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Austria

AUSTRIA TRAVEL GUIDE

With glorious Alpine scenery, monumental Habsburg architecture, some of Europe’s most varied museums, and contemporary architecture, Austria has it all. It was once part of the influential Austro-Hungarian Empire and has a rich musical heritage, being the birthplace of many famous composers like Mozart and Strauss. Vienna, the capital, has been a significant cultural and intellectual hub throughout history, drawing creatives and intellectuals from across Europe. 


Although Austria is known as the winter sports capital of Europe, it is just as popular for summer tourists who visit its historic cities and villages and hike in the magnificent scenery of the Alps. Austria is perfect to visit any time of year and any outdoor lover's dream.

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  • Currency: Austria has the Euro (€) as its sole currency along with the 24 other eurozone countries.

  • Electricity: 230V AC electricity. Power outlets are round two-prong sockets (type F which also accepts type C and type E).

  • Safety: Austria is one of the safest countries in the world with violent crime rarity. Small towns and even uninhabited areas such as forests are incredibly safe at any time of the day. Beware of pickpockets in crowded places. Bicycle theft can be a problem in bigger cities but is virtually absent in smaller towns. Whatever you do, don’t travel without travel insurance! We would suggest checking out World Nomads, for travel insurance as they have the best coverage for active travellers.

  • Language: English is widely spoken, and the only area most tourists have linguistic problems with is in translating menus. In rural places, however, older people often don't speak any English and it will help to learn a few basic German phrases if travelling to such places.

  • Fun Facts: Austria introduced the world to the first postcards and has the oldest national flag design in the world, dating back to the 12th century.

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BEST TIME TO VISIT AUSTRIA

Peak tourist season in Austria is actually split between summer and winter and choosing the best time to visit Austria might entirely depend on your reasons for visiting and what you plan on doing during your stay.

 

  • July & August - Alpine hiking in Tyrol, lake swimming in Salzkammergut, and lots of summer festivals.

  • September & October - New wine in vineyards near Vienna, golden forest strolls, and few crowds.

  • December & January - Christmas markets, skiing in the Alps and Vienna waltzing into the New Year.


Generally, winter is busier than summer when hordes of skiers and snowboarders seek out the powdery slopes over the Christmas and New Year periods. The best time to visit Vienna and Salzberg is during spring and autumn as the weather is pleasant and you might avoid the peak tourist months of August and September when these popular cities burst at their seams. During this time most of the major music and art festivals take place and you will find limited options for accommodation and very full restaurants.

During summer months the mountain regions are very pleasant in between the odd summer shower and especially in the Alpine region, evenings can be cool.

Best Time To Go

AUSTRIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Austria can be divided into three climatic zones: the eastern part shows a continental Pannonian climate (mean July temperature >19°C, annual rainfall < 800 mm), while the central Alpine region has the characteristic features of the Alpine Climate (high precipitation, short summers, long winters). The remaining part of the country belongs to the transitional central European climatic zone, which is characterised by a wet and temperate climate (mean July temperature o f14–19°C, annual precipitation of 700–2000 mm).

Austria

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Read more...

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN AUSTRIA

Austria offers a plethora of snow sport opportunities, especially for those seeking a challenge. Resorts like St. Anton and Mayrhofen are renowned for their advanced terrain, with St. Anton boasting a range of difficult runs and Mayrhofen home to the Harakiri piste, Austria's steepest slope. 


The best time for snow sports in Austria is typically January, after the holiday crowds have dissipated, providing a balance of good snow conditions and fewer people. For those looking to avoid crowds altogether, late November, early December, and the middle two weeks of March are recommended.

HIKING & CYCLING IN AUSTRIA

Austria offers a plethora of hiking and cycling opportunities, with its picturesque landscapes and well-maintained trails. The best time for these activities is during the shoulder seasons, particularly in September and October, when the weather is mild, and the summer crowds have dissipated. 


Trails like the Vienna City Hiking Trail or the panoramic Kahlenberg are perfect for hikers, while cyclists can enjoy routes like the Salzkammergut Lake District Tour. These months not only provide comfortable temperatures but also the chance to witness the stunning autumnal colors decorating the Austrian countryside.

BEACH OPTIONS IN AUSTRIA

Austria, known for its picturesque landscapes, also offers a variety of beautiful beaches. Noteworthy spots include the Badestrand Hallstatt, which provides stunning views and clear waters, and the Strandbad Velden, popular for its clean facilities and family-friendly atmosphere. 


The best time to visit these beaches is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and conducive for outdoor activities. During this period, you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and the natural beauty of Austria's lakeside beaches.

