Be your own DIY travel agent

On June 14, 2010 at 11:51 PM

Top tips for booking travel online with ease

With so many airlines, hotels, car rental companies and travel deals on offer, booking a trip can sometimes feel daunting, even for the most seasoned travellers.

Even if you are an experienced traveller, these ‘insider’ tips from, operated by Expedia Inc., the world’s largest online travel company, can give you the know-how to book your own trips online with ease and show you how to find more choice and value for money.

Louise Crompton, Marketing Manager of, says: “With the internet, booking a trip has never been easier and undoubtedly presents you with more choice. Put simply, you have the world at your fingertips. However, where you book matters, and how you do also matters, so with just a few helpful DIY travel booking ‘rules’ and tips, you can go online to research and book your trip in confidence knowing that you can consider all your options and get value for money.”

Here are’s top online DIY travel booking rules and tips

  • Rule #1: Be flexible

Being flexible with your travel dates can save you money. When researching to book your hotels or flights online, it pays to check one day either side of your planned date as prices fluctuate from day to day. For instance, hotel prices tend to be cheaper on a Sunday night than a Saturday night. Also, when flying to visit family and or friends for the holidays, fly on the actual holiday, e.g. Christmas Day or Easter Sunday, as it’s usually cheaper than the day before and you tend to avoid the crowds.

Tip:,nz’s Rate Calendar enables travellers who are flexible with their dates to view colour-coded calendars that indicate the least expensive days to stay in hotels. 

  • Rule #2: Pay no fees

Some online travel agents charge an additional fee of up to $50 on top of the advertised rate to book flights with them. They may also charge you a change or cancellation fee. Why pay flight booking fees if you don’t need to, and why should you be penalised for making changes to your travel bookings due to circumstances beyond your control?

Tip: At, we don’t charge flight booking fees and we are the only travel website not to charge change or cancellation fees both online and over the phone. 

  • Rule #3: Package to save

You can often save money when you book hotel, flights and/or car rental together. Not only does this save you money, it saves you time.

Tip:’s dynamic packaging technology is a great tool that shows you the savings you make when booking your flight, hotel and/or car hire in a single package. 

  • Rule #4: Look out for special offers

Sign up to email newsletters to receive immediate first-hand notification of great travel deals.

Tip: notifies email newsletter subscribers of great 72-hour and other travel deals, giving them the first chance to snatch up amazing travel bargains of up to 50% off. 

  • Rule #5: Compare prices

The good news is that when it comes to travel, the customer is king! Competition among travel agents is stiff, so consider your options and compare prices.

Tip:’s Price Promise Guarantee guarantees customers that if they find a better hotel deal or international flight price, Expedia will beat it and give them a $50 coupon. 

  • Rule #6: Booking at the last minute is not always cheaper

Contrary to popular belief, not all hotels and airlines drop their prices at the last minute to increase their occupancy rate or fill seats. Airlines tend to increase their seat prices from two weeks before the departure date. You may find that some hotels will drop their prices at the last minute to achieve a higher occupancy while others won’t. If you can’t book both elements of your trip together, the best advice is to secure your flights first and then look out for some attractive accommodation deals.

Tip: With’s Last Minute tab, travellers have quick access to discounted hotel deals due to expire. 

  • Rule #7: Don’t play the waiting game

Following on from the previous rule, if you see a price that is a good deal, book it. If you play the waiting game in the hope of a cheaper airfare or hotel room, you could miss out on it altogether because it is either sold out or the prices may increase due to daily fluctuations. 

  • Rule #8: Get the best value for your money

With so many hotel deals and discount airfares on offer, you can take the savings and ‘up-star’ to a higher class hotel for the same price as an undiscounted lower-star hotel whilst staying within your budget. Take a look at all the different room types available, don’t just zero in on the cheapest available. When travelling, you have to take into account how much breakfast and other meals can cost each day. More often than not, you will find online deals that will include breakfast that are $10 more than the room only rates, therefore offering an attractive saving. Many online hotel deals also offer added value with spa treatment, dining and other facility discounts.

Tip:,nz’s Deal Hunter  provides travellers easy access to all the best deals. Expedia scours its site daily for the best deals from their list of over 110,000 hotels. The deals that make the cut go up on the deal hunter page, making it easier for time poor consumers to get a great deal.  

  • Rule #9: Consult independent traveller reviews

Talk is cheap. The hotel’s marketing blurb is not your only source of information about it. Why not check out what actual travellers have said about a place so you can decide for yourself whether it is suitable for your purposes or not.

Tip: has more than 350,000 independent traveller reviews – these reviews are written by fellow travellers so they offer valuable, unbiased and honest opinions and advice for your next trip. There are more than 14,000 reviews from Australian and New Zealand travellers. 

  • Rule #10: Grab the best airline seat at the time you make your booking

A recent poll of 1,000 Australian travellers revealed that almost 70 per cent of Australians said the location of their seat was the most important factor affecting their enjoyment of a flight. Some airline and travel sites allow you to pre-allocate your seat on your flight at the time you book, enabling you to pick a seat that you prefer. 

Tip: has introduced technology through TripAdvisor's SeatGuru®, the internet's most comprehensive source of airline information, that lets travellers find and reserve the best aircraft seats before they fly on many flights.  This functionality enables travellers to view colour-coded aircraft seat maps that identify superior and sub-standard seats as part of their search and booking transaction on Travellers are then able to request specific seats as part of their air trip booking on

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