MWR travel packages make Australian vacations more affordable
By Tim Hipps
USACFSC Public Affairs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Morale, Welfare and Recreation patrons will be hard-pressed to beat the cost of an Australian vacation purchased through their Information, Ticket and Reservation office.
A five-night stay in Sydney or Melbourne is available for $838 per person based on double occupancy. The “G’Day Good Deal” packages include three- or four-star accommodations for five nights, round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco aboard Qantas Airways and a 15-hour calling card that can be used to dial the United States. Taxes and surcharges are not included in the base price.
“Normally, when you’re talking about a trip to Australia, your opening bid is $1,800, at least,” said Dan Yount, chief of Army Leisure Travel Services at the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center. “This is a major savings.”
Trips to Sydney can be routed through Los Angeles or San Francisco. The Melbourne package is available only from San Francisco. Travelers are responsible for reaching the debarkation points in California.
Authorized Morale, Welfare and Recreation patrons can access the packages on the Internet at www.ittaustralia.com and begin a step-by-step process of building itineraries to a vacation Down Under. After preparing the itinerary, they can visit a supporting Information, Ticket and Reservation office or Information, Tickets and Tours office to finalize the booking, confirm arrangements and pay for the vacation.
The Australian packages are a combined Army, Navy and Marine Corps ITR/ITT program available to active duty, members of the Reserve component, retired military, family members and Department of Defense civilian employees. Family members of the aforementioned also are eligible.
Travel must be completed before June 8 or between Aug. 1 and Aug. 30.
“When you’re looking at Australia, this is kind of in the fall and winter,” Yount said. “But winter in Australia in the worst place is kind of like winter in Northern Florida. Most times you’re going to be able to be very comfortable in a T-shirt or certainly a long-sleeve shirt and maybe use a windbreaker in the morning.”
From Sydney, host of the 2000 Summer Olympics, to Melbourne to Brisbane, Australia offers sun-drenched horizons, white sandy beaches and sophisticated modern cities. Aside from its natural beauty, the hospitality and U.S.-friendliness of Australia is rivaled by few countries, Yount said.
With this travel package, the idea of a trip to the other side of the world does not seem so far-fetched. Additional day trips can be added to itineraries.
“It seems almost a shame if you’re in Australia if you wouldn’t take advantage of seeing other parts of the country,” Yount said. “You can add other tours and segments while you’re there if you want to go up to the Great Barrier Reef or the rain forest.”
Yount also suggested departing from temporary duty assignments on the West Coast, which would save even more out-of-pocket expenses.
Participating ITR/ITT offices in the National Capital Region with telephone numbers: Aberdeen Proving Ground 410-278-3931, Fort Detrick 301-619-3237, Fort Meade 301-677-7354, Annapolis Naval Station 410-293-9210, Bethesda Naval Medical Center 301-295-0434, Naval Weapons Station Indian Head 301-744-4850 and Patuxent Naval Air Station 301-757-1394 in Maryland; Fort Belvoir 703-805-3714, Henderson Hall 703-979-4011, Marine Corps Base Quantico 703-784-6259 and Pentagon Headquarters Department of the Army Recreation Services 703-697-3816 in Virginia; and the Naval District of Washington 202-433-6666.
If not in the Washington, D.C., area, check with your local ITR/ITT office for availability.
Link for more info: www.ittaustralia.com
Contact Person: Tim.Hipps@cfsc.army.mil