SURFING IN AUSTRIA

Austria offers unique surfing experiences despite being a landlocked country. The Eisbach River in Munich, close to the Austrian border, is a famous river surfing spot, and Vienna boasts the Citywave pool for consistent waves year-round. 


For a natural setting, the Austrian Alps provide alpine surfing opportunities. The best time for surfing in Austria is typically autumn, when river waves are optimal, but facilities like Citywave allow for surfing at any time of the year. For wind- and kitesurfing, Lake Achensee in Tyrol is best from June to September due to the strong thermic winds.

KITESURF IN AUSTRIA

Austria offers a unique kitesurfing experience with its beautiful Alpine lakes and consistent winds, especially at Lake Neusiedl, which is known for its reliable conditions and is a popular spot for both beginners and advanced kitesurfers. 


The best time for kitesurfing in Austria is from late spring to early autumn, with peak conditions from May to September, when the thermal winds provide excellent kitesurfing opportunities. Additionally, the Tyrol region offers a distinct experience with its mountainous landscapes and lakes like Achensee, which is famous for its strong thermic winds during the summer months.

BEST TIME FOR

Austria offers a plethora of snow sport opportunities, especially for those seeking a challenge. Resorts like St. Anton and Mayrhofen are renowned for their advanced terrain, with St. Anton boasting a range of difficult runs and Mayrhofen home to the Harakiri piste, Austria's steepest slope. 


The best time for snow sports in Austria is typically January, after the holiday crowds have dissipated, providing a balance of good snow conditions and fewer people. For those looking to avoid crowds altogether, late November, early December, and the middle two weeks of March are recommended.

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN AUSTRIA

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Travel Safety

HEALTH RISKS IN AUSTRIA

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Austria

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

AUSTRIA TRAVEL COSTS

Travel costs in Austria are comparable to elsewhere in Western Europe. Restaurants can be quite expensive, particularly during dinner hours. Consider visiting Austria during the shoulder season as prices are generally higher during the winter months when people head to the Alps for skiing. They're also higher during the mid-summer months when many families travel here on vacation. You're likely to find the best deals during the spring or fall months when tourist crowds are at a minimum and demand is at its lowest. Do not forget to consider the entry fees for museums and historical buildings in your budget as these can prove to be fairly expensive!


You should plan to spend around $120 per day on your vacation in Austria. On average, expect to spend $30 on meals for one day and $20 on local transportation. Hotels are plentiful throughout the country. Expect to pay about $50 - $60 for a simple double room outside of the touristy areas, and up to $70-$130 in the busier towns.


GETTING AROUND AUSTRIA

Rural or sparsely populated regions in Austria are easier to explore by car as bus services can be infrequent. Many popular activity spots in the mountains are really accessible only by car or on foot. Renting a car for a couple of days is a good way to go off the beaten track. If you will be driving on Austrian motorways you will be liable to pay toll fees - which are done in the form of a Vignette toll pass, which should be purchased in advance at any petrol station at the border, or online. 


Intercity trains are punctual and with a comprehensive network, it covers most of Austria. Unless you are doing a lot of intercity travelling in 3 days, individual tickets are actually cheaper than the one-country pass. Comfortable and moderately priced, these trains connect major cities and many towns. Buses serve less significant towns and lakes and these two forms of transport are integrated and designed to complement each other - intercity coaches exist but don't provide anywhere near the level of intercity rail service.

Cost & Spending

AUSTRIA TRAVEL TIPS

There are hundreds of hostels around Austria if you're a budget traveller and camping is available throughout the country. You will find facilities to be top-notch, with many places offering laundry services, shops and snack bars.

 

Travel Tips


SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF AUSTRIA

Austria is probably as famous as a tourist destination for the beautiful Alps as it is for its history of music and opera. Mountains cover three-quarters of the country, with the remaining one quarter filled with vineyards, rolling hills, and river gorges. Most visitors come to see the mountains, and they will not be disappointed. If you're not interested in winter sports, head to the area during the summer months when the hiking is at its best. The stunning Alps make a unique backdrop for exploring charming villages as well as the historic cities.

 

  • Vienna - Discover opulent Habsburg palaces, coffee houses and cutting-edge galleries.
  • Salzburg - Survey the baroque cityscape from the giddy height of 900-year-old Festung Hohensalzburg.
  • Kitzbühel - Send your spirits soaring from peak to peak hiking and skiing.
  • Grossglockner Road - Buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of Alps and glaciers on one of Austria's greatest drives.
  • Salzkammergut - Dive into the crystal-clear lakes of Austria's summer playground.
  • Innsbruck - Whiz up to the Tyrolean Alps in Zaha Hadid's space-age funicular.
  • Danube Valley - Explore the romantic Wachau and technology trailblazer Linz.


