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6 Myths About Package Holidays Busted

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Benefits of Package Holidays

How do you feel about package holidays? As a travel blogger focusing on adventure and solo travel, I’ve always felt like they weren’t really for me. Especially because I had a pretty narrow-minded idea about what a package holiday actually was (more on that later). 

But my first ever trip abroad without my parents was a package holiday. My friends and I took a coach trip to Disneyland Paris, age sixteen. I’ll never forget how exciting and grown-up that trip felt (despite being to a pretty childish destination!) Some of my favourite trips of all time have been package holidays! There was that insane cruise I did with Silversea, an amazing ski trip, and that epic road trip in the Canadian Rockies with TrekAmerica. All package trips. Even my recent solo road trip around Alberta was booked as a package through a travel agent. 

So, I’ve begun to rethink my stance on the benefits of package holidays! This week, I’ve teamed up with ABTA, the UK’s most trusted travel association, to highlight some myths around the phrase, and to explain the benefits of booking a package holiday.

Solo road trip in Alberta
My Canada road trip was a package holiday!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with ABTA – The Travel Association. As always, all words and opinions are my own!

Benefits of Package Holidays

Myth 1: Package Holidays = One Style of Trip

What do you picture when I say “package holiday”? Are you thinking of one very specific type of trip – the traditional “fly and flop” style holiday, lying by a pool for a week in an all-inclusive? Well, that’s definitely one kind of package trip, but it’s far from the only one. The term package ONLY means how the trip is booked – so it has nothing to do with what you do or where you go!

When I started browsing ABTA’s members I was genuinely surprised to discover that there are loads of different travel operators offering package holidays. Many were far from the kind of trips I associate with the term. Things like Lost City treks and Desert island survival adventures!

Although I never realised it at the time, my recent camping tour of the East Coast USA with Trek America was a package holiday. So was my little brother’s SE Asia backpacking experience with STA Travel last year! Package holidays now come in many different forms and there are SO many more trip styles available than I previously realised. 

Myth 2: Package Holidays are More Expensive

I always used to think that booking a package holiday was more expensive! I mean, if you shop around and book everything in different places and from different places, it’s GOT to be cheaper, right? But since I’ve started travelling a lot more, and keeping an eye on travel deals, I’ve started to notice that sometimes package deals do work out cheaper. 

Not always, but often. By booking all the flights, accommodation, and transport together, you may just bag a bargain. According to ABTA’s recent Holiday Habits report, 60% of UK holidaymakers said they booked a package holiday because it provides the best value option. Not to mention the fact that booking everything in one go makes budgeting much easier. Especially when costs like transfers, food, or other extras have often already been taken care of before the trip! 

I did the maths when I took a TUI Package Holiday to Majorca last year, and I remember being shocked at how much cheaper it worked out than booking the trip separately. 

package holiday in majorca
On my TUI trip to Majorca!

Myth 3: Booking a Package Means a “One Size Fits All” Trip

I’ve already mentioned just how much choice there is amongst ABTA’s members. But another of the benefits of package holidays is that they can be personalised or even tailor-made to suit your requirements. Although “off the shelf” trips are available, many of these can be tweaked. So you really can find something to suit almost any preference!

solo road trip in Canada
My Canada road trip was booked through an agent but customised to my needs!

Because you’re booking with a travel professional – whether that’s in person, over the phone or via social media – you can enjoy a level of personalisation and expertise that you could never get booking a holiday on your own. Tell an expert your needs, and they can tailor the trip for you. 

Myth 4: It’s Easier to Book things Myself

Of course, booking everything yourself means you can make a custom trip that exactly fits your needs. BUT that takes time – and the older (and busier) I get, the more I realise that my time is valuable. 

I love independent travel, but one of the big benefits of package holidays is how much time and effort they can save you. Way back when I started this blog, I took a trip to Morocco. I booked the whole trip myself – including a trip to the Sahara desert.

