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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holiday Packages - Save Money By Doing It Yourself

Holiday packages seem to be the best way to travel to a country or a city in your own country. The holiday packages promoted by various tour operators do give the customers a hassle-free holiday in the sense that the customer does not have to plan anything, other than, of course, the destination, the travel dates, the period of the holiday and the amount of money which he is willing to spend.

Besides that, the holiday packages are designed by the tour operator as per his own understanding of the place. It is like, the customer would actually be seeing and visiting the places that the tour operator thinks the customer should. The marketing department of these tour operators makes it sound like that they are covering the entire city or a country whereas in effect they are covering only the places which the discerning cutomer will recognize and get the feeling that all the important places have been covered.

The customs, traditions and the culture of a city or a country are definitely not going to be visible in these so-called important tourist destinations, so to start with, be ready to go to a city or a country like you would, going to a new market on your shopping trip.

First place the costs are cut is the flight timing. In order to achieve maximum cost reduction the tour operator books you on a flight which starts late at night or very early in the morning. Considering the distance to the airport and the one /two hour before the flight check in time, things get worse. Starting a holiday not sleeping well the previous night is definitely going to take a lot out of fun and enjoyment off your holiday. Moreover be prepared to sit away from the windows on the flight. If you have kids that is a problem.

The tour operators don't want to give one a chance to think while he / she or their family is on the Holiday package, lest you start asking uncomfortable questions. Therefore, they will cram up the day schedule for the entire duration of the package. At the end of the hectic day one would be dead tired to do anything but hit the sack in the anticipation of the next day. One thing the holiday package makes sure is that you would hardly relax during the trip and in fact would be more tired after the holiday than you were before you embarked on the journey.

The all inclusive packages rarely include everything. The fine print says it all. Visa, airport taxes, travel insurance, park/museum tickets, one or two meals, tips to guide / bus driver / bell boy etc will have to be borne by the customer. The hotels may or may not be the ones they specify in the itenerary. Many people are surprised at times and wonder how the particular hotel ever got the star rating it does have. The location of the hotel also does have a bearing on your level of enjoyment. The view from the room and the location of the room in the hotel may also be a dampener.

From my research, everything, starting from the flight fares to the park tickets, is available for much cheaper than the amount quoted in the holiday package. So it stands to reason that if one was to do some research, puts in an effort, he can save a lot planning his holiday by himself. These days everything is possible online. Tickets can be bought online, hotel bookings can be done online, there are websites which sell tickets to various places of interest online and throw in the pick up and drop complementary. In any case it is best to buy tickets for such places only after you have reached the city/country as most of them are available over the counter. You can also plan the places you want to visit as per your tastes. In most places local transportation is good enough for everyone. Give yourself a lot of time to savour the local culture and the way of life. In the end, that is what you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life.

So, if you have lots of money or just want to put a "been there" tag on a map, go for a holiday package. Otherwise, if you don't want your dream holiday to turn into a nightmare, plan it yourself with your family and make it a holiday to remember.

Planning a holiday yourself will give you a headache in the planning stage, but trust me, it wouldn't be more than what a normal work day would give you. In return you will be able to save a lot of money and have the holiday, full of relaxation and enjoyment, of your life.

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