The following is a guest post by Jim Wang.
You may be the type of person who prefers to travel independently and book everything separately, but sometimes package deals can work out to be more economical on price. They can also give you some reassurance that everything is paid for and organized, so it takes away some of the stress and allows you to budget purely for spending money. When choosing vacation packages, there are a number of things to look out for.
Firstly, if you are able to be more flexible with dates, you can sometimes get cheaper deals outside of the school holidays and outside of peak season for that destination. If you’re stuck with particular dates, try to book as far in advance as possible. Always look about seven days either side of your planned dates to see if there is anything cheaper. Sometimes just leaving a day earlier or later can help you to save money.
If you’re not too fussy about where you want to go, then you can get some good last-minute deals. Often vacation companies will try to fill any empty airline seats and hotels at the last minute by reducing the price, so you can get a good bargain. However, if you know exactly what you want and where you want to go, it is best to book as far in advance as possible to get the cheapest deal.
When planning the destination for your vacation, take into account what you would like to do there. Do you want to see historical sights? Or would you rather laze on the beach for two weeks? Do plenty of research to figure out what activities, tours and excursions are on offer in the surrounding area. Think about what you want to get out of your vacation and look up things to do. Always keep your options open, because distance doesn’t always affect the price. Occasionally a long-haul package deal might be more economical than a short-haul destination.
Read plenty of online reviews so that you know which hotels are decent and which ones to avoid. Websites like Trip Advisor are extremely useful for honest reviews from travelers. Shop around, check price comparison sites, and make sure you are using a legitimate, trusted site. Check what protection you receive when booking so that you don’t run into any trouble. Always purchase travel insurance so that you are covered in case of cancellations and missed flights.
Look at what’s included in your package, such as airport transfers and other extras. Booking all-inclusive packages can seem expensive, but can sometimes save you money in the long-run if you’re prepared to eat all your meals at your hotel. If you do book an all-inclusive deal, find out what’s included, such as the number of meals per day and the drinks available. Sometimes you may have to pay extra for premium drinks.
If you are booking your vacation package through a third-party site, remember that the price that is shown in the beginning may not be the same as the final price at the end. Often prices are not ‘live’ until you click to confirm pricing and availability. Sometimes companies will charge booking fees on top of the price of the package, so watch out for hidden extras.
Jim writes about traveling the world with his lovely wife at Wanderlust Journey.
photo credit: MC..Photography