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Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

Annapolis, Maryland
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Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

We are planning a lengthy (4 week) trip to Australia and New Zealand and have been in touch with "About Australia" (http://www.aboutaustralia.com/), who have proposed a personalized itinerary that looks quite good and is within our budget.

I am curious to know if anyone has had any experiences with them. I've seen one positive report on them here at TA but am looking to do as much due diligence as possible given the length and expense of the trip.

Thanks in advance!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

I have no experience with "About Australia" and it is unlikely you'll find many people here who have as those on Trip Advisor tend to organize trips to Australia and New Zealand on their own. I will say that I once contacted an online travel agency about an itinerary for 3 weeks in Australia to see if they could get better deals that I could. The proposal was ludicrous--much more expensive than I could do on my own.

If you have the time and inclination to organize your own trip, it's easy to do. I have made 3 trips to Australia and 3 trips to New Zealand and booked everything on my own. (My first trip was before "the Internet" and even then it was possible to do.)

Adelaide, Australia
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2. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

Like longhorn we organize all our own stuff.

But a good travel planner can be a great asset for people who don't have either the time or the confidence to organize their own travel. A travel planner is not the same as a travel agent - especially an on line travel agent.

However I don't know anything about "About Australia" either.

Wangaratta...
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for Kota Kinabalu, Wangaratta, Sandakan
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3. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

Sorry, like the others I have never heard of them. They appear to be a US based organistaion. I also dislike there G'day Mate drop down.

South Pole
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4. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

they also describe themselves as native australians which from their photos is a little hard to believe ;-)

and a pic of one of the owners standing on the top of uluru is also a turn off too.....

but when pitching to a a foreign market i guess all that stuff is ok and in the end has nothing to do with their service.

anyway the upshot is we dont get a lot of feed back on tour companies and TAs here as most contributors are DIY travellers.

Gungahlin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Canberra
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5. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

I noticed they credit their photos to various others. I can understand the Bridge Climb photos being credited to the Bridge Climb operators, no-one else is allowed to take cameras up there. I can understand if specific accommodation/attractions they deal with might want some control over how they are presented and prefer to supply their own photos. But I would have liked to have seen some photos credited to this company itself, if they have up-to-date personal experience wouldn't they have some? I also had some concerns about the captions, eg "The Ghan - Travelling by Rail in Australia", not exactly typical of train travel, in fact train travel is not a big thing in Australia (sadly IMO). However, for all I know, maybe they can provide you with the experience you want at a price you like and with the level of effort you want to contribute. But as explained it's mostly DIY on this forum so you won't get much info on such companies. You could, and indeed I reckon you should, read the reviews of the accommodation they propose, and also anything else that might be useful to give you a feel for what to expect. We've had a few surprises when leaving the choice of accommodation to an "expert" and for the most recent surprises it turned out the clues were already there on TripAdvisor if only I had known of it then. (The biggest one though, pre-computer era, was the city hotel that turned out to be a suburban B&B, not a welcome surprise on your first night in a foreign country and you think all you have to do is get yourself to the city centre, unpack and have a nice meal in the hotel restaurant or even order room service, and instead you have to go exploring first to find your accommodation and then to find somewhere to eat.)

rural West Aussie
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for Perth
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6. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

lien, I suspect they use the term "native Australians" in the American sense of "born in Australia" as opposed to the Australian sense of "Aboriginal Australians".

Arlington, Virginia
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7. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

I just put "2 and 2" together and remembered that there is a store in San Antonio, Texas called "About Australia". It used to be across the street from the Alamo (they are in a different location now) and when we'd go to San Antonio, I would treat myself to a (kind of expensive) Cherry Ripe. I knew they did travel stuff too, so it looks like this is their online travel company.

I know it doesn't really help with your question, but I can say I am familiar with them and that they have been in business in San Antonio for at least 10 years, which is when I first discovered their store.

Edited: 21 February 2013, 14:59
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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8. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

I've never heard of them - which isn't a comment on their product or service.

Looking at both their website and reading the opinion of the others, they come across to me as wholesale resellers of travel components - a common tour company, albeit the poor photographs and sales pitches.

But three things stand out for me;

1. Most of their tour itineraries focus entirely on central Australia and the east coast. (Perhaps I'm not looking carefully but I can't see anything involving WA or TAS)

2. I'd suggest you read their cancellation policy. It starts at $200 cancellation fee from 60 days prior, and incrementally increases.

3. It's a bit discouraging when you see fairly significant advertising for travel insurance on a travel website.

Just my observations.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

Did you ever find out? I am also looking into this company but am having a hard time finding reviews.

Key Largo, Florida
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7 posts
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10. Re: Experiences with "About Australia" travel planners?

I too am interested in using this service but have a few concerns. Any help would be appreciated.