Travel Auctions: Bid your way to a bargain Holiday

Is there anything a hammer won’t fall on? No, I say! Holiday time is a major expense for any family, and even intrepid travelers, so saving a dollar or two is always welcomed. Travel auctions have become popular in the US and UK, and are starting to take off here in Australia.

The tips for buying at these sales are really not that different from buying at any type of auction and the first most important rule is to know exactly what you are bidding on, and it’s real value. I mention real value, as there is no point getting into a bidding war for a flight or accommodation, thinking you are getting a great deal when you could buy it elsewhere for less.

It first pays to understand the travel market, which has high and low seasons as you know, and the fact that rarely does anyone ever pay the full recommended retail (rack rate) for anything, unless you walked into the hotel at last minute during carnival time or something silly. So, when you visit sites offering BIG discounts, and this applies to group buy sites also, and you see a big bold banner with ‘RRP’, or ‘normal price’ etc., ignore it. First establish exactly what it is for sale and when it can be used, what conditions there are, then go and look up the prices on the various discount travel sites such as,, etc., to establish it’s real market value for the dates it’s available.

Once a ‘real market value’ is established then you can establish a bidding limit that bags you a bargain. There’s a few other pointers too:

  • Read ALL the fine print – do you need to pay a commission? Also, certain travel dates may be blocked out, there may be extra fees, surcharges, and taxes.
  • Are you buying a voucher or a booking? Vouchers may have more conditions and may not offer the same service as a regular guest, questions you should be asking before bidding.
  • Are you booking through a licensed travel agent?
  • If buying from a private seller, i.e unwanted gift, will there be fees for name changes, does the actual service provider allow on-selling of tickets?
  • What’s it really worth? –  as mentioned in detail earlier, establish the REAL value of what’s on offer.

Where to hunt for deals?

In the US there are several sites including: – they offer an option to ‘name your own price’ where you select the area, select the star rating and make a bid, the site then tries to get a hotel in the area to match your bid offer, if they do, it’s yours. You only find out the name of the hotel after you’ve won. The hotel doesn’t want to ‘devalue’ it’s service by advertising low rates, nor does it want empty rooms, the blind auction aims for a win-win between bargain hunter and hotelier. – Each week Luxury Link offers Mystery Auctions that last 7 days. Bidding starts at $1 and you will know the country, the retail price and what’s included, but the exact hotel name and specific location remain a secret until the auction is won.  They also have regular auctions of luxury travel packages. – There are taxes and service charges which are made clear in the item description, and a processing fee. Consider the fees when bidding.

In the UK: – in the holiday category, at the time of writing, on offer was tour packages to such places as India, Nepal and even Mt Everest.

In Australia: – you” have heard of Grays Online Auctions before I’m sure, now they are into accommodation. It’s not an auction but you select where and when and you’ll be presented with a list of hotel choices just like any other site, the difference is you can book now, or choose to try and ‘haggle’ the price down. Off the bat, comparing a couple of random hotel selections to other travel sites, the rates are already competitive. – choose your destination, then choose from a list of offers and bid. Offer includes details on the property and conditions of use.

Ebay Travel auctions – Here you can often find loads of accommodation packages for hotels and resorts, unwanted gift vouchers, holiday vouchers and more. The one advantage with ebay is the seller protection offered via Paypal, although, that doesn’t excuse anyone from doing due diligence…. You can also find deals at ebay for flights,

GOLD COAST HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION H-Residences $1250 7 Nights 2 Bedroom Ocean

AU $99.00
End Date: Friday Jan-5-2018 20:08:05 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $99.00
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Holiday 3 bed rm wk accom Fri 12th Jan 2017-Fri 19th Jan 2018 Gold Coast -c item

AU $161.50 (2 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Dec-20-2017 21:06:00 EST
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AU $149.00
End Date: Sunday Dec-17-2017 18:41:20 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $149.00
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AU $880.00
End Date: Wednesday Jan-10-2018 21:17:52 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $880.00
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AU $150.00
End Date: Monday Jan-1-2018 20:50:46 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $150.00
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Phillip Island Holiday Accommodation Sleeps 9 water views $180-$270 p/n

AU $200.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-9-2018 21:10:05 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $200.00
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holiday accommodation cottage circa 1860

AU $200.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-2-2018 16:36:19 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $200.00
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Phillip Island Vic Holiday Island Breeze resort - Fri 22/12/17 - Fri 29/12/17 -

AU $450.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Dec-16-2017 9:33:29 EST
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Holiday Accommodation Unit (12th-19th Jan 2018) Caloundra Sunshine Coast

AU $1,000.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-16-2017 17:49:10 EST
Buy It Now for only: AU $1,000.00
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TANGALOOMA HOLIDAY 1 week sleep 6 from 27th January 2018 til 3rd February 2018

AU $750.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Dec-18-2017 10:18:34 EST
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How To: Buying a Laptop at Online Auction
Upcoming Auction Notices – July 12, 2013