-to-use App was developed by a Melbourne company founded by two whizz-bang entrepreneurs, Michael Cameron and Bernhard Tschirren. Both of these men worked at Microsoft and other power names in the tech world, while the CEO is one of Australia’s most successful travel entrepreneurs, Rod Cuthbert, the founder of Viator, a world leader in online travel experiences.

No wonder it’s the best site and App for travel planning that I’ve discovered. and the rome2rio app is available at the App Store.

Do you have a travel question for Kay? If so, email your Travel SOS to [email protected]

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Written by kayo


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