RECOMMENDED ITINERARIES

TWO DAYS IN VIENNA

Make the most of Vienna, spend your first day visiting the Habsburg palaces and Stephansdom before cozying up in a Kaffeehäus (coffee house). At night, check out the lively bar scene.

 

TWO WEEKS IN AUSTRIA

Plan for two long and lovely days in Vienna, plus another day exploring the Wachau (Danube Valley) wine region, a day each in Salzburg and Innsbruck, a day in St Anton am Arlberg or Kitzbühel hiking or skiing, and then a final day exploring the Salzkammergut lakes.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

Visit Vienna

The capital, Vienna, possessing a unique and distinct identity, is characterised by its rich architecture and famous river, the Danube. Along with its charming old town centre, Saint Etienne Cathedral, Donaupark, the pedestrian road of Kärtner Strasse, the Imperial Palace, and the Opera House to name just a few there is no shortage of interesting sights. Slowing down to sample the famous Viennese café culture will be a highlight of your visit.


Watch the magnificent Lipizzan horses perform at the Spanish Riding School. With a history of over 440 years, the school is the best place in the country to witness riders in their impeccable outfits, personifying the height of classical riding and horsemanship. Watching the daily morning exercise is a beautiful and peaceful experience, and one of the most authentic attractions in Austria.


The incredible Schönbrunn Palace is considered to be one of the most important architectural structures in Austria. The palace dates back to the 16th century and although the building itself is incredibly beautiful, the gardens are considered to be just as impressive. Try to find a way through the incredible hedge maze, visit the botanical garden, or explore the Roman ruins.

 

Related Posts

Guide To Vienna, AUSTRIA


Salzburg

For many people, "The Sound of Music" springs to mind when they think of Austria. The city of Salzburg, the setting place for the movie, is lovely to visit and explore. If you're an aficionado of this well-known film there's even a themed tour that focuses on points of interest from the movie. This wondrous city has many treasures; from baroque churches, squares, fountains to various places dedicated to Mozart who was born in this town. The International Festival (from July to August), is a great celebration of music and should not be missed.


Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Werfen (30-minute drive south of Salzburg) is considered to be one of the largest ice cave complexes in the world and even during the hot summer months, can be cold inside the underground lair. Using headlamps, visitors are taken into the depths of the caves to the sight of amazing ice structures which creates a wonderfully unique atmosphere.

 

Explore Salzwelten - one of the oldest salt caves in the world in Hallein (30-minute drive south of Salzburg). A tour of the will take visitors underground and includes a train ride, a boat ride and a trek. A small train takes visitors to the depth of the mine who then have to go down a long wooden slide, just like miners did in the old days to learn about how salt has been mined for over 7,000 years. Once underground, the tour takes visitors actually across the border into Germany!


Related Posts

Guide To Salzburg

Best Free Sights & Activities In Salzburg


Ski (or Learn to Ski)

What makes skiing in Austria unique when compared to other Alpine ski areas? The hotels are mainly small and family-run, the food is wholesome, the locals are friendly, the snow condition is gorgeous, with fresh powder to ski on pretty much every day. Skiing enthusiasts are sure to find themselves at home in Austria.

 

Cycle the Danube River

The cycle path alongside the Danube in Austria is arguably the most famous cycle route in Europe. Most of its 'traffic' moves along with the flow of the river (downstream), usually starting in or near Passau and ending in Vienna. Some cyclists go even further to Bratislava (Slovakia) as it is only another 56 kilometres further downstream.

 

Tours

If you prefer travelling with a group tour, we highly recommend G Adventures. They are a super reputable company and have been running tours around the world offering loads of different tour types that cater to all travellers such as well as wellness tours, tours for 18-30-year-olds. If you like the idea of travelling in a group and make new friends, check out the variety of tours that G Adventures has and the details and dates of each trip. Use the filters in the sidebar to help you find a tour that fits your travel dates and travel style.

Visit Vienna

The capital, Vienna, possessing a unique and distinct identity, is characterised by its rich architecture and famous river, the Danube. Along with its charming old town centre, Saint Etienne Cathedral, Donaupark, the pedestrian road of Kärtner Strasse, the Imperial Palace, and the Opera House to name just a few there is no shortage of interesting sights. Slowing down to sample the famous Viennese café culture will be a highlight of your visit.


