Planning a vacation can be a bit of a headache. Not only are the possibilities virtually endless for flights, hotels, and sightseeing, but you never really know if the effort saved you any money. Or, that you are actually making the best use of your time when you book things yourself.
There are so many vacation packages to choose from that you may wonder if they are the better option. Should you do a package or try to put together an ala carte vacation yourself? There is no easy or straightforward answer as there are a lot of variables.
The only thing to be done is to know all the information regarding what a vacation package is all about so you can weigh the pros and cons yourself and make an informed decision. In this article, we will go over several factors to keep in mind so you can decide.
Types of vacation packages
There is no vacation package that is the definitive type. In reality, there are many different kinds so the question of whether there is a package that is right for you is settled. There surely will be one.
For instance, you can book a package through an airline that includes the flight, accommodations, and even ground transportation as a base. Then, you can add on any type of extras that you like. For example, you can also add some guided tours, fishing trips, and museum entry fees.
Those types of vacation packages are usually going to save you a fair bit of money. In fact, Southwest vacation packages have some big savings right now.
There are others where you book an all inclusive stay at a resort. These are usually found in seaside complexes where you pay one price and you stay at the resort with a private beach. The price will include all of your meals and drinks consumed at the resort.
Those that love nature and going out of the way for vacation can even find vacation packages in the National Parks. They are set up in a very similar way to how the beach resort packages function except the backdrop is in a nature reserve.
Of course, if you have ever seen the movie “If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium” then you are quite familiar with how international vacation packages work. These days they are not quite so hectic and don’t try to fit in as many countries as possible. They are catered more to people who want to be able to travel to other countries and be able to navigate the challenges that brings by using a professional tour company.
Low upfront costs
When you book a vacation package, you are able to put one deposit down on the trip. This can reduce the burden of a huge upfront cost compared to when you would book the trip in individual pieces.
For instance, if you book a flight yourself you have to pay for it all right away. Some hotels will only ask for a deposit, but if you are staying in multiple hotels then these individual deposits will add up. In some cases you may end up paying the entire trip for hotels when you are staying only a night or two in each.
Booking a vacation package is like one stop shopping so since the tour operator is going to book everything, you just do one deposit in the beginning and then have time to put the rest of the money together.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can lose quite a bit of the deposit if not all of it if you were to cancel. This is usually because these companies have to pay out much of the deposit to many different venues and they lose a significant portion of it themselves when somebody cancels. Be sure to read the fine print when it comes to cancellations to avoid a surprise.
You don’t get points
One thing to consider if you are going to buy a vacation package is how your points will be treated. If you love to accumulate points for free trips then you may be out of luck when you book a package.
Often, the packages that include airfare and hotel aren’t going to be part of your points program. You can always use a credit card to pay for the trip if you have a miles rewards card. Otherwise, shop around and possibly look for vacation packages offered by the airlines as they may offer points when you book.
You could also miss out on some of the perks that come with miles like extras and upgrades.
They save money (Sort of)
If you were to add up the costs of each of the segments of the trip you will likely pay more for the trip if you were to book it individually yourself. So, this means that you are saving money, right? Not necessarily.
You are locked in to the hotel and transportation in the vacation package but you could shop around for other hotels and see that there are cheaper options. You’re really only saving money when you want the exact hotels or at least standards of the hotels chosen for the package.
They are easy
A vacation is supposed to be relaxing and having everything taken care of for you is a great way to do so. It’s almost like having a concierge that knows all the best places to go and has everything mapped out for you. You’ll waste less time trying to find where to go and what to do.
In this way alone many people are quite happy with the price considering they are able to fully relax and actually enjoy the vacation. It’s also relaxing knowing that if something were to go wrong on the trip that there is a company responsible for sorting everything out. Having to deal with cancellations or delays on your own is time consuming and stressful.