Secure travel planning

When booking travel within Australia or overseas, the best deals can be found online. Webmaster Drew shares his favourite sites and explains how to stay safe during purchases and how to sort the deals from the scams.

The travel industry is thriving and with the implementation of easy to use online booking systems overheads have been decreased resulting in better deals for the traveller.

The major problem with booking travel online is the increase in bogus websites which are being set up to try and defraud unsuspecting travellers booking their dream adventure online. There are three important rules you should follow before you book online.

Buy from a trusted brand

There are hundreds of Australian websites offering accommodation, flights and travel packages and thousands more around the world. Booking your travel with a company you have never used and you have not properly investigated to save a few dollars is ill advised. It is important to note that the big brands usually buy out hotel rooms around the world to offer the cheapest prices available. At the bottom of this article we have listed a number of brands through which YOURLifeChoices staff have successfully booked travel online. This does not mean you should not buy from a website we have not listed, it simply means you should research the website online by reading user reviews (search through Google) and ring the company to verify they exist beyond the internet before booking.

Sense check

The sense check involves two steps:

Step one: Look at the website address of the company you are purchasing from. When looking to purchase accommodation from www.hotels.com you should look at the website address and confirm it is the correct address. Scam websites will generally set up similar address names such as hotels.ebhookings.com. This type of address can fool even the most experienced online shopper (the last part of a website address before the .com is the websites name, anything before that is a hosting page on the website). In this example ‘hotels’ is the page name on the website ebhookings.com.

Step two: Before making a payment, you want to ensure the webpage is secure. You will know the website is encrypted for payments by looking at the first five letters of the website address. On a secure page (one that will require you to enter your credit card details) the start of the website address will read HTTPS:// with the ‘S’ standing for secure. Further more depending on your web browser, a secure Golden Padlock will appear in the bottom right hand corner of your computer screen.

Look around

You may stumble across an amazing deal online and want to instantly click purchase. Look into the deal, find out what you are getting in the fine print before you purchase it and most important, have a look around the internet on four or five other websites to see what they can offer. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. In our experience, mixing and matching between a number of different travel websites can produce savings in the vicinity of hundreds of dollars on an overseas trip.

YOURLifeChoices Trusted Travel Websites

Expedia – www.expedia.com.au

Webjet – www.webjet.com.au

LastMinute – www.lastminute.com.au

Hotels.com – www.hotels.com

Flight Centre – www.flightcentre.com.au

Harvey World Travel – www.harveyworld.com.au

Intrepid Travel – www.intrepidtravel.com

Hostel Bookers – www.hostelbookers.com

STA Travel – www.statravel.com.au

Contiki Tours – www.contiki.com.au

*The websites listed above have been previously used by YOURLifeChoices staff or highly recommended by friends of staff.

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