Tips for the Road

Baan Veerakit Guest House Patong Beach
We spent 2 nights here after staying in Karon, this was a really nice place and it was cheaper than the Living room at about $8 each per night. It had a swimming pool as well which we used plenty.It was about 5min from the beach via scooter. They have scooters for hire just outside of the front door of the hotel. I would give this place a 8/10

Karon Beach
This was a very beautiful beach, a lot less people hustling you on the beach compared to Patong beach which is about 7km or so away. The entire area was dominated by Russians. With signs and menus in written in Russian it seems to be a very popular spot for them to travel to.

The Living Room Phuket
This place was also found using http://www.booking.com. It suited us fine, it was in a place called Karon beach.  The Living Room was owned by 2 English blokes and was run very well. We dealt with a travel agent who was right next door who was very helpful and booked basically everything we needed when we were there, all our tours, motor bikes, washing, and massages. The place was called “Tod’s Tours” The Living room Hostel would get a 7/10

 

Chern Hostel Bangkok
We found out about this hostel from http://www.booking.com it was affordable accommodation close to a lot of tourist places, only 15min taxi to MBK, a 5-8min walk from Khao San road. Plenty of places to eat in the area. The room we stayed in had air-con and 3 single beds. It cost us $45 for the room per night. It had a lounge area where people could hang out, laundry for 30 bhat and a restaurant. Very clean and modern set up. I would rate it 7/10

 

Accommodation in Sydney
On arriving in Sydney, I decided we needed to stay somewhere relatively inexpensive. I had been to Sydney a couple of times in the last year to visit my brother in at University and managed to find a place in centre city that was very well priced and the people were lovely!
So I booked us into Maze back packers, which is located on Pitt St in Sydney’s CBD
http://www.mazebackpackers.com/
Rooms go anywhere from $60 AUS to $25 AUS per night, depending on whether you are in a dorm room of 6-8 people or a single/double bed room.
The staff are friendly, and there seems to be a definite family vibe there. People that stay there are from all walks of life and from all parts of the globe, you are forever meeting new friendly travellers.

 

Camper van Hire
For our trip up to Port Macquarie, we decided to hire a camper van as it would solve our mobility problem and our accommodation problem! So after a bit of research we decided to use Britz. We used the following website to compile prices. They were super reliable and responding to emails regarding pick up and drop off. Very friendly.
http://www.drivenow.com.au
A simple and easy website to find out information about which camper would best suit our needs financially and practically. The van hire it self was $50, slept the 3 of us and had a kitchen, with gas stove, microwave, fridge and sink. We were not how ever told that insurance would be another $50, it just wasn’t made completely clear when booking. Never the less, the experience we had with them was excellent. Friendly staff that were very informative as to how we would safely and easily get to our destination. I signed up to https://www.roamexpress.com.au/secure/tollpayments/ which allowed me to put my number plate in for a limited amount of time to a system that would pay all my toll charges on roads in New South Whales allowing me to dodge any late fees that might incur. This made the trip a lot more hassle free and allowed us to simply drop the van off on our final day and walk away!

 

Now for my rant about Webjet
A few months before we left off to Australia, I booked flights from Sydney to Bangkok using Webjet. Webjet is great for compiling a list of all the prices of flights from different airlines and displaying them in an easy to read format. How ever, this is just about as far as their services will take you. The booking process for me took 3 attempts to get right. Or so I thought. The website seemed to crash 2 times after I booked on my first attempt. But since the website said it confirmed the flights had been booked and paid for, I decided to call them directly to check just in case. Luckily I did, because they had automatically cancelled our first booking for an unknown reason, and had called us Mrs Nathan Reynolds and Mrs Matthew Parlane on the second booking!? This also needed to be cancelled and re booked. After booking a third time, funds were taken from my credit card and booking was confirmed. I was finally at ease about the whole situation.
Until Thursday morning at Sydney airport. When I found out that Webjet had not paid Airasia, (the airline we had chosen) even though I had paid them. After a few phone calls and talks with the desk, it turns out that Webjet uses their own credit card to pay airlines, and in this case, their credit card declined. So I had no other option but to pay the entire price of the flights once again. I am still in the process of being reimbursed for this balls-up. So needless to say, I have not had the best experience with webjet. We have been recommended to use them only to compare prices, and then book directly through the airlines websites. This dodges the commission fee and has a much lower chance of mistakes happening from the middle men.

 

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