You work hard to supplement your holiday fund and rack up your annual leave, so when your trip finally rolls around, you want to get the most value out of your time away. You could spend hours researching the cheapest bus routes and weighing up just how far you are willing to walk with your luggage to avoid a taxi fare, or you can put away that holiday budget spreadsheet and take a guided tour instead. Here are some ways taking a tour can save you money.
Accommodation costs are shared
Operators purchase allotments at the properties used on tour and hence generally get better rates than can be sourced independently. Travelling as part of a tour you are not affected by any fluctuation in rates and spikes in price that you may experience as an individual. If you are a solo traveller, you also have the benefit of not having to pay the full cost of a room by yourself. You can share a room with a same sex traveller and don’t have to pay any compulsory single supplement costs, unless you choose to upgrade to private facilities. Some itineraries offer multi-share accommodation options that reduce tour costs considerably.
You can budget in advance
There are itineraries that cater for everyone, from those wanting a budget tour to those wanting a luxury holiday with all the trimmings. You can choose a tour that fits your finances as well as your interests and travel style. You can see what is included, and what you will have to pay for during your travels. You can choose a tour that is all-inclusive, so you’ll only have to reach for your wallet for incidentals and souvenirs, or you can choose a bare-bones trip with your accommodation and transport prepaid and the rest to be taken care of on your terms, and at your expense, along the way.
You can often prepay your tips and gratuities
In most countries tipping is customary, which can certainly add up over your time on holiday. You may have budgeted for a delicious dinner on day three, but did you factor in the additional 10-15% tip (or more depending on where you are travelling)? Many tour operators give you the option to prepay your tips and gratuities for items included in your itinerary, so you don’t need to budget for it while you are away. Not prepaying these may mean you end up paying more, as you may round up or leave extra if you don’t have the right change or if you are unsure what is appropriate. Prepaying these takes the mystery out of it!
You’ll get more out of your experiences
When travelling independently on a budget, there may be experiences you forgo in order to save a little. You may decide that you don’t need a guide to tell you about those incredible ancient ruins, and spend your time wandering aimlessly around a maze of old ‘meaningless’ rocks. Often, it is these guided experiences that are truly worth it. Instead of having to hire your own guide, about whom you know nothing, your tour will either include your day trips or give you the option to purchase them with a local guide who is tried and tested. With the cost split among the group it will work out more economical than trying to arrange these experiences independently. On a tour you’ll often get access to experiences that you wouldn’t on your own (like an after-hours visit to the Vatican or a private viewing of the Mona Lisa – yes please!).
You’ll save on currency conversion and fees
Having your tour prepaid in your home currency means there is less need to access your funds overseas where currency conversion and associated fees come into play. Often when you reserve a hotel room and pay locally, the price you pay at the hotel will be based on the exchange rate of the day, so if there are significant fluctuations in your home or destination currencies, you may be paying more than you expected. This goes for any expenses that you have not prepaid, including withdrawing spending money, where your funds just may not go as far as you think.
You’ll spend your money in the right places
Travelling independently, you can sometimes spend your money in the wrong places, and on the wrong things. Often it is harmless and all part of the experience (we’ve all paid more than we should because our bartering skills need some sharpening), however, sometimes it can be a little more sinister. You can be susceptible to scams and find yourself paying exorbitant prices for lacklustre experiences or find yourself supporting things that you wouldn’t agree with if you knew more about them – like taking an elephant ride or buying from children in the street. Having a guide on hand can help educate you on how much things are worth, both tangible and experiential, and help you source them ethically.
About Global Journeys
Global Journeys is an Online Travel Agency based in Noosa, Queensland, Australia that offers multi-day tours, cruises and river cruises. With a dedicated team of travel consultants and leading technology, Global Journeys partners with the world’s best travel operators to offer their clients over 5,000 trips to choose from worldwide.
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