Package Tours – Can you live without them?


I have always liked to read our local Sunday Mail newspaper.  Especially the Escape section.  It’s full of amazing trips to exotic places.  There’s usually a whole feature on a particular destination and I devour this information (usually over a naughty snack!)  Definitely the information you want if you are going to plan a Life Changing Year!

If I read the paper at Maccas, I’ve been known to steal the Escape section to take home and pore over later!  I love the way the travel writers rattle off all the interesting places to see and the things to do.  There’s a “how to get there” section, and food normally features in these stories too which I love.

I like to keep an eye on the list of flights to various destinations to see where airfares are at, even if we don’t plan to take a holiday in the near future.  A lot of times a cheap airfare has galvanised me into making plans for our next family adventure!

Now that we are planning our epic 12 month journey however, I find there’s not really too much for us in this liftout.  I’ve read it a couple of times in the last few weeks and everything seems so EXPENSIVE!!  We will very firmly be budget travellers whilst we are away and a package deal of 19 days in China for $16,000 per person is just not going to happen!!  That’s $842.10 PER DAY.  EACH!!!!!

There have been some other amazing choices recently.  A Christmas wonderland tour for 21 days through Prague, Venice, Paris and the Swiss & Austrian Alps for $9950 each?  How about Alaska, Canada and New York  for 23 days @ $5999 each?  Or how about a 15 day cruise on the Rhine for $7150 per person?  I DON’T THINK SO!!!

Who takes these trips?  Who coughs up $16,000 each???  Are these purely “once in a lifetime” type journeys or do people do this stuff every couple of years?  I’d hate to assume that people who can drop a couple of months wages on a short holiday don’t have kids but really they’d have to feed their kids baked beans for a year to afford this!!

I plan to make $16,000 last us (a family of 5) for at least 2 months!!  If I can’t, we are in big doo doo!!!  Our 12 months will shrink fast if I can’t make the dollars str-e-e-e-t-c-h!!!!!

So this got me to thinking.  Where are all the deals for frugal travellers?  Where are the advertisements for cheap hostels (with free brekky and wi-fi) and a map from reception showing the local sights.  Why isn’t there a section showing the cheapest bus ticket from France to Spain?

The answer I imagine is that advertising dollars drive this holiday section.  All the tours that I’ve seen are advertised in lovely big blocks at the top and at the side and companies are paying big bucks to put them there.  How I envy those that will be taking those amazing tours!!

So, I plan to use those pages as inspiration of all the great things out there that we can take our children to see and do!  We’ll still go to Paris, Venis, Prague and the Swiss Alps but we’ll go for a fraction of the cost.  We’ll bus it, train it and ferry it where required.  We might even walk a bit (doubtful I hear you all say!!)

We’ll stay in cheap hostels or in people’s houses that we have found on couchsurfing sites or on  We’ll eat amazing food bought on street corners and our own home made sandwiches the rest of the time!  We’ll use discount vouchers wherever we can.  There’ll be times when we are stranded because our planning was crap or we just could not go another minute on a bus with chickens!

We’ll probably get upset tummies in India, Bangkok and Laos.  My friends, you don’t get THOSE experiences on a big expensive tour bus!!

Luckily for you all, I love a good story – the more chickens on the bus the better!

So you will get to share all the ups and down of our 12 months away.  Every lost passport, elephant ride, upset tummy (complete with pics!), orphanage, dessert, diner, shopping bargain, funny sign, crazy monkey and broken ipod.  All in glorious descriptive colour.

Bet you can’t wait.  I know we can’t!!!

Image: porbital /

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Package Tours – Can you live without them? — 4 Comments

  1. The Escape section’s advertised tours are just that – TOURS! You are now a traveller – not a tourist. You get to experience the people, culture and sights up-close-and-personal – something that the people who go on those tours will never know about. I know which one I’d prefer to be! So envious of what you’re doing!

    • Yeah – we worked out that once we are home our usual vacations will be so CHEAP! Now that we know all the ways to travel cheaper. Probably a 1/4 what we used to spend! You too can have your own adventure Tammy!! You just need to get planning! We have friends that have planned for years to be able to travel – The good stuff is worth waiting for!!!

  2. I have used such itineraries from expensive companies and made my own travel plans. I bit sneaky, I must agree. However, sometimes travelling with an agency is cheaper than on your own. Some places are difficult to reach, you have to get the timing right, etc, etc. I have seen some amazing cruises on the river in Germany that cost a fortune and I have seen some tours in Czech republic that cost really cheap.
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    • If I could find a package thatg was cheaper than doing it ourselves I would definitely book it. It’s just not often the case unfortunately. I have to say if we ever go back to Egypt it will more than likely be on a package tour! Anything to avoid the harrassment!

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