Vacation: pre-packaged deal or do everything myself?
February 25, 2007 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Vacation: pre-packaged deal or do everything myself?

Me and my fiancee are looking to get away to the Carribean for a week in April. We've already been to Dominican and Mexico, and would like to go somewhere new - Bahamas, Costa Rica, Jamaica, etc.

My question is, both times we bought pre-packaged deals from companies like or Is it really worth it to use those guys? Seems like for Bahamas, there's not that much variety in choices... If I just find and book the hotel I like myself, get the plane tickets, etc, would it be a lot more expensive? It is certainly more time consuming, but is it a good idea?
posted by zavulon to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
It really depends. The advantage that those guys have is they can buy in bulk--which means they can negotiate group rates (air & land). Benefit for the hotel & airlines: filled rooms and seats. Benefit to you: decent vacation, cheaper price.

So the short version is: yes, it will be more expensive. A lot or a little is really up to you and the flight/hotel options you choose. That said, you will almost always get cheaper air through these packages, or at least by going through a travel agent with access to SABRE. You won't find them online, for the most part. Ask your agent to look for charter rates.

Your best bet is to find a package you like, and then price it out yourself with similar paramters.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:57 PM on February 25, 2007

I took a week long spring break trip to Grand Bahama two years ago, and my group (about 15 people) all bought in to one of the pre-packaged deals. We each ended up saving about $50, but that was more because of our group size than anything else.

The package that we purchased had millions of "freebies" or coupons (most of which didn't amount to jack), and that was the only thing that separated our trip from one that I could've bought piece-wise on Expedia. In the end, I would have rather of spent the $50 on a nicer hotel room.

I second dirty's message to price and compare, but I will add that you should do your research on the places that you're considering, regardless of how you purchase your trip.
posted by jivesoul at 9:21 PM on February 25, 2007

As others have said, almost always, a pre-packaged package is going to be cheaper than buying the same options yourself, as well as less hassle. If there's a pre-packaged deal you're happy with, you may as well not bother trying independent purchase. If there isn't, however, travelocity and expedia also offer 'build your own package' discounts that can bring custom 'packages' down in price, often only requiring that you book two of flight, hotel and car through them, so you might be able to book your flight and hotel from two different sources as long as you pick up a car with whichever you get from travelocity/expedia.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:06 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also, those deals often include airport transfers and little extras that you'd have to book yourself for extra expense that you may not consider when booking yourself.
posted by pyjammy at 1:38 PM on February 26, 2007

Beware of what kinds of hotels they book in package deals. I stayed at a hotel in Crete which was filled with packaged tourists. You had to pay extra to get your mini-fridge turned on, and they turned off the A/C after 9pm. Little crap like that which was totally not the case anywhere else. (Ended up in that place due to travel delay/poor-planning, lack of vacancy in normal places). They also scalped us on the room rate (charing more than legally allowed).
posted by Goofyy at 8:51 AM on February 27, 2007

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