Are Package Holidays A Good Idea?

I can sense the eye rolls coming at me through the screen. She calls herself a travel blogger, and she’s mentioned package holidays like she’s ok with that. Well, yes.

I am ok with that.

In fact I’m more than ok with it.

You see, package holidays have nearly always been a part of my life and I’ve got no shame in admitting that my first trip abroad to Menorca with Holiday Baby was all wrapped up in a nice little package.

I don’t always travel this way. Regular readers will know how much I enjoy scouring websites to find the best deals for flights and hotels as I stitch my own short breaks together. You also know I love to be introduced to new cities by hopping on the train or local bus from the airport to where I’m staying. But a couple of times a year I sack that off in favour of a package trip. Why? Because sometimes for me, it just makes sense.

Package Holiday Fun in the Sun

Package holiday fun in the sun

I like that one price usually covers everything. From the the flight to the accommodation and your transport to and from the airport, it can all be summed up into one number, meaning you don’t have to make separate bookings for everything.

Of course, it’s not always quite that simple. These days everyone wants to charge you for the chance to pre-book your seats on the aircraft. But a standard luggage allowance for everyone travelling is usually part of the deal. And, in the case of my last trip – 10kg of hold baggage for Holiday Baby even though he doesn’t get a seat. Not bad, really.

When I want a proper holiday, with the hassle of organising things on the go taken out of my hands, it can be the perfect option. Because let’s face it, when you work full-time, sometimes you just can’t be bothered.

People wince at the idea of being in a group of package people who are herded about, but I think it’s important to remember that no one will force you to follow the flock.  Personally, I don’t mind meeting the holiday rep on the first day because I think it’s nice to show a bit of appreciation for the job they do. Plus, I know who I need to call on should anything untoward happen that I might need help with.

Beyond that, I usually never see them. But for many people it can be good to know they’re there. The same goes for the degree of protection that comes with a holiday covered by ATOL and ABTA if you’re in the UK. I’ll be honest here and say I’ve never had to rely on this, but it’s there for a reason and that can be reassuring in itself for holidaymakers.

While I’m away, I usually deal with staff at my accommodation in the first instance if I have any issues. And I sort my own day trips out either using public transport (this proves simple enough in Spain even with a baby and a buggy), or a local tour company that meets my needs both in terms of cost and excursion options. One such example being a small group tour I booked independently in Kos, which consisted of half a day exploring an olive press, vineyard and winery. It was completely different to anything the package company provided and it supported local businesses. Holiday win!

Wine tasting in Kos

Wine tasting in Kos

One thing I do steer clear of, however, is the all inclusive hotel. I’ve tried it twice and it’s not for me. Having everything included is, dare I say it, just too much.

Read more: Should You Go All In?

I’m also personally put off by anything labelled “family resort”. You know, those massive hotels that appear in brochures with double page spreads featuring a picture of some sort of cartoon kids club mascot.

Will I change my mind as Holiday Baby gets older? Possibly. But I doubt it. I might have grown up going abroad on package hols, but I spent those childhood summers in Spain travelling with extended family, staying in apartments and making friends with random kids from different countries on the beach, communicating in that universal language of smiling and batting a ball back and forth. Organised fun has never been a thing in my family.

That said though, much as I don’t want to be judged for being a package holiday pro, I wouldn’t judge anyone else for choosing a big all inclusive resort complete with a mammoth entertainment programme for their big trip. Your holiday is just that – your holiday. The most important thing is that you book one. We all deserve to get away.

Are Package Holidays a Good Idea

What do you think? Would you go on a package holiday? Have you been on one?

8 Comments

  • Eden says:

    I actually haven’t been on a packaged vacation before, but all inclusive trips are quite popular. I would like to try it someday, but I understand your opinions. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Vlad says:

    I totally understand your point, Clare, and if people want to roll their eyes, let them be. It’s your holiday so you should do whatever makes you happy, there’s no right or wrong way to travel. I’m always looking at tours organized by travel agencies for inspiration, as well as checking prices and feeling smug for finding cheaper alternatives, haha. 🙂 One time I booked a Prague city break from an agency because it was ridiculously cheap, only the flight alone would have been more than the package.

  • Dominika says:

    Hi ! Love your blog !

    I think package holidays (even all inclusive in Greece ;//) are not so bad idea when you have kids.
    You can always book a comfortable trip with everything included and dont worry about a transfer from the airport or – what to eat for breakfast. You can gat help to entertain your kids with the hotel amenities and staff. BUT you can also hire a car and meanwile take your family on fantastic excursions and live like a “real tourist” 🙂 I am just back from Zakynthos which was absolutely fun with my 2 little girls !
    It is no a secret that when you are going with kids, not every place is comfortable to stay.( Imagine kids playing on the beach without sand;) But you can always go to see many interesting places for a while 🙂

    • Clare says:

      The all inclusives can be such a good idea with kids. And I’m up for the car hire – I think that will be easier for future trips rather than dragging everyone and all the stuff onto the local bus.

  • Absolutely – I’ve done a few where it’s been a great option to get a cheap flight and hotel then organised the rest myself, including one trip to Tunisia. I’ve probably done fewer since my daughter was born as I want more flexibility than most hotels give. And I’m definitely not a fan of organised fun either!

    • Clare says:

      When the deal comes in at the right price, I don’t hesitate. But I like the idea of more independent villa stays for future hols with the little’un. I’ve never stayed in a villa and that’s definitely more up my street than a bit all inclusive.

  • Lucy says:

    I’m an appalling control freak so haven’t done a package holiday for years (Faliraki 1999 – classy stuff!) but you know what I’m pretty sure if I have kids and don’t have the time or energy to go scouring out flight and AirBnB combos I will be right back in there!

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