Watch the magnificent Lipizzan horses perform at the Spanish Riding School. With a history of over 440 years, the school is the best place in the country to witness riders in their impeccable outfits, personifying the height of classical riding and horsemanship. Watching the daily morning exercise is a beautiful and peaceful experience, and one of the most authentic attractions in Austria.


The incredible Schönbrunn Palace is considered to be one of the most important architectural structures in Austria. The palace dates back to the 16th century and although the building itself is incredibly beautiful, the gardens are considered to be just as impressive. Try to find a way through the incredible hedge maze, visit the botanical garden, or explore the Roman ruins.


Salzburg

For many people, "The Sound of Music" springs to mind when they think of Austria. The city of Salzburg, the setting place for the movie, is lovely to visit and explore. If you're an aficionado of this well-known film there's even a themed tour that focuses on points of interest from the movie. This wondrous city has many treasures; from baroque churches, squares, fountains to various places dedicated to Mozart who was born in this town. The International Festival (from July to August), is a great celebration of music and should not be missed.


Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Werfen (30-minute drive south of Salzburg) is considered to be one of the largest ice cave complexes in the world and even during the hot summer months, can be cold inside the underground lair. Using headlamps, visitors are taken into the depths of the caves to the sight of amazing ice structures which creates a wonderfully unique atmosphere.


Explore Salzwelten - one of the oldest salt caves in the world in Hallein (30-minute drive south of Salzburg). A tour of the will take visitors underground and includes a train ride, a boat ride and a trek. A small train takes visitors to the depth of the mine who then have to go down a long wooden slide, just like miners did in the old days to learn about how salt has been mined for over 7,000 years. Once underground, the tour takes visitors actually across the border into Germany!


Ski (or Learn to Ski)

What makes skiing in Austria unique when compared to other Alpine ski areas? The hotels are mainly small and family-run, the food is wholesome, the locals are friendly, the snow condition is gorgeous, with fresh powder to ski on pretty much every day. Skiing enthusiasts are sure to find themselves at home in Austria.


Cycle the Danube River

The cycle path alongside the Danube in Austria is arguably the most famous cycle route in Europe. Most of its 'traffic' moves along with the flow of the river (downstream), usually starting in or near Passau and ending in Vienna. Some cyclists go even further to Bratislava (Slovakia) as it is only another 56 kilometres further downstream.

If you prefer travelling with a group tour, we highly recommend G Adventures. They are a super reputable company and have been running tours around the world offering loads of different tour types that cater to all travellers such as well as wellness tours, tours for 18-30-year-olds. If you like the idea of travelling in a group and make new friends, check out the variety of tours that G Adventures has and the details and dates of each trip. Use the filters in the sidebar to help you find a tour that fits your travel dates and travel style.

Austria
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN AUSTRIA

WHAT TO EAT IN AUSTRIA

Austrian food may not be internationally renowned, but it is hearty and tasty and you will find plenty of regional delicacies to try. Typical local favourites include schnitzel (breaded and shallow-fried pork) and kaiserschmarn (a lightly caramelized pancake). Prices tend to be reasonable throughout, and even small restaurants serve decent meals. In the major cities, there is no lack of cuisine choices, from ethnic to international. Great eats can also easily be had from street vendors, as well as from simple sausage shops, many of which have small windows where freshly grilled sausages and brötchen (crusty bread rolls) are served. A beer or a glass of wine goes perfectly with almost every Austrian meal.

  • One of Austria's national dishes, Wiener Schnitzel is certainly its most successful export. Traditionally pounded very thin, breaded, crisply pan-fried, and typically garnished with lemon and fresh parsley, it's often served with a simple salad with vinaigrette, Austrian potato salad, steamed potatoes, or French fries.
  • The Sachertorte is a proud symbol of the Austrian capital. It's a dense, chocolate sponge cake made with thin layers of apricot jam that's topped with a semi-firm chocolate icing. Although some say the Café Sacher in Vienna is over-rated, sampling a slice of the famous and scrumptious cake along with a cup of Viennese coffee is an absolute must. The recipe is a closely held secret, and this is the only place where you supposedly can eat the 'original' Sachertorte.
  • Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel) is an Austrian delicacy loved all around the world, you will find it sold in bakeries, cafes, and restaurants around Vienna. Apfelstrudel gained in popularity around Eastern Europe under the influence of the Habsburg empire and is a delicate counterpoint to the slightly heavier (and generally sweeter) American apple pie.
  • The famed Viennese Melange, similar to a cappuccino but usually without cocoa powder, is topped with half hot milk and half foamed milk. Cappuccinos in Austria are generally topped with whipped cream, rather than milk. If you're looking for an Americano, ask for a Verlängerter (literally, "longer"); plain coffee with cream is a Brauner, and espresso or double espresso is referred to as a Schwartzer.
  • Wiener Wurstel (Viennese Sausages) are made from both beef and pork, encased in sheeps' intestine these well-known sausages are usually served with sharp mustard and is perfectly accompanied with Austrian potato salad, radishes, and spring asparagus. Many people will enjoy the simplicity and value of procuring a Wiener Wurstel from a street vendor, slathering it with mustard and gobbling it down right there on the spot.

