Yes, I Do Go on Packaged Tours

Bohol, Philippines

On a packaged trip to Bohol, 2017.

I know, I know. I promote DIY tours and even share my itineraries around to help you plan your own like it’s my business. So you’re probably like, “Do you even go on packaged tours?!!!” As a matter of fact, yes. Yes, I do. I usually go to two packaged tours per year. My Bohol, Ilocos and Baler trips were package tours and both were a blast!

There’s definitely a lot of things I consider before I decide to sign up for a tour. Like, a loooooot. But, summary is: If it’s local travel, I will most likely book a packaged tour. If it’s international, I will most likely DIY it.

There’s always pros and cons with booking a packaged tour or spending days (or weeks, or months) to save some cash and customize your own trip. But since I realized I haven’t talked about this other style of travelling, I’ll be sharing the why of why I go on packaged tours.

Bohol, Philippines

Family trip!

When I’m travelling with family.

If you’ve seen most of my local trips, I’m always with a big group of people aka my (extended) family. We’re at least 10 people per trip – that’s already a van full of people! Imagine trying to organize that for a DIY trip! It’ll be chaos especially with kids around! This is where packaged trips would be best. You just have to worry about getting everyone in the van and the driver/tour guide will handle the rest of it. (at least, most of them.)

When it’s a long drive.

Ilocos was around 8-10 hours away via driving. That’ll be at least two drivers interchanging to make the overnight drive. And since the drivers in the family is my mom and my grandpa, that’s going to be a sticky situation. I definitely preferred to have someone else drive for us so once we reach the destination, we can just enjoy the day and have no one too tired to explore the town.

When commuting is too bothersome.

This is why I mostly do packaged tours on local trips. We have so many modes of public transportation –  buses, jeepneys, tricycles, taxis, etc. When the commute is at least five hours long and you have to change mode of transportation every hour or so, it’s bound to be confusing and you’re bound to be lost and irritated. Who says we just ride ONE mode of transportation for the whole trip? ME!

When you don’t want to haggle on the trip itself.

Beach trips are common in the Philippines. And if you want to do island hopping or other water activities, you have to haggle the price with the locals. With packaged tours, it’s already included or they at least know who to recommend. And you’ll have a good idea of the price beforehand!        With my experience, we even get discounts because of how big the group is.

When you’re just plain lazy to plan a trip.

This already happened to me… After our jampacked Korea trip, I just wanted to have a chill time planning our Taiwan trip so we booked a tour for a day. It was so worth it. We literally just have to get on and off the van as we roam outside Taipei City!

When you’re willing to spend a little more.

It’s no secret that going on packaged tours might cost a little more. You have to pay for the service, after all! It’s most likely not a completely high surcharge but if you’re used to compute for everything before a trip, you’ll notice the amount that you could safe. BUTTT!!! Have to remember that you’re paying for the convenience as well.

Of course, this type of travelling is also with its cons which I already accepted when I know I’ll be doing it. I figured you guys should know about them too – especially if you’ll just be trying out to travel this way!

You are not alone.

In which I mean, that they may be joiners if you don’t book a fully private tour. It’s not always a bad thing as there’s opportunity for you to meet fellow travelers and make friends! However, there’s also a possibility for you to just be with rude travelers. The joiners in our Baguio trip before was always late on our call time that we had to let go of a few destinations planned. UGH.

You cannot micromanage.

I love to plan things. As a Virgo, I am very keen on “perfecting” plans. Heck, my itinerary planning process makes it that it seems like I’ve been to a place a hundred times before I even step foot on it. With packaged tour, there’s only little wiggle room for you to suggest adding a destination here and removing one there. You might just end up paying extra if you change up the itinerary.

You cannot extend your stay.

When on a timed stay but you suddenly just fell in love with a destination, you can’t really extend the time slot. You have to think of the places you’ll be going afterwards and the people you’re with.

Still, all of those cons can be worked on if you book a private packaged tour at an additional cost. (Nothing’s free anymore!) I tried a more personalized tour and I liked that more but it’s also because we occupied the entire van/house so we didn’t have to pay extra.

So, this is basically what I have to consider before going on a packaged tour. It definitely has its pros and cons. I mentioned that I usually do packaged tours when travelling locally aka in my Philippines travel. The main reason is that commuting would be real hard if I have to travel 8-10 hours just to reach the province so… I would probably also do it internationally given the same circumstances – like in my trip outside of Taipei City in Taiwan where commute would have been troublesome!