A caravan of camels in the Sahara desert

I’ll always remember how LONG it took me to plan that trip! Juggling the schedule, trying to find out bus times, scouring TripAdvisor for the best hotels, emailing local tour companies about spending a night in a Berber camp. Plus, I lost two whole days of my holiday because of the bus journey there and back!

I’ve since realised two things. One: there are lots of ready-made Sahara Desert treks already out there, which I could have booked. These are often pretty much exactly the same adventure I had – except they don’t involve a twelve-hour public bus to the desert!

Two: even if I didn’t fancy a ready-made trip, I could have given all my requirements to a travel professional and had them book it all for me. They may have even found a shorter coach journey!

In either case, I might have paid a little more, but I’d have saved myself a LOT of time. Back then, I enjoyed the adventure of it all and I had time to spare. These days, my time is money. If I take a day off work to plan a trip, I simply don’t get paid. I’d much rather tell someone else exactly what I want, and have them do all the hard work for me!

Myth 5: I’ll Have the Same Protection if I Book Direct

I’ve always assumed that my rights are protected when booking things online, but it’s not always the case. ABTA told me that “regardless of what type of holiday you have booked, package holidays provide the best form of protection”. Heaven forbid anything should go wrong with a trip, but if it does, it’s nice to know you’re protected.

benefits of package holidays

If you book a package holiday and the company you’ve booked with goes out of business you’ll receive a refund, or be brought home if you’re already on holiday and your package includes return transport. You’re also covered if the trip doesn’t meet your expectations or isn’t as it was sold. That’s something you might not have if you book direct. There are lots of other ways you’re protected too, check out ABTA’s website for loads more info. 

Myth 6: I Have to Go In-Store to Book a Package Holiday

I don’t know about you, but having to speak to someone on the phone or in-person will often put me off doing things. Not just because of my general social awkwardness, but also because the idea of going all the way to a shop to book a holiday seems like such a faff! Plus I worry that I could be pressured into something by being put on the spot. 

lake garda package holiday

Thankfully, companies are picking up on these pretty common worries. Many ABTA members are making it as easy as possible to book. You can book online or even via social media. There are live chats, enquiry forms, emails – all kinds of ways to contact travel professionals and discuss your dream trip. 

Learn More

Visit ABTA’s website to get more information about package holidays. You’ll also find heaps of tips and advice on planning and booking a holiday. Plus they have a list of ABTA Members who can create your perfect trip. 

What do you you think are the benefits of package holidays? Do you prefer to book independently or speak to a travel professional? Scroll down to leave a comment with your thoughts!

22 thoughts on “6 Myths About Package Holidays Busted”

  1. I admit to enjoying the planning but sometimes it really is worth leaving it the experts. We did a group tour with Tui to Costa Rica last year and it was lovely just to turn up at the airport and know that we’d be looked after and ferried around. We do tend to book independently but definitely not adverse to booking a package when it suits our needs! Great piece as always Emily x

    1. Thanks so much Emmalene. What really surprised me was discovering how many different options and trip types there were that are classed as packages! And after doing a few trips like my TrekAmerica one, I’m realising it’s much easier and better to leave things to the experts sometimes. I looked into the logistics of doing a similar trip camping and road-tripping in the USA on your own and it probably works out cheaper as well as easier to do a TrekAmerica tour! And like you said – so nice to know that you don’t have to think about anything. It’s a holiday after all! X

  2. Interesting read! I haven’t been on a proper package holiday in a while but I’m looking for somewhere to go for a few nights in the autumn, so I’m going to see what’s around! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Chloe! It was actually a really interesting post to research. Especially when I started properly thinking about it and realising how many package trips I’ve actually been on over the years. Some were just NOT what I was thinking a package holiday was!