LGBTQ IN AUSTRIA

Same-sex marriage in Austria has been legal since 1 January 2019, following a decision of the Constitutional Court on 4 December 2017. The country has, however, allowed registered partnerships since 1 January 2010. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Austria have advanced significantly in the 21st century.

 

Today Austria is predominantly accepting of same-sex relationships, in particular, the cities of Salzburg and Vienna which host annual pride events.

Austria

WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTRIA

For first-time visitors to Austria, choosing the right area or region to stay in can greatly enhance your experience of this beautiful country. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation suggestions for each category: budget, mid-range, and luxury.


Where to Stay in Vienna:

Vienna, the capital city of Austria, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant cultural scene, offering visitors a perfect introduction to Austrian culture and heritage.

  • Budget: Austria Trend Hotel Ananas Wien: This hotel offers budget-friendly accommodations near the famous Naschmarkt. Guests appreciate its clean rooms, friendly staff, and convenient location close to public transportation.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Sans Souci Wien: Located in the historic city center, Hotel Sans Souci Wien offers mid-range accommodations in a luxurious setting. Guests can enjoy elegant rooms and suites, a wellness area with a spa and fitness center, and fine dining at the hotel's restaurant.

  • Luxury: Hotel Sacher Wien offers opulent accommodations and impeccable service. Guests can indulge in luxurious rooms and suites, gourmet dining at the hotel's renowned restaurants, and the famous Sacher Torte at the café.


Where to Stay in Salzburg:

Salzburg is famed as the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for "The Sound of Music," with its well-preserved old town, picturesque surroundings, and cultural heritage, making it a charming destination for history and music enthusiasts alike.

  • Budget: Hotel Turnerwirt: Situated just outside the city center, Hotel Turnerwirt provides budget-friendly accommodations with simple rooms and basic amenities. Guests enjoy its convenient location and easy access to public transportation.

  • Mid-range: Hotel & Villa Auersperg - Hotel & Villa Auersperg offers mid-range accommodations in a historic building near the Mirabell Palace. Guests can stay in stylish rooms and suites, enjoy access to a garden and wellness area, and indulge in organic breakfast options.

  • Luxury: Schloss Mönchstein Hotel: This luxury hotel is located on a hill overlooking the city of Salzburg. Guests can stay in luxurious rooms and suites, enjoy access to a spa, outdoor pool, and gourmet restaurant, and experience unparalleled views of the city and surrounding mountains..


Where to Stay in Innsbruck:

Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region, is renowned for its stunning alpine scenery, imperial architecture, and outdoor recreational opportunities, offering a perfect blend of culture and adventure.

  • Budget: Hotel Zach: Hotel Zach offers budget-friendly accommodations in a central location near the Old Town of Innsbruck. Guests appreciate its clean rooms, friendly staff, and complimentary breakfast.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Innsbruck - Hotel Innsbruck offers mid-range accommodations in a prime location near the Golden Roof and the Old Town. Guests can stay in stylish rooms and suites, enjoy access to a spa area with saunas and a rooftop pool, and dine at the hotel's restaurant serving Austrian and international cuisine.

  • Luxury: The Penz Hotel - Situated in the heart of Innsbruck, The Penz Hotel offers luxurious accommodations with stunning views of the Tyrolean Alps. Guests can stay in stylish rooms and suites, enjoy access to a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and indulge in gourmet dining at the hotel's restaurant.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.


Regardless of where you choose to stay, Austria offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. It's a good idea to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (from June to August), to ensure availability and secure the best rates.

Where To Stay

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Let iVisa take the pain out of travel planning and assist you with Electronic visas, Travel Authorizations, Visas on Arrival, and even Paper Visas. They can also help with Health Declarations and Embassy Registrations. If you're from the US, they also provide a One-Stop Shop to renew your Passport securely and error-free.

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Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

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DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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