Get Ready for Battle: Package vs. Custom Holidays

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Some people swear by package holidays. They jet off into the sun for a bargain holiday, sip margaritas by the sea, and come back refreshed and relaxed. However, just as many people think of the package holiday as the devil incarnate, and don’t count it as a holiday unless it has been custom tailored, with flights at the right time, and every decision being made by them.

These differing points of view make it a little difficult sometimes to choose where to go on holiday, and how to go about arranging it. Consequently I thought it could be useful to have a bit of a holiday face-off, and draw up a fancy list of all the pros and cons of each so that you don’t have to.

First up, the package holiday:

Pros:

  1. No faffing – you get on the plane, onto the transfer, and arrive at your hotel. You don’t even have to arrange trips outside the resort if you don’t want to, although expect to pay a premium for trips arranged with the reps.
  2. Cheap – thanks to last minute deals and cheap flights a package is THE bargain basement option, often being cheaper than flights alone would be to your destination of choice.
  3. Plenty of variety – all-inclusive? Self-catering? There is a board and a price to fit everyone, not to mention plenty of location options.
  4. Great for nightlife – this isn’t the case for all package holidays, but if you want a stereotypical clubbing holiday then a package holiday should be your default option.
  5. More protection – dependant on who you book with and checking the paperwork, you are more likely to be covered for as package holiday with a reputable operator, and they will look after you if things go wrong, if you need a doctor, or if something happens back home.

Cons:

  1. Little to no flexibility – most trips go on specified days, and generally you don’t have a choice about times for flying.
  2. Lack of exotic destinations. You want to spend half a week fishing of the coast of a distant island in the South Pacific? There probably aren’t many package holiday choices for that.
  3. Static – on a package holiday you are generally stuck in one place. If you want to travel to multiple locations you may find it complicated.

OK, and how about custom holidays?

Pros:

  1. Total flexibility – if you want custom, you can go custom. Nearly everything is achievable, giving you access to a million times more potential “experiences” than on a typical package tour.
  2. Plenty of experts – thanks to the increased popularity of custom holidays in recent years, the world is full of people who can plan the whole trip for you, or recommend places to go and things to see.
  3. Multiple destinations – an island hopping tour of all your favourite locations, in a specific order? Only possible with a custom holiday, I am willing to bet you.
  4. Flexible for groups – if there are lots of you, you are more likely to be able to handle it if it is a tailor-made holiday, where the rooms don’t automatically have to be booked one at a time for groups of 2 or 4!

Cons:

  1. Cost – they don’t come cheap! I am afraid that custom holidays cost an arm and a leg thanks to all those advantages and the price you pay for something that perfectly meets your needs.
  2. High on organisation – if you are designing the whole thing yourself, be prepared to have to grapple with transfers and plane times and different locations.
  3. Autonomy. Yup, you are all alone on these holidays, with no-one shuffling you in the right direction or doing the legwork for you!

Has this helped anyone make their decision?! Have a look at some really great package holidays or get some inspiration for a more custom built trip all on lastminute.com.

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2 Comments

  1. I fall very much into the custom holiday camp. I’ve just come back from a family holiday to Corsica where I used Eurocamp to supply the accomodation and booked the ferry from Marsailles to Ajassio myself. It was a self-drive holiday, but I can honestly say that the whole experience – incuding the setting up and planning, was a very worth-while. We saw parts of France and Europe most people just wouldn’t see or experience. I feel the pleasure of our holiday was enhanced by the fact that we were ‘our own boss’!

    Mark

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