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.
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!