It all seemed so easy. Flights were on special so bought them online direct. Found a cheap hotel online and booked it (after scouring TripAdvisor and anything else on the web for reviews). Who says holidays have to be expensive and why would I need someone else to book them for me?
The answer is simple: when things don’t go according to plan.
When backpacking through Europe for six months, The Plan is an amorphous creature that doesn’t mind the odd stranding in Algeciras with food poisoning post-Morocco side trip. When on a so-called ‘cheap and easy’ mini-break to Bali, The Plan has you home in time for school and work, NOT sleeping in an airport with two kids and hopes of eventually getting back to Australia.
DIY holidays have a time and a place. And just like assembling a piece of Ikea furniture, you need to read the small print.
According to a Flight Centre spokesperson, the onus is on people who book specials direct with an airline or hotel to know the terms and conditions when it comes to changes and cancellations of bookings. And folk travelling on the no-frills airfares to and from Bali mid ash cloud debacle last week were left with few options.
“Travel agents understand fare rules and conditions,” the spokesperson told News Corp.
“It’s so overwhelming for people because there is so much choice on the internet.”
“Understand what you are getting in terms of customer assistance and support. With travel agents you have 24-7 assistance but when booking direct the onus is on you to fix your own problems.”
Travel agents also encourage taking out travel insurance, about which, when it comes to some close-to-home destinations, Australians can be a bit lax and simply not bother.
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