Feb 26, 2014

neither simple, easy or low cost!

Planning a vacation is not simple, easy or low cost here in Australia....

planning a vacation?

Whilst living in SE Asia if you wanted to spend a few days away, be it Bangkok, Batam, Bali or Borneo, you called the hotel and booked a room.  Travel is simple in South-East Asia, with an extensive network of flights, buses and trains which usually didn't require much booking in advance and the same applies to hotels or resorts.

But in Australia it is neither simple, easy or low cost!

A couple of weeks ago we wanted to go away for the weekend. We tried five different towns all within 2 hours drive of where we live, every place I called required a 'two nights minimum' booking to start with, that is IF they have any accommodation available.  It was incredibly frustrating.  All we wanted was one night away, preferably somewhere quiet, comfortable & relaxing. I even started to wonder if the stress of spending 4 hours on the phone trying to find such a place was even worth it!

The lack of customer service here is appalling. True customer service where the manager of the hotel / motel has thought or care for the customer. As an example, I sent an email to a Caravan Park in Maryborough asking if they had a deluxe cabin for one night, they replied 27 hours later with just one sentence: "no we do not have any deluxe cabins left".  I replied back "do you have any cabins for the night requested".  23 hours later they replied "yes, we do have cabins available" .....

*face palm*

why didn't they reply in the first instance with something along the lines of "am sorry we do not have any deluxe cabins available, however we do have a basic cabin and we also have the superior cabin available"!

definitely a DUH moment!

We did find somewhere, but it was just a 3 star motel at a place called Newstead, not really what we were hoping for, but it was adequate.  (blog post here)

Now I am in the process of booking a 10 day vacation coming up in April. I should have logged the number of hours it has taken me to locate accommodation, book and pay same.  So far I am guessing I have spent at the very least six hours, probably even more.  We are not flying anywhere, no exotic accommodation, resort or whatever, no, this is just a driving holiday with a destination in mind.  But the hassle of locating a place to stay on the way to and fro has been more than stressful. 

But we are talking about Easter / Anzac Day break and here in Australia it seems that everyone and his dog - and cat - are out there traveling somewhere!  Yesterday I was looking for one nights accommodation around Penola / Naracoorte in South Australia .... I came across one where they required a minimum of FOUR nights! 

One I looked at called itself a RESORT ....hah, they don't even know what the word means .... it was no more a resort than the local boarding kennel, I asked why the 'resort' and was told they had a pool and a spa.

Whoopie doo!

Another was a B & B at Mt Gambier, I left a message on their FB page, I phoned five times and each time it went to an answering machine and no I didn't leave a message as I was in and out all day and didn't want to be taking calls while out ... five days later and I still have not rec'd an answer to the query I left on their FB page!

NOTE:  it is now 3 mths later and still have not heard from them!

But it is done. I have managed to book accommodation for seven nights at various locations, but it was not simple, easy or low cost!

I will document the process, so stay tuned for the next blog postings!

To start with, I had two screens running, one with Google maps / accommodation listings for the area and the other with Trip Advisor (my travel bible) and I systematically worked my way through every area we were traveling.

The destination being Kangaroo Island.

stay tuned for where, when and how booked!


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