We’ve been using Hotels.com and bookings.com to pre book accomodation as we’ve traveled around OZ, however we’ve started to become aware that costs are not always what they seem.

Our current accomodation was booked through bookings.com and they sent us a confirmation email guaranteeing we had got the best possible deal. However, when we picked up a copy of the overnight rates here at the Motel it is ‘exactly’ the same price through bookings.com as it would have been if we’d walked in through the front door and asked what the rates were for a two night stay. There has been no saving.

Also, as good customers booking.com offered us 10% discount on future bookings, so I asked them via twitter where my discount was. Apparently this only applies to selected Hotels and this isn’t one of them!

Then I asked why Hotels were charging us an additional fee (on top of the 2.9% +£4  for using Debit card overseas) for using MasterCard and apparently Hotels in Australia and New Zealand are entitled to do that. So in effect every booking is 2.5% more expensive than advertised which seems to me to be unfair and I thought the budget airlines (Easy Jet and Ryan Air) had been told to include these costs in their headline prices?

Hotels.com has been pretty hopeless, often advising that there is no accommodation available on chosen nights when in fact other sites have availability. In one case, Hotels.com were advertising the same room as bookings.com but at a more expensive rate.

I also tweeted MasterCard to ask them why I am paying twice for the luxury of using their card but they have as yet failed to respond.

So, if you are considering coming to Australia, be prepared to pay a minimum of $150 per night and realistically, $200 per night for a decent room.

Dont waste your time using the web sites quoted, click on the actual web site of the prefered Hotel and email them or better still, phone them and get a quote. We got a $200 room for $140 on Friday because it hadn’t been sold Just by going in and asking what rate they had for that night.

Look at the room before booking. Most of the rooms we’ve stayed in look 10% bigger cleaner and better on the web site than they do in the flesh.

Bring cash don’t bother with Travellers cheques, no one takes them and if they do they charge you additional fees.

Be prepared for additional charges for using credit cards.

Even more surprising, Debit cards can cost you more than credit cards as they attract two separate fees.

If we were coming again (which I won’t) I would take internal flights from Sydney to Brisbane and book a car there if needed. Return it to Sydney and fly to Melbourne and do the same again. Even little places have airports and internal flights are cheap and plentiful.

I would also book a Bali holiday from here. 8 nights, 5 star Bali escape for two is $1399. Cheap as chips.

If you want to drive, rent a camper over here, they are cheap and well equipped. In most places the best spots have been caravan and camper sites, almost always beach or river front and even the big cities seem to cater for campers in some way.

So, that off my chest it’s an early night and off to Canberra tomorrow.

Hey ho the fun never ends.


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