Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What do you think about Austravel?

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Q. Could you please tell me what you think about Austravel as a company? We would like to use them when we travel to Australia at the end of the year.

Les Collins

A. I must have spent a good few thousand pounds over the years with Austravel, an experienced and competent agent. Twenty-five years ago, the company was instrumental in putting Australia on the map as a realistic holiday destination, when it arranged charter flights to the country – with fares below £500 for the first time, a revolutionary price point.

The company is now a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest holiday firm, TUI, and therefore financially rock solid.

But before you hand over your cash, shop around to see if another agent can improve on the price or service. Two other big competitors are Trailfinders and DialAFlight, and many other specialists are worth considering.

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