Everyone loves going on holiday – me included! But paying for flights, accommodation, food and activities for the whole family can get expensive quickly, so choosing a package holiday can really cut costs. With travel agencies offering an increasingly wide range of options, from budget breaks to boutique-hotel deals, it’s safe to say the package holiday is back, and it’s better than ever.
If you’ve never booked a package holiday before, it can be a little confusing. There are many types of package holidays, numerous destination choices and a wide range of tour operators, so here are a few handy hints that will help you plan your trip.
CHOOSE A FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL
Most package holidays have an ideal customer in mind. Some hotels are located near to clubs and bars, geared up for adults looking to party, while others are luxurious adults-only spots perfect for honeymooners.
Make sure you choose a family-friendly hotel. Many package hotels have adventure playgrounds, kids’ pools and a programme of children’s entertainment. In places like this, the staff will be attentive and welcoming towards families, too.
LOOK BEYOND THE PACKAGE
You might think you’ve found the perfect package – the hotel looks great, and flights and meals are included – but make sure you research the location, too. After all, if you’re away for a week you’ll probably want to leave your hotel and explore!
Make sure that there are lots of family-friendly activities in the surrounding area. Water parks and adventure playgrounds are popular child-friendly activities, but kids also love visiting new towns and exploring the natural environment, just like you.
If you think you’ll be out and about, make sure there are good transport links from your hotel, such as local bus services or free shuttles.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PACKAGE FOR YOUR FAMILY
There are several types of package holiday you can get, each of which with its benefits and drawbacks. These are:
As the name suggests, everything is included: flights, transfers, hotels, three meals a day, and even (alcoholic) drinks and snacks. This is the most cost-effective option, making it easy to budget. However, it’s best for families spending most of the time in or around the hotel – if you plan on taking plenty of day trips, you’ll be paying for meals twice over.
Full-board package holidays include flights, accommodation and three meals a day, but snacks and drinks aren’t covered. Like the all-inclusive choice, it’s a great cost-effective option.
Flights, accommodation and two meals a day – usually breakfast and dinner – are included in a half board package. This is a good option for those who want to go out exploring. You’re covered for breakfast and dinner, but you can eat out for lunch, giving you a chance to try some local cuisine without breaking the bank.
Self-catering package holidays include flights, accommodation and a place to stay, but not meals. You’ll have access to a kitchen where you can cook your own food. It means you have flexibility over when and where you eat, and it’s a good option if there are fussy eaters in the family. In my opinion, though, one of the best things about going on holiday is escaping domestic chores like cooking and washing-up!
This option includes flights and your room, but no meals or cooking facilities. It’s a decent option if you want the flexibility to explore and try the local cuisine, and have no plans to cook for yourself. If you’re going to take it up, though, you should probably research how much it costs to eat out in your chosen destination – a dinner for four in Norway is much more expensive than one in Croatia, for example. Have a think about the type of package holiday that’s right for your family, and choose accordingly.
Read the reviews
Most reputable tour companies display package-holiday reviews on their websites, and it’s definitely worth reading them. You’ll get an honest opinion on the accommodation, the staff and the food.
It’s also a good way to find out about new developments, such any building work that may have started at the hotel, which might not be mentioned on the website. And you’ll learn about the good things – a local speciality to try, or activity you might find enjoyable.
FINALLY, BE OPEN-MINDED
As you start looking up package-holiday destinations, a place might come up that you’ve never heard of. But sometimes under-the-radar places can be less crowded in the summer months, and they also make for exciting family holiday destinations. You’ve probably never planned on going to Ljubljana, for example, but if you have a family, you really should!
There are so many package-holiday options available, you’ll be able to find something that suits you and your family down to the ground. Good luck with your planning, and enjoy your adventures!
Are you planning your next family holidays?
*Disclosure: This is a Collaborative Post
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