Have you tried packaged tours? Did you like it? Would you give it a try?

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  • Reply
    August 9, 2018 at 3:49 AM

    I had a packaged tour to Bohol as well. Just the countryside tour though. I agree, sometimes it is actually better.

    Joy to the World

  • Reply
    April 27, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    I go on packaged tours too, especially if I’m travelling to a local destination. Sometimes I’m just plain lazy and couldn’t plan the itinerary and all the details myself, so I opt for packaged tours. Lol and I don’t know, I find it easier to do DIY tours for international destinations than local ones.

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 30, 2018 at 3:45 PM

      We tend to rent out the entire van for the local trips and that’s easier for me than to join joiner tours haha. It definitely has its pros and cons.

  • Reply
    Milet Miranda
    April 26, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    Although I’m an advocate of DIY travel, I have also experienced packaged tours twice already. The first one was in South Korea in 2014. It was a packaged tour for Nami Island and Ski Tour in Gangchon. At that time, there weren’t many travel blogs about ski tours in Seoul so my friends and I decided to just join a tour. The second time was in Batanes in 2014. Since public transportation in the island was not that convenient, we decided to avail a group tour. Looking back, if I did DIY these tours that time, it would probably cost a lot of money. Haha! Joining a package tour would sometimes save you money and time 🙂

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 30, 2018 at 3:50 PM

      I forgot to add that! When I join package tours, it’s mostly because the would-be commute would just be a big hassle haha. I always try to find the cheapest yet trustworthy ones though so I won’t go over my budget.

  • Reply
    Codrut @
    April 25, 2018 at 6:43 PM

    I’ve never been to packaged tours, but it seems like an interesting option to try at least once in a lifetime, cheers!

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 30, 2018 at 3:46 PM

      It definitely have its pros and cons!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    I’ve been on packaged tours before, and your reasons for choosing one totally make sense to me! I can see how planning for a large group would be a pain, and it is nice when the tour provides the transportation for you. My parents have been using them lately because they don’t want to do the planning. They’ve also found that it helps for popular attractions. Like when they were in Europe, there were attractions with long lines but because the tour took care of it already, they just went in without waiting.

    Since getting married and traveling with my husband, I’ve been avoiding the packaged tours for mostly the same cons that you listed. I like being able to travel with just my husband and friends, and it’s nice when we can just take our time in a place. I also enjoy being able to change plans easily if we find something else interesting, which isn’t really doable with a packaged tour. Not sure if I’d do a packaged tour again, but there are definitely good reasons to choose them sometimes!

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      May 15, 2018 at 11:26 AM

      I’d most probably keep using packaged tours if we’re a huge group! But when it’s just my friends, and my main family, I would want to DIY it. I’m starting to get choosy on where I go to nowadays, too! So just because a place is popular doesn’t mean I’ll go there anymore haha.

  • Reply
    Gail Ventic
    April 24, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    I persnally am a big packaged-tour kind of traveler. Especially when the trip is booked spontaneously and I wasnt able to have an ample time researching my own itinerary. I do think its cost efficient and less worrisome. The only disadvantage I can think of when it comes to packaged tours are timings. Since everything is dependent on the package, you dont have the most liesure of time to enjoy a certain place.

    Take care, girly!!!

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 30, 2018 at 3:56 PM

      That is one of the biggest con about package tours! It would be a bummer if you’re enjoying a place so much but you have to go. But it definitely does take out the hassle of planning!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2018 at 7:16 AM

    This post was super interesting and informative… I’ve never been on packaged tours, and seems like people either love it and swear on it (and only do those) while others would NEVER do it. I personally love doing more low-key things and chilling instead of hitting allllll the tourist spots, but I think it would be nice to book a day or 2 of tours so that I CAN hit some spots without having to do the heavy-lifting of planning/buying/organizing the events myself. If I were planning a trip to somewhere completely new, I think I might look for some day tours 😀 I know AirBnb now has locals hosting tours for you for pretty affordable rates, too.

    Hiro |

    • Reply
      Richel V.
      April 30, 2018 at 4:00 PM

      That’s a cool thing Airbnb does! I haven’t tried it yet tho as it can be quite pricey haha. I would like to sneak in a packaged tour for a day to make sure I hit all the “required” places then DIY the rest of my days!

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