Who uses Travel Vouchers:
So this is it, you've booked your trip up the East Coast or to New Zealand, you've received an email with your vouchers and your bus tickets, but what does it all mean? This article will go through how your vouchers work, what vouchers have extras included, and what to look out for. These instructions are also valuable for people who have booked their travels with Happy Travels/Peterpans/Backpackers World Travel/ Happy Tours (We don't judge!), as they use the same booking system.
Firstly, the vouchers are generated by the booking system we use in Tripfarm, called TDMS. This booking system is a kind of Amazon for tours, we add the tours and accommodation you like to the shopping cart, and that's how we come up with the total price. Often times with our booking system, we can see how much availability is left on accommodation and tours, so we know exactly how urgent some bookings need to be made. However, not every tour has live availability, so sometimes a phone call or email is necessary, especially with tours on sale! It also has the most up to date prices for tours and hostels, and its why we can normally get these things cheaper than advertised.
With each voucher, you simply hand them in (Or show them the PDF on your phone), the hostel/tour checks the voucher code, and its all done! Some hostels require key deposits, but apart from that, you shouldn't need to pay for anything. For bus tickets, simply arrive before the time listed, at the address listed, and show your ticket to the bus driver. Easy as.
Sample Voucher 1- Base Magnetic Island
The voucher you can see below is a voucher for Base Backpackers in Magnetic Island. Magnetic Island is one of the most popular stops on the East Coast, and their voucher can sometimes be confusing because a lot of things are included with it and it's not very clear. Base Magnetic Island have a unique deal called Cheap Deal 2, which means you get 3 nights' accommodation, your return ferries to Magnetic Island from Townsville, a breakfast, a dinner, and a drink all included on one voucher. This voucher is used firstly for your ferry at the Sealink ferry terminal in Townsville, where you show your voucher at the desk and receive your return ferry ticket before boarding. As you can see, the voucher states the name of the tour/accommodation (Base Backpackers Magnetic Island), the specific deal (Base Magnetic Island Cheap Deal 2: Magnetic Magic), and the type of tour, in this case, an 8-bed dorm. the blacked out areas are the names of the guests, as this is a real voucher.
In the instruction section, you normally have the exactly what's included, the contact details for reconfirming or changing your trip, if there are any extras, and notable rules for the tour/accommodation, and what to do if you have open dated tickets. In this case, you can see that 3 nights' accommodation, your return ferries to Magnetic Island from Townsville, a breakfast, a dinner, and a drink is all included, the contact details for Base Magnetic Island are given, and that you should collect your ferry ticket at the terminal. Underneath this, you have specific guidelines for this hostel- it's a licensed venue so its illegal to bring your own alcohol, you can get thrown out for it. It also states that you can hire a stinger suit for $5 (You can also rent snorkelling gear for free when you leave a deposit). Finally, it has a paragraph about Full Moon Party dates, when Magnetic Island is at its busiest.
Underneath, you have the contact details and address of the hostel. The address is useful for finding the hostel when you first get off your buses in a new town, or if you're travelling by camper and just have your accommodation and tours booked with Tripfarm. At the very end of the voucher, you have the most important details, your booking date. This is the booking date of the first day of your tour/accommodation, and it's important to double check this to make sure it’s correct. It also contains a reference number should you need to confirm the booking with the tour/accommodation.
Sample Voucher 2- Dingos Fraser Island
A second kind of confusing voucher is the Fraser Island voucher, be it with Dingos, Frasers on Rainbows, or Pippies. The voucher below is for the Fraser Island trip with Dingos, which is for 3 days and 2 nights. However, this tour often includes accommodation in Dingos hostel in Rainbow Beach the night before and the night after the tour, as you usually need to be there for a safety briefing before the tour. The two nights accommodation is highlighted as the 'fare type' here. Dingos have a lot of requirements you should know, as it has the option of driving a 4x4 around Fraser Island- so you need to be over 21 with a full drivers licence to do it (If you don't, you can still go, it's just frowned upon to drive). The voucher also shows your sleeping bag hire, which is optional, and the $10 insurance fee, which is compulsory.
Also, it goes through how much time you need to call in advance for an open dated ticket, and that your safety briefing is at 5pm the day before, and is also compulsory (It can also be rearranged for the morning of the tour, at 7am if your short on time and arriving after 5 o'clock the day before your tour). But it's still compulsory, or you won't be allowed go. The safety briefing includes what to do if you're driving and get stuck in sand, a list of the dangerous animals, what to do if you see dingoes, and why you should travel in pairs and why you shouldn't leave someone asleep on the beach passed out at night.
Finally, the instructions go through what to do if you need to transfer the booking, and the cancellation policy. The bottom section that is highlighted states the booking date, which is the date that the TOUR starts, not the date of your first night of accommodation. Below in the voucher comments we usually reconfirm the dates for your accommodation to make it clearer.
Sample Voucher 3- Premier Motor Service
Next up is your bus voucher for Premier Motor Service, Greyhound, or Loka. This voucher is for Premier, as you can see at the top. It’s important to note that this is simply a voucher showing that your booking was put through our booking system, it’s NOT your actual bus ticket. We'll go through your bus ticket in the next section. But this voucher has got the amount of luggage that you can bring (With Premier if you want to bring additional luggage, you can pay an extra $10 on your first journey and you'll have it for the entire hop on hop off bus pass). It also goes through the terms and conditions, and at the very bottom, in small print, your booking number. To access your booking, you need to go to the premier motor service website, click maintain booking, and enter your booking number, and your PIN (The PIN is always 1234). Normally, we will book all your buses for you, but if you need to change or plan on keeping the pass and continuing on yourself after, it’s well worth knowing.
Sample 4: Premier Motor Service Bus Ticket
Finally, we have your actual bus ticket. The one shown is a Premier Bus ticket, for a hop on hop off pass, Cairns to Byron Bay. Here you can see your booking number: 2186408, and your PIN: 1234, which you use to change your booking on the Premier Motor Service website, if you need too. Here you can also see the date and time of your departures. For example, here you start in Cairns, at Cairns Central Railway Station, at 07:25am (It's advised to arrive 15-20 minutes early, just in case you need to check in bags). And you arrive at Townsville ferry terminal, where you get the ferry to Magnetic Island, at 1:00pm on the same day. This is perfect for people going to Magnetic Island, as you can go straight in, get your ferry tickets, and hop on the next ferry (They leave every half an hour). Or, if you want to explore Townsville for a few hours, you can! Likewise, if you're staying in Townsville, most accommodations are near the ferry terminal (I advise Rambutan personally). As you can see this person is getting back on the Premier bus 4 days later in Townsville, at the same place. as dropped off. 99% of the time this will be the case, and it will be at the same time. You can see they also arrive in Airlie Beach on the 20th at 5:35pm, at the Port of Airlie. In general, your accommodation, if a hostel, will be within 10 minutes walk of your drop off. The only exceptions are Sydney, Cairns, and certain hostels in Brisbane. In Cairns, you can get a pick up, but in Brisbane, you'll either need to get a public bus or train (Train for Bunk in the Valley, bus for Westend).
There you have it! The most asked questions about vouchers, and a quick explanation all in one place. Of course, if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook @tripfarmaustralia, or call on whatsapp: +61403549263.
If you're not sure about which bus company to choose, check out our comparison guide blog here.