Is your tour / package the best deal?

by Female Abroad

Getting the best quality / fullest itinerary at the lowest price is usually how people decide that they received the best shopping experience. However, if the lowest price is all that interests you, it may not be the wisest factor since cheaper does not always mean the best experience. How then do you decide if the trip is a good value?

Time and time again I hear "I want to save more money" then the person does, goes on the trip, comes back and tells me "I should have listened to you, XYZ really was the worst part of the trip and what you had recommended would have been better". This is where value vs. money savings comes into play. Usually when people say they want the cheapest price, they mean the best value. For example if you have two hotel rooms at the same hotel but one is $50 / night and the other is $60 but includes breakfast and a free upgrade to a suite, which would you prefer? If you said the $60 one then you look at value not just price.

Determining Value

If you are currently debating a package or a tour, then there are more ways to compare apples to apples than just looking at the price.

  1. Calculate the cost per day - take the total and divide it by the number of days (length of the trip). Make sure that you are comparing the total price per person as some prices will include taxes and some will not, some prices will be per person based on single occupancy and others will be based on double occupancy, so read the fine print and the total before calculating the price per day.

  2. Examine the inclusions, the hotel class type, if any tours are private, small group, or large group, if meals are included, and anything else that may be in one offer but not the other.

  3. Jump on a site like Expedia and pop your dates and location into the search bar. What does the average price for the hotels in the area look like. Does the price per day make sense? Some packages may tell you the exact hotel, but usually you will see "4 star or equivalent" or "Hotel XYZ or equivalent".

  4. For the tours, what type are they (private, small, large group, self-guided, etc). What is included in the tour? How long is it? These can vary from one package to another. The most expensive will be a private full day tour and the cheapest will be a large group or self-guided depending on the inclusions.

  5. How many meals and what type are included? Breakfast is included a lot but this is something that the hotel may already supply, so it is not an additional cost. Dinners will be the most expensive. Do the meals include alcohol? How many courses? Is there anything else special about them (ex. cooking class where you eat after, at a cabaret, local restaurant, etc)? You can easily do a search for "average meal cost XYZ" to get a rough idea for the average cost of a meal in the area but if it is a special meal then those will be of a lot higher cost.

  6. Are there transfers from / to the airport or anywhere else in the package? These of course will generally be considered more expensive than a taxi so also keep that in mind.

  7. Read the fine print. What are the inclusions? exclusions? what else is not included in the price or is an expected additional cost?

Once you have all this information you can start to compare between tours / packages as well as determine if there is value in the offer. It could also raise questions that you will want to answer too. I have worked with a lot of overseas companies that are super vague so do not hesitate to ask all the questions you need to.