Many holidays on offer today are sold as packages or bundles, which means flights, accommodation and other perks are included in one price. But do these types of holidays save you money in the long run? The answer to that question is yes, and no. Peak season packages can be a great money saver, as travel companies have often pre-negotiated rates with airlines, hotels and cruise lines which are unlikely to find available if you look for them individually. The way to find out if you’re getting a bargain is easy, however, although it takes a little bit of effort. First, check the dates you’re intending to travel, and list the main components which may include flights, accommodation etc. Next, check the individual cost of each one with a competitor, or directly with a specified airline or hotel. For example, if your package is a New Zealand cruise departing from Auckland, and includes return flights from Sydney with a specified airline, and two nights pre-cruise accommodation at a specified hotel in Auckland, you can check the individual cost of all three to calculate if, when sold as a package, it is better value or not.
Overall, packages can save you time and money, especially if you choose well, with only one price to pay and someone else doing all the work to organise the bookings involved. But what else should holiday shoppers be on the lookout for when considering packages? Firstly, it’s important not to be lured by price alone. For example, the package you’re seeing might appear cheap, but it it could include flights with a budget airline or doesn’t specify an airline at all, it flies you into and out of airports which are not convenient for your destination, or it has connecting flights instead of direct ones. Also, you may be staying in a hotel which isn’t central, or it’s a lower category, than you’d prefer, and with cruises you may not get a choice of stateroom at all. Another thing to be aware of is that some packages are offered at a time when the weather at a destination isn’t the best, a resort may be in the midst of renovations with a pool or restaurant closed, or there may be construction next door or nearby. Checking the fine print is essential when making any travel arrangements, but this also applies to packages for anyone who’s unsure if they’re getting a bargain. The bottom line is do your homework, so you won’t be disappointed.