In the Eighties and Nineties, package holidays were all the rage for Brits abroad, until the advent of the internet made it easier and cheaper to book independent travel arrangements.
As a result, package holidays took a massive dip in popularity, meaning tour operators struggled as holidaymakers forgot the advantages of booking a deal.
However, British tourists’ interest in package deals seems to be reawakening. Travel site lastminute.com has reported a surge in ‘build-your-own booking’ package holidays, noting package holiday bookings surged 28% in the UK in 2017 compared to 2016, and the trend has continued in 2018, with package holidays growing 38% in January and February compared to last year.
The most popular holiday destinations for this summer are proving to be Benidorm in Spain, Albufeira in Portugal and Nice in France, so far, and if you’re tempted to book your own package jaunt, here’s why it might be the best decision you make this summer:
1. They’re cheaper
Many people believe booking independently means you’ll save money, but that’s very often untrue. If you book everything yourself, from flights and hotels to car hire and day trips, all the individual costs can add up significantly. But a holiday package is likely to be cheaper, as tour operators are more aware of the best airfares, hotel tariffs and local deals.
Emma Coulthurst, travel expert at holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket.com, says; “It’s often a lot cheaper to get a package in the summer than it is to book flights and accommodation separately. As flights fill in, the price of the seats tend to rise, so flights can be super pricey.”
She points out that a week’s 3 star self-catering package to Turkey including flights in May is just £114 per person, and adds: “Prices have hardly changed in 25 years. You’d be lucky to get a flight for that price, let alone the accommodation.”
2. You’ll get financial protection
Buying a package means holidays are usually protected against the bankruptcy of a travel company, airline etc. This is of growing importance following the failure of several large travel companies in recent years. But if you’ve booked travel arrangements yourself and your chosen airline collapses, for example, you may lose your money, or even be stranded abroad.
3. It’s easy
If you book a package, everything is done for you, meaning you don’t have to spend hours trying to find the cheapest flights and hotel rooms and checking their availability.
4. You’re more likely to see all the tourist attractions
If you book your trip independently, it might be difficult for you to visit all the tourist spots in an unknown area, even if you’ve made a comprehensive list from a guidebook. Holiday packages are designed so you can visit all the major spots, and you don’t have to worry about sorting out local travel arrangements etc.
5. You’ll have access to a hotel’s bets services automatically
If you opt for an all-inclusive package you’ll get the best services available at a hotel, including accommodation, food, drink and facilities like the spa. Booking dining or a spa session separately is likely to be much more expensive if you’re not signed up to a deal.
6. Reps can provide safety advice
Tour companies offering package holidays are aware of local problems and risks, and safety precautions holidaymakers need to take. Travelling independently doesn’t give you the advice of a tour operator or local rep, and could leave you more vulnerable to problems.
7. You’re still in control of your holiday
Going on a package holiday doesn’t mean you have to travel in groups or book a bog-standard week in the sun. You can still tailor-make your arrangements through a reputable tour operator or travel agent.
Reigo Eljas, country director for lastminute.com, says: “For many people, the term ‘package holiday’ evokes a bygone era of prescriptive – and dull – holidaymaking.
“The package holiday of 2018 is all about customers picking the perfect holiday components for them. The fact they can take control over their holidays gives everyone the chance to have personalised experiences, be financially protected and save money in the process.”