  3. Summer -

    Wow you’ve been some incredible places. I’d love to see the Sahara desert. I typically book some trips that I plan out myself and some that I do a group tour, and you are right it is so much easier to give up the role of planning sometimes! I have also found that it can work out to be much cheaper too. I will have to check out some of the package trips you’ve been on!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting Summer! I have been so lucky over the years – I’ve been to some really amazing places. Sometimes as a package, sometimes not! It’s definitely easier to give up the organisation. I still LOVE planning my own trips but every now and then I find it easier to let someone else book it all :)

  4. I’m a big fan of a package holiday (something I feel like I’m not meant to admit to being a travel blogger!) But I’ve often found package deals are the easiest and cheapest holidays and sometimes simplicity is exactly what you need!

    1. I’m the same – I worry that it makes you less “authentic” somehow. Which is nonsense!! Especially if you find the right company to book with. And you’re so right; when you’re travelling or taking a holiday you need some simplicity!

  5. This definitely a fresh insight on Package Holidays and Tours. Honestly, I find it more expensive or I believe so. Happy to know that they do work out cheaper. Will start keeping an eye too on travel deals.

  6. I’ve never booked a package trip before, but I just booked my first group tour. I must say, the ease of not having to worry about planning my every move is such a treat! I consider myself a pro-planner and I LOVE planning itineraries whenever I travel, but just knowing that everything will be taken care of for me was a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders! And I agree – packages doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more expensive. Especially when there are sales on them! Sometimes it’s really unbeatable, and of course other times, you can probably do it for less money if you did it yourself, but you’d be spending the countless hours hunting for those bargains anyways!

    1. Same here – I really love the planning stages, but if you don’t have time (or you’re going to a place you’re not familiar with and can’t research well) then a tour can be invaluable. And group tours are great if you’re normally a solo traveller – it’s so nice to have a ready-made set of travel friends to hang out with! Where are you off to on your first tour?

  7. Surely today’s package holidays are different from years ago. Like you mentioned above, they offer epic road trip, trek to lost city, desert island survival tour, and things like that. They read the market trend really well. When traveling to a new place that is totally different from where we live, I think package holiday is the best way to go.

    1. Exactly – companies have listened to what consumers want and supplied those things. There are SO many different options and so many great operators to choose from now, I was really astonished! And I totally agree, if it’s somewhere you’re completely unfamiliar with then a package can truly be the best option. Let an expert organise it!

  8. Surely, the industry has changed and package holidays are different from what they were 10-20 years ago. You’re absolutely right about package holidays oftentimes being cheaper than booking by yourself. Nowadays, a lot of them are tailor-made as you mentioned but a lot of them are a “one-size-fits-all” at least from my experience.

    1. Yes there are still a lot of “one-size-fits-all” packages out there, but many of these can at least be tweaked if you speak to someone directly! And if not they might have optional add-ons and upgrades etc. I was just really pleased to see that there were so many more options now, and the stereotypical package holiday people think of isn’t the only option out there!

  9. Before ever going to doing everything by myself, I did a quite a few package holidays. There are definitely many advantages on them especially when traveling with kids. With the right fit, I would be ready to do it again too. You can still adventure and see places by yourself after getting to the destination.

    1. Exactly – and at least you have all the security of having booked everything through a reputable company! I know that when I have kids I will probably book all my trips as packages. I struggle to stay organised right now as it is, let alone whilst raising kids!

  10. Thank you for writing this. So many of us have the wrong idea about package vacations. I just went to China on one and it saved me so much time and money! I think the trick is to find one that suits your mode of travel. I’m looking forward to trying another one soon.

    1. EXACTLY – and there are so many options and different companies out there that finding one to suit your trip style is easy. I always loved solo travel but as I get older I find it so much easier to go on group tours (like the TrekAmerica ones) so I’m looking at some adventurous group tours for my next trip!

  11. This post is actually an eye opener. I had a lot of doubts about package holidays. I haven’t booked any so far. But it seems that package holidays give you a better deal and hassle-free travel Experiences than planning everything by your own. Thanks for breaking the myths!! Quite an enriching post

    1. Thanks so much Parnashree! I was the same as you before I started researching this post – I had my doubts about package holidays. But they can work out as a better deal and like you said, it can mean hassele-free travel too.

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