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