My wife and I are big tennis fans. We want to go to the Australian Open in January 2010. What are the best deals? What should we watch for from organizations offering packages?
–John, Bloomington, Ill.
A:There are several ways you can arrange your travel Down Under to see the Australian Open, which takes place in Melbourne on Jan. 18–31, 2010.
Companies such as Grand Slam Tennis Tours and Steve Furgal's International Tennis Tours offer a variety of all-inclusive packages that include airfare from the United States to Melbourne, hotel accommodations, transportation to and from the arena, tickets to one or more matches, plus optional extras, such as tennis lessons and side trips to the Great Barrier Reef or even to New Zealand. Costs range from $3,200 to $13,000, depending how many days your trip is, how good your seats are at the stadium, and how many extras you add on.
If you don't want a package tour, you can book each part of your trip independently. Tickets to the Australian Open go on sale on Oct. 7, 2009. You can buy them by calling 011-61-02-8736-2711 or by going to www.ticketek.com.au. January is peak season Down Under, so there is no guarantee you'll get a round-trip ticket for less than $1,000 during that month. But keep checking Qantas and Air New Zealand's Web sites for deals, or try a travel agent specializing in Australia, such as Discover Downunder. This company may have access to unpublished deals.