Travel

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Consumer

Holidays can be an expensive so it is always a good idea to compare travel packages as well as the cost of individual flights, trips and hotel accommodation before you purchase anything.

Buying travel

Prices will vary considerably depending on the season in which you are travelling, the standard of accommodation you choose, whether meals are included and other incidental costs such as airport transfers, local taxes etc.

Most holidays will cost more during peak seasons such as school holidays, warmer / dryer months and Christmas. If you decide to travel in the low season, consider why other people choose not to (maybe the weather is awful!).

If you are a person with a disability, the Air travel for people with a disability page may be helpful.

Travel agents

Travel agents in Australia are subject to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Under the ACL, travel agents must provide accurate information to consumers and must also guarantee services are provided with due care and skill and are fit for their purpose.

The booklet Travel and accommodation: An industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law provides more information about the travel industry and the ACL, including common issues or problems and how to handle them.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents Travel Accreditation Scheme (ATAS) is a voluntary industry-led accreditation scheme. It consists of a Charter and Code of Conduct and sets standards of good industry practice including complaint handling processes.

You are recommended to use an agent who is a member of ATAS. The agent is bound to act according to their code and you have some additional options if things go wrong.

The ATAS Code Compliance Monitoring Committee deals with consumer complaints and recommends sanctions such as suspension or revocation of ATAS membership. 

Travel safety

According to the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian's make over eight million Australians travel overseas each year, whether for business or pleasure. The vast majority of these trips take place without any major incident.

DFAT provides an important resource for Australians travelling overseas through its Smart Traveller web site. Apart from getting comprehensive travel insurance, you are advised to register your travel plans and sign up to their travel advisories and alerts.

Disputes

If possible, first try to resolve any issues with your travel provider directly. We have produced checklists and sample letters to help consumers resolve their issues. If you are unsuccessful our Advice Line team can help with further advice.

If you used an ATAS accredited agent, they should have a dispute resolution process in place. 

If you have tried, and are unable to resolve a dispute involving a major Australian airline, the Airline Customer Advocate (1800 813 129) may be able to assist you.

Travel insurance disputes can be referred to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and free legal advice is available from the Insurance Law Service.

Pre-booking travel checklist

A pre-booking travel checklist and other tips and information you should consider before purchasing travel, accommodation, tourist attractions and travel insurance are available on our website.

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