Australia Invites You To Do The Outback Your Way

The Northern Territory of Australia is inviting travelers to explore the Outback Your Way with limited-time promotions designed to make it easier and more affordable than ever to visit that famous part of the world. The promotions include a variety of great options such as free flights, discounted accommodations and other upgrades designed to enhance the experience.

The Outback Your Way program is designed to give travelers flexibility when exploring the Northern Territory without emptying their wallets in the process. For example, one of the most popular destinations in the Outback is Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, the iconic sandstone formation that has been sacred to the Aboriginal tribes for thousands of years. As part of this new promotion, when visitors book a three-night stay at the Desert Gardens Hotel, they receive a free tour of Kata Tjuta National Park, the location of that landmark. Similarly, travelers who book three-night stays in the Crown Plaza, in either Alice Springs or Darwin, also receive free touring options as part of those packages as well.

Those looking to explore the Outback in a completely different way can travel from Darwin to Alice Springs aboard the legendary Ghan Railway. The package includes two nights stay in both cities, a wildlife tour and a visit to the West MacDonnell Ranges, as well as a number of other activities. Traveling by train across Australia’s countryside is an unbelievable way to experience the natural beauty of the place and when booked six months in advance, travelers receive a $500 discount.

Other special deals that fall under the Outback Your Way promotion include a free helicopter flight over Uluru, complimentary internal flights when booking a comprehensive Australian travel package, a free sunset dinner cruise and much more.

If you’ve been planning an Australian vacation for some time but have been waiting for just the right opportunity, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Outback Your Way website. This is the perfect time to head down under and experience everything Australia has to offer.

[Photo Credit: Huntster via WikiMedia]

GetGoing Promises Deep Discounts For Flexible Travelers

Sometimes, you just need to get out of town. It doesn’t matter where, so long as it’s far away.

For these kinds of trips, flexible travelers can now avail themselves of a new booking platform:

The site, which celebrated its public launch yesterday, features an innovative Pick Two Get One platform, which provides airfare discounts of up to 40% if travelers can prove that they are flying for leisure by being flexible about their destination.

Here’s how it works:

– Search for the type of trip you want to go on. It can be a geographic region, like Europe or Asia, or a more general theme, like “History and Culture” or “Beaches and Sun.”

– Select two destinations from the options provided to you, then select two potential itineraries. At this point, you can see the discounted fare you will receive, but not the airline.

– Fill in your traveler details and credit information, then hit “complete this purchase” and let GetGoing decide where you’ll go.

I recently test-run the platform for an upcoming trip to Europe in May. Some of the discounts were significant, like $854 to Tel Aviv ($211 discount) and $631 to Moscow ($146 discount). But most fares were about on par with what I found by searching discount engines like Skyscanner and Kayak. And since the engine is airline-blind until the deal is done, you can’t factor frequent flier mileage programs into your deal search equation.For me, what’s most exciting about GetGoing’s platform is the ability to search for trips based on an idea, rather than a specific destination. For example, you can search for discounted fares to destinations on the New York Times list of Places to Go in 2013, like Managua or Istanbul. Or, search “Adventures and Outdoors” for destinations like Billings, Montana, and Los Angeles, California (we suppose there are all sorts of adventures to be had there).

According to GetGoing, “a little flexibility can save a lot of money.” Your experience on the site will depend on just how flexible you’re willing to be.

[Photo Credit: GetGoing]

Fly Here, Stay There: Best Places To Score Air & Hotel Deals This Month

If the start of the holiday season has you itching to get out of town, you’re in luck. Hotwire has tracked this month’s best deals, based on month-over-month and year-over-year cost analysis and found that many warm weather destinations are offering better than average deals. So where should you go?

Stay Here
Las Vegas tops the list for the fourth month in a row with a 10 percent drop and hotel prices for four-star accommodations from $85 and up. Convention business continues to be slow, but that’s good news for leisure travelers looking to hit the pools, shows and casinos at a fraction of what it typically costs. You’re in luck weather-wise too, with temperatures hovering in the upper 60s and low 70s in early December.

Knoxville and Milwaukee join the list as newcomers with eight and seven percent drops, respectively. In Milwaukee, hoteliers are concerned that this winter’s weather won’t be as mild as it was last year and are lowering rates to adjust. Hotels are reasonable too, at $82 and $86, respectively.

Palm Springs and Charleston – named the top destination in the world in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards – round out the list with six percent drops. Convention business is down in this Southern California resort town, leaving Palm Springs with rooms to spare, while hoteliers in Charleston are discounting to keep the momentum going from a busy October and early November.Fly There
Colorado Springs is a best bet for cheap airfare this month with an 18 percent drop and average fare of $258. Hawaii, however, continues to be a booming spot for great deals, where you’ll find great deal to a number of cities and islands, including Honolulu (16 percent drop), Lihue, (12 percent drop) and Kahului (11 percent drop) for an average fare of $452.

If you want to leave the country, you’ll also find great deals to Toronto, with an average fare of $358.

Drive Anywhere
Driving is particularly cheap in Cincinnati, Jersey City, Seattle, Detroit, and Miami Beach, where average per-day car rental prices all hover below $40, with many prices in under $30.

So we’d suggest booking a trip today. After all, you don’t want to be one of those travelers who leaves vacation days on the table … the average traveler leaves nine unused days each year, the site found.

[Image Credit: Buck Forrester]

Travel Bargains: Some Of The Best Go To Loyal Subscribers

Presenting their service or merchandise as a “travel bargain,” airlines, hotels, cruise lines, makers of travel gear and more are looking to catch our attention with a fabulous offer. Sometimes these offers have little extra value, come with restrictions or are good only at a time when it is not convenient to buy. Still, there are some coming out this year that do offer good value and have few rules, prompting savvy consumers, who wait for the best deal, to buy.

TravelSmith online travel accessories had a “buy one, get one for 50% off” sale, one-day only, the day before Thanksgiving. Proving how important it is to subscribe to email updates from preferred providers, only subscribers to TravelSmith’s updates got the offer. Restrictions still applied, the offer was only valid on regular-priced items and to redeem, customers had to click through to the deal via that email.Now that holiday shopping season is officially here, look for more offers like these from other suppliers we can get preferred status with, just by adding an email address to their list.

Don’t want a lot of junk email? Set up a separate email account just for this sort of offer. That way, they can give your email address away all they want to and it all goes to the same place.

[Photo credit- Flickr user Mat Honan]

Planning Now For A Holiday Getaway? 58% Of Travelers Aren’t

A new survey says that while 56% of travelers have begun saving for their holiday vacation, more than half will wait to find deals before booking a winter escape. Only 11% say they’ve actually booked their trips and have plans “locked down.”

The survey from, points out that 43% of customers actually say that they will not travel this holiday season, nearly double those expecting to travel more than 200 miles (28%).

Interesting notes from the study include:

  • Of those who responded that they weren’t traveling, 50% cite not enough vacation time, traveling with children, and expenses as deterrents from making travel plans.
  • Only 17 percent of consumers are able to take longer than a week of vacation for holiday travel.
  • Almost 60% of respondents said if they had the chance, they’d escape the urban jungle and go to a tropical paradise (43%), a snow-covered location (12%) or national park (5%).
  • Only 12% of those that responded will spend over $1,000 on holiday travel. 52% expect to spend between $100-1,000 on travel between now and the New Year.

Have you made your travel plans yet?

[Flickr via zoonabar]