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Family trip to Lombok... booking online?

4 replies

WallyWallyWally · 20/09/2019 07:56

We just made the very exciting decision to have our first long haul trip as a family, to Singapore and Indonesia. DH and I travelled a fair bit before we had children, but this is our long haul trip as a family. Children will be 12 and 9.

My question is.., how much do you book online in advance and how much do you book locally when you get there? Clearly the availability of online booking for everything from guest houses to tours to treks to boat trips has expanded massively since the days of pitching up with a Lonely Planet and no mobile phone!

Is it safe / reliable to book things like treks etc online, or should we wait till we are there?

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PenguinsRabbits · 20/09/2019 12:59

I always book flights and all accommodation in advance - trips I have provisionally planned out. If they get booked up in advance or our a key part of our trip I book in advance, otherwise when there.

I do what I can to verify its a safe company. Accommodation if there's a free cancellation, no prepayment option they are good. Using a credit card gives some protection. With airline would check out bankruptcy risk, safety record etc and book direct not through third party. Hotels tend to start on Booking.com but sometimes book direct. Trip companies sometimes you can see if there are official ones and tripadvisor reviews screening for obvious fakes.

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SJane48S · 22/09/2019 14:37

I book pretty much everything in advance these days (in complete contrast to how I travelled in my late teens/early twenties) - just makes things more hassle free and lessens the ‘So, what do we all want to do today?’ debates that can last hours in our house and just go in complete circles till no one actually wants to do anything!

We tend to move around on holiday spending 3-4 days in one place. I generally take a look at travel companies itineraries for a particular country as well as use Lonely Planets online guides and Tripadvisor ‘Things to do’. Like @PenguinsRabbits, I use Booking.com a lot (going for the pay on the day option so we can save for the cost) as well as AirBnB and HomeAway.

The older I get, the more of a penny pinching skinflint I seem to be & I like to get a good deal for trips with a safe and reputable company so research and book these from the U.K. (on the day tour bookings at a hotel can be a complete rip off!). I use Viator (Tripadvisors trip booking arm) to book tours but sometimes just get a few quotes from recommended local tour operators on Tripadvisor. I use Tripadvisor to get quotes as well for local shuttle services and email the top five recommended firms.

When it comes to anything involving wildlife (particularly as my DH works in animal welfare) I really carefully vet venues to make sure we’re not visiting anywhere we’ll be paying money towards animal abuse. Particularly in Asia, there are some extremely dodgy animal attractions with really unsavoury practices (I remember going to some horrible crocodile wrestling thing in Singapore). This means again through loads of Tripadvisor reviews and googling the place.

While it’s all a bit of a faff and there ain’t much on the spot spontaneity, I do actually enjoy doing all the planning! It all gets printed off and stuck in a folder. It’s not all set in stone though - if we’re really all just whacked out and just want to lie like vegetables then cancelling/trying to rearrange a trip isn’t the end of the earth!

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fuzzyduck1 · 28/09/2019 03:40

We usually book it all before leaving uk. Done some month holidays around the Far East lots of flights and different towns / countries.

But off to Bali in a week for a month and only have the first 3 nights accommodation booked so far. We’re now getting an idea of where we want to go so sure It will all come right in the end

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WallyWallyWally · 02/10/2019 11:29

Thanks all! I think we will book as much as we can before we go - I too like a folder full of times / dates / places to refer to.

Its been so long since we did this kind of trip - and the first time with children - that I am feeling quite daunted about moving around often. Hmm i feel another thread coming on...

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