Don’t go to your travel agent to book your next trip because you get the best holiday deals online.
I speak from experience as the last time I went to a travel agent I had to wait in a queue outside the shop so I could book an appointment to come back another time. As a result, I looked online and found some excellent holiday deal sites which made booking easy and left me with spending money for my trip.
On my first two bookings, I ran the special by a travel agent to check I wasn’t being ripped off and they were unable to compete with the prices. So I knew I had a great deal on my holiday but was I booking a dud? To answer this question, I checked reviews for the travel website I was booking though as well as the accommodation/flight/tour directly. If there were no reviews, I would probably not book as they are my safety backup. Look for recent reviews only.
It helps to use a travel website you trust and there are a few biggies out there. Stay away from the smaller, lesser-known ones. This list is my go-to websites for holiday deals online if you live in Australia.
Further reading: How to bag yourself a cheap family holiday even as travel costs rise.
Where to find holiday deals online if you live in Australia
Booking.com is one of the biggest travel market places in Australia and offers accommodation, flights, packages, car rentals and attractions. You can also book airport taxis which I use as a stand alone because I like to arrange transport from airport to hotel before arriving anywhere as it takes the stress off.
The accommodation section is extensive with everything from hotels to hostels and privately rented guest houses. Flight prices are comparable with others across the web but occasionally they have super cheap seat allocations which beat everyone else hands down. For package holidays (flight + hotel) Booking.com teams up with Agoda and you’ll save a healthy 25% on flights. In May 2022 they teamed up with the Eurovision Song Contest and created the Italian Music Retreat package, so whatever kind of holiday you’re after, you’ll find it here.
Handy tip: Check out the Our seasonal and holiday deals in tiny font right at the bottom of the page which shows top active deals in a number of categories which aren’t displayed clearly elsewhere.
Ways to save with Booking.com:
- Join the Genius loyalty program for discount stays, free breakfasts and room upgrades and support via a live agent
- Become a Booking.com member and save 10% on accommodation
- Sign up to the newsletter for “secret specials”
I have to say that I’m more of an advanced than a last-minute trip planner, but there are times when you just need to find the cheapest deals online. And fast! LastMinute is not just for last minute holidays. The name comes from the days when last minute holiday bookings were always a win. This is no longer the case and LastMinute has the same same date ranges to book as the other big travel sites alongside some great last minute deals to honour their namesake.
No matter your budget, LastMinute has something for everyone. From quick weekend getaways to luxury stays at the best hotels, you can find great last-minute deals here. I particularly love their flash deals and specials on all-inclusive holidays. You can score last-minute flights plus hotel packages without breaking the bank with their lowest price guarantee. They match the lower price if you find a cheaper hotel or package within 24 hours of booking (terms apply).
Handy tip: According to the website, if you create a lastminute.com.au account and log into it before you search for hotels, you’ll see “Sneaky Saver” deals to access secret hotel deals for last-minute and even advanced bookings.
Ways to save with lastminute.com:
- Compare multiple deals on their website before booking anything. Filter by location, holiday, or activity to narrow down results.
- Sign up for Sneaky Saver emails to get 10% off hotels and be the first to hear about flash sales.
- Get bundle deals when you can. These are generally cheaper than separate bookings for flights, hotels, and activities.
Another website that I always check when I’m looking for holiday deals online is Expedia. What I particularly love about Expedia is their frequent specials, bundle deals, and how super easy it is to find whatever I’m looking for to plan my dream vacation. I can also buy travel insurance here, and I earn points through their Rewards Program … points that I can use for future travel.
Make sure to check Expedia’s Holiday Deals page for specials on everything from five-star hotels to off-the-beaten-path accommodations. Expedia always has a sale, but the best way to save is by bundling or booking flights, hotels, and activities together instead of separately. You can still compare the cost of each line item with the prices on the company’s own website to see how much you are saving (sometimes booking direct turns out to be cheaper). I often set my search filters to “fully refundable” when I’m browsing to make sure can easily cancel bookings.
Handy tip: Sign up for Expedia Rewards to access members-only pricing and collect points for future travel.
Ways to save with Expedia:
- Book from the Expedia app to get 10% off on hotels, double your reward points, get travel alerts, and access other app-only specials.
- Bundle your flight and hotel together or book your hotel later to save up to 43%.
- Bookmark the Deals, Coupons, and Student Travel Discount pages.
