10 Steps to Vacation Planning

Kangaroo at Currmumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Gold Coast, Australia

Kangaroo Kisses

So you’ve decided you want to have your next vacation in the South Pacific. Maybe Australia, New Zealand or Fiji, possibly even a combo. But you’re not quite sure how to start vacation planning? No worries! Here’s About Australia‘s low-down on where you should start & what you need to consider.


Step 1: Vacation Destination

Decide which country (or countries) you want to visit. Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papa New Guinea etc. Sounds like a simple decision right? Well, not always. If you’re struggling with this big decision, we’d be happy to offer some advice.


Step 2: Style of Travel

Work out what ‘style’ of vacation you want. The different styles of vacations are typically:

  • Independent: This is the most common style of vacation. It’s where you and your companions travel following a pre-set itinerary, without a full-time guide. On some days you rest & relax, on other days you join various day tours and go sightseeing. Accommodation, flights & day tours are pre-planned and pre-booked giving you piece of mind as you travel. Some days of your trip are left ‘open’ for free-time allowing spontaneity. Meals are generally not included giving you full choice to eat what, when and where you like. Travel in luxury, on a tight budget or anywhere in between. Just let us know what you want, and we’ll help you customize your trip to suit your needs.
  • Self-Drive: Is an “Independent” style of vacation that includes at least one road trip (long or short) in a rental vehicle. For the road trip you have a pre-set plan on where you’re going, but your plan can be as open and as flexible as you want, or conversely set-in-stone with all stops pre-planned & pre-booked. Ultimately it’s up to you. Everyone is different, so just let us know if you want to self-drive on your vacation and we’ll set it up for you.
  • Escorted Tours: These are all-inclusive fully guided group tours with the same tour guide & group of people being with you for the entire trip. It’s a great way to make new friends and travel knowing that everything is taken care of for you.
  • Backpacker: Travel as cheaply as you can with as much flexibility as possible. Generally stay in hostels and fly on ‘standby’. Allows you to travel for longer periods of time and see a lot on a very limited budget.


Step 3: Sightseeing

Make a wish-list of things you’d like to ‘See’: wildlife, waterfalls, The Great Barrier Reef, volcanoes, glaciers, museums, art galleries, etc. You can use our Experiences menu as a starting point for inspiration. We’ll use this list in step 5.


Step 4: Activities

Make a wish-list of things you’d like to ‘Do’: shopping, sight-see, wine-tasting, bird-watching, diving, rest/relax, cycle, walk, ski, etc. You can use our Experiences menu as a starting point of activities to do on vacation. We’ll use this list in step 5.


Step 5: Set Vacation Travel Dates

Depending on your wish-lists (from Steps 3 & 4) you may be restricted to travel certain times of the year, especially if you want to partake in seasonal activities like snow skiing & fishing. Things to consider when selecting dates are:

  • Climate & Seasons: make sure the climate, seasons, rainfall & water temperatures will be suitable for the places you want to visit and the activities you want to do. We’ve consolidated a lot of useful information for you on Australia here: Weather, Seasons and Climates in Australia
  • Public & School Holidays: Check to see if your travel dates include public or school holidays. Some tours don’t operate on public holidays and if they do they may be crowded or even sold-out. Holiday periods are also typically more expensive due to higher demands (especially accommodation). Check out our tips on the best time to travel to Australia.
  • Airfare Pricing: Airlines typically price their fares based on ‘peak, shoulder or low’ seasons for travel. If you are budget conscious, try to avoid traveling during ‘peak’ periods of travel where pricing is typically more expense. Check out our Airfare Pricing Tips


Step 6: Places to Visit

Once you have a good feel for the types of things you want to ‘see & do’ on your vacation it makes it very easy for us to give you recommendations on cities, towns & places you should visit during your vacation. This is where we can help you a lot. With your unique wish-lists in mind, we’ll help you decide between different places by working through the pros & cons of each. You can check out our list of the best places to visit in Australia on vacation. Generally it’s quicker & easier for us to help you through this step via a phone call. Contact Us when you’re ready to chat.


Step 7: Accommodation

Next is selecting your vacation accommodation at each place that is best suited to you. We’re Experts at this and we’d love to help you make the right decision for your group. There are so many factors to consider when choosing the right place to stay, all the way down to the fine print in a Hotel’s Policy & Service Manual. By selecting a hotel with Policies & Services that work in your favor can sometimes save you a lot of money. We take the hard work here and do all the research for you, choosing the best hotels for you and your specific needs.


Step 8: Logistics & Routing

Now we need to work through the logistics & routing options to figure out the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to piece all the places in your itinerary together. At this point we need to plan ‘smart’ to maximize your time having fun, minimize time in-transit and get you the most ‘bang-for-your-buck’. For example, swapping two places around might help reduce your time-in-transit due to flight schedules. It may also save you money because it’s cheaper to pick-up a rental car in one location and drop-off in the other. We know the tricks!


Step 9: Vacation Design & Price

With all this information on hand, we can design your customized vacation with a no-obligation quote. This typically takes us 1 business day. After you’ve received the first draft we can easily ‘tweak it’ until we get it ‘just right’.


Step 10: Booking

Once you’re happy with your itinerary & the price, then you’re ready to Book Your Vacation!

Happy Travels!

G’Day Mate! Get to know the passionate minds behind the scenes, the dream-weavers, the travel enthusiasts, and your dedicated guides to the beauty of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the enchanting South Pacific.



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