When I was younger, we used to go on all-inclusive trips as a family. It was all we knew, until my parents decided to organise everything ourselves. That trip was such a success and we’ve never gone back to traveling through all-inclusive packages.
The appeal of all-inclusive packages is when you find crazy deals and tours that seem really cheap. However, booking online and organising your own trip usually works out cheaper. For example, online comparison sites make it easy to find low-cost flights. With a little research, and finding dates with cheaper options, you can easily save hundreds of pounds.
Most travel agents, on the other hand, cannot and do not bother to purchase discounted flights, as they must buy in bulk and adhere to set trip dates. Moreover, they often have to pay various commissions to drivers, tour guides, etc, which are added to your cost.
When booking alone, you can tailor the trip to your own personal interests. Travel agents often take you to restaurants or shops that they have prior agreements with. They’ll get a cut for taking you there. Sure, it’s a win-win if it’s a nice place, but you’d only be wasting your time if you’re stuck in a chain souvenir shop for an hour.
More often than not, all-inclusive packages also have touristic itineraries, which means you only get to visit mainstream spots that everybody else has been to. Of course, this isn’t always a bad thing, but organising your own trip lets you be spontaneous and explore off-the-beaten paths. It certainly won’t limit your travel experience. It can be frustrating to be restricted by a fixed itinerary, especially for more adventurous and spontaneous people. There’s also more opportunity to interact with the locals when you’re not travelling with an agency.
Lastly, tours and travel agencies will try to cram too many places in too little time. This forces you to travel quickly, and to see rather than experience places. We all like taking photos when we visit a new place, but surely not if that’s the only thing we do. It’s important to take the time to explore the history and details of each place. Rest assured, you’ll get this better when booking alone.
All in all, booking alone is simply more rewarding. There’s nothing like keeping a list of things you want to do, researching them, hunting for great deals and then ticking off the list as your trip goes as smoothly (or not) as your plan.