Although I check directly with airlines and other sites like Kiwi and Kayak, Skyscanner is my go-to when booking flights. It’s designed to help you find the cheapest flights. They don’t cover all flights on the planet, but their huge database covers around 99%. And it’s not just for flights; you can also use Skyscanner to book hotels, activities, and travel insurance.
What I love best about Skyscanner is the price alert emails they send when prices drop for my destination. I’ve saved hundreds on flights with this! I also use their ‘Everywhere Search’ feature when I’m feeling spontaneous or whenever I want to check alternate routes and prices. This shows the cheapest destinations you can fly to based on your location. They also have a very helpful multi-city feature that shows the cheapest connections as well as the number of stops for each flight. You can really customise each flight with Skyscanner to save even more money.
Handy tip: When booking flights, choose “Whole Month” instead of individual dates to find the cheapest day to fly (if your dates are flexible).
Ways to save with Skyscanner:
- Select “Whole Month” or “Whole Year” in the Depart box when booking to see the best and cheapest days to fly.
- Select “Everywhere” as your destination to see the cheapest destinations you can fly to.
- Use “Everywhere” as your departure point to explore alternate and cheaper flights.
BEST HOLIDAY DEAL SITES AUSTRALIA
I’ve used Expedia-owned Wotif a couple of times when comparing prices on flights and hotels and the website is an excellent starting point or guide, especially for local travellers wanting to discover the best the country has to offer. What I like best about Wotif is their neat hotel comparison feature and a decent amount of listings. While I’ve never actually booked a hotel here, my friend said their customer support was great when she had a refund issue.
If you live in Australia and want to DIY your vacations, Wotif offers plenty of deals on local hotels and activities. Wotif makes it easy peasy to organise your travels whether you’re a backpacker, a business traveller, or a honeymooner. Wotif was originally known for its great hotel deals but now they have thousands of offerings that include flights, car hire, activities, and even travel insurance. It’s really a one-stop travel planning website that has a special place in the heart of many Aussie travelers.
Handy tip: Create an account on Wotif.com to access exclusive deals like secret Mates Rates pricing.
Ways to save with Wotif:
- Sign up for Wotif account to unlock members-only pricing like secret Mates Rates and other exclusive deals.
- Download the Wotif app for real-time updates, free cancellation on select hotels, and to change your booking easily.
- Bookmark the “Deals” page to see what’s currently on sale.
Once in a while, I book a weekend getaway that’s over my usual travel budget, just because, well, I want to experience something different. And pamper myself, of course! Aussie-owned and operated Luxury Escapes is one of the websites that I visited when I was researching a trip to Hawaii. They offer deals for (you guessed it) exclusive, swanky, and luxurious experiences all over the world.
Luxury Escapes aggregates the best hotels, resorts, tours & cruises, last-minute escapes, experiences, and flights in one place as curated by experts. They “negotiate the best prices so you don’t have to” and work directly with top global hotels and brands to give you the best deals. For my Hawaii trip, I found it cheaper and more convenient to book directly on the resort’s website so I didn’t end up booking with Luxury Escapes. However, they do have heaps of deals, a referral program, and a price match guarantee if you happen to find a better deal elsewhere (terms apply).
Handy tip: Create an account with Luxury Escapes to unlock exclusive offers like VIP inclusions and the latest specials.
Ways to save with Luxury Escapes:
- Sign up to access members-only deals.
- If you find a better price for the same deal/package on another website, Luxury Escapes will match it (applies only to Limited Time Lux Exclusive packages).
- Refer a friend and earn rewards ($50/referral) when your friend books their first trip with Luxury Escapes.
HelloWorld Travel is another Aussie-based travel company that offers great deals on flights and activities. What makes them different from other aggregator websites is their huge network of travel agents and specialists that will tailor the perfect travel itinerary or tour package based on your goals and budget. My friend who has booked several trips with Helloworld love the custom holiday packages they created for her and her family.
Sometimes it’s great to have someone else plan your entire trip for you. It’s one less thing you need to think about! If you’re this type of traveller, head to the HelloWorld Travel website and click on “Enquire” or “Find An Agency” to talk directly to a travel agent. However, if you’re a DIYer, you can plan an itinerary the usual way. They offer flights, hotels, cruises, tour packages, activities, and travel insurance. To see their specials on holiday deals online, head to the “Deals” section at the top of the page. You can search by keyword and price or browse by destination.
Handy tip: Sign up at HelloWorld Travel to be the first to hear about the latest deals on flights, hotels, and packages.
Ways to save with HelloWorld Travel:
- Head to the “Deals” section to see specials for that week.
- Create an account to get the latest deals and offers.