Booking a yearly holiday means making choices.
Do you go for self catered? All inclusive? Room only? Half board? Full board? Bed and breakfast? Or go it alone and book everything separately?
Deciding which option is best for you can be tricky, so we’ve looked at the positive points of both sides in an attempt to answer the age old debate: what’s better, package holidays, or DIY?
Why choose a package holiday?
1. They’ve got you covered
No one books a holiday expecting the worst to happen. However, if you’ve booked a package and something does go wrong, you’ll be able to claim your money back. By law all tour operators selling package holidays must also offer financial protection, and this is arranged through ATOL (Air Traffic Organiser’s Licence), while flights booked directly with airlines are not covered through this scheme.
2. Benefit from big discounts
If you book a package you can often get better deals than when you book each component separately. For example, with our packages to Spain and the Algarve costing less than £200 for seven nights, it can work out cheaper than the price you’d end up paying just for flights alone. This is because the operators who arrange package holidays usually buy hotel rooms and airline seats in bulk, so they can offer hefty discounts.
3. Stick to a set budget
All inclusive breaks are great for budgeting, as all your meals, drinks, and in some cases activites such as water sports are included within the total cost of your holiday. This not only means no nasty surprises at the end of your break, but that any spare cash you have can go on excursions, souvenirs, or a duty free treat at the end of your trip.
4. You can let someone else do the cooking
If you don’t want the added expense of eating in a restaurant each night, or the hassle of cooking a big dinner after a lazy day at the beach, then an all inclusive holiday could be the one for you. Eating in the resort every night can also be a good way to get to know other guests and make your stay more sociable – you can also benefit from quiet meal times if the hotel offers early dinners for the kids.
Why choose a DIY holiday?
1. Flexibility is your friend
Picking your own flights and accommodation means that you have more flexibility over your travel times. That’s good news for the late risers; you’ll be able to veto that 5am flight and opt for a later start, or even fit in another excursion on your last day – trust us, those sleepy family members will thank you.
2. Low-cost flights
Many low cost carriers offer flights to destinations seldom used by package holidays, who prefer to charter their own flights. If you fancy saving a bit of dosh this is a great way to keep the overall cost of your holiday down. Just remember to print out your boarding pass beforehand, or you could get stung at the check-in desk.
3. Cater to your own tastes
Tour operators only have certain hotels on their books, so if there’s a particular hotel that you’ve had your eye on, you might be better off booking it separately. It also means your annual holiday can be a bit more personal; for example, a stay in the world’s tallest hotel or a meal in an underwater restaurant could easily cater for your love of skyscrapers or your obsession with the underwater, adding a quirky element to your trip.
4. Get off the beaten track
All inclusive is great if you want the easy life, but if you also enjoy sampling the local cuisine or long to try out authentic restaurants, then a self-catered break might just clinch the deal. Getting out and about or shopping locally at markets for breakfast, lunch and dinner means you’ll get a taste of the local life and a healthy dose of culture to take home, too.
Whichever option you go for this summer, we can help you compare the prices and make sure you get the best deal.